Davies encourages ‘lofty aims and high aspirations’ at university address

Photo courtesy of Kelli O'Toole/TheNews

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

President Bob Davies gave the annual State of the University Address on Thursday Nov. 10 in Wrather Auditorium. All faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members were invited to attend.

Davies spoke about lofty aims and high aspirations to continue solidifying Murray State as a well-known, well-respected university with extreme value and pride.

Despite budget cuts, he said the community stands together, and the leadership at the University works diligently to ensure fiscal stability for Murray State.

“We navigated the twists and turns brought on by the fiscal challenges and political maneuverings by focusing on what we do best; we excel at the art of teaching and learning,” Davies said. “We are indeed unstoppable when we are student-focused.”

He said what matters most is the inspiration Murray State provides for its students.

“Murray State provides ample opportunity for personal growth and professional development, and you never lack support in Racer Nation,” Davies said.

He said over the past year, admission standards have been raised in order to ensure that students can meet the demands of a rigorous academic environment. This change has resulted in a 2 percent increase in the freshman class. The number of students in the freshman class needing remedial class has declined by 10 percent.

Although overall enrollment is down, Davies said Murray State is in the process of raising the number of incoming students. He said the goal though, is not to be the biggest, it is to be the best.

Davies stressed the value of the “Marketplace of Ideas” concept in the midst of what he said is an “environment of tension” in the political scene. He said we must begin the process of healing and respect for all members of the community to create an inviting and inclusive culture.

“We cannot tolerate to have numerous members of our community walk by our campus and be fearful and be ashamed of who they are and what they believe in,” Davies said. “We are facing that today.”

Ben Littlepage, assistant professor in the department of Educational Studies, Leadership and Counseling, said in the post-secondary education program, the “Marketplace of Ideas” is important.

“Learning becomes stagnant when we don’t understand that there are other views beyond ours,” Littlepage said.

He said a difference in opinions challenges learning, and as a result, opinions are changed and sharpened.

After the address, Davies said the community needs to embrace each other in the wake of political stress.

He said he thought the protests on Wednesday were an appropriate and peaceful way to express their thoughts, and he witnessed respect and an engagement in the Marketplace of Ideas.

“The concept of the “Marketplace of Ideas” is to engage in dialogue, to engage in discussion, to support one another and to ask questions,” President Davies said.

President Davies said students can be engaged in the Marketplace by doing things like meeting new people, coming to speaking events on campus and attending international films.

Adrienne King, vice president of University Advancement, said if students have ideas or suggestions they would like Davies to consider as he looks at the “Marketplace of Ideas”, they can take this survey by Nov. 18.