Denise and Gary Steverson

Feb 1, 2022

Denise and Gary Sterverson at the infamous Shoe Tree.

Denise and Gary Steverson pictured hanging their shoes at the Shoe Tree near Pogue Library.

Gary Steverson, began his journey at Murray State as a member of the Racer Basketball team in 1967. It was in his junior year that he met the love of his life, Denise Burton, a freshman English major from Louisville, who chose Murray State because she wanted to attend college far away from home. The couple met the first week of school when Gary and a group of friends decided to visit the girl’s dormitory, Wells Hall in an effort to meet the new girls on campus. When the group of young ladies appeared in the lobby, Gary spotted Denise and stated when he met her “he didn’t know what to say, she took his breath away”. After their initial meeting, Denise described him as very talkative, nice, tall, and nice looking. They have so many fond memories of their time together at Murray State University. Their courtship consisted of spending time at the lake, attending dances on campus and trips to the Big Apple. They also enjoyed eating at their favorite local restaurant. They were actively involved in campus organizations. Both were members of the Black Student Association. Denise was a member of the Silver Stars Drill Team and Gary was a charter member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Eta Beta Chapter established on campus in the spring 1972. Denise said that Gary was a big hit with her family especially with her younger brother and sisters, when he would travel to Louisville for family visits. He truly enjoyed his visits to their home. Denise and Gary were married in 1972 and after Murray State decided to start their careers in Gary’s hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. Denise is a Special Events Coordinator for the University of Tennessee Health Science Building. Gary taught for many years in the Memphis Public Schools System and coached basketball. His career in education culminated as Assistant Principal at Central High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Denise and Gary regularly attend Homecoming at Murray State. They meet up with old friends and members of Gary’s fraternity and have also made new friends at the annual alumni events. The couple heard about the Murray State University Shoe Tree tradition and how students who met at Murray State and were later married hang their shoes on the tree. During Homecoming 2019, they decided to participate and hung a pair of shoes on the tree honoring their special bond as sole mates. At the next homecoming, Denise states they plan to visit the site where they hung their shoes. The couple resides in Memphis and have been married for 48 years. They have 1 son, 1 daughter, five grandchildren and a great granddaughter.

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