Tori Murden McClure, Adventurer and University Administrator
Tori Murden McClure may be the definitive adventurer. She was the first woman to row solo across an ocean, the first woman to ski to the South Pole, and the first woman to climb Lewis Nunatuk in the Antarctic. She has also earned two master’s degrees and a law degree.
A Louisville native, Murden made world headlines in 1999 when she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat alone. After 81 days of rowing and 2,962 nautical miles, she reached her goal on December 3.
She is also an accomplished climber, having reached the summits of Antarctica’s Lewis Nunatuk, Alaska’s Mount Silverthrone, and Mount Kenya in Africa. And she has completed numerous ice climbing and kayaking expeditions.
Tori has made a practice of challenging her mind as well as her body. She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a master’s degree in divinity from Harvard University, earned a law degree from the University of Louisville and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in October 1995, and completed a master’s in fine arts at Louisville’s Spalding University in 2005. She now works at Spalding as the vice president of external relations, enrollment management, and student affairs.
She also has worked as chaplain at Boston City Hospital, as the executive director of a shelter for homeless women, and as a public policy assistant for the mayor of Louisville. In addition, Murden worked for Muhammad Ali on early efforts to create the Muhammad Ali Center. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Smith College and for the National Outdoor Leadership School.
The multiple international honors Murden has received include the Peter Byrd Trophy, presented to her by Thor Heyerdahl. Tori was the first woman to be honored with this award.
In Paris, she was recognized along with Lance Armstrong by L’Academies des Sport for significant sporting achievement. At the Moscow International Festival of Mountaineering and Adventure Films, the French documentary Beyond Limits—Tori Murden took the prize for Best Foreign Adventure Film, and Dr. Yuri Aleksandrovich Senkevich awarded Tori a Russian chalice for extraordinary achievements.
Stories about this consummate achiever have appeared in more than 15 books and more than 30 major magazines. Tori has appeared on national television shows including Good Morning America, Today, CNN Domestic and International, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Exhale with Candice Bergen, The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Inside Edition, The 34th Annual Victor Awards (Fox Sports Network), the Discovery Channel’s Storm Warnings, the Travel Channel’s World’s Most Dangerous Sporting Events, and National Geographic’s Base Camp.
More KET interviews with Tori Murden McClure are also available online. Get an update in our Season Four Louisville Life feature story. Plus, her half-hour One to One conversation with host Bill Goodman covers her ground-breaking accomplishments in-depth.
- Program 202
- Breast cancer surviorship, neighborhood Farmers Market, Louisville Rowing Club, Sister Cities of Louisville, and renowned adventurer and university administrator Tori Murden McClure. (#202)