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Murray State Board of Regents Reports Flat Undergraduate Enrollment, Swears In New Regents At Quarterly Meeting

The Murray State Board of Regents meet in Heritage Hall on Sep. 3.
Dustin Wilcox
The Murray State Board of Regents meet in Heritage Hall on Sep. 3.

The Murray State Board of Regents reported at a quarterly meeting Friday relatively unchanged fall undergraduate enrollment from last year despite strong summer enrollment. The board also swore in three new regents.

Murray State President Bob Jackson began the meeting with a report on campus matters ranging from COVID-19 protocols to financial aid. He cited Thursday’s football game as an example of students having fun in a safe and healthy way.

“As we return to a new normal, teaching and learning, campus and student life and athletics are the issues that we’re focusing on every day,” Jackson said. “Everyone longs to get back to whatever that new normal or next normal is, our students especially.”

Don Robertson with the Department of Student Affairs reported enrollment statistics for this year:

  • Summer enrollment was the highest it had been in 10 years. 
  • Fall undergraduate enrollment was flat with 2020 and down from 2019.
  • 44%of undergraduate students are first-generation college students. 
  • Fall graduate enrollment has increased the past three years.
  • In-state enrollment decreased from 2020, while out-of-state enrollment increased.
  • International undergraduate enrollment has improved by 38%. 

“We could not do it without the cooperation of faculty and staff,” Robertson said.

(From left) Tommy Waldrop, Ian Puckett and Sam Aguiar.
Dustin Wilcox
(From left) Tommy Waldrop, Ian Puckett and Sam Aguiar.

Three new regents were sworn in at the meeting, including Sam Aguiar, a personal injury attorney in Louisville; Tommy Waldrop, a partner in Trifecta Real Estate Services in Mayfield; and Ian Puckett, president of the Murray State Student Government Association.

“There are a lot of wonderful things going on at the university, and we’re excited to have you new regents on the board to help move things forward,” Chair Eric Crigler said.

Don Tharpe was elected vice chair of the board and Jill Hunt the secretary of the board. Their terms will last one year each.

David Eaton was appointed dean of Bauernfeind College of Business after serving as the interim dean for the past two years. He has taught economics at Murray State since 1996.

Jerry Shroat was awarded an honorary doctorate. He graduated from Murray State with a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science in 1963.

The regents also held a resolution of remembrance and appreciation for former Regent Philip Schooley, who died on Aug. 15. He spent five terms as a staff regent.

(From left) Bob Jackson, Schooley's family and Eric Crigler.
Dustin Wilcox
(From left) Bob Jackson, Schooley's family and Eric Crigler.

“This the first official Board of Regents that Murray State has had in 12 years where Phil is not a part of it,” Crigler said. “He served with an understanding of the complex issues that faced the university.”

The board unanimously voted to name its staff excellence award after Schooley in his honor. Jackson and Crigler presented a placard of recognition to Schooley’s family.

“This university will miss Phil Schooley,” Jackson said.

Also at the meeting:

  • Student Financial Services received 5,737 total scholarship applications this year, an increase of 16% over last year. The office awarded 9,411 academic and competitive scholarships to students.
  • The Office of Development has raised $13.2 million in cash, estate gifts and pledges this year — the most in 10 years. $2.4 million of that went toward scholarships.
  • A Murray State centennial book and website are in the works for 2022.

The next quarterly meeting will be held on Dec. 3.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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