MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University has awarded a total of 18 incoming students with the prestigious Presidential Fellowship, which includes full tuition, housing and meals for up to four years at the University.

“We are extremely proud of the incoming fall 2019 class of Presidential Fellowship recipients, as this group represents the very best in academic excellence and scholastic endeavors,” said Dr. Bob Jackson, Murray State University president. “We are confident that each of these individuals will find our high-quality academic curriculum to be both rigorous and relevant as they earnestly pursue their ambitions. We believe that all students can discover a collaborative and opportunity-laden living and learning community as a Racer — a truly transformative experience.”  

The recipients, who represent several counties across Kentucky along with six states, will be part of the University’s Honors College, a community within Murray State that offers a unique honors curriculum, critical-thinking seminars and specialized programs and activities. The Honors College has shown significant growth and continued enrollment growth since beginning in 2015.

“Our presidential fellows are all outstanding academic achievers, but they are also selected based on their demonstrated leadership potential and involvement in their communities,” said Dr. Warren Edminster, executive director of the Honors College.

Students selected for the Presidential Fellowship complete a rigorous multi-step application process that includes multiple in-person interviews. During their time at Murray State, recipients of the fellowship are responsible for conducting extensive research projects and serving as leaders in the campus community.

“Presidential fellows engage in undergraduate research under the guidance of a faculty mentor and frequently publish their work before leaving Murray State,” Edminster said. “Besides excelling in research, presidential fellows invariably take leadership roles in student groups, ranging from the Student Government Association to Greek organizations.”

Incoming Murray State students for fall 2019 who have received a Presidential Fellowship include the following individuals:

  • Abigail Ankrom (Troy, Illinois)
  • Ben Austin (McKenzie, Tennessee)
  • Olivia Badalamenti (Collinsville, Illinois)
  • Andrew Bittenbender (Floyds Knobs, Indiana)
  • Carlyn Childress (Paducah, Kentucky)
  • Haylee Cox (Taylorsville, Kentucky)
  • Hannah Funkhouser (Dawson Springs, Kentucky)
  • Caleb Harsin (Belleville, Illinois)
  • Tess Henderson (Brentwood, Tennessee)
  • Sally Lott (Owensboro, Kentucky)
  • Juliana Plunkette (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
  • Ian Robinson (Taylorsville, Kentucky)
  • Keziah Sanders (Sylacauga, Alabama)
  • Jessica Stein (Louisville, Kentucky)
  • George Timmermann (Greenville, Illinois)
  • Molly Ward (Owensboro, Kentucky)
  • Michael Webb (Milan, Tennessee)
  • Dustin Wilcox (Hopkinsville, Kentucky)

Incoming first-year students who have a 28 ACT composite score minimum (or 1250 SAT verbal and math combined score minimum), along with a 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale, are eligible to apply for the Presidential Fellowship. For more information on the University’s Honors College, please visit murraystate.edu/honors.

Top photo: Murray State University awarded a total of 18 incoming students with the prestigious Presidential Fellowship, which includes full tuition, housing and meals for up to four years at the University. Not pictured are Ben Austin and Michael Webb, who participated in separate signings.


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