Racer Alumni Podcast

Racer Alumni Podcast: Stories from the Finest Place We Know

Racers are spirited and strong. For a century, Racer alumni all over the world have been given the opportunity to accomplish what we pursue and enjoy a lifetime of success thanks to the unique and special college experience we received at Murray State University.

Hear from administrators, faculty, staff and students about the incredible things happening on campus, learn about some of the amazing things our fellow alumni are doing personally and professionally to make an impact on the world and fondly reminisce about the memories and moments you cherish most from your time as a student.

Sponsored by the Join the Murray State University Alumni Association and hosted by Murray State Director of Alumni Relations Carrie McGinnis and 2019 Murray State graduate Jordan Lowe, The Racer Alumni Podcast: Stories from the Finest Place We Know, will give you the chance to connect with your alma mater and others within our global alumni family. We are 80,000-strong. 

Join the Murray State University Alumni Association

Meet your hosts

Carrie Mcginnis

Carrie McGinnis
Murray State Director of Alumni Relations

Jordan Lowe

Jordan Lowe
2019 Murray State graduate



Episode 22 — June 15, 2022

bob jacksonThe Final Episode featuring MSU President Dr. Bob Jackson — Dr. Seuss is credited with saying, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

It is with that grateful attitude that we bring you the final episode of the Racer Alumni Podcast. What started as a centennial project, has been a labor of love over the last 12 months. We've talked to some incredible people, learned a tremendous number of interesting things and benefited from valuable perspectives. As of today, nearly 2,400 Racers have downloaded the podcast and hundreds listen to each episode. To everyone who has listened, participated, promoted and encouraged...THANK YOU! Each episode will be archived in the University Library archives for posterity.

All of that said, it is only appropriate that we bookend this experience by talking in our final episode with our very first podcast guest: Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson, '85. We discuss the many positive changes underway to the look, feel and accessibility of our beautiful campus, the fate of the "big wooden people" in the Curris Center update, the future of Winslow Dining Hall, the special way that Murray State's First Lady, Karen Miller Jackson, '84, impacts our campus community and his ability to effectively lead, the unique perspective that comes with being an alumnus of the institution, the $100 million dollar "Be Bold" capital campaign and how you can be a part of ALL of it.

And finally, huge thanks to 2019 alumnus Jordan Lowe. This podcast was Jordan's brainchild, and he voluntarily co-hosted nearly every episode over the last year. He has been a joy to work with and is the proudest of the proud #RacerAlumni family. We could not have done this without him.

We are family. We are involved. We are Racers.

Previous Episodes

Kentucky Comedy Festival logoKentucky Comedy Festival — Laughter is making a return to Lovett Auditorium thanks to a comedy-loving alumnus with a heart for Murray State. Paducah, Kentucky-native Ben Wilson, a 1999 environmental engineering technology alumnus now working as a real estate attorney in Florida, is combining his love for his alma mater with his passion for stand-up comedy in an effort to bring nationally-known talent to western Kentucky. The two-night Kentucky Comedy Festival hits the stage at Murray State’s historic Lovett Auditorium this October 19-20.

Inspired by Comedy Central’s “South Beach Comedy Festival” in Miami, Wilson began planning the Kentucky Comedy Festival on Murray State’s campus in 2020 with the goal of creating a fun and positive experience for the comedians, the campus community and the local region, and the hope of creating an annual affair. The two-day line-up features eight comedians including Lace Larrabee, Kentucky-native Mark Klein, Brad Upton, Tammy Pescatelli, Katherine Blanford (whose mother was a Murray State alumna), Eric O'Shea, Jasmine Ellis and Kevin Farley, brother of the late “Saturday Night Live” star Chris Farley. Many of the featured comedians can be seen on YouTube's Dry Bar Comedy Channel.

Ben WilsonBen talks about his love for all things comedy, including an amazing story about how Possum Trot and Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky led to a fated friendship with Rodney Dangerfield, and his beloved Bulldogs, appropriately-named Rodney and Farley.

