Mechanical Engineering – 1961
Gerald C. Murff was born in Rotan, Texas, in 1939 and received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech in August of 1961. He spent his first two years after graduation with Boeing, where he worked on environmental systems for the Boeing 707 Air Force One aircraft and in development of the Apollo moon launch first–stage booster.
Mr. Murff joined General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas in 1963 in the Advanced Design department. He initially worked on the F–111 aircraft, where he contributed to development of the inlet, engine nozzles and other aerodynamic shapes for performance enhancement. The F–111 was flown more then 25 years performing critical missions in Southeast Asia, Libya, and the Gulf War. Later in the 1960’s, Mr. Murff developed design concepts and proposals for a number of advanced airplanes, including entries in government competitions for the F–14, F–15 and B–1 contracts. The technical lessons and management expertise Mr. Murff gained in this period provided a strong basis for later projects.
In 1970, Mr. Murff was assigned as the lead engineer for internal configuration arrangement during development of the YF–16 prototype aircraft. The product of that effort, the F–16 Fighting Falcon, is one of the most successful military airplanes in history, with more than 4000 delivered to air forces of 19 countries. Mr. Murff held a number of key positions in the F–16 organization during the 1970s and 1980s, including Chief of Configuration Development and Manager of F–16 Model Improvements. From 1985, Mr. Murff served as Chief Engineer of the F–22 Advanced Tactical Fighter program, leading the efforts of more than 800 engineers who designed the Air Force’s new air superiority fighter. The F–22 will be the world’s most sophisticated fighter aircraft for decades to come.
Mr. Murff continued his work in advanced development programs during the 1990s, contributing to several innovative concepts to meet the needs of the 21st century. He served as Chief Engineer for the Navy A–X project, which pushed the bounds of advanced stealth technology, and as Director of Advanced Programs, leading the activities of 450 engineers and technologists.
In 1995, Mr. Murff was assigned Product Manager for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). In this position, Mr. Murff developed the product strategy, led the configuration design, and oversaw the team developing production versions of the new fighter. This team was ultimately awarded the F–35 development contract in October, 2001. The design team was selected for the prestigious American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aircraft Design Award for 2002. The citation reads "For an innovative tri–service solution next generation strike aircraft demonstrating commonality, carrier approach, and STOVL flight all in a fourth-generation low observable airframe."
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mr. Murff contributes to the community where he serves as a director of the Lake Worth Civic Club, a director of the Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library, and an active member of the First Methodist Church of Fort Worth. Mr. Murff and his wife, Alice, have three children and three granddaughters.
It is a privilege and a pleasure for Texas Tech University’s College of Engineering to select this outstanding alumnus for honor and recognition.
Gerald C. Murff is declared a DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER.