One Hawk’s Legacy

Mike Murphy ’75 is happy to be using his legacy to benefit his alma mater.

In the fall of 1971, Joe Murphy delivered his son, Michael J. Murphy ’75, to Xaverian with explicit instructions: “Keep my son on a good path, whatever means necessary.” He felt 14-year-old Michael was in need of some strong discipline and faith-based instruction, and he knew Xaverian was where he could find them. Looking back on it now, Mike admits, “I was capable of making bad decisions.” He says it with a boisterous chuckle, self-awareness laced with the levity that only comes in hindsight.

Joe thought sending him to Xaverian would change Michael’s ways; instead, he continued to find himself in trouble. His saving grace was that the dean of students at the time was also the golf coach, Mr. Joseph Cote. Mike was a golfer all four years and captain in his senior year. However, it was only in his sophomore year that his troublemaking caught up with him. Brother Richard Cook, C.F.X. and Brother Mel Coyne, C.F.X. pulled him aside for a very convincing heart-to-heart. They didn’t mince words—make better decisions, or else.

Now almost five decades later, Mike is a member of the Francis Xavier Society, Xaverian’s most generous and consistent donors. He serves on the Head of School Leadership Council, and he recently became a legacy donor with a planned gift to the Brother Marcellus Society. He says it all began with that talk from the Brothers. “It immediately changed my life,” he explains. Blessed with a strong sense of self-preservation, young Michael quickly made changes to improve his behavior. “That one moment defined four years of Xaverian for me. I made new friends, and I am still extremely close to them. I always look back on it and I know it altered the path I was going to be on. I owe them.”

It’s this sense of gratitude and responsibility that compelled Mike to become a donor. He made his first gift in 1987, steadily giving throughout the years and increasing the amount over time as he developed in his career. After graduating from Xaverian, Mike went to Boston College. He graduated with a job at Ford Motor Company and began a 40+ year career in the car industry. After working on the business side for the manufacturers, in 1993 he was offered the opportunity to buy Viti Mercedes in Tiverton, Rhode Island. He made the leap to being coowner of a dealership and he and his partner expanded the business together for more than 25 years. Never risk averse, Mike sold his portion of the business to his partner in 2017 and branched out with various investments including partial ownership of restaurants such as Cru in Nantucket, Nautilus Pier 4 in Boston, and Eastern Standard, which will soon make its highly-anticipated return to Kenmore Square. He and his wife, Mary Sullivan Murphy, now split their time between Boston and New Seabury, as Mary recently retired from Bain Capital after 20 years.

Last year, Mike returned to Xaverian for a tour with Dr. Christopher Vasta ’00, Chief Administrator for School Advancement. It was on that tour that he met Dr. Robert Thorp, Xaverian’s Fine Arts Department Chairperson. Dr. Thorp’s energy and enthusiasm for the arts is contagious, and Mike certainly caught it. He went home and wrote a check to Xaverian to benefit the fine and performing arts through the school’s annual fund. With a high-stress career, Mike says attending the theater and concerts (especially the Allman Brothers!) has always been his escape. To that end, he and Mary are supporters of the Boch Center in Boston. After meeting Dr. Thorp and hearing about Xaverian’s programs, Mike knew he wanted to extend their support to Xaverian in a greater way.

Fifty years after first entering the halls of Xaverian, as he says, “making poor decisions with no clear path forward,” Mike is happy to use his legacy to benefit his alma mater. He and Mary have formally joined the Brother Marcellus Society by generously committing a portion of their estate to Xaverian as a planned gift. Of their decision, Mike says, “When somebody departs the Earth, they want to leave something behind. Everyone has their own Xaverian story; I couldn’t be more thankful for mine.”

If you would like to establish your legacy at Xaverian, please contact Dr. Christopher Vasta ’00 at 781-801-1604 or cvasta@xbhs.com.
Xaverian is a Catholic, college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7-12. As an inclusive community, we embrace diverse experiences and perspectives, welcoming students and families from all faiths and backgrounds. Through exceptional academics, athletics, the arts, faith formation, and service opportunities, we help young men discover their unique gifts and talents so they can share them with a world in need.