Longtime staff member Mike Murray, who worked in Information Technology Support Services for 21 years, passed away July 21, 2018. He was 49.

Born October 12, 1968, Murray worked for the US Air Force and in the private sector before he was hired by Chico State in 1997. He began his career here as an information technology consultant, supporting students, staff, and faculty during the days of dial-up internet, and continued bringing the University to the forefront of technology for the last 20 years.

“Mike was a bright spot in ITSS, always ready with a smile and a joke. Even so, he took his job very seriously and helped us make huge progress in managing campus desktops and increasing the security of campus information,” said Scott Kodai, director of ITSS. “His particular combination of personality and technical skill will be impossible to replace. He is already sorely missed.”

Through the years, Murray held positions including help desk supervisor, managing students and overseeing day-to-day operations, and process and communications liaison, supporting other technical entities on campus with incidents and projects. Most recently, he served as campus desktop engineer, the only position of its kind on campus.

“He was one of those behind-the-scenes people that you don’t know how big their footprint really is, but if you are using a computer on campus, you are touching his work,” said longtime friend and colleague Dain Sandoval.

Murray plays his guitar at a show.

Murray was a bassist in several area bands. (Courtesy Photo)

Murray loved being a part of the University, supporting its mission to serve students, and enhancing its technology as best he could, Sandoval said. He was a proud graduate of the Diversity Academy and honored to receive his 20-year pin at this year’s Staff Council Luncheon.

While colleagues and the students he worked with remember his extensive knowledge and expertise in the world of IT, they say those traits were equally matched by his genuine spirit, sense of humor, zeal for life, and passion for music.

“Mike had a giant heart of gold,” said Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Most people only knew him for being a talented musician, but there was so much more to him. He loved his family. He loved people. He was an ally. He was a supporter of social justice issues and wanted equality for all people. I will miss my friend.”

Others who knew him say they also will miss his unforgettable laugh and the daily “dad jokes” he posted on Facebook with pictures of animals, a passion rivaled perhaps only by his lifelong interest in music. Murray was a bassist in many local bands, including Spy Picnic and WhiteWater Orland, and had recently discovered a love for the theatre. He recently performed in Chico Theater Company’s productions of 9 to 5: The Musical and It’s a Wonderful Life, and supported Footloose as a technician.

Murray is survived by his wife, Anna, and children Chantell, Dixon, Colin, and Ruby. A private memorial service will be held in Orland at 3 p.m. August 4. Honoring his wishes, all family and friends are invited to a celebration of life that will follow at 4 p.m. at Library Park in Orland. Food will be provided. His fellow musicians will be honoring him and his love of music.

In lieu of flowers, the family said Murray would prefer donations in his name to the Orland Town and Country Humane Society. A GoFundMe has also been established to support his family with unexpected expenses.