Duruo Murray ’21 grew up in a Brooklyn community that wasn’t diverse.
Whether it was due to his sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion, he felt alone. And, knowing that feeling, he made a commitment to himself that he would never want to let anyone be in that same position.
“If someone needs someone there,” Murray said, “I want to be that person.”
After developing and honing this outlook on life as a student leader at Babson College, Murray, a graduate of the battle-tested Class of 2021, now strives to bring this mindset into his professional journey, with ambitions to innovate in a space that greatly needs it.
Murray attended Babson on a Posse Foundation scholarship, a member of the 14th cohort to graduate from the College. Through this partnership, students are recruited from a pool of more than 3,000, and graduate at a rate of 97%.
“This was the place I needed to be,” he said. “Not only has it allowed me the opportunity to explore the entrepreneurial side of me, but also develop as a person.”
Attending Babson led Murray to realize he was there for a reason. As a Black, Muslim, and transgender man, he said the support system from friends, staff, and faculty at the institution strengthened his confidence. It’s also what sets the College apart, he says.
“Babson is where I have officially been able to become my authentic self,” he said. “I don’t think I could have gotten that if I went anywhere else.”
Murray rapidly rose to leadership positions at both Babson Pride and Babson Origins of Necessary Equality (ONE), the latter of which has its own residence hall where Murray lived for a year and a half.
At Lavender Graduation, where Murray received the 2021 Undergraduate Pride Award, he was introduced by his peer Britney Aguayo ’21, who described him as a “courageous trailblazer, selfless changemaker, and role model to us all.”
“(Murray) has gone out of his way, every chance he gets, to support everyone around him,” she said. “His work and his shear existence on this campus over the last four years has made Babson a more inclusive and representative environment for LGBTQ+ students.”
Babson’s Multicultural and Identity Programs, including Lavender Graduation, MLK Jr. Legacy Day, and the Student of Color sendoff, encourage students not only to explore and develop their own identities but also to engage with the institution’s diverse community.
“By having a college which emphasizes diversity and inclusion, it offers a sense of security and support,” Murray said.
The Benefits of Being Open Minded
While his immediate plans involve joining State Street as a senior associate, Murray hopes to one day start a business in the fashion industry, in addition to a nonprofit supporting LGBTQ+ teenagers.
“A lot of people may not have the support of their friends and school communities,” he said. “There are some points where you don’t know where to turn to.”
“Babson is where I have officially been able to become my authentic self. I don’t think I could have gotten that if I went anywhere else.”
Duruo Murray '21
The road to equality begins with being open minded, he says. And, Murray is ready to lead by example.
“As a society, we need to realize we won’t get anywhere if we continue to display hate, if we continue to not see different perspectives,” he said. “Be willing to have conversations, whether they’re uncomfortable, whether you disagree. If you want to get somewhere, you have to listen.
“Receiving the Pride Award was an amazing honor, but my work is not done.”