Outstanding Seniors named for December commencement

Story by Matthew Parks, Staff writer

Seniors Kimberly Taylor and Dakota Moore were named the Outstanding Seniors for December 2016 Commencement.

Every year Murray State recognizes two members of the graduating class as outstanding seniors. These students are considered to have gone above and beyond in their academic and personal endeavors during their time at Murray State.

Taylor, outstanding senior woman, is an accounting major with a finance option, from Goshen, Kentucky.

Taylor said her long-term goal is to start and manage her own bakery business, which she believes she will have the skills to do with her undergraduate degree.

She said she was pleasantly surprised to receive the distinction and she is grateful and honored to accept it.

“Being the outstanding senior is actually a little bittersweet for me,” Taylor said. “Although it is clearly an honor that I am grateful to receive, it also signals that my time at Murray State is winding down. It signifies a transition from one phase of my life to another, and I couldn’t think of a better way to make that transition.”

In her speech to the graduating class, Taylor said she will focus on the importance of confidence in challenging situations and using the past to create a more hopeful future by viewing past experiences not as regretful, but as a catalyst for future success.

Taylor said she credits her success to her incredibly supportive department, which pushed her to challenge herself both in and out of the classroom. She said Murray State allowed her to broaden her horizons in all aspects of life.

“I definitely wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without my family, friends and the faculty here at Murray State,” Taylor said. “I am truly blessed to have all of them in my life and can’t express my gratitude enough for everything they’ve done for me. Murray State may be small compared to other universities, but they’ve got the biggest heart.”

The outstanding senior man is Dakota Moore, an agriculture major with a horticulture option, from Smyrna, Tennessee.  

Moore plans to attend Murray State for graduate school to earn his master’s degree in agriculture and gain the skills and experience needed to someday run his own greenhouse.

Moore said the award came as a surprise, but he is glad he could make his family proud by receiving the honor.

During his time at Murray State, Moore has spent a great deal of time working at the Arboretum, where he said he was given the opportunity to do hands-on work in his field.

“I’ve gotten a lot more real job experience there than from classes,” Moore said. “If I had gone to another university, I might not have had the same chances to be involved in the day-to-day operations of what I actually want to do.”

Moore is a member of the Honors College at Murray State, and he received the Outstanding Horticulture Club Member award in 2015 and 2016. He is also a recipient of the Murray Woman’s Club Horticulture Scholarship.

Moore’s extracurricular activities at Murray State include membership in the Hutson School of Agriculture’s Leadership Council, the Horticulture Judging Team and the Soil Judging Team. Other honors include first-place presentations at the South Region of the American Society for Horticulture Science Association event and several Calloway County Fair horticulture awards.

“I love what I do,” Moore said. “I don’t really have a reason for why I’m passionate about plants, but it’s something I’ve really grown into.”