USNA News Center
USNA News Center

Naval Academy Announces Fall Semester Shifrin Chair

  POSTED ON: Monday, August 25, 2014 8:00 AM by USNA PAO

Press Release: #074-14

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – William M. Murray, the Mary and Gus Stathis Professor of Greek History at the University of South Florida, joins the Naval Academy History Department for the fall semester as the Leo A. Shifrin Chair in Naval and Military History.

The Dr. Leo A. Shifrin Chair is an endowed rotating visiting professorship.  It was endowed by the Viola S. Shifrin Trust in 1997 to create and maintain an endowed Distinguished Professorship in Naval and Military History at the United States Naval Academy.  Holders of the Shifrin Chair are distinguished naval and military historians who teach and pursue research while in residence in the Naval Academy history department for one or two semesters. Bringing their research into the classroom, they demonstrate to midshipmen the relevance of naval and military history to their development as professional naval officers.  As the 2015 Shifrin Chair, Dr. Murray will be teaching courses on Greek and Roman Naval Warfare and Alexander the Great.

“The history department is very fortunate to have the premier historian of Hellenistic navies on our faculty this fall,” said Naval Academy history department chair Richard Abels.

“Dr. Murray’s expertise broadens the department’s coverage of naval and military history.  His experience as a nautical archaeologist brings to the department a new dimension for the study of naval warfare. We are very excited that he will be joining us,” said Abels.

Murray was the founding director of the University of South Florida’s Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies, served two terms as chair of History (2001-2006), and currently is director of the department's Ancient Studies Center. His scholarly interests embrace all aspects of ancient seafaring, from ships and sailing routes to trade and ancient harbors, to naval warfare and weaponry.  In pursuit of these interests over the past 30 years, he has been involved in numerous archaeological projects in Greece, Israel and Turkey, both on land and under water. He is author of The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies, Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Previous holders of the Shifrin Chair position include Alex Roland, Victor Davis Hanson, and retired Army Maj. Gen. David Zabecki.

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.  More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college.  Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects like leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, and military law.  Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.

For more information about the Naval Academy, please visit: or our Facebook page. 

Category: Press Releases, People

Press Contact

Public Affairs Office