Alan and Karen Murray were once two young college students trying to figure out their educational and career paths. As an artist, Karen dreamed of traveling to Europe, while Alan took courses that would prepare him to follow in his parents’ footsteps. Alan’s parents were both professors with doctoral degrees who taught biology and geography. Although Alan did very well in school, he had another career in mind. He wanted to be a pilot. “In the late 70s into early 80s, it was considered unrealistic to want to become a pilot; it was almost as impossible as becoming a movie star,” said Karen. However, Alan was determined to do whatever it took to follow his dream and, with the help of his future wife, he was able to take the next step. “She knew how much I wanted to be a pilot, so she gave me the $500 that she had been saving for the trip to Europe so that I could obtain a multi-engine rating certificate,” said Alan.
Alan was able to log many flight hours working odd jobs. He flew checks for deposits to and from banks (long before the advent of digital checks). He flew for the fire department as a fire patrol officer. Alan even flew freight in a venerable old plane, the DC-3, and recalls long nights where he and his captain had to load as well as fly the cargo.
After all his training and hours in flight, he was ready to apply for his dream job with American Airlines. “I remember standing in the elevator at the American Airlines headquarters and asking a young lady on the elevator if she knew who the current president of AA was.”It turns out that the young lady in the elevator with Alan was on the interviewing committee that hired him.
Throughout the years, Alan and Karen, along with their two daughters, have been able to travel and explore the artistic wonders of the world. “We are so blessed to make a living doing what we love, so we wanted to pay it forward,” said Alan.
After saving enough money for both daughters to attend college, Alan and Karen wanted to continue to save money and help others. They opened a second account at their credit union and started a monthly payroll deduction. As the account grew, it was time for the Murrays to think about whom they wanted to help. “We were both very fortunate to have parents who helped us pay for our education, so we decided that we wanted to help a student attend college,” said Karen.
Before reaching out to the Tarrant County College Foundation, Karen contacted several colleges and local high schools with the goal of sending a deserving student to college. She soon realized that many high schools didn’t have any type of scholarship administration process in place. After researching different colleges in the area to make a gift, Karen connected with the TCC Foundation.
Alan and Karen’s two daughters both attended TCC during the summers when they were home from school. “Our daughters enjoyed the classes they took at TCC and we were impressed by the quality education they received. TCC is a great resource for our community and the perfect place to start a scholarship,” Karen said.
As a donor, you want the most bang for your buck and TCC, with its very reasonable tuition, allows us to help more students.
Alan and Karen established the Alan and Karen Murray Endowed Scholarship for students who may not have been given the same opportunities that more affluent students enjoy. “It doesn’t matter to us what field of study a student chooses — we wanted to give back to the community by helping students succeed,” they said.
Alan currently serves as a check airman in the pilot training program. After working for American Airlines for 33 years, he was planning to retire. His supervisor convinced him to stay for a while longer to continue training new pilots. “This is great! I can continue to get paid for doing what I love and give more money to help more students achieve their dreams at TCC,” said Alan.
It is important to the Murrays to pay it forward. “We believe in living within our means. When we first got married, we did fine living off of $650 a month. Today, we still live very frugal lives and this allows us to help others,” said Alan.
Interested in starting a scholarship?
Contact the TCC Foundation at 817-515-5277.