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Murray Life Magazine Looking Back

Murray Life Magazine now offers you the chance to relive the past and read full copies of articles you missed. We like to call it "Looking Back" Every other week, we will deliver you a different article that helped make Murray Life Magazine what it is today. From our very first issues in the 90's to today's magazine, we have built a large collection of high quality content, and now we are now sharing it with you one more time.

This time we are flashing back to the Spring of 2002 with a story about Murray's own Jimmy Carter.
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The Other Jimmy Carter
Bob McGaughey

When most people think of former president Jimmy Carter today, they tend to think of his building projects though Habitat for Humanity.

When people think of Murray's Jimmy Carter, they often think of “building” also. Carter, Murray State University's vice president of institutional advancement, is responsible for the Regional Special Event Center, Wrather West Kentucky Museum and most currently the construction of the Alumni/Information Center near Stewart Stadium on North 12th Street.

In addition, he is responsible fro development, alumni affairs, marketing, university publication, public information, WKMS-FM and WQTV.

A graduate of Murray State with bachelor's and master's degrees in mass communications (journalism and public relations), he first joined the staff of Murray State in 1981 as the director of student activities in the new student union building.

He left Murray State in 1989 to become regional marketing manager for an expanding Paschall Truck Lines (PTL). He later became director of sales and then vice president of pricing and quality before returning to Murray State in 1996 to become director of university relations and executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.

He was promoted to current position of vice president of institutional advancement in 2000.

In addition to his work on campus and with it's outreach programs, he has been active in the community. He was a member of the board of directors of the Murray/Calloway County Chamber of Commerce and served as president in 1998-1999.

He is treasurer of the Murray Tourism Commission, an alumnus of Leadership Murray and a member of the Rotary Club.

He was honored as Boss of the Year in 1987 by the Murray Chapter of Professional Secretaries International.

When the new alumni center opens after phase I, it will house five office staff, a conference room and a multi-purpose room. The total cost will be $750,000 for the 5,300-square-foot building.

Carter says phase two will include the completion of the lower level which will have an office, a dinning and a library. “We hope to make this a meeting place for alumni at special events such as homecoming, Alumni Weekend and ballgames. We are going to have a complete set of yearbooks so the alumni can show family and friends what Murray State looked like in the old days,” Carter says.

Carter is working on the “foundation” for this building. The alumni association is selling bricks, that range from $75 to $250, to raise money to complete the furnishing of the building. The bricks, which can commemorate an individual/Greek Group/team/etc., will be continued to be sold to June 15.

The bricks, according to Carter, will likely be used in the center's outside garden area for all who visit the new building to see.

The Alumni Center, long on the building plan's schedule, is the second building Carter has been responsible for completing at the university.

While he worked with Dr. Frank Julian, then vice president of student affairs, and David Kratzer, director of the Curris Center in 1981, on opening the Curris Center in 1981, he was the main person responsible for getting the Regional Special Event Center (RSEC) open and operational in 1998.

“The RSEC is truly a regional center, not just a Murray State facility. We have Racer basketball games and graduations there but we also have had two state conventions (Baptists), the United Way Antique Show, the annual boat show and such entertainment events such as Tim McGraw, Sinbad, “Grease,” and a summer high school basketball event (Steamboat Classic) that drew teams from across the country,” says Carter proudly.

Carter is quick to point the excellent staff director Shelly Todd has at the RSEC and the many staff members he has in his other areas of responsibility.

Another area that Carter is proud of because of its great benefit to the university was the recent fundraiser, Vision Quest, that brought in more than $30 million in pledges. In addition to earmarked gifts for such items as the alumni center, the gifts went toward endowed chairs, scholarships and programs of distinction.

Carter and MSU director of development, Dr. Roger Reichmuth, point out that many of the pledges were over three to five years. Other alumni and friends of the university have made MSU the benefactor of their wills.

This past year Judge James Lassiter left an estate to be used for scholarships in the College of Business and Public Affairs.

While the alumni center is being completed, one of Carter's goals is to better market the University and the community.

“The community is a great place to live and work and the university has many accolades in the last 10 years that people outside west Kentucky don't seem to be aware of. We have consistently been rated by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top universities in the nation for quality and value. We have turned out outstanding students who have gone on to become outstanding in their field.

“With our quality faculty and staff, it is no surprise that MSU was ranked first in 13 of 23 categories in satisfaction by our alumni. We were ranked in the top of most of the other categories. Still, we must get our story out and taht's one of my priorities this year,” Carter said.

So the next major “building project” fro Murray's Jimmy Carter will be that of “building Murray's image as an outstanding place” to those outside the region. The “bricks are in place” so now he and his capable staff just need to finish the project.


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