Generous donor gives additional $1 million gift 

Dr. Jesse D. Jones is at the forefront of giving to Murray State University once again. One of Murray State’s strongest supporters, Jones sees a need and goes about filling it. His most recent gift of $1 million is, at the same time, practical and innovative. He has pledged his support in completing the building that houses the Regional Business Innovation Center (RBIC).

Located at the intersection of 16th Street and the Highway 121 Bypass, the facility will go from unfinished to a central outreach arm of the university and a place of honor for all those who have been major contributors to the university legacy.

Jones envisions a “Hall of Benefactors and Distinguished Alumni” on the first floor — a place for recognition of people who have been outstanding supporters of the university. The “Hall” will also include recognition of outstanding MSU faculty. He believes the history of Murray State is important and there should be a central location where visitors can see the impact individuals have made at MSU.

“I hope it will be a visual connection for people to see that by supporting Murray State, there is a payoff,” Jones said. That payoff, said Jones, is not name recognition for the people who donate, but rather knowing that the university is a better place for students because of donor support.

“Once again, we are deeply grateful for Dr. Jones’ vision and generosity,” said Dr. Randy Dunn, MSU president. “This gift will allow us to fully complete a building that was constructed in 2005 with almost half of it being only shell space — this is something I’ve wanted to get off my plate since coming to MSU five years ago. More importantly, however, this gives us a special place to recognize our many donors, distinguished alumni and outstanding faculty. Every university has a unique history intertwined with the alumni and friends who have shaped it. This Hall of Benefactors and Distinguished Alumni will provide a fitting and ongoing tribute to their investment in Murray State University and will, no doubt, have a tremendous impact on our development efforts well into the future.”

Jones’ direct impact on students and the quality of the education they receive at Murray State is well documented. It is through his support that students have access to resources and state-of-the-art equipment in MSU’s chemistry building, Jesse D. Jones Hall, which houses the Jones-Ross Research Center and the Hattie Mayme Ross Science Library. Jones and his wife, Deborah, have funded scholarships for students in the college of science, and he contributed the funds to establish the Racer Writing Center last year and the soon-to-be dedicated Racer Oral Communication Center.

His first gift to the university was major funding of the landmark Jesse L. Jones Family Clock Tower, named for his late father. In addition, Jones made the lead gift to the university’s current fundraising effort, Hold Thy Banner High: The Campaign for the Students of Murray State University with a $3.6 million pledge.

Bob Jackson, associate vice president for institutional advancement and campaign director, said a new Hall of Benefactors and Distinguished Alumni will be the perfect place to host special functions to recognize and thank donors. “Establishing the new Hall of Benefactors and Distinguished Alumni and the opportunity to complete this building are exciting developments for MSU. We are extremely appreciative to Dr. Jones for all that he has done during this campaign to advance Murray State University,” noted Jackson. “Universities are special places and this new ‘Hall’ will allow us to show our appreciation to our many outstanding donors, distinguished alumni and faculty who have transformed Murray State over the past 90 years.”

The RBIC will remain in the building after the new public area is completed, and will be joined by the Center for Regional Outreach and the MSU office of development. The second floor will be finished out as offices, according to Jones’ wishes.

“It’s important to make a good impression,” Jones said. “In my opinion, the office of development needs to be a comfortable and pleasant area for supporters of the university to visit.”

The expected dedication date of the completed facility is Homecoming 2012, which coincides with the end of the Hold Thy Banner High campaign.

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