Calvin E. Murphy '70
The John W. Kuykendall Award is presented to an alumnus in recognition of extraordinary service to his community, demonstrating leadership through servanthood in the spirit of Davidson’s fifteenth president. Calvin Murphy is a servant, a leader, and a pioneer who, through his persistence and his commitment to truth, has helped change the face of Davidson College, the city of Charlotte, and the legal profession.
A native of Charlotte, Calvin Murphy arrived at Davidson in 1966. While at Davidson, Calvin played basketball and served as treasurer of the Union, vice president of Sigma Nu, and as an ROTC battalion commander. As one of the college’s first African American students, Calvin advocated for greater campus diversity. Calvin was so determined to see more African American students enrolling at Davidson, he convinced the dean of admission to hire him to recruit minority candidates. Calvin took to the road in a borrowed ’66 Chevy and recruited the largest class of African-American students the college had ever enrolled. Calvin’s legacy lives on at the Black Student Coalition, which he helped found during his senior year.
After graduating from Davidson with a degree in political science, Calvin served for three years as a lieutenant in the intelligence service of the U.S. Army. Upon concluding his military service, Calvin pursued his childhood ambition of becoming a lawyer and enrolled at North Carolina Central University Law School. In 1977, Calvin graduated magna cum laude from N.C. Central and began working in the Charlotte District Attorney’s Office, earning a reputation as a tireless worker and a tough, but fair, prosecutor. After five years as an assistant district attorney, Calvin entered private practice and is now senior partner in the firm of Murphy & Chapman.
Calvin’s professional commitments extend beyond his practice. As a member of the North Carolina Black Lawyers Association and the Academy of Trial Lawyers, Calvin mentors younger attorneys. Calvin has also served the North Carolina State Bar Association with distinction, chairing the grievance committee, serving as vice president, and now president-elect of the State Bar.
Despite his myriad professional obligations, Calvin is committed to serving his community as well. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Charlotte YMCA and Davidson’s Board of Visitors. A proud family man, he is the father of Kaliq and Sommer Joy Murphy. Calvin has been a quiet but effective presence in Charlotte and North Carolina, mentoring many young men and women and positively impacting their lives.
Because you have served your college, your profession and your community with grace and dignity, and because your example of scholarship, servanthood and leadership has inspired so many, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Calvin Eugene Murphy, upon the occasion of your 35th reunion and presents you with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service on this thirtieth day of April, 2005.