Racer alumnus honored for distinguished service to the Murray State community
Story by Brianna Willis, Staff writer
Bob McGaughey is a modern-day Renaissance man. Recognized for his years of service and support of the university, President Bob Davies presented the 2015 Golden Horseshoe Award to McGaughey at the class of 1965’s 50th anniversary dinner on Oct. 9.
“I was shocked,” McGaughey said. “I heard Dr. Davies was up there, and he said … ‘This year’s winner was awarded Distinguished Professor in 1990’ and I thought, ‘Hey, that’s me!’”
Originally from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, McGaughey went to University of Florida at first to play basketball and baseball. He soon returned home when Ralph Woods, the president of Murray State at the time, offered him the equivalent of a presidential scholarship.
“My scholarship only covered tuition and fees, and was worth about $700 total,” he said. “My first semester here was $75. Can you believe that?”
Tuition prices are not the only thing that have changed since McGaughey’s time in Murray, he said.
When McGaughey entered Murray State, there was no journalism major. He said he decided to make journalism his minor – along with ROTC and Spanish – and chose to major in history.
McGaughey used his experiences at Murray State to pursue a variety of careers in the communications field. In his liftetime he has worked in ad sales, public relations, radio and writing for newspapers.
After graduating in 1965, McGaughey became a faculty member in 1969 as a journalism professor, culminating in a 23 year-long stay as chairman of the department.
The Alumni Association, which awards the Golden Horseshoe, has honored him with other awards over time such as the Distinguished Professor in 1990.
McGaughey has committed his time to Murray State and the local community. His recent endeavors include writing stories for the JMC Journal, serving on the Pi Kappa Alpha advisory board, teaching high school workshops and even performing comedy routines with Bob Valentine, senior lecturer of advertising at Murray State.
McGaughey and Valentine have known each other since they met under comedic circumstances in 1978. During a major storm that year, the two were at a party at a mutual friend’s house.
They were asked to entertain the guests, and they performed stand up comedy.
“We did stuff we knew. Bob Newhart, Abbott and Castello and even made up some stuff on the spot,” McGaughey said.
McGaughey was even awarded “Who’s Who in American Entertainment” in 1991 and 1995.
McGaughey has many titles, and wears many hats in the Murray State community. However, he says at the end of the day none of it is for the recognition.
“It is rewarding and satisfying to be recognized, but it is never about the awards,” he said. “I just love talking with the kids.”