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Obama Nominates Murray, Former SEAS Dean, to Energy Dept.

Cherry A. Murray, the dean of School of Engineering and Applied Science, poses in her office Tuesday afternoon, hours after announcing that she will resign after the end of 2014.
Cherry A. Murray, the dean of School of Engineering and Applied Science, poses in her office Tuesday afternoon, hours after announcing that she will resign after the end of 2014. By Byung-Hoon Min
By Jalin P. Cunningham, Crimson Staff Writer

President Barack Obama has nominated Cherry A. Murray, a former dean of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, to direct the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Cherry A. Murray, the former dean of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Cherry A. Murray, the former dean of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. By Byung-Hoon Min

The Office of Science, with a budget of about $5 billion, oversees 10 Energy Department national laboratories and funds thousands of science researchers. It is the largest supporter of basic physical science research in the country.

“Of course, I’m very honored,” Murray said of the nomination.

Before assuming her role in the administration, Murray must first secure a confirmation vote from the U.S. Senate. She said she expects the process to take several months, given the Senate’s August recess and its pending vote on the recent nuclear deal with Iran.

SEAS, a relatively new school at Harvard, grew significantly when Murray oversaw the school as dean from 2009 to 2014. The school’s faculty grew faster than any other division within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and its number of undergraduate concentrators more than doubled. Murray also laid the groundwork for the school’s planned move across the Charles River to Allston in 2019.

Before coming to Harvard, Murray worked in both the private and public sectors, conducting research for Bell Laboratories and overseeing work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a federal research facility.

Murray said she feels her breadth of experience in public, private, and academic spheres will help her lead the Office of Science. “I’ve been in the three sectors relevant to basic science,” she said.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalincunningham@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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