President Bob Davies cut the ribbon for Hollis C. Franklin Residential College Thursday as the official grand opening of the college.
The ceremony kicked off with Residential College Association President, Carter Hearne, junior from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, highlighting the value of the residential college system and the living-learning community it provides.
“I can tell New Franklin is already encouraging people to step outside of their comfort zone and allow them to grow and meet people from all walks of life,” Hearne said.
Hearne is enrolled in the Honors Ethics class in Franklin Residential College and said he enjoys having class on the residential side of campus.
“It feels like we are more able to express ourselves because we are not in a typical classroom setting,” Hearne said.
Jessica Dotson, Franklin Residential College Resident Director, said she believes the community in Franklin Residential College has become more diverse since moving into the new building and the inclusion of the Honors wing.
She said about an eighth of the honors residents were originally in the Franklin community before the new wing was made specifically for them.
She said residents have become more active in the college, attending Residential College Council meetings and programs.
“It is exciting when residents just pick up their game system and plug it in and it’s not a formal program,” Dotson said.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Anna Hall, Franklin-Springer Residential College Council president, Landon Fike, Honors College member, Steve Williams, Board of Regents chairman and Bob Davies, Murray State president.
“I’m sure in its original form [the previous building] was extraordinary for the time, but it could in no way compete with this facility in 2016,” Williams said.
Williams said Franklin Residential College was originally built in 1962 – 1963 and housed 330 male students.
Williams said the residential college system began at Murray State in 1997, and was the first residential college system at a public university in the United States.
Davies emphasized that the residential college is not the building, but the people that create the community.
“I have a list of the square footage. I have a list of the number of bricks. I have a list of the sidewalks that lead up to [sic]. I have a list of the number of rooms,” Davies said. “That’s not Franklin College. That’s a building.”
Davies said the heart of Franklin Residential College lies within the community.
“Franklin College is the inhabitants, the people, the souls, that come together in this room, in this area, to make a difference, to hold people accountable, take responsibility, to debate ideas – ones they agree with and ones they don’t – and at the end of the day work together as a community,” Davies said. “That is what Franklin College is about; That is what the residential college is about, and that is what makes Murray State so very, very special.”
Davies welcomed Williams as the newest member of the Franklin College community, presenting him with a green Springer-Franklin t-shirt.
Davies is also a member of Springer-Franklin College.
“I am proud to be a member of Springer-Franklin – the best residential college,” Davies said.