PRNNWS-04-18-20 JACKSON COLUMN_MUG

Bob Jackson

One of my favorite quotes is by Admiral Bill McRaven: “We will all find ourselves neck deep in mud someday. This is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.”

We are in the middle of the most unprecedented international crisis during our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic causes us to think about uncertainty, unknowns and adjusting to a new normal. It can be scary.

What we do know is “this too shall pass,” as the ancient adage tells us. As we begin to adjust to a new normal and anticipate summer and fall, Murray State University is here for you. Let us help you prepare for an exciting journey to address your hopes and dreams. This international crisis has probably caused you to think about what you want to do in the future. Maybe you have decided to be a nurse, research scientist, teacher, public health official, artist, agricultural researcher, nonprofit executive or attorney, among many other existing or emerging professions.

As we continue to encounter these challenging realities, I am reminded of the strength and perseverance of our Racer family. You may be aware of many recent efforts made within our campus community to assist others. This includes the donation of essential personal protective equipment, the production of Murray State-made face shields for area health care workers and offering services through our Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development to small businesses that are navigating the economic impact of what is taking place.

Please see below for some of our recent decisions, as well as helpful information for our incoming students beginning this fall and for future students who are considering Murray State:

• New students who are beginning this fall can register now for one or more summer classes. We have a record number of new online courses in several short-term formats for your convenience. Summer courses are a great opportunity to get a head start toward your degree requirements for graduation.

• Importantly, your tuition may already be covered with our Murray State Promise program. We are still making scholarship awards to assist you and last year we awarded more than $44 million in grants, scholarships and waivers. In addition, during the past few days, we have allocated additional scholarship funds to assist students. Give us a call at (270) 809-3225 or email msu.scholarships@murraystate.edu. We want to help.

• Do not forget to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may qualify for financial aid, especially during these times as financial circumstances are changing.

• For new students this fall and for new freshmen classes going forward, we have changed our admissions policy to an ACT/SAT test-optional format in order to assist students who will not be able to take these tests due to the pandemic and to relieve some of the stress of the admission process.

• Not sure what to study at Murray State? While you are staying healthy at home, take this survey at murraystate.mymajors.com. Finding your passion and declaring a field of study will help reduce college costs and allow you to complete a degree program sooner. Give it a try. It takes just a few minutes, and we have 143 high-quality, high-value degree programs available.

• We are making many enhancements to Racer Academy, our dual credit program for high school students for Fall 2020 and beyond. These changes will allow high school students to take courses that can be easily applied to a degree track at Murray State, provide a Racer Academy certificate after the completion of courses and, in short, enrich the educational experience for our future Racers and their families.

Murray State University is ranked as one of America’s best colleges by U.S. News and World Report and Forbes magazine and is recognized by Washington Monthly as a “Best Bang for the Buck.” Murray State is my and my wife Karen’s alma mater. We came here over 30 years ago because of the nationally-recognized degree programs, world-class faculty and caring staff. It is home. And, for nearly 100 years, we have been proud to offer a best-value, life-defining college experience for our students, with more than 70,000 proud Racer alumni throughout the world.

To paraphrase a recent comment from a prominent alumnus, Murray State feels like family. During this time, as family, we want to help you plan ahead and answer your questions.

As Admiral McRaven said, we may be neck deep in the mud at the moment but tomorrow will be a better day.

Dr. Bob Jackson is the 14th president of Murray State University.