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Sandra Murnan poses for a portrait in the Creighton University School of Law library on May 22, 2019. (Photo by Scott Stewart)

Murnan Spent Her 43-Year Career Behind-the-Scenes at Creighton University School of Law

By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record
Sandy Murnan spent the past 43 years working at the Creighton University School of Law and is retiring today as the school’s associate registrar.
Murnan put decades of work into admissions and records at the law school, making a career of supporting faculty, staff and students as they fostered generations of aspiring attorneys and judges.
Despite staying at the school for nearly her entire professional career, Murnan never set out to be a university administrator. All she wanted at first was a job in Nebraska’s version of the big city.

   Murnan grew up in the Platte County community of Humphrey, and she attended the Grand Island School of Business with her best friend from high school. The duo then decided to move to Omaha

   She wanted to be a legal secretary, but she couldn’t find a job. So she went to an interview with her friend at the medical college at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital. The wife of the doctor interviewing them was from Humphrey, and she says that’s what landed them a job – “even though I had no clue about anything,” she said.

   “I left there after nine months, and there was an opening at the law school,” Murnan said. “I started in the secretarial pool.”

   Murnan quickly found herself working in the admissions office, and the woman in charge ended up leaving. So she took over.

   “They needed help up here,” Murnan said. “I’m guessing she left within a couple months, but I would help her out, and I learned the ropes then.”

   She worked that job for about 20 years, doing a combination of admissions and registrar functions. Eventually, the law school staff decided to create a dedicated registrar, and she took that role.

   In recent years, she’s served as the associate director of records and registration, working to enroll law students in courses and coordinate law school exams – including scheduling, reschedules and accommodations. 

   She also provides information to students, conducts lotteries for classes that draw high interest and serves as a point of contact for alumni, such as for bar certification requests.

   “There is a lot of things that come up during the day that I have to take care of and then go to what I was planning on doing for that day,” Murnan said.

   While much about Creighton has changed over the decades – class sizes, facilities and technology chief among them – the law school experience has a lot of similarities to when Murnan first started as a staff member. 

   “I don’t think the students have changed,” Murnan said. “When I first came here, there were houses across the street.    The law school was the most eastern part of the campus, and nobody ever came down our way. We were two blocks from the hub. But now there is so much activity.”

   Murnan said she plans to spend more time with her children. She is planning a trip to Europe to see Spain, where her youngest child is studying abroad, along with stops in Greece and Austria.

   “It is going to be so fun,” Murnan said. “We’re going to be traveling all over the place.”

   After that, she plans to focus on hobbies, golf and spending time with her grandchildren.

   She plans to be back on the Creighton campus, too, especially as her daughter finishes her senior year at the university. Murnan’s husband, Jim, is a Creighton grad.

   “We have had basketball tickets for years and years,” she said. “We’re big Creighton fans.”

   The law school is holding a reception for Murnan this afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. in the south side sidebar area of the first floor.

   “It will be hard to say goodbye to everyone here,” Murnan. “I wouldn’t have stayed if I didn’t like the people here.”

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