Davies family donation to help students in many parts of the University

Since the Davies family pledged $117,000 in October to Murray State, the money has been delegated to scholarships and special initiatives to bring more opportunities for Murray State students.

Bob Jackson, president of the Office of Development, worked closely with Davies to manage the donation money.

“Davies is a unique individual,” Jackson said. “And the initiatives that he has touched are just things that he has been impacted by.”

Davies has given portions of his money to every academic college, school and other individual groups like the rifle team, women’s golf, Theater and Music.

Funds were given in recognition of excellence or for equipment that the different groups have needed.

Davies met a Murray State student for the first time while he was in Portugal.

Sophie Hilliers, from Sandy, England, is part of the women’s golf team and has played a round of golf with Davies and one other golf teammate.

“I am sure his donation will really help our team to progress in the future,” Hillier said. “We really appreciate Dr. Davies’ interest, enthusiasm and support that he gives to our sport here at Murray.”

Davies has also supported the rifle team by visiting the range to spend time with the students.

Head coach of the rifle team, Alan Lollar, said he was impressed by Davies’ involvement with the students.

“The students don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Lollar said. “Dr. Davies has proven in his involvement how much he cares and supports the student body at Murray State.”

Davies regularly takes advantage of his opportunity to talk with students on campus while walking to class, hanging out in Winslow Dining Hall or studying in the library.

Dannis Seay, junior from Murray, applauded Davies for the life he brings to the community.

“He experiences life with us on campus,” Seay said. “He crowd surfed at the CMT concert and has photobombed my selfies twice. You don’t get a president much cooler than that.”

But there is more to Davies than just these fun moments. When Davies and his family pledged the $117,000 to Murray State, Davies found history in that number.

In 1922, Rainey T. Wells, founder of Murray State, went into Murray and Calloway County and asked for small donations to help bring a school to Murray. He raised $117,000. 

Through these donations and the “Normal School” enabling act, the General Assembly authorized the establishment of two schools, Murray State University and Morehead State University.

In 1923, Murray State opened with only a couple hundred students, but has since grown tremendously to more than 11,000 students.

“We get many gifts from the University and we appreciate every single one of them, Jackson said. “These gifts make a great place even better. Dr. Davies has not just given his gift of money, but has given his gift of time.”

Story by Julia Mazzuca, Staff writer