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$25,000 donation more than just a check

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

$25,000 will be donated to the Murray State Office of LGBT Programming in the form of a five-year endowment by alumna Kristie Helms and her wife – an investment not just for financial support, but for hope as well.

No matter the benefactor, a donation of any size by alumni means a great deal to the University and to its students. It’s one of the many examples of how we can continue to make a difference at Murray State after we graduate, and we should see more support like this from alumni in all aspects of the University.

According to the Murray State Alumni Association website, more than 66,000 alumni have the opportunity to show this kind of support.

There are 66,000 people who are supposed to be the most loyal and strongest supporters of Murray State. There are 66,000 people who have the best chance of promoting the University by word-of-mouth advocacy among their respective professional and social networks.

Alumni are who we, as current students of Murray State, look up to as role models.

They come back as speakers, professors and mentors to guide us to success after graduation so we, in turn, can do the same. … Continue Reading

Alumna makes $25,000 donation

April 24, 2015 News

Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer

Photo courtesy of linkedin.com Alumna Kristie Helms is an activist for LGBT rights.

Photo courtesy of linkedin.com
Alumna Kristie Helms is an activist for LGBT rights.

Murray State alumna Kristie Helms and her wife donated $25,000 to the University’s Office of LGBT Programming to begin an endowment that will “help students be exactly who they want to be.”

With roots in small town Possum Trot, Ky., Helms has seen a change in scenery since her childhood. She now works as the Global Head of Social Business and Promotional Strategy for State Street – a global Fortune 500 company with headquarters in Boston.

Helms said her desire to give back to the University stems from the support she has received in her company while being openly gay.

She and her wife of 14 years, Kathryn Carter Nettles, want to create an atmosphere of acceptance and provide awareness opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in western Kentucky, similar to what they receive in Boston, she said.

“No one in Boston bats an eye when I mention that I’m married to a woman,” Helms said.

She said having the same rights as her “straight neighbors” is something she is proud of. In Kentucky this is not the case, she said.

According to the Kentucky Revised Statutes, “marriage refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.”

Alongside Kentucky, 13 other states do not allow gay marriage, including Ohio and Tennessee. … Continue Reading


Photo courtesy of Davies’ Instagram account President Bob Davies poses with students of the Governor’s Scholars Program during his first lunch as president at Winslow Dining Hall.

Photo courtesy of Davies’ Instagram account
President Bob Davies poses with students of the Governor’s Scholars Program during his first lunch as president at Winslow Dining Hall.

With thousands of state-run, private and technical colleges in the U.S., the world of academia and the way these establishments are run changes with the times.

Handling students while trying to maintain interconnectivity between faculty and students is a tough balance to keep.

Murray State President Bob Davies has found ways to adapt to the ever-changing cultures within the young adult world.

Davies holds a track record of interpersonal skills, along with a PhD in higher education administration, and has worked to bridge the gap between students and faculty  through the use of new media, in particular: selfies.

While the “selfie” craze swept the nation in the last few years – even having found its way into the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s online database – Davies has taken this social media bull by the horns.

Taking selfies on campus and off, Davies has developed quite the social media following, under the screen name of @MurrayStatePrez.

Yes, that is “Prez” with a “z.”

One routine the president has taken up is targeting members of the student body for his selfie shenanigans.

Tanelle Smith, sophomore from Henderson, Ky., is a student that matches the president’s social media antics. … Continue Reading

A year in review

April 10, 2015 News, Slider Featured stories

President Bob Davies’ investiture marks the closing of a “phenomenal” first year

Jenny Rohl/The News

Jenny Rohl/The News

On March 12, 2014, a man from Eastern Oregon University received a phone call as his plane was taxiing to the gate. On the other end of the line was an offer: the 13th Murray State presidency.

After deliberations, interviews and forums, the Board of Regents unanimously chose Bob Davies as president and four months later on July 14, Davies began his official duties.

Entering with intentions of making his presidency at Murray State his “capstone presidency,” Davies’ first academic year as president now inches toward a close, which he described with a smile as nothing other than “phenomenal.”

