Father Larry Murphy, S.J., founder of Loyola’s High School’s biology department and a science teacher for 25 years, was among five recipients of the prestigious Cahalan Award during the 12th annual Alumni Awards Dinner November 19 at Xavier Center on the Loyola campus in Los Angeles. Other Cahalan Award recipients this year included Judge Michael Tynan ’54, Tom Barrack ’65, Paul Freese ’73, and Will Polkinghorn ’94.
The Cahalan Award is presented annually to Loyola alumni to honor the enduring contributions of former President Fr. Patrick J. Cahalan, S.J. during his 27 years of service at the high school. It is given in recognition of his belief in the ideals of Loyola and the Ignatian spirit of magis as exemplified through distinguished and meritorious service to Loyola and its community, the city of Los Angeles, the state of California and the United States. Fr. Cahalan is now chancellor at Loyola Marymount University.
“Fr. Murphy has been a legendary presence on this campus, mentoring generations of Cubs for a quarter of a century. Whether it was being in charge of the boarders’ quarters or teaching the sciences, he was a man for others before the phrase was coined, bringing out the best in the students,” said Fr. Gregory Goethals, S.J., president of Loyola High School. “Fr. Murphy is a brilliant man who loves his vocation. He is generous, thoughtful, and a very giving friend, truly embodying what the Cahalan Award represents.”
Born in San Pedro, Calif., Fr. Murphy moved with his family to Los Angeles so he could attend Loyola High School where he graduated in only three years. After receiving his B.S. in chemistry from Loyola University, Fr. Murphy landed a job at Birdseye before joining Richfield Oil Company as a control chemist and then worked on the development of Technicolor. After earning his master’s in chemistry at the University of Southern California, he joined the Society of Jesus.
His first assignment after being ordained was Loyola High School where he ran the boarding hall, started the biology department, and taught science for more than two decades. Fr. Murphy continued his outreach to Los Angeles by performing parish work at St. Basil’s, St. Brendan’s, and Immaculate Heart as well as working at Cedars Sinai and various area hospitals. He now resides at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos.
“When I was a student at Loyola, it was pretty clear that everyone felt that Loyola was the best school in the country with its great academics and winning football team,” Fr. Murphy said. “I was so proud to be attending there, still brag about the Cubs every chance I get. After graduating, then college and a few jobs, I felt the Lord’s call for a vocation through the Jesuits. Going back to Loyola as a Jesuit and a teacher was a beautiful and worthwhile time – it’s when the boys are becoming men and realizing that they are part of a bigger life that God has planned. Loyola is a special place because not only do our students learn to read, write, and compose, but because the core of their Jesuit training teaches them to be men for others.”
For a Loyola alumnus to merit consideration for the Cahalan Award, the recipient must demonstrate the following attributes:
The Alumni Awards Dinner has garnered more than $1 million in faculty endowment funding since the event’s inception in 2002. With these funds, Loyola teachers have taken sabbaticals, enrolled in technology training, and participated in workshops and courses throughout the U.S., Europe, the Near East, Africa, and Latin America. These opportunities include an Amnesty International seminar in El Salvador, in-depth studies of Shakespeare in London, a Gallo-Roman archaeological dig in Switzerland, workshops in active physics, and teaching English in Africa.