MURRAY, Ky. — Recent Murray State University graduate Hassan Syed Ali received the Non-traditional Student of the Year Award from the University’s Office of Regional Academic Outreach.

Ali was part of the University’s spring 2018 graduating class and earned his Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) degree with a social sciences emphasis at Murray State’s regional campus in Paducah while balancing two jobs.

“Ali is truly representative of our non-traditional student population at our Murray State regional campuses,” said Dan Lavit, interim dean of regional academic outreach. “We are very proud of his academic accomplishments. This award serves as our recognition of his hard work as a student, business owner, husband and father.”

Ali plans to return to Murray State in the fall for graduate school and is currently considering pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.

“This degree means the world to me,” Ali said. “With two children and a family, it was part of my personal growth but, more importantly, it was meant to be a life lesson to my kids who can look at my story and see what can be achieved. Nothing is impossible.”

Some of Ali’s fondest memories of his Murray State experience include the development of his undergraduate thesis and guest lecturing through the University’s Muslim Student Association.

Of the latter experience, Ali shared that “it was great to see a big turnout from non-Muslim students to come and discuss the topic of comparative religion between Islam and Christianity.”

The National Center for Education Statistics defines a student as non-traditional if at least one of the following conditions are met: the student is over the age of 24, does not enter college shortly after graduating from high school, works full-time while enrolled, is financially independent from one’s parents, has dependents other than a spouse or does not have a high school diploma.

For more information on Murray State’s Paducah Regional Campus, please visit or call 1-800-669-7654.

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