Former Pittsburgh mayor Murphy to give speech

Thomas Murphy today at 4:30 pm in the Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136A

George Marsden Thursday at 4:30 pm in the Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136A

Former Pennsylvania legislator and Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy will speak on campus today on a topic yet to be decided. Murphy’s speech is at 4:30 pm in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall.

From January 1994 to January 2006, Democrat Murphy served as Pittsburgh’s mayor. His dozen years in office were what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called “roller-coaster governance,” marked with controversial developments and fiscal issues.

During his mayoral term, Murphy saw the creation of PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. After the region’s voters rejected a plan to fund the construction with a 0.5 percent sales tax, Murphy created an $800 million plan that included Regional Asset District tax funds, state grants, a hotel levy, and private funds.

“The strategy was to grow Pittsburgh out of its budget problem,” stated Rich Lord in the Post-Gazette. But while Pittsburgh added $5 billion in taxable property values, the city only witnessed an increase of $7 million a year in property taxes.

Murphy beat current mayor Bob O’Connor in the 2001 primaries but announced in December 2004 that he would not seek a fourth term.

Acting as one of Pennsylvania’s presidential electors in 2000, Murphy served as a state representative prior to being elected mayor. He also spent two years in the Peace Corps.

George Marsden, history professor at the University of Notre Dame, will give a lecture titled “How ‘Otherwordly’ American Fundamentalism became Political” on Thursday at 4:30 pm in the Adamson Wing.

American religion and culture, particularly the history of Protestantism, are among Marsden’s academic interests. He has published numerous books, including Jonathan Edwards: A Life, which garnered awards such as The Bancroft Prize for Distinguished Books in American History.

Marsden received a PhD in American studies from Yale.

Both lectures are part of the University Lecture Series.