MURRAY, Ky. — Below is information regarding recent news, notes and accomplishments from Murray State University for the week of Nov. 6–10.


On Tuesday, Nov. 14, the department of history at Murray State will host its eighth annual ROOTS Music Concert at 7:30 p.m. in Lovett Auditorium. There is no admission charge but attendees are asked to bring canned goods for Need Line, a local non-profit organization that distributes food to the community throughout the year.

“Our community has been generous in response to our food drive for Need Line,” said Dr. Kathy Callahan, chair for the department of history. “The department of history provides music to warm us while our guests provide food to care for people in our community. It’s a win-win situation.”

The ROOTS Music Concert is an annual event that highlights some of the world’s great musical traditions. It is also one of the many ways Murray State gives back to the community of west Kentucky.

“We’ve got three acts for one of the strongest lineups ever,” said Ted Franklin Belue, senior lecturer of history and the event’s organizer. “The artists are seasoned pros, and their music is refreshingly different — informed by tradition but not limited to it. Plus, the concert is free and offers great family entertainment.”

This year’s ROOTS Music Concert will include performances by John Hurst, a virtuoso guitarist and singer from Nashville who is a nominee for best guitarist by the International Bluegrass Music Association; Corrina Rose Logston and Jeremy Stephens, a married duo who have performed bluegrass and early-country music at the Grand Ole Opry; and the Wheelhouse Rousters, a group out of Paducah whose hybrid music celebrates west Kentucky’s cultural heritage, industry, people and river history.

“I do hope folks will come out and support live music,” Belue said. “Murray State’s ROOTS Music Concerts are free and open to the public. The music is great and, best of all, every Thanksgiving we’re able to help feed lots of folks through Need Line.”

The doors to Lovett Auditorium will open Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Belue at 270-809-5455 or


Two Murray State graduate students in the department of educational studies, leadership and counseling recently won the graduate case study competition during the 2017 Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) Conference.

Jasmine Wilkerson and Alex Hackbarth are both pursuing graduate degrees in postsecondary education administration at Murray State. Their winning case study was centered on the First Amendment and its role in exercising free speech and peaceful assembly on university campuses. Participants in Wilkerson and Hackbarth’s case study assumed the roles of administrators in higher education and were asked to respond to fictional scenarios. Both Wilkerson and Hackbarth then had 45 minutes to create resolutions grounded in student development theory based on the participants’ responses.

This recognition from SACSA is a significant honor among programs for higher education and student affairs throughout the southeastern United States. Ten other teams competed at the conference, including groups from Clemson University, Mississippi State University, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Western Kentucky University, University of West Georgia, Vanderbilt University, University of Central Arkansas and Texas A&M University.

In addition to pursuing their degrees at Murray State, both Wilkerson and Hackbarth are residence hall directors for the University’s Office of Housing and Residence Life.


Several students in the Hutson School of Agriculture were recently selected to represent the University at the National Agriculture Future for America Conference held in Kansas City at the beginning of November.

Participating students include the following individuals: Caleb Brannon of Puryear, Tennessee; Cole Emerson of Almo, Kentucky; Kaleb Houston of Greenfield, Tennessee; Evan Jackson of Clinton, Kentucky; MacKenzie Jones of Frankfort, Kentucky; Matt McIntosh of Dawson Springs, Kentucky; Aaliyah Moss of Louisville, Kentucky; Joel Reddick of Barwell, Kentucky; Larry Chris Reed of Walter Valley, Kentucky; Jonathan Reynolds of Clinton, Kentucky; Cristen Shaw of Benton, Illinois; Jessica Stoner of Henderson, Kentucky; and Elizabeth Waller of Clay, Kentucky.


A Murray State student was recently nominated for the Hal and Bettye Thurmond Award sponsored by the Hopkinsville Human Relations Commission and the City of Hopkinsville.

Joetta Stewart, the nominated student, is a senior pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work at Murray State’s regional campus in Hopkinsville. In addition to completing her degree at Murray State, Stewart is responsible for chairing, hosting and presenting at several symposiums to educate the community about HIV/AIDS as well as developing an HIV/AIDS support group for Christian County and surrounding areas. She is also seeking certification as an HIV/AIDS tester.

“I nominated Joetta because of her unselfish drive to bring awareness to our community about HIV/AIDS,” said Mary-Elaine Horn, coordinator for student services at Murray State-Hopkinsville. “She saw a need in the community to provide support for those infected and living with the virus.”

Although Stewart not ultimately win the Hal and Bettye Thurmond Award overall, to be nominated is a significant personal honor. Nominees are considered to be individuals who are making a meaningful difference in improving their respective communities through their dedication to human relations and the spirit of unity.


Stephanie Steele, a Murray State alumna, was featured in a recent blog post and episode of “FarmHer,” a series that works to shine a light on women in the agriculture industry.

Steele earned her bachelor’s degree in agribusiness economics with a minor in finance and her master’s degree in business administration from Murray State. She currently works as a support specialist for Ag Connections, a local agriculture company that develops crop management software solutions to help farms be more efficient and compliant.

“Murray State allowed me to pursue and expand my agricultural and financial knowledge and interests while obtaining my degrees,” Steele said. “I was able to increase my leadership and people skills as well.”

Steele grew up working on her family’s cattle farm and now lives and works on a tobacco farm just outside Murray with her husband, Wes, who is also a Murray State alumnus. Steele continues to remain involved in the University’s Hutson School of Agriculture as well as local chapters of 4-H and FFA.

“While attending [Murray State], I met my husband and rekindled agricultural contacts that prompted interviews for my career as well as provided me the opportunity to adjunct teach in the Hutson School of Agriculture,” Steele said. “My family now has three generations of Murray State graduates in the agricultural field, which I feel speaks volumes for the agricultural program at Murray State.”

Visit to learn more about Steele’s story.


Photo Caption: Jasmine Wilkerson and Alex Hackbarth, two students pursuing graduate degrees in postsecondary education administration at Murray State University, recently won the graduate case study competition during the 2017 Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) Conference. Wilkerson (left) and Hackbarth (middle) are pictured with Dr. Ben Littlepage (right), coordinator for Murray State’s postsecondary education administration program, at the SACSA Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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