Following graduation from Florida A & M University, Cecil L. “Chip” Murray spent 10 years on flying duty in the United States Air Force as a radar intercept officer in the two seated jet fighter in the Air Defense Command, and as navigator in the Military Air Transport Service. Transitioning to the reserves as captain, he obtained his Doctorate of Religion from the School of Theology at Claremont. During a half century of ministry, he moved from Pomona, California to Kansas City, to Seattle, to 27 years service at the oldest black church in Los Angeles–First African Methodist Episcopal Church, known as FAME, and coming to focus as a gathering point in the civil unrest of 1992.
Upon mandatory retirement in 2004, Rev. Murray was brought on board the faculty at the University of Southern California, where he holds the Tansey Chair of Christian Ethics at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture. He presently holds board membership with the California African American Museum, the Ray Charles Foundation, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Commission, the Los Angeles Children’s Commission, School on Wheels for homeless children, Opportunities for Learning Charter School. A new era has begun on campus at USC with the founding of the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. He is similarly honored to serve on the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence.