Power Lunch

Michelle Ma

The “high table” in the Willard Residential College dining hall was set for a banquet. The guest of honor was Athletic Director Mark Murphy.

Murphy sipped Pepsi and twirled his spaghetti as he chatted with students Tuesday afternoon at one of the last “administrator-to-lunch” events for the year.

As students gathered in the dining hall, Murphy’s table — prominently situated and covered with a white tablecloth — began to fill with students eager to eat side by side with the administrator and other faculty members.

“When faculty come I try to make an effort to come,” said Matt Cohlmia, a McCormick sophomore. “I know all of these professors on a first-name basis and probably wouldn’t have met them before.”

Now Cohlmia will also be able to spot Murphy in a crowd.

As the university’s athletic director, Murphy said he enjoys getting students’ perspectives on athletics at NU. But he said he also likes to put aside sports and hear what students have to say about life in general.

“I like to find out what issues they’re dealing with and how they like the school,” Murphy said.

Residential colleges bring faculty members to eat with students regularly. Willard faculty fellows — faculty members who associate with a specific residential college for an academic year — join residents on Tuesdays and Fridays for lunch.

Though administrators have eaten lunch with students for years, the administrator-to-lunch program was sponsored this year by the residential college program, said Nancy Anderson, residential college coordinator program.

Residential colleges already foster faculty and student interaction through programming, so taking on the administrator-to-lunch program was an easy addition, Anderson said.