Audrey Murrell steps down as acting Honors College dean


Audrey Murrell, who was named acting dean of the Honors College in June 2019, has resigned from that role “for personal reasons,” according to a letter sent by Provost Ann Cudd to Honors College staff.

Assistant Dean David Hornyak will guide the college’s day-to-day activities, Cudd’s letter said, and “I will be consulting with him regularly.”

When Murrell was named to the position, Cudd said the “acting” title indicated a longer tenure, possibly a couple of years, “and then we’ll see where to go from there, whether to do a national search or what she wants to do.”

In November 2020, the provost’s office launched a national search for a new dean of the Honors College, a position that has traditionally been filled internally.

“The provost feels that the Honors College is growing and maturing. And in order to continue its momentum, it’s important to look broadly for the best candidates to serve as dean,” Lucy Russell, chief of staff in the provost’s office and chair of the search committee, said at an open forum on Nov. 17 seeking input about the position.

The search committee conducted listening sessions and developed a job description through mid-December, with applicants sought through mid-February. Faculty, students, staff and alumni can still submit comments through the search committee website.

The committee will do initial interviews in early March and narrow down the list of finalists, the provost’s office said. In mid-March, the finalists will meet with Honors College constituents, including faculty, staff and students. The final decision will be made by Cudd and Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, with approval from the Board of Trustees. Throughout the process, the names of candidates will remain confidential.

Murrell replaced Brian Primack, who left to become dean of the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions. He had been in the position since 2017.

Murrell, who has been at Pitt since 1987, came to the Honors College after serving as associate dean of the College of Business Administration. It was unclear if she would be returning to her job as a professor in business administration with secondary appointments in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and in Pitt’s Psychology Department. She also has served as director of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership. 

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 724-244-4042.


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