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Murray State celebrates centennial anniversary with Wrather exhibit

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Murray State is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a centennial exhibit at Wrather West Kentucky Museum on campus.

An opening night reception on Thursday featured remarks from Murray State University President Bob Jackson and special guest speaker Melvin Henley. Henley is a Murray State Alumnus, retired Murray State faculty member and former state representative.

“I’m grateful to university libraries as a whole,” Jackson said. “I am grateful for the staff and faculty and all those involved at Wrather Museum. [They] house exhibits that many never get to see unless they come to Murray. There are unique exhibits of military heroes and political figures.”

Professor Henley received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics in 1962. He also received his PhD in physical chemistry in 1964 from the University of Mississippi. He served as the Kentucky State Representative for the 5th District from 2005 through 2013.

“When I came to Murray State [Training School] in 1941 in the first grade, the enrollment was 1,032 students,” Henley said. “I have either served as a student or a faculty member under every president from James H. Richmond through S. Kern Alexander. I have personally met every college president of this institution including Dr. John W. Carr and Dr. Rainey T. Wells.”

The event also featured Cris Ferguson, Interim Dean of University Libraries, and Jordan Smith, Executive Director of Governmental & Institutional Relations. The closing remarks were given by Dr. Sean “Jeff” McLaughlin, Murray State’s Special Collections and Exhibit Director.

McLaughlin said the exhibit, called 1922, came together with help from faculty and students in Murray State’s Introduction to Public History classes. The exhibit portrayed the 1920’s history of Murray and Calloway County with a recreated speak-easy on the main floor of the museum.

“I get the students to work on the art creation and I am very proud to lead the people that I have,” McLaughlin said. “I have found that if you want to encourage creativity, say no as little as possible.”

The event was hosted by the University Libraries and the Office of Development and was sponsored by Murray’s Town and Gown.

McLaughlin said Wrather Museum is scheduled to undergo renovation this summer.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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