Murray State University observes its 90th anniversary with a special event on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. An outdoor celebration on The Quad next to Pogue Library will feature presentations on six of the original campus buildings — Wrather, Wilson, and Wells Halls, Lovett Auditorium, Pogue Library and Oakhurst.
Founder and second president of Murray State Normal School, Dr. Rainey T. Wells, portrayed by well-known faculty member and re-enactor Robert Valentine, will deliver the keynote address. A reception will follow in the Wells T. Lovett Grand Reading Room in Pogue Library.
“The story of the early chapters of Murray State University is full of great vision, exceptional leadership and effective negotiation,” says Mark Welch, director of community relations. “Dr. Wells deserves special recognition for his singular role in securing Murray as the site for a new normal school in 1922. Our anniversary celebration will reflect his influence over Murray State, especially its first decade.”
Senate Bill 14, signed into law on March 8, 1922, by Kentucky Gov. Edwin P. Morrow, authorized the establishment of two teacher training or normal schools in the commonwealth. On Friday, Sept. 1, 1922, Murray was chosen as the site of the Western State Normal School by the new Normal School Commission.
On Sept. 24, 1923, the Murray State Normal School officially opened, occupying four rooms and the auditorium on the first floor of the brand new Murray High School on Main Street (now the Murray Middle School). The school had 87 students enrolled that afternoon and six classes were filled.