The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Announce the Appointment of Their 6th President

Contacts: Dow Davis and Doreen Gross ( / 904 834 1034)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL The Board of Trustees of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) announced today that Dr. Michael J. Murray will become the next President of the Foundations effective April 1, 2019. Dr. Murray will succeed Dr. Nancy Cable who has led the Foundations since 2012. During her tenure the Foundations refined its strategic focus within five key areas: Private Higher Education; Public Educational Media; Interfaith Leadership and Religious Literacy; Environmental Engagement, Stewardship & Solutions; and Palliative Care.

“Dr. Murray is an excellent choice to guide the Foundations through the next stages of our work,” said J.H. Dow Davis, Board Chair of the Foundations. “He is a smart, seasoned leader who will effectively sustain and advance the momentum that we have built as we seek to strengthen America’s intellectual life and democracy. Dr. Cable has been a remarkable leader for the Foundations. And we are confident that Michael will continue the tradition of strong and inspired leadership that we have known at AVDF.”

The work of the Foundations is guided by the conviction that principled leadership is central to building strong philanthropic institutions within the United States. The Foundations provide grants to promote and support this leadership in the five program areas as listed above and as described on the AVDF website (

“It is an honor to be selected to lead AVDF with its deep commitment to excellence in strengthening America’s future through education,” said Dr. Murray. “The AVDF Board has embraced a bold set of aspirations that seek to address some of the most pressing needs in American society. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with this outstanding and committed group of individuals to promote sustainable, long-term change.”

Dr. Murray comes to AVDF from the John Templeton Foundation where he served first as Vice President of Philosophy and Theology and, since 2011, as Senior Vice President of Programs. In that capacity Dr. Murray was responsible for overseeing the growth of the Foundation’s grant making work that supports academic research and public engagement in the sciences and between the science and the humanities. During this period the Foundation’s annual grant support grew from $72M to $162M. He further managed the expansion of the Foundation’s work beyond North America and Western Europe to Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. In 2016, Dr. Murray also initiated a re-launching of the Foundation’s departments of Communications, Public Engagement, and Strategic Alliances, including a refreshed brand, logo, and new website.

Dr. Murray began his career at Franklin and Marshall College where he was awarded the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Chair in Philosophy and the Humanities. He also held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Notre Dame, and Oxford University. During this period he published numerous academic articles as well as monographs and edited collections with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Blackwell, and Yale University Press. His research focuses on issues at the intersection of science, philosophy, and theology, as well as on seventeenth century Continental philosophy. Dr. Murray is currently a Senior Visiting Scholar at Franklin and Marshall.

Dr. Murray is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in philosophy from Franklin and Marshall College, and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife Kirsten, a Director at Creative Health Services, a large community behavioral health agency in suburban Philadelphia, have three children, Samuel, Elise, and Julia.

There will be a period of transition until April 1 during which time Dr. Dale Knobel, President Emeritus of Denison University, will continue as interim president of the Foundations. Michael, Dale, and former President Cable will work together closely with AVDF during and after the transition period.



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