Proceeds from the event will fund a scholarship that Wilson has established to support students who participate in Murray State University intramural sports. Ben participated in intramural sports as a student, and in 1999 was named Outstanding Senior Man. Realizing as a student himself the impact that extra-curricular activities can have on student retention, success and mental health, Ben established the "Living the Dream with Ben and the Bulldogs Intramural Sports Athletes of the Year Scholarship, which will provide a $1,000 scholarship to both the male and female athletes of the year annually. Tickets for the Kentucky Comedy Festival are on sale now.

On Friday, April 21, the Murray State University Alumni Association honored and celebrated Murray State’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni and the 2023 Distinguished Young Alumnus.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor granted by the MSUAA, recognizing alumni who have excelled personally and professionally and who have made meaningful contributions at a local, state and national level. Recipients over the years have included Pulitzer Prize and Emmy-winning journalists, renowned authors, research scientists and physicians, executives, educators and military leaders.

2023 Distinguished Alumni group photoThis year's recipients included: Phyllis Jackson Childs (’98, ’00), a nationally-lauded safety professional, Trisha Clark Cunningham (’86), a leader of one of the country’s largest efforts to feed the hungry, Dr. Brent Mayabb (’95), a globally recognized veterinarian, Dr. James Rudolph (’66, ’69), a Murray State professor emeritus whose work in the equine industry had an impact and home and around the country and Jimmy Wright (attd.’62-’63), a world-renowned painter and artist.

In part two of this series, we are bringing the Distinguished Alumni awards program to you, so you can hear the heartfelt stories of our recipients and share a laugh or two. In episode 20, you will hear from Brent, Jim’s wife, Dr. Holly Rudolph (on his behalf), and Jimmy as they weave together the tremendous impact that their shared Murray State experience had on their lives and impressive careers.

2023 Distinguished Alumni — On Friday, April 21, the Murray State University Alumni Association honored and celebrated Murray State’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni and the 2023 Distinguished Young Alumnus.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor granted by the MSUAA, recognizing alumni who have excelled personally and professionally and who have made meaningful contributions at a local, state and national level. Recipients over the years have included Pulitzer Prize and Emmy-winning journalists, renowned authors, research scientists and physicians, executives, educators and military leaders. This year, we add a nationally-lauded safety professional for one of America’s largest auto manufacturers, a leader of one of the country’s largest efforts to feed the hungry, a globally-recognized veterinarian, a Murray State professor emeritus who’s work in the equine industry had an impact here at home and nationwide and a word-renowned painter and artist.

2023 Distinguished Alumni group photoThey are Phyllis Jackson Childs (’98, ’00), Trisha Clark Cunningham (’86), Dr. Brent Mayabb (’95), Dr. James Rudolph (’66, ’69), Jimmy Wright (attd.’62-’63), and the 2023 Distinguished Young Alumnus, Dominique Hudspeth (’09).

In part one of this two-part series, you’ll hear from Dom, Phyllis and Trisha. They’ll make you laugh and make you cry all while reminding you of why Murray State is such a special place. As you will hear, it is all about relationships. There is even a surprise announcement in the end! During part two, we’ll share remarks from Brent, Jim’s wife, Dr. Holly Rudolph, (Murray State Accounting Professor Emeritus) speaking on Jim’s behalf, and Jimmy Wright. Some of the content has been edited for length.

Get to Know Your Murray State University Alumni Association Leadership — Did you know that the Murray State University Alumni Association (MSUAA) is made up of active, dues-paying alumni members from all over the world? Did you also know that the work of the MSUAA is guided and directed by a 19-member Board of Governors, made up of active members from all over the region? And, did you further know that the work of the Board of Governors is led by an Executive Committee elected by members of the board? Ok...one last question. Did you know that you can volunteer to serve your University in this capacity? You CAN!

In this episode, we'll introduce you to the 2022-2023 MSUAA President Gayle Rogers ('10, '15), Immediate-Past President Amber DuVentre ('06, '09), President-Elect Bret Cude ('81) and Vice President Scott Grant ('07, '09). We'll talk about their unique and individual Murray State experiences, fave traditions, what moves them to be of service to their alma mater and why you might consider doing so, as well.

