Lasting Lessons

Murray Present in 1955.

Although he retired 20 years ago, Professor Emeritus Murray Present still gets together with former students. Recalls Karen Kelly Travellin ’82: “We never wanted to disappoint him, and his high expectations forced us to excel.” Present, who taught piano from 1948 until his retirement in 1992, is fondly remembered for his quiet, professional manner, consummate musicianship and deep interest in his students’ success. He was recently feted by his “fan club” this summer, when former students gathered for a piano majors’ reunion and celebration of his 91st birthday. “I certainly wasn’t one of the most talented students Murray ever came across,” says Karen Kayser Lagos ’66. “But he saw what I needed to accomplish and made me into the best piano player I could possibly be.”

Read more about him at montclair.edu/lasting-lessons/Present.