Columbia Scholastic Press Association

CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.

2012 Murphy Citation

2012 Joseph M. Murphy Award citation for Mark Murray

Mark Murray for the Joseph M. Murphy Award for Outstanding Service

His fascination with student-practiced journalism began in junior high school, trying to find his way as a new student in a new school. An understanding teacher saw something in him and encouraged him to join the yearbook staff. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion.

Continuing his work with journalism throughout high school and college, with particular emphasis in photography, Mark Murray searched out ways to use competitions as a healthy incentive to motivate learning. Organizations that he founded and led, beginning in his college years, have continued to cultivate excellence in visual thinking throughout the Southwest and beyond.

From teaching and advising, his career grew into the creative use of technology to assist teaching in a major suburban school system. He brings the benefits of that experience to the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association, where he serves as chair of the New Technology Committee.

He combined all of these skills and perspectives, as teacher, adviser, technologist and visual thinker, in his volunteer work as the creative force behind the annual Crown Awards DVD produced by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for its members. As the first among equals on that creative team, he has been a continuous source of attention to detail while never losing sight of the overall design and intended results for this valued teaching tool.

To recognize his always generous contributions of time and talent to this major program as well as its other activities, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association is proud to honor Mark Murray with its Joseph M. Murphy Award for Outstanding Service.

This citation was written and presented by Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the Association.

  • Mark Murray's Bio
  • It began innocently enough: a 7th grader in a new school in a new town. But thanks to a teacher who saw his need for a place to settle in, Mark Murray was encouraged in 8th grade to become a staff member on the Nichols Junior High School yearbook, the Round-Up.
  • He worked on the yearbook through junior high and high school. He found his way to East Texas State University in Commerce, TX where Murray learned not only photography, journalism, and English, but also honed his organizational skills. As board member and then president of the Third Floor Photographic Society at ETSU, Murray helped start the High School Shoot-Out, a photo contest for middle school and high school students that recently celebrated its 30th year.
  • In August 1984, Murray walked back into the memory-laden Journalism room at Lamar High School to start teaching. He joined an organization of photo instructors that later became ATPI, the Association of Texas Photography Instructors (, which he has served as both President and Executive Director.
  • While at Lamar, Murray helped advise students in the development and production of élan, the school’s new literary/art magazine. With his help, the student publication took the CSPA Silver Crown and NSPA Pacemaker awards and became a member of the NSPA Hall of Fame.
  • After 12 years of teaching at Lamar, Murray transferred to the Arlington school district as the Coordinator of Technology Systems. He provides creative ways to enhance educational experiences through technology, as well as supporting a variety of systems and software used by students, teachers, administrators, and parents.
  • Murray has received the Star of Texas Award from ATPI, the Trailblazer Award from TAJE, the Pioneer Award from NSPA, and the Edith Fox King Award from ILPC. He was named one of 75 Texas Legends of Scholastic Journalism by the UIL in 2002. In addition, he received the Elizabeth B. Dickey Distinguished Service Award from SIPA, the Medal of Merit from the JEA, and a Gold Key from CSPA in 2004.