“Stranger Things’ Actress to Deliver Keynote at Gleason, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

 Salem Murphy, the Florida Tech alumna who played the principal of Hawkins High School in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, will offer the keynote speech on Friday, Oct. 4, at a free public event showcasing the university’s Gleason Performing Arts Center.

The performance venue recently underwent a $225,000 upgrade that saw the installation of new, cutting-edge LED lights from lobby to stage to replace the building’s 1960s-era lighting system. 

The new lighting system, far more efficient than the incandescent-like lights it replaced, is expected to cut the theater’s electrical use in half, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. The upgrades and improvements also move the theater toward becoming one of the most versatile venues available both on the stage and in the auditorium. 

To celebrate and showcase this important project, Gleason will host a 90-minute public event starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 4. Among the highlights:

  • The Gleason lobby will be transformed by local artists including Christopher Maslow and Mark Gilliam. The graffiti-style event will feature a 50th anniversary of Apollo theme.
  • 7:15-7:45 p.m.: Anja and The Band, an alternative/pop/rock group performing original songs and iconic hits, will perform.
  • 7:45-8:30: Salem Murphy will deliver her keynote presentation.

Forgoing her original desire to attend The Julliard School for opera singing, Murphy followed her sister’s footsteps to Florida Tech, where she majored in business/finance. She was a resident assistant in Southgate Apartments and a member of the crew team before graduating in 1986.

She also met her future husband, Steve Murphy ’84, at Florida Tech.

After opting to raise her family in Florida, Murphy and her husband moved to New Jersey in 2016 and she plunged into acting. Among her first gigs that year was the role of principal at Hawkins High School in Stranger Things, for which she appeared in two Season 1 episodes.

Her IMDb page lists 17 total acting credits, such as appearances on TV shows The Blacklist and Army Wives and in films including Abe and Grape Leaves, which she also produced, co-wrote and co-directed. Her short film, Uzma The Greatest, has been seen in many prestigious festivals, including Cannes.

For more on the Gleason Performing Arts Center, visit https://www.fit.edu/gleason/.

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