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Enduring Friendship

John Murtha

When John Murtha died on February 8, IUP and the region lost a longtime voice of support in Washington, D.C.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s obituary referred to him as “the powerful dean of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation who survived scandal and seismic political shifts to become the longest-serving U.S. House member” from Pennsylvania. But, IUP’s relationship with Murtha was not so complicated: It was one of enduring friendship and mutual respect. He entered the U.S. House of Representatives through a 1974 special election, and his years of service to Congress allowed him to serve his district well. Before and after September 11, 2001, IUP received federal funding to develop several domestic emergency preparedness and training programs, as well as an incident management system for emergency first responders, all of which were eventually housed in IUP’s John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security. The institute focuses on education, training, community outreach, and research. One of the original programs evolved, and today IUP offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in Science of Disaster Response, in addition to a nondegree educational program for members of the military.

In 2005, IUP named its Armstrong County facility at Northpointe in Murtha’s honor. In the naming resolution, the university’s Council of Trustees cited his extraordinary support and commitment to IUP and his remarkable record of service to the university, to his Western Pennsylvania constituents, and to citizens of the commonwealth and the nation. The IUP Cares program—an annual educational series for the public—was established in 2007. Murtha lent his name and agreed to be a speaker at the first daylong workshop on prevention and treatment of diabetes—a cause he championed. His connection to IUP was also very personal: His great-grandfather graduated from Indiana State Normal School in 1902 and his mother from Indiana State Teachers College in 1927. Both his son and daughter are IUP alumni, while he himself completed graduate work at the university.

More from the Summer 2010 Issue of IUP Magazine

Magic in a Bottle

Magic in a Bottle

The 2009–2010 men’s basketball team won more games than any other and competed on nationwide television for the Division II crown.


Leaders Made Here

In six decades, the ROTC program at IUP has produced nearly two thousand U.S. Army second lieutenants, not to mention eight generals.

Above the Caption

Legacy Gala, Ruddock Hall, who’s in that photo, and more


Highlights about IUP faculty members, past and present


The latest IUP player to be picked in the NFL draft, plus other newsworthy IUP athletes

IUP Magazine Web Exclusives

Professor Shari Robertson and her daughter Brianna Robertson ’09 

Diphthongs and Dahntahn 

June 30, 2010
What distinguishes our Western Pennsylvania dialect?

We Have Survived

“We Have Survived”

May 12, 2010
Promoting Native American awareness at IUP.

Green Acres

Green Acres

April 21, 2010
Explore the 270 acres of the Co-op Recreational Park and the IUP Sailing Base at Yellow Creek State Park.