Friday marks a historical moment for Davies and the University with Davies’ investiture beginning at 2 p.m. in Lovett Auditorium, the first investiture in eight years since former President Randy Dunn’s in 2007.

Lovett’s steps will greet students, faculty, staff, Board of Regents members, family, friends and others including Gov. Steve Beshear, where Davies will speak his message of “Achievement, Endeavor and Hope.” While such sentiments are shared throughout the University, they do not stop there.


Two days before the official offer, Caitlin Dunaway, Panhellenic President and Student Government Association senator, met with Davies with 11 of her peers as a representative of the Freshman Council. … Continue Reading

60 years of history

April 3, 2015 News, Slider Featured stories
Photo Courtesy of the Paducah Sun Mary Ford Holland taught until 1971 and died in 1999 at the age of 92.

Photo Courtesy of the Paducah Sun
Mary Ford Holland taught until 1971 and died in 1999 at the age of 92.

In the spring of 1955 hundreds of people chanting and yelling racial slurs stormed the gates of other universities across the South in protest of the Supreme Court’s order to the lower federal courts to require desegregation as quickly as possible.

The order came as a result of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court determined that having separate schools for people of different races was inherently unconstitutional.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, Murray State acted immediately, admitting the first black student, Mary Ford Holland, for the summer semester of 1955.

This year marks the 60th anniversary celebrating Holland’s enrollment.

Holland, who died in 1999 at the age of 92, enrolled at the University when she was a 48-year-old teacher who strongly wanted a college degree. … Continue Reading

Paducah campus likely to change ownership

April 3, 2015 News
Kalli Bubb/The News The Murray State Crisp Center located in Paducah, Ky., was opened in January 2014.

Kalli Bubb/The News
The Murray State Crisp Center located in Paducah, Ky., was opened in January 2014.

With the enrollment of Murray State’s Paducah campus increasing consistently, Murray State will likely receive ownership of the $10 million Paducah facility paid for by the City of Paducah and McCracken County.

In 2011 when the city of Paducah, Ky., McCracken County and the Paducah Economic Development Council met to determine whether or not to invest into a four-year college opportunity for their area, they developed a legal document, called a memorandum of understanding, to outline the terms they wanted to be met by Murray State.

Because of financial restrictions in the University, Murray State was unable to borrow sufficient funds to build the facility.

Murray State bought the land and the City of Paducah and McCracken County borrowed money to build the $10 million facility.

They agreed  that Murray State would pay only the interest on the borrowed money every year, which was expected not to exceed more than $290,000. … Continue Reading

Murray State employs thousands of its students

April 3, 2015 News
Nicole Ely/The News Vier Virtu Crat, senior from Bali, Indonesia, works the register at Fast Track.

Nicole Ely/The News
Vier Virtu Crat, senior from Bali, Indonesia, works the register at Fast Track.

More than 2,000 students were employed by Murray State in 2013, as reported by the University.

Approximately 70 percent of Murray State students receive a form of financial assistance, including non-repayable grants, low interest loans and part-time employment.

Student employment at the University is compensated at an hourly rate of minimum wage for most positions, and the position is not guaranteed if the worker’s behavior is not up to par, according to the Murray State website on financial aid.

Kathy Girgis, senior from Louisville, Ky., is an advocate for on-campus employment, as she has worked in the Racer Oral Communication Center for more than two years.

“The people who work here are like a family,” Girgis said. “We care about helping others more than just doing homework.”

Girgis enjoys working with other organizational communication majors.

She believes it helps the community of their staff because they understand how to communicate well. … Continue Reading

Regents approve short-term, long-term changes

February 27, 2015 News
Jenny Rohl/The News

Jenny Rohl/The News

The Jesse Stuart room in Pogue Library was a full house Friday as the Board of Regents met to discuss topics such as the Tennessee Valley Authority contract, tuition increases, Waterfield Library renovations and the campus tobacco policy amongst others.



With last week’s closures fresh on their minds, the regents approved negotiations with Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, regarding a contract renewal. The contract, called 5MR, allows TVA to require the University to shutdown power within a five-minute notice during cold temperature to save power.

