Regent discusses ambition to stop bullying statewide

Susan Guess, one of eight regents appointed by the governor, said she has two main interests, making Murray State the best it can be and preventing bullying statewide.

She said her goal as a regent was to serve the interests of Murray State and its students.

A 1987 graduate of Murray State, Guess has worked with the board to make several important decisions for the University.

“Anything I’ve been able to accomplish has been due to Murray State,” Guess said. “Not just my education, but my experience as well is owed to Murray. Being a student there has allowed me to accomplish much and improve the quality of life for my family and others as well.”

Guess is currently a member of the buildings and grounds committee and the committee for regional services. She is also chair of the institutional advancement committee.

With the board, Guess has helped work on relationships with alumni to further private donations for the University. She said Bob Jackson, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, has also been very instrumental in the goals.

“Institutional advancement has been a successful area for the University,” Guess said. “Opportunities are constantly arising for University donations, either cash or other services.”

Among the many projects Guess has been an advocate for, she said the success of the Murray State extended campus in Paducah, Ky., was important to her.

Guess said the regional Murray State campuses are necessary to improve the quality of life in Western Kentucky.

“Twenty Two percent of McCracken County residents have some college education – some haven’t completed their degree,” Guess said. “Those with a college degree can earn a million dollars or more over their lifetime.”

Guess has also been pushing for an anti-bullying program statewide.

“My passion is anti-bullying,” Guess said. “I looked at my 9-year-old daughter who was bullied a year ago and I said to her, ‘bad things are going to happen to us. You can choose to ignore it, blame someone else or become part of the solution.’ Our students have a great opportunity to become involved and make a positive impact.”

Soon, Guess said, she will be traveling to Frankfort, Ky. to discuss new ideas for an anti-bullying campaign with Gov. Steve Beshear. She has already started several programs in western Kentucky.

Guess said she plans on continuing with her anti-bullying campaign by making it a statewide initiative; she is visiting with Beshear next month to speak about antibullying initiatives.

“I’ve been amazed at how (bullying) has affected students,” Guess said. “There are things that have happened to students that can be used to make a difference in a positive way. Again, instead of doing nothing or hoping someone else does it, they become the leader and see they can make a difference.”

Today, Guess is the senior vice president and marketing director for The Paducah Bank and Trust Company and is chair of the Lourdes Hospital Foundation.

She is the only woman to serve a term as chair for the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and the only chair to serve two terms.

Guess said she would never have been able to accomplish what she has without Murray State.

Her term on the Board of Regents will expire in 2013.

Said Guess: “My hope is that students take the opportunity they have at Murray State to really make their mark on this world.”

Story by Lexy Gross, Staff writer