Board of Regents
Susan Guess, Chair, is Senior Vice President/Marketing Director for Paducah Bank in Paducah, Kentucky. Mrs. Guess has a bachelor of science degree in public relations from Murray State University and a master of public administration degree from the University of Louisville. She and her daughter are co-founders of the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation. They both were appointed to the Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force. They lobbied for a bill to define bullying in Kentucky and that bill became law in April 2016 and will impact all 1,233 public schools and 630,000 Kentucky students. She also chaired the Lourdes Hospital Foundation board for six years. She was only the second woman to chair the Paducah Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and only the second person to chair twice. She was named Kentucky's top volunteer twice. The first time in 1998 after she chaired a campaign to build a $100,000 memorial garden at Heath High School and again last year for her anti-bullying efforts throughout the state. She and her daughter won the Kentucky Justice Association Consumer Safety Award. She also won a national HUD community service award after starting Girl Scout troops in Paducah's public housing. She contributed to the Applied Public Relations college textbook (authored by Murray State Professor Marie Hinton). She has won nearly 20 Telly Awards for her bank television commercials and has been recognized nationally for her bank social media efforts. Mrs. Guess filled the unexpired term of a former Regent which ended in June 2013 and was then reappointed to the Board. Her term on the Murray State Board expires in 2019.
Lisa Rudolph, Vice Chair, is the Co-owner of Rudolph's, Inc. and Co-owner of Rudolph Freight, Inc. in Murray, Kentucky. She received both a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Murray State University as well as a Master of Science degree in Nursing Education. Mrs. Rudolph published her research "Registered Nurse Perceptions of Nursing Practice" in the publication, Kentucky Nurse, the official publication of the Kentucky Nurses Association. In addition to extensive clinical and administrative practice, her professional career has included serving as a preceptor for Murray State University students bridging education to practice. While on campus she was a member of Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society and Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority for which she has served in an advisory capacity.
Mrs. Rudolph is dedicated to giving back by supporting students in the Commonwealth. She and her husband Robbie, a former Murray State student, founded the Four Rivers Foundation in 2010. The Foundation provides educational enhancing opportunities for 3,200 students in five western Kentucky districts. These districts include the counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton and Hickman, as well as Fulton Independent, two area technical centers and one career and technical center. Since its inception, these districts have realized significant increases in student ACT scores, graduation rates and enrollment in post-secondary education. The Foundation is partnered with Murray State University and West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Previously Mrs. Rudolph served two terms on the board of trustees for the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky navigating through the accreditation process. Mrs. Rudolph was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin to fill the expired term of Harry Lee Waterfield II. Her term on the Murray State Board expires in June 2022.
Katherine Farmer, of Murray, is the Education Research and Instruction Librarian and Director of the College of Education and Human Services Curriculum Materials Center for Murray State University and serves as the Faculty Regent. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Mississippi College in 1994 and a Master of Library and Information Science with an emphasis on K-12 school libraries from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2005. Ms. Farmer was a secondary English teacher and K-12 school librarian for 13 years before coming to Murray State University in 2010. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Board of Regents’ Award for Teaching Excellence. She has had an active research agenda focusing on K-12 school libraries and informational literacy that has led to national presentations and publications. During her time at Murray State University, she has served on various university committees, including Academic Council and Faculty Senate. Ms. Farmer served as the Murray State Faculty Senate Vice President from 2014 to 2016. Her term on the Murray State University Board of Regents expires in 2019.
Virginia Gray is the Director of Government Relations for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Mrs. Gray has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Western Kentucky University.
Since being with TVA, she has influenced the creation of the Kentucky Caucus of TVA Legislators, assisted to pass bills lifting the moratorium on nuclear energy in Kentucky and distribution of more TVA In-Lieu of Tax monies going back to TVA counties for economic development. Previously a former state lobbyist, she represented a broad array of interests for JYB3 Group - including healthcare, mental heath, justice reform, corrections and transportation.
Virginia serves on the board of the Tennessee Valley Corridor, a network whose purpose is to sustain existing federal missions, compete for new federal investments and leverage those investments to grow more private sector job opportunities. She is the representing member for the First Congressional District of Kentucky. She is also Chairman of the Trilogy Foundation, a non-profit organization assisting residents at Trilogy Center for Women, a Recovery Kentucky program. As a signature fundraising event for the foundation, she created the Commissioner’s Golf Classic and Farm to Table Dinner, partnering with the Kentucky agriculture and tourism cabinets, highlighting Kentucky Proud products and venues.
Virginia and her husband, Robert, live in Hopkinsville with their three children. Her term on the Board of Regents expires in 2024.
