Jillmarie Murphy, the William D. Williams Professor of English and director of Interdisciplinary Studies Programs, grew up in the greater metropolitan area of New York City, where she had what she describes as an idyllic childhood. She had “the very best” of parents and grew up within walking distance to both sets of grandparents. When she was not visiting with her grandparents, she could be found reading at the library downtown or hanging out at the nearby veterinarian’s office. She would sometimes carry a stray cat home, insisting they had “followed her.” Today, Murphy lives with three rescue dogs, Louie, Ferguson and Faith, and Finita, a rescue cat.
She studied medieval literature as an undergrad and graduate student at the College of St. Rose and received her Ph.D. in transatlantic 18th- and 19th-century literature at the University at Albany. She began teaching at Union in 2008 and still whistles on her drive into work each day.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
I generally try to give myself at least an hour before I grab any technology, but when I do finally look at my phone, the first app I look at is either The Weather Channel or The New York Times.
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:
There are many books I’ve read multiple times, but three books I have been re-reading excerpts from every morning for many years are Deng Ming Dao’s “365 Tao,” Thomas à Kempis’s “Imitation of Christ,” and “The Bhagavad Gita.” My favorite repeat novels, though, are Charles Brockden Brown’s “Arthur Mervyn” and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
From my dad: Try not to talk down to people because you may find you’re facing in the wrong direction from the very people who can teach you the most. From my mom: Never pass up a good sale!
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:
Administrative assistant Debbie Catharine’s office in Karp Hall. Debbie has the most joyful vibe.
I have two: Eggs over medium, home fries, toast with orange marmalade, and coffee, which always reminds me of summers in Maine. Also: coffee with honey, bagels and hard rolls with butter from the bakery, which reminds me of just about every Sunday morning with my grandparents when I was a kid.
BK Shivani, a teacher at the Brahma Kumaris in India, but I also enjoy listening to Pod Save America and Meidas Touch.
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:
Playing the piano without needing sheet music in front of me
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU:
After completing my master’s degree, I decided to teach for a while at two different colleges before going on for my Ph.D. I wound up teaching between 20 and 22 courses per year for several years. I taught days, nights, weekends, in between semesters and six courses every summer. While it was exhausting at times, I loved every bit of it. During those years, I learned so much, and I was also able to teach a lot of courses that were outside of my comfort zone. Aside from teaching many different types of literature courses in all different areas, I taught creative writing, journalism, technical writing to students in a computer-aided design program, a communications course to students in a physician’s assistant program, and public speaking, among many other courses.
THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (living or deceased):
1) Charles Brockden Brown, a prolific writer, defender of social justice, feminist, Quaker and polymath, who wrote most of his novels during my favorite decade, the 1790s. 2) Hildegard von Bingen, a German medieval mystic, abbess, artist, composer and healer who was a brilliant, brave woman living at a time when women were expected to be dim-witted and faint-hearted. 3) Diogenes, because what dinner party would be complete without a good cynic on hand to keep everyone honest?
From the time I was about 3 years old, my maternal grandparents began taking me to all sorts of musical and theatrical performances in the city. Since I was so young, I cannot recall my very first concert, but it was probably a symphony, and I would like to think Vivaldi was on tap. The most fun concert I ever attended, though, was Weird Al Yankovic, circa 2010.