MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University hosted three prominent alumni for the 2017 Presidential Lecture, held Thursday evening, March 9 at the CFSB Center.

The title of the evening’s event, “We have a dream. Are we living it?,” focused on diversity efforts within higher education and included three distinguished higher educational leaders: Drs. MarTeze Hammonds, Jerry Sue Thornton and Walter Bumphus. Each guest addressed the audience, and a question-and-answer session followed, involving each of the three speakers.

Murray State President Bob Davies provided introductory remarks, stating the importance of the marketplace of ideas, which “gives the opportunity for everyone to come and express their ideas, to share their thoughts, to challenge ideas and theories of others, to question what is in place and to propose what needs to be in place, and not to be in fear for retribution based on issues that divide us.”

Dr. MarTeze Hammonds, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Arkansas Tech University, addressed attendees, stating that Murray State and higher education is the best place to learn about diversity and inclusion.

Speaking directly to students in attendance, Hammonds said, “Murray State is truly an opportunity afforded. Please lean in and learn as much about your academic discipline as possible, but don’t neglect the co-curricular opportunities of learning. They are very important.”

Dr. Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges who currently serves on Murray State University’s Board of Regents, spoke next, sharing his experience when attending Murray State.

Bumphus expressed gratitude toward mentors and role models throughout his life, mentioning caring faculty, family, friends and colleagues who have made a significant impact.

“The Murray experience was a great one for me because after being here in school, I learned the value of getting along with people, the value of relationships, and that has served me well,” said Bumphus.

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, CEO of DreamCatcher Educational Consulting Service, spoke next, expressing the importance of broadening one’s perspective of others.

“It’s important that we allow people to have a sense of worth and a sense of value in order to be included,” said Thornton. “Everyone fits into this dream. There is a place at the table for everyone.”

Supported by the Murray State University Office of the President, Murray State Student Government Association and the MSU Foundation, the event was attended by members of the campus and greater community and was followed online at

Murray State University welcomed (from left) Drs. MarTeze Hammonds, Jerry Sue Thornton and Walter Bumphus on Thursday evening, March 9, for the Presidential Lecture held at the CFSB Center. The event, titled “We have a dream. Are we living it?,” focused on diversity efforts within higher education.
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