Features — 23 May 2013

With special guests ranging from Miss MSU to Racer One, the Murray State University office of regional outreach’s annual project showcase celebrated the impact of outreach in western Kentucky in derby style. Mint julep tea, Kentucky hot browns and real Derby Pie were just some of the accents to make the project showcase a fun-filled event. Any way you slice it, projects funded by regional outreach this past year have made a serious and measurable impact in western Kentucky.

Each year, the Regional Advisory Council selects worthy projects to receive funding provided by the Council on Postsecondary Education. The four main goals of the advisory council are education attainment, quality of life, job creation and collaborative partnerships. All of these were present in the projects funded through the fiscal year 2012-13 granting cycle. Projects included Racer Academy, Hooked On Science, Junior Achievement, Get Connected, Operation Respect and more.

This year’s event welcomed Miss MSU, Rayna Gordon, in singing “My Old Kentucky Home” before the luncheon commenced. During the luncheon, Dr. Bonnie Higginson, MSU provost and current faculty member honored the 2013 recipients of the Presidential Honor Roll Award. Each year the president of the United States honors outstanding community projects for the extraordinary and exemplary community service contributions that assisted students, faculty and staff of Murray State University in addressing critical community and national needs. This year the three project recipients were Math Out of the Bag, Shakespeare in the Schools and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Representatives from each project were in attendance to accept their award.

All of the projects displayed at the event represented a large population of students and community members Murray State serves through the office of regional outreach. Gina Winchester, executive director of the office, shared that over the past four years 59 projects have funded over 373 different programs collectively impacting over 155,000 individuals in the region. As a result, over 180 strategic partnerships have been formed and $2.3 million leveraged to support educational attainment. The success of this year’s projects set the bar high for next year’s applicants. Information on applying for 2013-14 funding will soon be available at www.murraystate.edu/outreach.

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