Avoid FOMO! Become an active annual or lifetime member of the MSUAA today. Interested in serving in a leadership capacity? You can learn more about the current members of the board, read about the history, mission, vision and purpose of the MSUAA, view our core pillars and expectations, submit an application to serve and even nominate another Racer alumna or alumnus who you think could have a tremendous impact. If you have further questions, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 1.800.758.8510 or email Alumni Relations Director Carrie McGinnis at cmcginnis2@murraystate.edu.

Gayle Rogers
Gayle Rogers ('10, '15)

Amber DuVentre
Amber DuVentre ('06, '09)

Bret Cude
Bret Cude ('81)

Scott Grant
Scott Grant ('07, '09)

Meet us on the Quad — It’s All Campus Sing! — Sigma Alpha Iota’s (SAI) All Campus Sing has showcased the musical talents, dance skills, wardrobe creativity and often, the wicked sense of humor, of Racers across many of the campus’s student organizations for 65 years. And nearly every April since 1958, students, faculty, staff, locals and alumni have crowded the lawn in front of Lovett Auditorium, along with thousands of Racers around the globe tuned-in online, to watch the highly-choreographed musical numbers on Murray State’s most beloved steps.

Apart from, maybe, longtime Student Organization Advisor Jeanie Morgan, few Racers have participated in more consecutive All Campus Sings than Murray State Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Don Robertson, or to those in the know, Dr. R.

Dr. Robertson joins us to take a look back at some of his favorite All Campus Sing memories, along with Logan Stout (’11, ’15), the ACS Master of Ceremonies who first participated as a student, himself. Racer Basketball fans will also recognize Logan as the P.A. announcer during games in the CFSB Center.

We also chat with this year’s SAI All Campus Sing co-chairs, Addi Bussen and Aidan Schweitzer, and Assistant Chair Gena Parker about all of the ways alumni near and far can support the participating students and student groups, as well as SAI’s annual philanthropy, People to People, a non-profit organization that provides instruments, music and music accessories to those without access.

Logan Stout
MC of All Campus Sing
Logan Stout

Dr. Robertson
Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
Dr. Don Robertson

SAI All Campus Sing co-chairs
SAI All Campus Sing co-chairs
Addi Bussen and Aidan Schweitzer
and Assistant Chair Gena Parker


Racer Women Making a Difference — It’s Women’s History Month and girls just wanna have…funds? In the latest episode of the Racer Alumni Podcast, we give Jordan Lowe the week off and make it all about the ladies. We are joined by three Murray State alumnae who are making a difference for the next generation of Racer women. You’ll meet Murray State University Women’s Center and Pride Center Director Abigail Cox (’09, ’12), Development Officer for the University’s College of Fine Arts and Humanities and the Honors College Kala Allen-Dunn (’10, ’17) and Executive Director of Development Dr. Tina Bernot (’14, ’21), and hear more about their unique Murray State student experiences.

Listen in as we talk about how the Women’s Center at Murray State has evolved over time and what this generation of collegiate women needs to feel supported, safe and successful during their time as students, how societal and cultural issues impact those needs and what you can do as a Racer grad to have a meaningful impact on their lives. Plus, learn more about Murray State’s recently established Women’s Philanthropy Society. We discuss the group’s mission, goals and the many ways that the founding alumnae and others are finding joy and meaning in pooling their individual wealth, no matter how big or how small, to create opportunities for scholarly women, including Murray State students, alumni, faculty and staff, and how you can be a part of this growing effort.

Kala Allen-Dunn
Development Officer for the University’s College of Fine Arts and Humanities and the Honors College
Kala Allen-Dunn (’10, ’17)

Tina Bernot
Executive Director of Development
Dr. Tina Bernot (’14, ’21)

Abigail Cox
Women’s Center and Pride Center Director
Abigail Cox (’09, ’12)

Racer Nation Podcast logoRacer Nation Men's Basketball Podcast — Law & Order. Any network show with "Chicago" in the title. Who doesn't love a good crossover event? In episode 15 of the Racer Alumni Podcast, Jordan and Carrie get the chance to get to know three young alumni who have taken their decades-long obsession with Racer Men's Basketball and turned it into a podcast followed by Racer fans and friends all over the world.

They say timing is everything. Sawyer Lawson, '16, Logan Foster, '17, and Austin Blakely, '16 & '17, started the Racer Nation Podcast in 2021, just as the OVC Champion Racers would embark upon a magical season who's run would be stopped only by arguably one of history's greatest Cinderella teams, St. Peters, two games deep into the 2022 NCAA tournament in Indianapolis.

