Blackburn College is pleased to announce Dr. Julie Murray-Jensen as the next President of Blackburn College. She will be on campus beginning January 14, 2019. Dr. Murray-Jensen succeeds Dr. John Comerford, who served as Blackburn President from July 2013 – July 2018.
Dr. Murray-Jensen is currently the Vice President of Enrollment and External Affairs and Executive Director of the KCC Foundation for Klamath Community College in Klamath Falls, Oregon. During her time there, she spearheaded fundraising and capital campaigns, retained numerous grants for the school, oversaw the school’s Small Business Development Center, and focused much time and energy on community education and outreach. She implemented enrollment efforts and strategies and grew enrollment by 12%. From 2014 to present, Murray-Jensen raised over $6M in grants, private donations, and public monies to fund the construction and outfitting of a new Work Skills Technology Center.
The selection of Dr. Murray-Jensen as the president of Blackburn College culminates a national search that spanned several months. A dedicated search committee, Blackburn’s Board of Trustees, and members of the President’s Cabinet spent countless hours reviewing information and interviewing many qualified candidates for the position.
“It is with great excitement that the Board of Trustees welcomes Julie Murray-Jensen as the next president of Blackburn College,” said Blackburn Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Hazel Loucks. “Out of a pool of 79 candidates, Julie’s skills and experience appeared to be a great fit for Blackburn. After our interviews she proved to be the perfect person for us. It is with enthusiasm that we look forward to a bright future with Julie as our next president.”
Murray-Jensen previously served as Vice President of External Programs (2014-2016) and Vice President of Student Services (2011-2013) at Klamath Community College, and was active in student services areas of advising, student life, and FYE (First Year Experience) programs. She founded the college’s first ever Student Life Center to increase student retention and engagement, and also launched and oversaw rural satellite campus operations, which included class scheduling, student services, technology, and community outreach.
Murray-Jensen’s faculty teaching experience includes Business Leadership, Intercultural Human Resources, College Success, and Health and Wellness. Twice she has directed semester at sea programs designed to “create opportunities for participants to reflect on the intense learning that comes from international travel, global service-learning, and immersing oneself in another culture.” According to Dr. Murray-Jensen, these type of opportunities “helped students process difficult and complex world issues regarding poverty, equity, access to education, cultural differences, religion, and gender.”
Murray-Jensen has held previous positions with University of Virginia, Pacific University, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh, University of Nebraska—Kearney, Bowling Green—Ohio, and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 1991. She received her master’s degree in Education from Bowling Green—Ohio in 1994, and her Ed.D. from Oregon State University in 2018.
Regarding her appointment. Dr. Murray Jensen said, “I enthusiastically accepted the position of President at Blackburn College because I believe there is no better model for higher education than what Blackburn proudly provides—broad quality liberal arts education coupled with strong work-based job skills to make our students THE most competitive in the world for 21st century careers. I am excited to work with the Blackburn Board, faculty, staff, and students to build on this foundation—where affordable, relevant, and rigorous higher education is not only possible but essential for success in today’s global world.”
Dr. Murray-Jensen will be accompanied by her husband, Eric Jensen, and their daughters, Mia and Madeline. Both girls will attend Carlinville Schools starting in January; Mia in 7th and Madeline in 4th grade. The entire family is looking forward to joining Blackburn and the Carlinville community.
Founded in 1837, Blackburn College is a four-year, Presbyterian-related, co-educational liberal arts college located in Carlinville, Illinois. One of the seven work colleges in the U.S., Blackburn is the only one with a student-managed Work Program. Blackburn was also ranked by US News as one of the Top 50 Midwest Colleges and the #5 Best Value in Regional Colleges in the Midwest; and The Washington Monthly ranked the college as the best baccalaureate college in Illinois and among the top 50 in the U.S.