Luda and Dick Murphy: Promoting Eastern European Democracy

For Luda Murphy, it all started with a scholarship.

The Ukraine native came to the United States as a displaced person uprooted from her homeland by World War II. After graduating from Hartford Public High School in Connecticut, she was awarded a full-tuition academic scholarship to study economics at the University of Connecticut. From there, academic fellowships took her to the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she received an all-expenses paid year at the Bologna Center and then tuition at the school's Washington, D.C., campus. While studying there for her master's degree in international relations, with a concentration in Western Europe, she met her husband, Dick Murphy, SAIS 1958. Dick received his B.A. in history at Yale University and his M.A. at SAIS with a concentration in East Asia.

"A higher education was possible for me only because of others' generosity," says Mrs. Murphy, SAIS 1961. "I always believed that if it were ever possible, I would like to reciprocate."

Recently, the Murphys set up a charitable remainder unitrust to fund the Ludmilla K. and Richard W. Murphy Fellowship, an annual partial-tuition award for one student from the Bologna Center to complete a master's degree in international relations at the SAIS campus in Washington, D.C. Fellows must plan to return to their home country to work in public service and can come from a list of Eastern European nations, with a preference for Ukraine.

"Dick and I feel very strongly that the best thing that can be done to promote democracy in Eastern Europe is to expose young people of the region to western ideas and practices," says Mrs. Murphy, a retired economist for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, their planned gift provides the couple an ongoing income stream that is a fixed percentage of the value of the trust each year. Now that Johns Hopkins is managing their unitrust, "our money is extremely well invested," says Mr. Murphy, who is semi-retired from a lengthy public-policy career in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. And the unique dividends create "a win-win situation," he says. While the Murphys enjoy the income from the unitrust, they also witness the fruits of their philanthropy through an outright gift they made to establish the fellowship.

"It's wonderful to be able to give and to enrich others' lives, the way SAIS enriched ours," Mr. Murphy said.

This spring the couple attended the graduation of Cristina Clare, the first scholar to receive their fellowship. During Ms. Clare's studies, they entertained her in their home at a celebration for Ukraine's Orange Revolution, and learned more about the Romanian woman's plans for a career as a consultant for emerging-market countries.

"Many people leave money when they die," Mrs. Murphy says. "It's wonderful to donate while living and see the results of one's generosity."

Gift vehicle used: Charitable remainder unitrust

‘ Back