Heritage Hall adds Hall of Benefactors and Distinguished Alumni

Jesse D. Jones speaks at the ceremony on Oct. 12 at Heritage Hall. || Maddie Mucci/The News

Heritage Hall, formerly known as the Regional Business and Innovation Center, has been completed after several years at a standstill.

For the last few years, the building has been partially complete. As of early October, construction was completed and the building was fully occupied.

The Office of Development, the Regional Business and Innovation Center, Small Business Development Center and Office of Regional Stewardship are now located in Heritage Hall. In order to honor the individuals who gave private gifts to complete Heritage Hall and many other projects, the University also added the Hall of Benefactors and Distinguished Alumni.

A dedication was held to commemorate the finished building at the start of Homecoming weekend, Friday, Oct. 12. President Randy Dunn, Dave Washburn, president of the alumni association and alumnus Jessie D. Jones of Baton Rouge, La. spoke. A ribbon cutting for the new building and tour followed.

Jones, a 1964 graduate of Murray State, was the leading benefactor out of several alumni who gave private gifts to fund Heritage Hall’s construction.

“Today I am pleased to announce the completion of this facility that has been due to the generosity and extraordinary vision of Jessie D. Jones,” Dunn said. “I want to recognize Jones for all he has done for the University.”

Through the “Hold Thy Banner High” campaign for alumni donation, Jones donated $1.1 million to fund the completion of the project. He also donated $3.6 million to the College of Science, Engineering and Technology for the construction of the Jessie D. Jones chemistry hall and clock tower.

“One of my favorite quotations came to mind by Albert Pine, ‘what we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others becomes a legacy that lasts and lasts,’” Jones said.

The Hall of Benefactors emphasizes private gifts and other contributions alumni have made to the University. The display includes special acknowledgement of for Rainey T. Wells, the recognized founder of Murray State.

Appreciation was also given to several alumni during the dedication to honor private gifts given for the new building. The recipients of the Golden Horseshoe Award includes Arthur J. Bauernfeind, Jim Cash, David Dill, Betsy Flynn, Cindy Hutson, Sue Hutson, Marlene Johnson, Charles Johnson, Jerry Shroat, Heidi Schultz and Jane Wells. Those responsible for the design and construction of Heritage Hall were also recognized.

“The Golden Horseshoe Award seeks to honor those who have given of themselves to promote the interest and welfare of our alma mater,” Washburn said. “It is the highest and most distinguished award we can give to our alumni and friends.”

Jeremiah Johnson, Student Government Association president, said the dedication was an important start for homecoming weekend.

“I think it really kicks off homecoming weekend,” Johnson said. “Everyone can see everything that’s happened at Murray State, some of these alumni haven’t been here in years. This gives them a chance to see the University hasn’t been sitting still while they’ve been gone.”

Jones attended Homecoming for the first time in 50 years for the dedication.

“This is personally a very special day to me,” Jones said. “Living a long way off, I don’t get to see Murray State very often. So the few times that I’m here, I really see a lot of wonderful things going on. I am just thrilled to see (Murray State), thrilled to have a little part in it. I appreciate all of you very much.”

According to Jones, private giving is important to the University because federal funding is becoming increasingly bare. Dunn said tuition does not need to be  raised any further than necessary, so the private sector is extremely important when it comes to University projects.

Johnson said students should understand how alumni donations benefit Murray State.

“It sets a precedent, so students can see who all has donated to the University,” Johnson said. “All of these alumni and companies really help give Murray State a brighter future.”

Written by Lexy Gross, Staff writer.