MURRAY, Ky. — Miranda Bivins, a graduate student in the nonprofit leadership studies program at Murray State University, has received the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky: the title of Kentucky Colonel, presented by the governor to individuals who have made significant philanthropic contributions to the greater community, state or nation.

This prestigious accomplishment largely comes in recognition of Bivins’ work with the United Way of Murray-Calloway County as part of her involvement with the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program, which involves working with local community members to find solutions aimed at eradicating poverty.

“As a VISTA, I developed and coordinated a first-time financial literacy program for United Way of Murray-Calloway County,” Bivins said. “Over the first year, the program helped 187 individuals and families start on a pathway to improved financial success.”

Bivins received her bachelor’s degree in youth and nonprofit leadership through the Murray State College of Education and Human Services in December 2015. She is currently working toward earning a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership studies and is expected to graduate in December 2017. With such momentum, Bivins shows no signs of slowing down.

“This is quite an achievement for a such a young person and great evidence of our students’ impact on the community,” said Dr. Peter Weber, director of the University’s nonprofit leadership studies program.

After completing one year of service with AmeriCorps, Bivins chose to serve a second year with the organization. Her current AmeriCorps experience involves working with the Pennyrile Area Development District in Hopkinsville to improve the overall well-being of local senior citizens. The goal is to help provide a quality of life that enables the seniors to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible.

“The Kentucky Colonel award was a complete honor and surprise for me to receive,” Bivins said. “And it means that I was able to do a small part to help individuals gain skills and knowledge that will forever improve their financial future.”

“I look forward to the opportunity to use the education I received at Murray State to be able to give back to my hometown,” said Bivins, who is originally from Cerulean, Kentucky.

To learn more about Murray State’s nonprofit leadership studies program, please contact Weber at or 270-809-3079.


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