Ray Conklin, Murray State Music Professor Dies

May 1, 2018

Max Crofton and Ray Conklin
Credit Max Crofton

Murray State University professor of music Ray Conklin died Tuesday morning.

 Conklin joined the Murray State music faculty in 1973 teaching low brass instruments. Conklin, noted for starting the Jazz Program at the university also taught Music History, Music Theory, and Brass Methods.


Dean of The College Of Humanities and Fine Arts David Balthrop said Conklin was dedicated to his students.


“He was a hugely dedicated faculty member, who was here for decades and was incredibly, incredibly student centered. I mean, just never giving up on his students and pushing them and working hard. He will definitely be missed,” Balthrop said.

Associate Professor of Music John Fannin said Conklin was the chair of the music department when he got hired at Murray State.

“If you were one of his people he would do a thousand things for you, his students will tell you that,” Fannin said. “He was just a consummate, great friend, and would go the extra mile for everybody. Such a great loss for the department and his family and friends.”

Associate Professor of Music Dr. Eric Swisher says Conklin's efforts will impact Murray State's Department of Music for years to come.

"Ray was an indomitable force of nature who cared deeply about his family, his students, his friends, and his colleagues.  He was a tremendous mentor to me here at Murray State," said Swisher. "We in the Department of Music will benefit from his high standards for decades to come.  I strive to do 90% of what Ray did with his career, because 100% is impossible for mortals. He was quick with a joke or story and his one-liners were famous with students and colleagues alike. We will miss him."

Conklin received the Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award during his time as a professor. Conklin served in administrative positions as the Chair of the Department of Music and the President of the Faculty Senate.


He was planning to retire at the end of this semester.


This story will be updated.