The Racer Legacy began in these three alumni when they were still in diapers, and it continues today as they find success in their growing families and thriving careers. How many high schoolers do you know who spend their money on collegiate basketball season tickets? We chat about their earliest blue and gold-laden memories, their involvement in campus life as students, their obsession with Murray State Hall-of-Famer D.T. Mayes ('96-'98), their ultimate Racer "Dream Team," and get their thoughts on what the #7 Racers need to do to get past #10 Valpo and make their way beyond game one of the Missouri Valley Conference Arch Madness Men's Basketball Tournament in St. Louis this weekend. Much like the Oscars, there may even be some tears shed and a mid-show wardrobe change.

If you are headed to St. Louis for the tournament, be sure to stop by Racer Fan Headquarters, The Wheelhouse, 1000 Spruce St., for the MSUAA-sponsored pregame party Thursday, beginning when the venue opens at 3 p.m. It is free of charge and will include loads of #RacerSpirit, as well as a visit from Dunker, Racer Band and the MSU Cheerleaders. The MSUAA will host pregame festivities prior to every tournament appearance as long as the Racers continue to win.

George RadfordRacer Football Alumnus George Radford — In episode 14 of the Racer Alumni Podcast we celebrate Black History Month. we have the gift of chatting with Racer Football alumnus George Radford. George is a native of Western Kentucky. He was in middle school in Trigg County when the district integrated, and he was recruited to play football at Murray State during the height of the civil rights movement. He was a two-sport Racer athlete and a charter member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in health and PE in 1973, a Master’s degree in 1981 and his Rank 1 in 1990, all from Murray State. He spent 27 years teaching PE and coaching football, basketball, track and field and cross country. When he started, he was the first Black coach in the Kentucky High School Athletics Association 5th District.

In the mid-80s, George was among a group of local Black men and community leaders, several of whom are also Murray State alumni, who came together to found a non-profit organization they called Genesis Express. Their intention was to offer after-school activities, tutoring, summer programs, scholarships and other opportunities for local youth and financial support to people in need. After nearly 40 years, they are not only continuing their work, but growing, with a new building project underway. These men have had an incredible impact on generations of local children.

George’s tireless effort to support kids, his decades-long passion for his community, his love for people, his infectious positivity and grace are all reasons that George Radford is a Racer you should know.

Racers in Recruitment - Alumni Seeking the Next Generation of Murray State Grads — In episode 13 of the Racer Alumni Podcast we are lucky enough to chat with several Murray State alumni tasked with recruiting the next generation of Racers. They loved their Murray State experience so much that they continue to find their passion paying it forward. We'll welcome Murray State University Director of Recruitment Shawn Smee, '98, '17, Senior Associate Director of Recruitment Kendrick Quisenberry, '08, '10, Office of Recruitment Legacy Liaison Brandi Jackson Stiff, '96, and Transfer Center Director Maria Rosa, '02, '03. We'll talk about their favorite memories as students and how their campus experiences continue to motivate them to recruit future Racers. We'll also share valuable information about the application process, admission requirements, scholarships, campus life and all you need to know to help your alma mater court the future Racers in your life!

Shawn Smee
Murray State University Director of Recruitment Shawn Smee, '98, '17

Kendrick Quisenberry
Senior Associate Director of Recruitment Kendrick Quisenberry, '08, '10

Brandi Jackson Stiff
Office of Recruitment Legacy Liaison Brandi Jackson Stiff, '96

Maria Rosa
Transfer Center Director Maria Rosa, '02, '03

Elnora FordThe Life and Legacy of Mary Ford Holland, the First Black Student at Murray State — In episode 12, we talk to Elnora Ford, Holland's niece and longtime caretaker

As we celebrate the tremendous impact that Dr. Martin Luther King had and continues to have on our nation, it is only fitting that we learn more about the life of someone who's legacy is forever imprinted upon Murray State's history of familial culture and academic excellence, Mary Ford Holland, '61.

