Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer
50 years after graduating, in honor of its Golden Anniversary Reunion, the Murray State class of 1966 donated $4,500 to the Century Club Legacy Scholarship and became the first graduating class to donate to the fund.
Katie Payne, associate director of Alumni Relations, said a Golden Reunion committee meets each year to discuss what they want to do during their reunion. The committee is comprised of the class alumni.
“They understood the traditions of this place so well,” Payne said. “We really had a distinguished committee altogether… A group of people that understood this place.”
She said the class of 1966 felt it was important to give back and impact the student body at Murray State, and she said the class of 1966 is hopeful that future classes will see the importance of giving back to students as well.
“We have a group of people that love this place and are so excited to come back and celebrate 50 years of having graduated,” Payne said. “That is probably one of the greatest honors of my job – is getting to meet with these people multiple times and hear about campus 50 years ago.”
Anyone who is a family member of a Murray State graduate can apply for the Century Club Legacy Scholarship. Carris McGinnis, Director of Alumni Relations, said 12 students were awarded the scholarship last year.
The Century Club Legacy Scholarship fund was established by the Alumni Association in 1967, and the scholarship itself will reach its 50th anniversary next year.
A few of last year’s recipients had dinner with the alumni during Homecoming weekend this year. McGinnis said seeing the generations bridged is a blessing for her.
“Being the director of alumni for this institution is made easy by the fact that there’s such huge Racer pride intrinsically entrenched in the student body and the alumni,” McGinnis said. “To see them get back together after 50 years and still have so much excitement and pride–it’s really awesome. And then to want to do something for the current generation of students — that’s really cool.”
The $4,500 donation from the class of 1966 will be added to the existing scholarship fund.
McGinnis said this gives the Alumni Association the opportunity to award more scholarships in the future.
Bill Rayburn, former Alumni Relations director and member of the graduating class of 1966, said he had a great time and learned a lot when he was a student at Murray State. He said his experiences at the university have guided him through life.
Since Rayburn lives in Murray, he said he feels fortunate to be able to give both money and time back to Murray State.
He gave of his time recently to be a part of the planning committee for the Golden Reunion, which chose to give the scholarship gift.
“In the last several years, there’s been a big emphasis on money, and with the increasing cost of a college education these days, it’s very important,” Rayburn said.
Rayburn said when the class of 1966 committee met to plan Homecoming weekend and discuss a gift to the university, their discussions all went back to scholarships.
“I think the scholarship was the way to go, and I think everybody felt good about that,” Rayburn said.
He said every little bit of money counts, especially when a group donates to a scholarship fund and can make a significant difference, like the class of 1966 did.
“It’s a way to perpetuate the place and make it better. I don’t care how good it was or how good it is, it can always be better,” Rayburn said.