MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University welcomed its first group of high school students that were a part of the Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund, an endowment dedicated to one of Murray State’s most beloved members, the late Jim Carter.

For over 30 years, Carter was a major asset to the Murray State community until his death in February 2015 after a long battle with cancer. His journey at Murray State began in 1975 when he drove a friend to Murray State who was interested in the track team. Coming from a family with no college graduates, Carter wasn’t interested in attending college. However, the road trip changed his entire life when he stepped on campus.

“It was meant to be,” said Debbie Carter, the wife of Jim Carter. “He had no plans to attend college. But as soon as he saw campus, he was in love.”

Over forty high school seniors from Daviess County High School and Apollo High School from Owensboro, Ky. visited campus on Nov. 16 through the Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund. Owensboro was Jim Carter’s hometown.
Over forty high school seniors from Daviess County High School and Apollo High School from Owensboro, Ky. visited campus on Nov. 16 through the Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund. Owensboro was Jim Carter’s hometown.

After deciding to enroll at Murray State, Carter took the University by storm. He became a first-generation college graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and earned a master’s degree in journalism in 1986. During his undergraduate years, he served as president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and the lecture chair for the Student Government Association. Carter became the director of university relations and the executive director of the Murray State Alumni Association in 1996. He then became the vice president of institutional advancement in 2000.

As vice president, Carter supervised the CFSB Center, Lovett Auditorium, WKMS, Alumni Affairs, the office of Development and University Communication. He also oversaw the completion of the Sid Easley Alumni Center in 2002, providing a home for the association that became dear to his heart.

Throughout his tenure, Carter’s number one concern was the welfare of the students. As a first-generation college student himself, Carter understood the daily struggles that many college students face. Before his passing, Carter established the Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund to support the expenses of Kentucky high school groups visiting campus and cover items such as transportation, meals and campus event tickets.

“He really believed that Murray State’s campus would wrap kids in that never intended to go to college. He wanted to provide the opportunities he had when he first stepped on campus,” said Debbie Carter. “After all, Murray State meant everything to him.”

On Nov. 16, Carter’s legacy lived on through the first official Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund visit. Over 40 high school seniors from Daviess County High School and Apollo High School toured Murray State’s campus and had the opportunity to learn more about financial aid and scholarships. The students also heard from Career Services about the internship experiences Murray State can help facilitate and connected with desired academic areas by meeting professors and current undergraduates in those programs.

“It was so special to see the generosity of Jim’s friends and family, as well as alumni and coworkers from Murray State University, come to fruition through this first opportunity to bring students from his home county to campus in his honor,” said Tina Bernot, executive director of development. “We thank everyone who has worked for months to make this possible, including our friends with Daviess County schools and our campus directors as well.”

Currently, the Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund has raised nearly $65,000 to help transport high school students to visit Murray State. According to Bernot, the goal of the Fund is to reach $100,000 to honor Carter’s legacy of encouraging the region’s high school students to become Racers.

Supporters of the cause can donate to the Carter’s Kids on Campus Fund by contacting the Office of Development at 270-809-3001 or msu.giving@murraystate.edu. Secure online donations can also be made at murraystate.edu/giving.