MSU announces newly-named “Doran Arboretum at Murray State University” with establishment of the Doran Arboretum Fund for Excellence

By Aviva Yasgur | Sep 11, 2023

Doran family and MSU signing of guidelines

Front row left to right: President Bob Jackson, Murray State University; Harold Doran, Jr. and Frank Doran of the Doran Foundation; Dr. Brian Parr, Dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. Back row left to right: Dr. Tina Bernot, executive director of development; Abby Hensley, director of development - Hutson School of Agriculture; Paul Rister, Board President of the Friends of the Arboretum; Jonah Brannon, instructor in the Hutson School of Agriculture; Dava Hayden, manager of the Doran Arboretum.


MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University, together with members of the Doran Family, signed guidelines on Monday, Sept. 11 establishing the Doran Arboretum Fund for Excellence, made with a $500,000 gift commitment by the Doran Foundation, Inc. to support capital improvements and maintenance of the Arboretum into the future. Following the approval of the Board of Regents, Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson recognized the newly-named “Doran Arboretum at Murray State University” in honor and appreciation of the Doran Family both for this new gift as well as their long history of support for the University.

“The Arboretum is a vitally important asset to the University, community, and region, as well as an excellent teaching tool for our students,” said Jackson. “For several years we have worked to develop a permanent endowment to assist with needs at the Arboretum. We are extremely grateful to the Doran Family for their generous gift to make this endowment a reality. Doran Family members have been loyal supporters of the University in all areas – from academic programs to Racer athletics, along with scholarships to assist our students. This new gift adds to this long list and creates a lasting legacy of support.”

The Doran Family and the Doran Foundation, Inc. have invested over $1.5 million in total support to Murray State over the years, including support for the CFSB Center (formerly the Regional Special Events Center), the golf practice facility named in honor of former men’s and women’s coaches, and the H. Glenn and Anne Doran Endowment, among many other gifts for various University initiatives.

This new gift will ensure the long-term sustainability of the Arboretum, which opened to the public in the fall of 2013 and has become a treasured part of the community, offering green space, walking trails, native and introduced horticultural gardens, play areas, a scenic hill and pond, a hands-on learning laboratory for students and a variety of community activities and events.

“The Doran Foundation is pleased to establish this endowment fund at the MSU Foundation to provide for capital improvements and maintenance of the Arboretum at Murray State University. Beyond the University’s educational mandate for this acreage, my brother, Frank, and I know how much the Arboretum is used and enjoyed by our community and its visitors. We are happy to have the Doran name attached to this portion of the farm gifted by Ms. Mabel Pullen, with whom the Dorans were friends, neighbors and bankers going back three generations. This is a great asset for all of us,” said Harold Doran, President of the Doran Foundation.

Dr. Brian Parr, dean of Murray State’s Hutson School of Agriculture, said, “This generous gift from our long-time supporters and friends, the Doran Family, will help further enhance the Arboretum in many ways. The Doran Family has a rich history with Ms. Pullen, who gifted us the farm on which the Arboretum exists. The Doran Arboretum on the Pullen Farm at Murray State University is the perfect representation of decades of support and collaboration that has allowed us to enjoy excellent facilities and opportunities for students and the community.”

 The Doran Family respectfully appreciates and acknowledges that the establishment of the Arboretum would not have been possible without the generosity and vision of Ms. Mabel Pullen (1899-1995) a long-time farmer and educator of agriculture at Murray State and other local schools and programs, who before her passing, generously donated her 44-acre farm to the Murray State University Foundation, Inc. to be used for educational purposes.

The mission of the Arboretum is to provide and display a collection of both local and introduced plants, with an emphasis on native trees, shrubs and flowers of historic significance to the western Kentucky region. More than 13 acres are dedicated to this living-learning laboratory situated on the Pullen Farm at Murray State University. Murray State University and the Hutson School of Agriculture manage the operations and offerings at the Arboretum.

To make a contribution in support of the Arboretum, please contact Abby Hensley, Director of Development for the Hutson School of Agriculture, at 270-809-3131 or or visit

To learn more about the Arboretum and how to become a Friend of the Arboretum, please visit

Take the next step

© Murray State University Department of Web ManagementWe are Racers.