Murray State honors anniversary with historic ceremony

Laura Owens || Contributing photographer

Laura Owens || Contributing photographer

Under dark skies, several of Murray State’s current and past faculty members and students gathered next to Pogue Library in the Quad this evening to celebrate the University’s 90th anniversary.

Opening the event was Mark Welch, director of community relations.

“We are gathered here this evening in the historic Quad near the statue of Dr. Rainey T. Wells, also near the iconic shoe tree and within view of several of the original buildings constructed on this campus celebrating the 90th anniversary of this great University,” Welch said after thanking the audience for attending.

Following his welcome, the audience was greeted by Constantine Curris, Board of Regents chair, and then Jeremiah Johnson, Student Government Association president. Johnson, who was representing the current student body of Murray State, explained how the University has and hasn’t changed over the past 90 years.

“Throughout the years, one thing that hasn’t changed is this atmosphere: the family environment that Murray is, the traditions of Murray, such as the shoe tree,” Johnson said. “Obviously, you all treat this as home. You are the family of this University and let’s keep it that way for another 90 years.”

The six original buildings, as seen on banners that hung on stage and were set to be placed on the buildings following the ceremony, were described by six different faculty members. Each explained a brief history of the buildings and what they were used for today.

Starting the timeline with the oldest building, Oakhurst, was Murray State’s first lady Rhonda Dunn.¬†Jim Carter, vice president of Institutional Advancement, followed Dunn with Wrather Hall’s history. Tim Todd, dean of Bauernfeind College of Business, told the audience about the history of Wilson Hall then Joshua Jacobs, chief of staff for the Office of the President, shared his report on Wells Hall.

Pam Wrugler, chair for the Department of Music, shared the story of Lovett Auditorium and Adam Murray, dean of the University Libraries, shared the story of Pogue Library. This concluded the timeline of the original buildings on campus.

Stopping by for the keynote address was the founder of Murray State himself, Rainey T. Wells, portrayed by Robert Valentine. Valentine recited part of Wells’ speech from the day of ¬†judgement for locating the Western State Normal School in 1922 before Murray State was officially founded.

“I believe I can truthfully say this afternoon that the population of Calloway County desire the location of this normal school, within its bounds, more than any county in Western Kentucky,” Valentine recited. “I want to say to you that the people of Calloway commence to prepare and presented their petition at the proper time, the day the bill was introduced in the General Assembly…A school cannot wither in Calloway County.”

Valentine received a standing ovation for his representation of Murray State’s second president.

President Randy Dunn ended the ceremony.

“As we go from here, go caring all of those (honors) in your heart that contribute to making Murray State University what it is: one of the best Universities in the nation,” Dunn said. “And make sure that you’re back here ten years from now as we have a wonderful and exciting centennial celebration.”

A reception followed the event in Pogue Library.

Story by Anna Taylor, Features Editor.