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Future MSU president 'listening'

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

MURRAY - About a month after he was tapped as the next leader of Murray State University, Robert "Bob" Davies visited campus to learn more about the school community.

Davies participated in meetings, gatherings, and school events Tuesday and Wednesday and spoke at a news conference in Heritage Hall. 

He said his trifecta of emphasis will consist of building on the university's strengths in academic excellence, its student-driven focus and service to the region. Davies, who called this opportunity a "dream come true," said he will work to foster student-faculty relationships and promote Murray State across Kentucky and in bordering states.

Davies said during his "listening tour" this week he has enjoyed talking with students about their personal journey to Murray State.

"I want to learn about the context of Murray State, its history and traditions," he said. "You can't get that perspective from afar; you have to roll up your sleeves and see it in person."

Regents unanimously chose Davies as the school's 13th president in March after a 10-month search. He was selected over fellow finalist James Smith, president of Northeastern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. Davies, who has served since 2009 as president of Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore., will begin his tenure at Murray State in July, replacing retiring President Tim Miller.

Board chairman Constantine Curris introduced Davies Wednesday and raved about his experience with shared governance, his warm personality and sharp focus on the broad future of academics.

"Most importantly, he wants to be here, and he and his family are excited to be a part of this community," Curris said.

Davies said he will follow a tiered plan based roughly on his first 60, 90 and 120 days. The first two months will be heavily devoted to listening to ideas, visiting the regional campuses, and meeting community and political leaders. In the next stages, he plans to document various ideas and suggestions before vetting them and implementing ones that are selected. 

Regionalism and the new Paducah campus will also be a point of emphasis for Davies. He said the Murray State system extends past the main campus and needs to work together.  

"It's not an either-or, it's an-and," he said. "We are working to remove barriers that would prevent access to higher education."

Today he plans to speak at the Murray Rotary Club and attend the Legacy Children's Easter Egg Hunt on Oakhurst Lawn and then the faculty recognition banquet in the Curris Center Ballroom. 

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

Comments made about this article - 1 Total

MSUgrad posted on: Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:58 AM

Title: ha

Yes, he'll be "listening" to Deno Curris and his hand-picked regents.

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