Murray State University recently received the third $10,000 installment of a $200,000 pledge from the Betsy Ross Foundation in support of students in the Hutson School of Agriculture. The pledge will be paid $20,000 per year over a 10-year period.
The Betsy Ross Foundation is named for the late Betsy Ross Wilcox, wife of Dave Wilcox, also deceased. Dave served as chairman of the board of Allegro Fine Foods, a company he founded with his wife, until his death in 2011.
Dave lived in Paris, Tenn., and was an avid supporter of Murray State with his time and donations for many years. He was an initial founding member of the MSU Rodeo Booster Club and assisted with a donation that allowed the start of a registered Corriente cattle herd to assist the rodeo program at Murray State. He was posthumously inducted into Murray State’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.
Significant gifts to Murray State were established through the Betsy Ross Foundation — donations that provide scholarships for students attending the university and assist the Hutson School of Agriculture in its work. This generous commitment supports the Betsy Ross Wilcox Rodeo Scholarship, the Betsy Ross Wilcox Memorial FFA Scholarship, the Charles Wilson FFA Scholarship (in honor of Dave Wilcox’s friend) and the Wilcox Family Student Development Fund for Excellence.
“Education has not always been a priority of mine, but when I came up short of being able to pay my tuition one semester my rodeo coach introduced me to Dave Wilcox. We had a short meeting and he asked me a few questions then wrote me a check for the remainder of my tuition right then and there, no hesitation. I was able to complete my bachelor degree and now have one year remaining before I complete my master’s,” Logan Corbett, Murray State graduate student, remembered. “Dave saw the potential in me before I saw it in myself. If it wasn’t for Dave Wilcox and his generosity, I would not be where I am today.”
Corbett’s story doesn’t surprise John Fuqua, president of Allegro Fine Foods. “Dave always said that the students were the most important thing to him. I am so pleased that even after he has passed away we can witness his dream of helping students continue.”
Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture at Murray State, knows firsthand of the generosity of Wilcox to agriculture students. “Dave Wilcox believed in agriculture students and he put his money and scholarships behind that belief. He always said ‘I don’t care about the university … it’s the students that I care about.’ Yet, when he ‘cared’ about the students, he ‘cared’ about the university because the university is the students.
“The continuing donations of the Betsy Ross Foundation stand as a living testament to Dave’s care and concern for students and for Murray State University agriculture,” Brannon continued. “Each year when we reward students with scholarships and host various events with the Betsy Ross Foundation support, it brings me a great source of pride that we continue to recognize Dave and his legacy of support of the Hutson School of Agriculture.“