Sharon Green retired as a crime victim advocate in the Graves County Attorney's Office in Mayfield, Kentucky, after 25 years of service. She received the Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Murray State University and has completed all required coursework for the Master of Arts Degree in Education. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Jackson Purchase Medical Center from 2001 to 2017 and was Chairman of the Board for 2007-08. She also served on the Grace Medical Center Board from 2010 to 2017. She was appointed to the Mayfield First United Methodist Church Board of Trustees in 2015. She has been a member of the Mayfield Rotary Club since 1999, serving as President of the club (2005-06) and is on the Mayfield Rotary Foundation Committee. She is currently Chair of The Dictionary Project, Joe and Ella Evan's Scholarship Committee and the Jimmy Thomas Scholarship Committee. She served as Assistant Governor of Rotary Club District 6710 (Mayfield, Murray, Hickman, Fulton and Clinton) from 2007-10. She served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Mayfield-Graves County Chamber of Commerce from 2005-12 and was an elected member of the Mayfield City Council from 2008-10. In 2015, she retired from the Board of Directors of the Graves County Child Advocacy Program/CASA after serving 25 years; from the Graves County Family Resource Youth Service Center after 15 years and Community Collaborations for Children after 14 years. Ms. Green is the proud mother of two sons who are also Murray State alumni and is enjoying being a grandmother to two granddaughters. She served on the Murray State University Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2001-08 and was President in 2006-07. Ms. Green was named Business Woman of the Year for 2018 by the Mayfield-Graves County Chamber of Commerce. Her first term on the Murray State Board of Regents was from 2009-15 and she was reappointed by Governor Beshear for a second term which expires in 2021.
J. Daniel Kemp is an attorney in private practice in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He is former Mayor of Hopkinsville, having served two terms from 2007 through 2014. He is a native of Murray and graduated from Murray State University in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in English and History. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1970 and was admitted to the Bar to practice law. He then served four years in the United States Army and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in 1975. Mr. Kemp’s law practice has focused on business and real estate matters including civil litigation. Mr. Kemp has served on the Board of Governors of the Kentucky Bar Association, the Board of Directors of Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company of Kentucky, the Executive Board of the Kentucky League of Cities, the Board of Trustees of Jennie Stuart Medical Center, the Board of Directors of Pennyrile Area Development District and the boards of many other civic and charitable organizations including Rotary Club, United Way (Campaign co-chair 2012), Pennyrile Arts Council and the Hopkinsville- Christian County Boys and Girls Club. He is active in First United Methodist Church in Hopkinsville where he has chaired the Administrative Board and the Finance Committee. He is married to Henrietta Venable Kemp, Murray State alumnus, 1969. They have five children and six grandchildren. His term on the Murray State Board expires in 2020.
James T. Payne was elected President of the Student Government Association (SGA) at Murray State University in March 2018 and was elected to serve as Chair of the Kentucky State Board of Student Body Presidents in May 2018. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education. With an interest in both education and public service, he plans to pursue a career as a secondary agriculture teacher with intentions to be a leader in the field of education as a school administrator, lobbyist or elected official. He is a 2016 graduate of Henderson County High School where he was inducted into the Career and Technical Education Hall of Fame in 2016 for his involvement in the agriculture and business departments. Since his arrival to Murray State in Fall 2016, he has been actively involved on campus as a Presidential Fellow. He has remained heavily involved in the Hutson School of Agriculture throughout his collegiate career. He has worked with Racer Academy and the Agricultural Education Department as a student worker and has also served as an Agriculture Student Ambassador. In addition, he remains active in the Murray State Collegiate FFA and was recognized with the Henderson County FFA Alumni Workhorse Award in 2017. His involvement expands to the political field on the local and state levels. In 2014 he founded the Henderson County High School Republicans which continues having an impact on Henderson County elections. He was then elected as the President of Murray State College Republicans in Spring of 2017 where he significantly boosted active membership within the organization. He also served as the Chairman for the Rules Committee at the 2018 Convention of the Kentucky Federation of College Republicans. In Henderson County he currently serves as an elected member of the Henderson County Republican Party’s Executive Committee. In 2017 this led him to being featured in the Henderson County Family Magazine as a rising community leader. During the summer of 2017, Mr. Payne served as an intern for the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service, specifically with Henderson County 4-H and Youth Development. In the summer of 2018 he was a Congressional Fellow and spent the summer in Washington D.C. with Congressman James Comer’s office researching agriculture policy, a program created through a partnership with the Congressman and the Hutson School of Agriculture. Mr. Payne began his journey in Student Government as a Senator-At-Large. During his term as Senator he was an advocate for students on the University President’s Budget Advisory Committee and the Dining Services Request for Proposal Board. He has made it his top priority to hold student government accountable ensuring that, as the voice for students, they are accurately advocating for the best interest of all students. He began his presidency by creating and unanimously adopting a set of strategic initiatives for the association. His term on the Murray State Board of Regents expires in 2019.