Mary Ford Holland, the first Black student at Murray State, was posthumously awarded an honorary doctorate of education from Murray State as part of our fall 2022 commencement ceremony. Holland's niece and longtime caretaker, Elnora Ford, traveled to campus from her home in Michigan to accept the honor on her behalf, and on behalf of the Ford family.

Mary Ford Holland student IDOriginally from Trigg County, Kentucky, Holland was home schooled by her mother and grandmother until she entered the eighth grade. She graduated from a segregated boarding school in Paducah and eventually earned her teaching certificate from West Kentucky Industrial College, now West Kentucky Community and Technical College, in 1935. Holland also attended Kentucky State College, now Kentucky State University, through correspondence courses part-time, working toward her bachelor’s degree.

In the summer of 1955, at 48 years old and on the heels of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Holland transferred to what at the time was Murray State College, becoming the first Black student to attend the institution. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Education in August of 1961 at the age of 54.

Mary Ford Holland was a pioneer in education throughout this region, teaching literacy and English, eventually retiring as a Reading Specialist at Lyon County Elementary School in 1972. She and her husband, Charles, did not have children, so it was Elnora who served as her caretaker until her death at age 92.

While in Murray, Elnora sat down with Murray State University President Dr. Bob Jackson, College of Education and Human Services Dean Dr. David Whaley and Director of Alumni Relations Carrie McGinnis to share an oral history of Mary Ford Holland’s upbringing, early career and groundbreaking experience at Murray State so we can preserve that important part of our history for the University’s archives. This episode of the Racer Alumni Podcast features the audio of that conversation.

Charles Edward Hall as Santa outside of Radio City Music HallHere Comes Santa Claus...and he's a Racer — In episode 11, we talk to Murray State alum Charles Edward Hall.

Charles Edward Hall, '73, has been delighting people from all over the globe for more than three decades as Santa Claus in New York's famed Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

From the rural landscape of Kentucky's capital city to the lights of Broadway, the Frankfort native has come a long way. Hall graduated with dual degrees in theatre and speech communication from Murray State nearly 50 years ago, and in 1976, he followed his passion for the theatre to the Big Apple.

Charles Edward HallAs a young actor, his theatre career began in plays "off off" Broadway, but it wasn't long until Broadway came calling. His first major role was not that of Santa, but rather as a surprising villain: the Wicked Witch in the Broadway production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Hall began his run as Santa alongside the famed Rockettes in 1986. Thousands of magic-filled shows later, he announced earlier this year that this 36th season would be his last.

After years as a New Yorker, Hall now resides full-time in Calloway County and commutes to and from New York to work. His 2014 book, Santa Claus is for Real: A True Christmas Fable About the Magic of Believing, is now in development to become a film.

Tripp Gibson - courtesy of MLBBaseball's Biggest Stage with MLB Umpire Tripp Gibson — In episode 10, we talk to Murray State alum Tripp Gibson.

2005 Murray State alumnus Hal Harrison Gibson III, better known as Tripp, has come a long way since his days growing up and playing baseball in Graves County, Kentucky. He, his wife and their two sons now call the Pacific Northwest home. However, from the first of March through the end of October each year, his stretches there are few and far between. After serving as an umpire in the Major Leagues for nearly 10 years, this year's call of duty was extended even later into the fall when Gibson got the call this October to, for the first time, officiate the World Series.

From umping Murray State Racer baseball games while still a student himself, to working his way up through the minors, and finally launching a storied career in the MLB, Tripp talks to us about what it is like to take his turn on baseball's biggest stage. We'll learn what it takes to get there, the special skills required to make an MLB umpire one of the best, how one handles the pressure of calling balls and strikes during a World Series no-hitter and how he was able to use his national platform to direct the country's attention and resources toward Mayfield, Kentucky, after the deadly tornado destroyed his beloved hometown in December of 2021.

Donna HerndonDonna Herndon - Special “Centennial Homecoming” episode — In episode 9, a special “Centennial Homecoming” episode of the MSUAA Racer Alumni Podcast, we get a history lesson from none other than longtime former Murray State University Alumni Affairs Director Donna Herndon, class of 1964.

