By Dr. Bob Jackson
One of my favorite quotes is by Admiral Bill McRaven:
“We will all find ourselves neck deep in mud someday. This is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.”
We are in the middle of the most unprecedented international crisis during our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic causes us to think about uncertainty, unknowns and adjusting to a new normal. It can be scary. What we do know, as the ancient adage tells us, is This too shall pass. As we begin to adjust to a new normal and anticipate Summer and Fall, Murray State University is still here to help prepare Kentuckians for an exciting journey to address hopes and dreams.
This international crisis has caused many of us to think about what we want to do in the future – maybe become a nurse, research scientist, teacher, public health official, artist, agricultural researcher, nonprofit executive or attorney, among many other existing or emerging professions.
As we continue to encounter these challenging realities, I am reminded of the strength and perseverance of our Racer family. You may be aware of many recent efforts made within our campus community to assist others. This includes the donation of essential personal protective equipment, the production of Murray State-made face shields for area healthcare workers and offering services through our Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development to small businesses that are navigating the economic impact of what is taking place.
There are other important recent decisions, as well as helpful information for our incoming and future students who are considering Murray State:
- New students who are beginning this Fall can register now for one or more Summer classes. We have a record number of new online courses in several short-term formats for your convenience. Summer courses are a great opportunity to get a head start toward your degree requirements for graduation.
- Importantly, your tuition may already be covered with our Murray State Promise program. We are still making scholarship awards to assist you and last year we awarded over $44 million in grants, scholarships and waivers. In addition, during the past few days, we have allocated additional scholarship funds to assist students – call (270) 809-3225 or email [email protected] – we want to help.
- Do not forget to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many qualify for financial aid, especially during these times as financial circumstances are changing.
- For new students this Fall and for new freshmen classes going forward, we have changed our admissions policy to an ACT/SAT test-optional format in order to assist students who will not be able to take these tests due to the pandemic and to relieve some of the stress of the admission process.
- Those still looking for their dream and not sure what to study can, while staying healthy at home, take a survey at murraystate.mymajors.com. Finding your passion and declaring a field of study helps reduce college costs and allows students to complete a degree program sooner. It takes just a few minutes – and we have 143 high- quality, high-value degree programs available.
- We are making many enhancements to Racer Academy, our dual-credit program for high school students for Fall 2020 and beyond. These will allow high school students to take courses that can be applied to a degree track at Murray State, provide a Racer Academy certificate after the completion of courses and, in short, enrich the educational experience for future Racers and their families.
Murray State University is ranked as one of America’s best colleges by U.S. News and World Report and Forbes magazine and is recognized by Washington Monthly as a “Best Bang for the Buck.” For nearly 100 years, it has offered a best-value, life-defining college experience for students, with more than 70,000 proud Racer alumni throughout the world.
Murray State is my and my wife Karen’s alma mater. We came here over 30 years ago because of the nationally-recognized degree programs, world-class faculty and caring staff. It is home.
A prominent alumnus recently said Murray State feels like family. During this time, as family, we want to help you plan ahead and answer your questions. As Admiral McRaven said, we may be neck deep in the mud at the moment but tomorrow will be a better day.
It’s a time to explore educational opportunities and career plans, and we are ready to answer your questions. Call (800) 272-4678, extension 2; (270) 809-2896 or email [email protected]
Most of all, please remember, the events of today will pass and we will get through this together.
Dr. Bob Jackson is the 14th president of Murray State University.