Jerry P. Rhoads from Madisonville, Kentucky, is in private law practice with Rhoads & Rhoads in Madisonville. Mr. Rhoads received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Murray State University in 1963. He earned the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1966 and was Judge Advocate General Corps with the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1970. Mr. Rhoads served on the Kentucky State Senate, 6th District, from 2003 – 2014 and served on various committees including Judiciary, Education, Economic Development, Tourism and Labor, Capital Projects and Bond Oversight, Veterans and Military Affairs and Public Protection and Banking and Insurance. He has served as a member of the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys since 1981 serving in various roles including President, President-elect, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Rhoads also served on the Board of Governors (First District 1981 through 1988), was former Chair of KATA Workers' Compensation Section, founder and former editor of KATA Workers' Compensation Review and has served as speaker at numerous KATA seminars on Workers' Compensation and Trial Practice. He is a member of the Hopkins County Bar Association, Kentucky Bar Association and a former delegate for the American Trial Lawyers Association. He served on the Governor's Task Force on Workers' Compensation in 1980 and the ad hoc committee appointed by House Leadership to draft workers' compensation legislation for the 1994 General Assembly. Mr. Rhoads was a member of the Murray State University Alumni Association Board of Governors, the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Board of Directors (former President) and he testified before various committees of the Kentucky General Assembly in areas of tort law, automobile insurance and workers' compensation. Mr. Rhoads was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to fill the expired term of Constantine W. Curris. His term on the Murray State Board expires in 2021.
Phil Schooley of Murray, Kentucky, is the Telecommunications Systems Management On-line Advisor for Murray State University and serves as the Staff Regent. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education with an industrial arts major from Murray State University and a master of arts in teaching degree from Southeast Missouri State University. He was a secondary school educator for 33 years before coming to Murray State in 2001. He has held leadership roles in many educational and community organizations which included being the founder of Technology Student Association Clubs in the state of Missouri and serving as its state advisor and as state sponsor for the Missouri chapters of The National Beta Club. During his career he has been the recipient of the "Outstanding Industrial Arts Teacher in Missouri" award, the Missouri State Teacher Association's “Southeast District Meritorious Service Award," the “AIASA Distinguished Service Award,” the “2011 Murray State University Staff Excellence Award” and the “2013 - Dr. Gary Brockway TSM Faculty/Staff Excellence Award.” He has held leadership roles in his church and Lions Club and is a member of the Masonic Lodge, a Kentucky Colonel and a member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He served as Murray State Staff Congress President in 2008-09. Mr. Schooley and his wife, Virginia, have one son, Brian, who is married to Michele; and they have two sons, Garrett and Gavin. His term on the Murray State University Board of Regents expires in 2021.
Dr. Don I. Tharpe’s career in association management spans more than 30 years. Tharpe served as Chief Operating Officer of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards, Inc. CFP Board is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. that serves the public interest by promoting the value of professional, competent and ethical financial planning services, as represented by those who have attained the CFP certification. Dr. Tharpe also served as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF). PAHEF is a U.S. based public charity that works with the Pan American Health organization and other strategic partners to mobilize resources and jointly address key public health priorities. Tharpe served as President and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). The CBCF, established in 1976, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research and educational institute focused on leadership education, public health, economic development for African American and other underserved populations. Prior to that appointment he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Council on Foundations (COF). COF is a nonprofit membership association of more than 2,000 grantmaking foundations and corporations. COF has a staff of 110 and budget of approximately $18 million. There he was responsible for the management of the Council’s internal operations.
Dr. Tharpe was also Executive Director of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), a position he held for 12 years. ASBO is a nonprofit professional membership association that provides programs and services to promote the highest standards of school business management practices, professional growth and the effective use of educational resources. Before holding that post, he was ASBO’s Director of Professional Programs for four years.
For more than seven years prior, Tharpe held multiple senior level positions at the Association for Career and Technical Education including Assistant Executive Director for Membership, Assistant Director of Government Relations and Director of Administrative Services. Prior to his career in association management Tharpe was employed at the Missouri State Department of Education as its Director of Trade and Vocational Education.
In addition to Dr. Tharpe’s extensive management background, he has consulted for a number of nonprofit organizations, written numerous articles on association management and served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a former Vice Chair of its Board. As well, Tharpe is an ASAE Fellow, an honor bestowed on fewer than 200 association executives from ASAE’s membership of over 25,000. Tharpe is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Bluegrass, in Lexington, Kentucky, is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and is Vice Chair of the Alpha Beta Lambda chapter’s educational foundation.
A native of Mayfield, Kentucky, Tharpe is a graduate of Murray State University where he received both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Tharpe received the 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Murray State University and the 2018 African American Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned his doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. His term on the Murray State Board expires in 2023.
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