Donna Ruth Herndon, a Murray native, has been deeply embedded in the fabric of Murray State University her entire life. Both of her parents graduated from Murray State and her uncle, Marvin O. Wrather, an interim president of Murray State in 1968 and the man for whom historic Wrather Hall was named, was among the University's first graduating class and a founder of the Murray State University Alumni Association in 1926.

As a student, she lived in the Sigma Sigma Sigma wing of Woods Hall. She studied art under Clara M. Eagle, for who the art gallery in Doyle Fine Arts is named. And, the aforementioned are not the only people in her life whose names grace historic spaces and places on Murray State’s campus. She was a student during the presidency of Ralph Woods, who she calls a consummate educator. She personally knew Forrest Pogue and later worked alongside Harry Lee Waterfield. In this episode, she shares some sage advice she once received from Waterfield, which she still lives by today.

In her role as Alumni Director, she served under the direction of four Murray State presidents. Under her leadership from 1981-1992, the Student Ambassador Program and Tent City, longtime traditions which we still enjoy today, both got their start. She’ll share with us some of her favorite Homecoming memories, including one particular Homecoming theme that garnered lots of attention for reasons she never intended. It is a walk through nearly 80 of Murray State’s 100 years.

Racer One and Dr. Shea Porr Racer One and Madison KirbyRacer One Jockey Madison Kirby and Racer One Faculty/Staff Advisor Dr. Shea Porr — Clear the Track! With Murray State’s Centennial Homecoming just two weeks away, it is only fitting that we talk about one of the most fun, fast and fascinating traditions in all of collegiate athletics – Racer One. Joining us for Episode 8 are 2022-2023 Racer One Jockey Madison Kirby and Racer One Faculty/Staff Advisor Dr. Shea Porr. (photo courtesy of Dave Winder)

Dr. Porr is heading into her tenth year on the faculty within Murray State’s Hutson School of Agriculture. She began as Department Head for the Animal and Equine Science program in 2018, taking the “reigns” as Murray State’s Racer One Coordinator that same year.

Madison, an agriculture education major in her first season jockeying Racer One, is a junior from Fisherville, Kentucky, located near Louisville. Born to race, Madison has been riding since she was just three years old and spent much of her childhood watching her father race and train horses under the twin spires of Churchill Downs, home of the famed Kentucky Derby.(photo courtesy of Dr. David Eaton)

The current Racer One, whose given name is actually Vegas Impulse, holds a special distinction among his peers. He is the first Racer One since the inception of the tradition in 1976 who was actually born and raised on Murray State’s campus.

Learn more about the beginnings of this tradition on Murray State’s campus, how jockeys and horses are selected for this prestigious role, what type of training it takes to prepare our most recognizable mascot for his time in the spotlight and why Racer One has become as important to ag education as he is to school and community pride in this episode of the Racer Alumni Podcast.

Dr. Don TharpeDr. Don Tharpe, Chair of the Murray State Board of Regents — In Episode 7 we get the honor of chatting with the current chair of the Murray State University Board of Regents Dr. Don Tharpe, a 1974 and 1975 graduate of Murray State.

While he has inked his place in Murray State’s centennial history as the first Black chairperson to lead the Murray State Board of Regents, Dr. Tharpe talks in this episode of the Racer Alumni Podcast about his desire to further be remembered beyond that important distinction, by using his leadership position to make a memorable impact on his alma mater and a significant difference in the lives of our students. He has a well-documented passion for academic excellence and asset preservation, often calling on University leadership and his colleagues to make investments in campus improvements and deferred maintenance.

In addition to his oft-heard mantra of "taking care of our stuff, Dr. Tharpe is also known to crack a joke, tell a story and otherwise provide some much-appreciated levity in the boardroom, where the matters of business at hand often feel weighty.

Dr. Bob ValentineDr. Bob Valentine, Robert Norsworthy, and the legacy Bob "Doc" McGauhey — In episode six, we welcome Murray State University Journalism and Mass Communication Professor and longtime debate coach Bob Valentine. "Dr. Vee" has been teaching at Murray State since 1974. Outside of Wilson Hall, Valentine has long been known as an emcee extraordinaire, a comedian, coveted public speaker, one half of the duo “The Communicators” alongside longtime friend and colleague Dr. Bob McGaughey, a Scottish master of ceremonies and even, on occasion, a dupe for Murray State’s founder Rainey T. Wells.

