Story by Teddy Martin, Contributing writer
President Bob Davies held a Town & Gown open house wherein students were invited to Oakhurst to celebrate the season and enjoy the company of the community.
The Town & Gown partnership was created to bring together leaders of the city and the university to create dialogue and ongoing collaboration.
“This is just an opportunity for the university community, internally and externally, to come together and just enjoy the spirit of the holidays, the camaraderie and the connection that we all have,” Davies said.
Davies said it was an event the university started last year as a part of his introduction to Murray.
“One of the things that we had student performers attend, but the one thing we didn’t have were the students themselves,” Davies said. “So this year, we made a very conscious effort to have students come not just to perform, but to also be here as a part of the university community because they are.”
Nicole King, senior from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, said she attended because she was with The Voices of Praise Ministries, a choral group at Murray State. Voices of Praise is a primarily choral ministry that has been with the university since 1975.
“We’re just enjoying our time here,” she said. This is the first year King has been in Voices of Praise; she and the other members were invited by the president to come sing for the open house.
“I absolutely think that the president is awesome and doing a lot of good work with the students, he really cares,” King said. “Ever since he came in, I feel like the administration cares more and I’m happy to be here. The president is doing so much to interact with students and the daily interaction is wonderful.”
Emphasizing that the open house was about the spirit and the camaraderie, Davies said a large difference between the 2014 and 2015 open house is that he knows people.
“Last year I was still learning everyone’s names and meeting everybody. I think the important thing is the community spirit, the university community, the community of Murray and coming together and having a good time.”
He said it helps start the holiday season and thought of including the students right before finals week. Davies said he was pleased with the number of students who had come by this year.
Mayor Jack Rose was also in attendance, as he had been invited by the president.
Rose said he thought both he and Davies have been able to work well together since Davies joined the university. He said he thought the relationship between the city and the university has been strong as it has ever been.
“I think it’s a great combination of people from the city, citizens and so forth, and folks who work with the university,” he said. “I think that’s always positive.”