In the mid 1990s Murray State University researched the establishment of Residential Colleges at its campus.  In the Fall of 1996, Hester College joined the other seven Residential Colleges as the Residential College system was offically established on Murray State's campus.  Hester College, more formerly known as Cleo G. Hester College, is named after Cleo G. Hester who served many years as registrar at Murray State.

The Hester College Coat of Arms emblazoned on its shield combines traditional elements of hearldry with 20th century concepts of design.  The main devices are taken from the coat of arms of the Hester family, as described in Burke's General Armory, and the Murray State shield.  The elements and the design were selected by students in Hester College.  Jennifer Wise, Hester College's 1996 Homecoming Queen, created the design.

Three swans are the main device of the Hester coat of arms and were chosen as the central focus of the Hester College shield.  In the literature of heraldry, the swan is a symbol of excellence.  Another featured device is the set of three stars.  The stars on the Murray State University shield represent hope, endeavor, and achievement.

The colors selected by students in the college also have significance.  In traditional heraldry, a coat of arms should include the metals gold and/or sliver.  Among the values suggested are understanding, respect, virtue, and majesty.  Blue was a favorite color of Mrs. Cleo G. Hester, according to her son Robert G. Hester, and in heraldry traditionally has indicated fidelity.  Green often is used to suggest freedom, beauty, joy, health, and hope.

The background design uses contemporary interpretations of traditional lines.  Close observers will notice an arrangement suggesting sun, sea, and earth. Hester College's mascot is the Hedgehog.