ROXBURY, NJ – Lake Hopatcong Foundation President Jessica Murphy has announced she is temporarily stepping down so she can return to college.

Murphy, who has led the non-profit foundation for about 4 ½ years, announced her decision in a recent post on the organization’s website. She said she hopes to return in two years after having earned her master’s degree.

Murphy said she is taking the unpaid sabbatical to pursue a master’s degree in public administration, with a concentration in non-profit management, from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Murphy has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science; journalism from the University of Richmond and worked as a journalist before becoming the foundation’s president in April 2012, according to her LinkedIn profile.

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“After four and a half years of serving as the president of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, I have been so proud to watch it grow from an idea into the incredible and vibrant organization that it is today,” wrote Murphy. “I feel so blessed to have been a part of its founding, development, and growth over these years and consider it an honor to be spending my career caring for a place that means so much to me personally.”

Murphy said her background in environmental issues and journalism served her well, but is not enough for her to effectively manage “the busy and active organization” the Lake Hopatcong Foundation became during her tenure.

“I’m so thrilled with all that the LHF has been able to accomplish in its short lifetime, and so proud to have been a big part of that,” wrote Murphy. “And stepping away, even temporarily, is a challenge both personally and professionally. But I think it’s the right move for me, and the right move for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation as well.”

She said the organization will be managed, until she returns, by its grants and program coordinator, Donna Macalle-Holly, who will serve as interim director. Local attorney and historian Marty Kane will remain the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees and Jennifer DeWitt will continue as its development director, according to Murphy.

“I’m excited to be able to go to school and take in lessons through the lens of how they will help improve and enhance the Lake Hopatcong Foundation and the lake itself,” she said. “I will miss the day-to-day interactions at the LHF office and the beautiful lake view from my desk, but I already cannot wait to come back in two years, recharged and ready to help take the LHF to the next level.”