While the contract has caused issues in the past for the University, the regents voted to approve the negotiations based on recommendations that the contract is financially beneficial to the University with savings of approximately $400,000.

Additionally, the University is prepared for losing power with generators, which will be tested monthly on Sunday mornings.

The contract, if agreed upon by the University, will not extend beyond five years.

The Board of Regents also approved the campus tobacco policy 8-1, which will begin implementation as of Aug. 5, 2015.

President Bob Davies said the date of the ban was chosen specifically for ease of transition because it aligns well with the ending of summer courses.

With five months looming until August, the policy may need adjustments after implementation, to which the board agreed upon a review of the policy after a year.

“It’s not going to be a perfect policy,” said Regent Constantine Curris.

Along with the new policy comes a repercussion of violating the ban and what that means for students, specifically warnings and fees.

“The committee felt it should be more of an educational process instead of a punitive process,” Davies said of the tobacco free implementation steering committee.

With violation of the ban, Davies said there will be verbal warnings, written warnings and sanctions, but added that while students were in favor of a fee, many said there was not an amount high enough that could drive the repercussion home.

While official implementation will not begin until August, Spring Break will mark initial stages of developing tobacco-free zones, which will be established within 25 feet of doors and windows throughout campus.

Another change student will see is the cost of tuition at Murray State. While still remaining one of the cheapest in the state, will increase by 3 percent for the 2015-16 academic year, President Bob Davies said.

“This increase should not be a surprise to anyone a this institution or at this table,” Davies said.

At $108 per semester, the increase boils down to an additional $6.75 per week for students.



Warren Edminster, director of the Honors Program, said he hopes an Honors College will be established by fall 2016, a hope that may come to fruition with the regents’ recent approval.

The Honors Program will transition into an Honors College by that date, as approved by the board, with a floor or wing of a residential college designated for those students.

While the residential college has not been selected at this time, the Strategic Initiatives plan for the University also aspires to increase the total number of honors students by 25 percent in addition to the development of the Honors College.

The Board of Regents voted unanimously to also approve a six-year library renovation and expansion plan for Harry Lee Waterfield Library.

Changes to the library will reflect what present and future students want, Jay Morgan, vice president of Academic Affairs, said.

Morgan said students want a library with the feel of a coffee shop: a place to bring a laptop or tablet and work in groups of three to four.

“It will be like Starbucks on steroids,” Morgan said.

Plans for the library include a 50 percent increase in available study space, additional flexible spaces for technology, improvements to the media library and combined and enhanced writing and communications centers.

Morgan said the renovations are necessary to supporting more than Murray State’s main campus.

“We’re looking at how can one library support five campuses,” he said.

The expanded Waterfield Library will be a resource for the main campus and the Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madison and Henderson campuses.

The library’s expansion coincides with rising university enrollment. For spring 2015, enrollment jumped 3.5 percent from spring 2014.

That number could drop by 160 or more with tougher admissions criteria for freshmen coming down the pipe.

High school seniors scoring less than an 18 on the ACT or a 870 on the SAT will not be admitted as a full-time student under the still-budding plan.

“Eighteen was where there was a clear mark that these students aren’t really successful,” Fred Dietz, associate vice president for enrollment management, said.

Future Murray State students would be categorized into four tiers under the plan, each tier labeled by testing scores and areas of developmental requirements, Dietz said.

  • Tier I is unconditional acceptance. With at least an 18 on the ACT or an 870 on the SAT and all developmental requirement met, students will be admitted without restrictions.
  • Tier II is conditional acceptance. It’s for students with adequate ACT or SAT scores but still have an unmet developmental requirement.
  • Tier III is admittance to Pathways To Success. Students meeting the test score requirements but with two or more developmental requirements unmet will be admitted to a program to help them meet the requirement.
  • Tier IV is admittance to a 12-15 hour certificate program leading to Pathways To Success, then potentially to full enrollment.

Tier IV is not expected to be a popular option for applicants, Dietz said. Instead many will opt for cheaper community colleges in the region.


The next Board of Regents meeting will be held June 5, 2015.

Story by Amanda Grau, News Editor, Mary Bradley, Editor-in-Chief

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