PULLMAN, Wash.–George L. Murdock, superintendent of the Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District in Pendleton, Ore., was honored by Washington State University with its Alumni Achievement Award during a Feb. 13 board meeting of the Pendleton School District.
Murdock has devoted nearly four decades to education. His WSU citation reads “for visionary, enthusiastic and effective leadership as a principal, superintendent and consultant in public education, and for exemplary volunteer service to his community and alma mater.”
Murdock, a 1964 WSU graduate in agriculture, has been in his current position since 1999, after serving as superintendent of schools in Pasco for six years. A 1999 story in the Tri-City Herald credited him with “restoring peace in the [Pasco] school district and shifting attention from political unpleasantness to the business of schools: educating children.” Under his direction, the district found financial stability, constructed four new buildings, introduced an alternative middle school and teen-parenting program, returned to a neighborhood school concept and assumed a regional role in school technology.
Murdock was assistant superintendent (1982-91) and deputy superintendent (1991-93) of Walla Walla Public Schools. He began his career in Chehalis as a journalism/business teacher at W.F. West High School in 1966, moving up to assistant principal, then principal in 1974.
He came to WSU from Toledo and completed a master’s degree in education at Linfield College, McMinnville, Ore., in 1966. His peers elected him president of the Washington State Superintendents, 1996-97; the Washington Association of School Personnel Administrators, 1985; and the Washington Association of Secondary School Principals, 1978. He was 1997 Superintendent of the Year in Washington.
Active in his community, he served as president of the board of trustees of St. Helen’s Hospital in Chehalis, president of the Lewis County and the Walla Walla-Columbia Cougar Clubs and a member of the WSU Tri-Cities Advisory Board.
Murdock was named WSU “Aggie of the Year” as the outstanding senior in the College of Agriculture, and was the outstanding senior in journalism. He was president of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, vice president of the Associated Students of the College of Agriculture, and a member of Crimson Circle, the senior service honorary.