The Bill and Merry Garrett Agricultural Education and Research Center at 1811 Graham Road in Murray opened Friday.
“This is a great day for Murray State agriculture and for Murray State University,” Tony Brannon, dean and professor of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said.
In his welcome address, Brannon thanked the Agriculture Campaign for Research and Education of Students (ACRES), as well as contributors such as the Garretts for making the center a reality.
ACRES is an organization made of educators, administrators, researchers, parents and others committed to the advancement of services to students and individuals living in rural America.
Brannon said the center will be the headquarters for the Hutson Farm, playing host to conferences, storing equipment, offering research space and holding meetings.
Afterward, President Randy Dunn introduced the speaker, Bill Garrett.
Dunn said Garrett’s life story represented a piece of American history.
Garrett started his education at Murray State after serving in World War II. At school, he met his future wife, Merry. While serving in the 1st Army, 2nd Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division, Garrett fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received several military honors.
Garrett, a 1949 alumnus of Murray State, said he hopes the center will provide students in the school of agriculture a chance to carry the traditions of a farm forward and to have a great future with agriculture.
The facility has been dedicated to Bill and Merry Garrett in recognition of their generosity and their support of Murray State’s Hutson School of Agriculture.
Will Clark, ACRES campaign chair, gave and closing remarks.
“We dreamed of (the Center), not even thinking that this was a realistic goal,” Clark said. “We want Mr. Garrett to feel honored and appreciated.”
After the speeches, Garrett, Dunn and other Murray State faculty, staff and students cut a ribbon in front of the Bill and Merry Garrett Agricultural Education and Research Center.
“(The center) gives a hands-on experience that wouldn’t be available any other way,” Jeremiah Johnson, Student Government Association president, said.
Paul Radke, director of development for the Hutson School of Agriculture, said the only way to really learn about a farm is to work on one – why he thinks extracurricular centers like this one provide an invaluable student service.
“I hope that this center will provide students with a farm experience and teach the actual responsibilities of a farm,” Radke said.
The event ended after the dedication with a tour of the center.