The Hart family’s love affair with Murray State University began in 1922, when George S. Hart, a leader in the Calloway County community, donated a sum of money to establish the Murray Normal School. Today, ninety-four years later, the family continues to give back through a generous scholarship donation made by Samuel Collins, Hart’s great-nephew.
Collins, an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, grew up in Calloway County and witnessed the close ties his family had to the local community and University. His maternal grandmother, Lucille Hart, was cousin to Rainey T. Wells, Murray State’s founder and second president. His great-uncle and great-aunt, George S. Hart and Lochie Hart, were known for their leadership in the local area. Collins’ own mother attended Murray High and Murray Normal School, and he graduated from Murray State University High School, the primary student teacher training school, in 1969.
“Our family has a long history in Calloway County. The county has done so much for us, I wanted to find a way to give back to its people,” said Collins.
Collins’ donation to Murray State includes a major estate gift to provide mineral rights, royalties and ongoing funding to the George S. Hart – Lochie Broach Hart Scholarship. Awarded to Murray City and Calloway County high school students with high academic achievement, this scholarship honors the legacy of George S. Hart and his wife, Lochie Hart.
The Harts were prominent leaders in the local county and Murray State community. After serving in the United States Army in the First World War, George S. Hart was one of the many Calloway County citizens who contributed to the $117,000 fund that established Murray Normal School in 1922. George S. Hart was elected circuit clerk for Calloway County in 1922 and was re-elected in 1929. In 1937, he was elected mayor of Murray and remained in the position for the next twenty years. He also served as the executive manager of the Bank of Murray, president of the Kentucky Bankers Association, board member of the State Board of Education and regent of Murray State University.
To commemorate George S. Hart, also known as “Mr. Murray” throughout the community, Hart Hall was established in the summer of 1964 and opened its doors to students in September 1966. Seven stories tall, Hart Hall can house over 500 students and includes Hart Coffee Shop, a computer lab and a recreation area.
George Hart’s wife, Lochie Hart, was also a key figure in the Murray State community. A Murray State graduate, she served on the Board of Regents for the University, and beginning in 1935 she served for 13 years as secretary-treasurer of the Murray State University Alumni Association.
The Hart’s daughter and Collins’ cousin, also named Lochie Hart, still resides in Calloway County today and lives adjacent to the campus her parents loved. She believes her parents would be thrilled if they knew a scholarship was in their name.
“My parents loved Murray State and were so happy here. They knew that if they could bring young people here to go to school, they would love it just as much,” said Lochie Hart. “If they knew there was a scholarship in their name and that Sam contributed to it, they would be thrilled to death. There’s nothing quite like Murray State.”