The work of this institution has only begun.... I want to see this faculty continue to develop in not only teaching ability, but heart power—the ability to lead and inspire.... I want to see the fullest opportunities furnished to students.... I want to see young men and women who will become effective leaders.... I want to see all of these things and more.—John W. Carr, first president of Murray State University, April 1, 1926
When Murray State University was founded shortly after World War I, it was a modest, one-building teachers college with a mandate to prepare better-trained educators for schools in the Jackson Purchase area of western Kentucky. Now Murray State has grown to become a major university with nearly 10,000 students from all over the world. Over the past century, this institution has indelibly shaped the lives of generations of talented young people, some of whom went on to enjoy remarkable careers at NASA, on the Kentucky Supreme Court, in Hollywood, and with the NBA.
In The Finest Place We Know, authors Robert L Jackson, Sean J. McLaughlin, and Sarah Marie Owens celebrate the one-hundred-year story of Murray State University by looking back on the people, places, and events that have shaped the institution's history. This comprehensive pictorial history features hundreds of images from the Pogue Special Collections Library as well as stories that explore everything from the school's first student-produced weekly newspaper, The College News, which began publication on June 24, 1927; to the hiring of Ernest T. Brooks, its first Black professor, in 1970; to the appointment of Dr. Kala Stroup, the first woman president of any Kentucky university. This work—equal parts history and celebration—presents an in-depth account of one of Kentucky's prosperous public universities.