Dennis Murphree, entrepreneur, educator and advisor to Texas A&M Galveston to speak at commencement ceremony, Dec. 14    

Texas A&M University at Galveston will hold its commencement ceremony at 9 a.m., Dec. 14 (Saturday). The ceremony will take place in Exposition Hall C at the Moody Gardens Convention Center located at Hope Boulevard, Galveston, Texas.

Approximately 100 graduate and undergraduate students will receive degrees in maritime administration, maritime studies, marine biology, marine engineering technology, marine fisheries, marine resource management, marine sciences, marine systems engineering, marine transportation, oceanography, ocean and coastal resources and university studies.

Dennis Murphree, entrepreneur, educator and chairman of Texas A&M University at Galveston’s advisory board—known as the Board of Visitors—will be offering the commencement speech titled “Handling events as life deals them out…good or bad.”

“To live a full and successful life, a person can never give up on themselves no matter what life throws at them,” Murphree said. “Money is not the true measure of success. Taking the punches and coming back from hardship is a better measure of a person's ultimate worth to themselves and society.”  

Murphree was born in Bryan, Texas, while his father was a student and his grandfather an engineering professor at Texas A&M University at College Station. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in economics and, after an active duty stint in the U.S. Air Force, got his master’s degree in business administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in May of 1971. 

He taught "Investment Management" for six years during the 1970's at the University of St. Thomas, where his teaching career began. He has since taught two second-year MBA courses in entrepreneurship, “Venture Capital” and “Creative Entrepreneurship,” at Rice University's Jones Graduate School for the last 24 years.

Murphree returned to Houston in 1971 and started his entrepreneurial endeavors with a new company in the commercial real estate business. In 1975, he secured his first venture capital transaction, the re-start of Houston's first failed commercial bank since the Great Depression. That was followed by eight additional banking start-ups and acquisitions. In 1980, he landed his first restaurant start-up, Cafe Annie in Houston. That was followed by the chain still operating today as Cafe Express.

His real estate firm, The Murphree Company, became the 11th largest U.S. commercial real estate developer by 1985 and had offices in 13 cities. In late 1986, he sold the company to devote full time to the venture capital business, which he still does today as Murphree Venture Partners and The Southern Funds Group. The firms operate throughout the southern U.S. and have funded 109 entrepreneurial companies since 1975. In 2013, he re-entered the commercial real estate business with a new firm, Nelson Murphree Legacy Partners.

Murphree has served on many corporate, civic, charitable and educational boards during his career including Southern Methodist University; the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Visitors of Texas A&M Galveston. He does the TAMU-G chairmanship as a labor of love in honor of his grandfather, S.E. “Pat” Murphree Sr., and his father, S.E. “Gene” Murphree Jr. who, in 1999, was honored as one of the TAMU “Alumni of the Century”.  

He says that was the proudest day of his life.

Murphree and his family, including his two grandsons, reside in Houston.