Lodriguez Murray joined UNCF in 2017 as vice president of public policy and government affairs. He was made Senior Vice President in 2019. In this role, he develops and drives strategies to influence and mobilize action in the U.S. Congress and executive branch on the public policy priorities of UNCF, its 37 member HBCUs and the 50,000 students they serve. Murray is also a member of the advisory board of the HBCU Capital Finance Program, has served on the Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking on borrower defense, and leads UNCF’s social and criminal justice portfolios.
Since joining UNCF, he has moved quickly to establish the organization as a difference maker on behalf of its membership and HBCUs overall. Major policy accomplishments include:
- In March 2018, Murray was instrumental in Congress’ passage, and the Department of Education’s successful implementation of, a program which deferred thirteen institutions’ loans to the HBCU Capital Finance Program. This deferment, passed into law in only 52 days after its inception, was funded at $20 million a year and allowed those institutions a full reprieve from their federal loan burden while holding the loans from principal growth or interest
- In December 2019, Murray lead UNCF’s effort to unite the major education groups that represent minority groups’ interest to support the passage into law of the Fostering
Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. This law, passed by Houses of Congress on the same day, December 10, 2019, provides $255 million a year—in perpetuity—for HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to fund their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. Of that total, $85 million must go to HBCUs annually. This was a landmark standalone bill which was propelled to the top of legislative priorities by the #ProtectingOurFUTURE campaign, a pivotal, award-winning online platform led by UNCF which resulted in 62,000 emails and 3,000 phone calls.
- During the novel coronavirus pandemic, UNCF and Murray led a coalition of other minority education organizations in advocating to Congress the needs of HBCUs and their unique student The results were the following:
- The March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act contained funding for most institutions of higher education for stabilization and students; but a special set-aside of $1.054 billion was added to the law specifically for HBCUs, TCUs, and
- In the December 2020 stimulus and appropriations bill, another set aside of $1.7 billion was added to the law specifically for HBCUs, TCUs, and Additionally, there was the permanent relief / forgiveness of debt of 45 HBCUs which was owed to the Department of Education. The loan relief totaled $1.5 billion forever wiped off the balance sheets of nearly half of all accredited HBCUs.
- In March of 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) contained a funding set-aside of nearly $3 billion for HBCUs and
- In fiscal years 2018 – 2021, in the regular appropriations process, HBCU programmatic increases alone total over $300 million
Murray has had extensive previous government affairs experience representing academic centers, patient rights organizations and private companies. He began his career in Washington as a special assistant for the late Rep. Charles (Charlie) W. Norwood, Jr. (GA). It was in Norwood’s office that he learned the congressional authorization and appropriations processes as well as the importance of customer/constituent services.
Upon leaving Norwood’s office, Murray spent more than a decade working in government affairs as a lobbyist and senior vice president at Washington’s top firm specializing in healthcare and disparities. He has represented the interests of Meharry Medical College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, Howard University Health Sciences Institutions, Tuskegee
University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, National AHEC Organization, Nation Council for Diversity in the Health Professions (NCDHP), Zimmer Inc.’s Movement is Life, American Liver Foundation and OraSure Technologies, Inc. Murray additionally served as the executive director of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools, the group of historically Black graduate schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.
Under Murray’s leadership, the firm’s landmark achievements include the elevation of the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, to the level of an Institute at the National Institutes of Health and safeguards in federal legislation protecting programs for HBCUs and funding on an annual basis for programs to assist with the education of minority health professions students.
A native of Augusta, GA, Murray is a first-generation high school and college graduate, having received a UNCF scholarship while attending Morehouse College. Recognitions for Murray include the original Congressional Black Caucus “40 Under 40” award in healthcare, a special award of recognition from Xavier University’s Health Disparities Conference, and named as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s “Most Influential People” (Education) of 2021. In 2021, Lodriguez received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from UNCF-member institution Talladega College.