Saying Farewell to a Mailroom Icon: Bill Murphy


Every time students and faculty visit the mailroom to pick up a package or a letter, the kind and cheerful mailroom supervisor Mr. Bill Murphy is at the mailroom window to greet them. After working at Choate for five years, Bill will be retiring at the end of December. Devoted to his work and the people at Choate, Bill has made an impact on the community. He somehow manages to efficiently distribute mail packages to students and faculty, while remembering everyone’s names, holding a series of brief conversations, and making everybody feel special.

For instance, on one somber Wednesday afternoon, an hour before the mailroom was due to close, a nervous senior came to the window and told Bill that she had received an e-mail. Bill reached behind the shelves, brought a thick-looking envelope to the girl, pointed to the return address and asking if the name typed in black was a college she was interested in attending.

Saying yes, she smiled and nodded before quietly taking the package. Bill seemed to know that in just a few minutes, she would likely be in her room, on the phone with her parents, shrieking with excitement.

Bill explained that he always treats acceptance letters with special care. He said, “A lot of kids don’t pick up the mail, so when we receive the larger ones—which, generally speaking, are the acceptance letters—we don’t jam them into one of the tiny mailboxes. These kids work hard for four years! I should make sure their acceptance letters are not torn, so we usually go through trying to see if we have any.”

Really, Bill makes an extra effort to ensure every package is handled properly, from its arrival at Choate as early as 6:00 a.m. to whenever a student picks it up (hours, maybe days, later).

When asked about his ability to recognize names and faces, Bill explained, “It occurred to me how happy students were when I recognized them. The kids seemed to really appreciate it.”

Students do certainly seem to be grateful for Bill’s interest in the students and their lives. Camila Borjesson ’17 commented, “He is very fun, and he always knows the name of every student who goes to the mailroom to pick up his or her mail. He always asks me how I’m doing. Bill and I have these really long conversations every time I stop by. I’ll see him every once in a while, and we’ll just talk because he’s so nice.”

Others echoed similar sentiments. Lucas Ferrer ’17 expressed, “Life here is really busy, and it can feel impersonal at times. Bill makes the connection feel personal. It’s just nice to have someone like that on campus.” Darby Saskas ’17 added, “He puts in a genuine effort to get to know the students when he really doesn’t need to.”

Bill will spend his last few days before Winter Break saying goodbye to Choate and Wallingford. He noted that his retirement now was mainly a financial decision, “This was planned from the very start five years ago. It more has to do with the end of the normal fiscal year and just coincidently ties into the winter weater.” Bill hopes to improve his golf game as he bounces between Naples, FL, and Cape Cod with his wife.

The search for a new mailroom supervisor is currently underway. No final decision has been made yet.

When asked about his time at Choate, Bill seemed to get a little sentimental, saying, “I’ve been so lucky to have the opportunity to meet so many kids from all over the world and spend that two minutes of time with them. They really enjoy coming to the mailroom. They really get into it. I’m probably the least threatening guy on campus because I’m not here to teach you or judge you or grade you. I’m just here as Santa Claus.”

Josie Battle ’17 was disappointed when she heard of Bill’s retirement, saying, “Choate won’t be the same without him.” Jacob Meyers ’17 seemed to feel the same way, explaining that “Bill adds so much character to this campus. Everybody who’s been here knows him and everybody has to go through Bill at some point. There’s something unifying about the fact that we all have Bill.”

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