Robert NorsworthyAlso joining us is Robert Norsworthy, a native western Kentuckian, who spent more than 3 decades as one of the quintessential Mad Men of Madison Avenue. Mr. Norsworthy worked for 30+ years in advertising in New York. From “Have it Your Way” to “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz,” he was at the table when some of America’s most memorable catch phrases first came into being. Upon retirement, Norsworthy returned to Calloway County where he has been consulting in the JMC department and matching students with internships in advertising all over the world for more than 10 years.

Dr. Bob Valentine and Doc McGauhey Join us as we talk about their Murray State experience, how the local community helped to shape Murray State into an epicenter for culture and higher learning in western Kentucky more than 100 years ago, the life and legend of Bob "Doc" McGaughey and how you can help carry on Doc's legacy of journalistic integrity and good humor into Murray State's next 100 years.

Nico YantkoNew Murray State Athletic Director Nico Yantko — Former Racer Football QB Nico Yantko was introduced August 15 as the 10th director of athletics in Murray State history. A two-time alumnus, Yantko earned a bachelor's degree in integrated studies in 2009 and a master's degree in human development and leadership in 2020. He returns home to Murray State as the Racers begin their first year in the Missouri Valley Conference and join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2023. Yantko's career in collegiate athletics began as a graduate assistant in the MSU athletics department and later at North Carolina State, the University of Missouri and the University of Louisiana. Join us as he talks about his experience as a student-athlete at Murray State, his career leading up to this point and what it means to him to guide his alma mater into the next century as we celebrate the centennial of our founding.

W. Earl BrownHollywood actor W. Earl Brown — Alumnus W. Earl Brown stars in the new Apple TV+ limited series, Five Days at Memorial. Murray native Earl Brown, '85, has been one of Hollywood's go-to character actors for more than three decades. With well-known roles in There's Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Deadwood, The Master, Scream and The Mandalorian lining his resume, Earl has proven to be a genre-crossing shape-shifter in television and film. His latest project for Apple TV+, which premiers August 12, is based on tragic actual events that took place in the devastated New Orleans Memorial Hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Earl talks with us about his long and steady career, seeing his Star Wars dream become a reality, his latest project and what's next.

Five Days at Memorial Official Trailer

Jabir WalkerGood call ref! — Racer Football alumnus Jabir Walker, '00, began his professional career playing arena football. Now, on any given Sunday he is the one making the calls. Jabir is at the top of the reffing game, traveling across the country officiating NFL football and NCAA basketball. In 2021, he was called up to serve as an alternate on the Super Bowl LV officiating crew, a highly-coveted opportunity among NFL referees and one reserved for only the best of the best in a given season. In episode three, Jabir talks about his experience as a Murray State student-athlete during the era of hall-of-fame coach Houston Nutt, what it takes to break into the upper echelon of officiating on the national level, how he responds to haters and the “suggestions” from passionate fans in the stands and why good sportsmanship is so important beginning with little league athletics.

jeff mclaughlin poses at stewart stadiumThe facts, fiction and foresight of Murray State's founding — Dr. Jeff McLaughlin, Murray State’s Archives/Museum Director, joins us for episode two to talk about the facts, lore and local characters who helped shape the history of Murray State. He will also talk about some of the epic shifts and challenges that Murray State and its administration weathered throughout our nation’s history, such as the Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam, Civil Rights and generations of students coming of age on our campus. Jeff is also the co-author of the University’s upcoming pictorial book, The Finest Place We Know: A Centennial History of Murray State University, 1922-2022.

Bob JacksonThe First Episode! Featuring Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson — Join us in celebrating our Centennial throughout the remainder of 2022. The Racer Alumni Podcast launches July 1, featuring the 14th President of Murray State University and 1985 alumnus Dr. Bob Jackson. We will discuss his long history with Murray State dating back to his time as a student and the many roles he has held leading up to his presidency. We'll also chat about his experience leading the institution through a global pandemic and the University’s 100th birthday celebration, including the upcoming release of a pictorial history of Murray State, which he co-authored, The Finest Place We Know: A Centennial History of Murray State University, 1922-2022.

Pre-order the book

Can’t wait to hear what’s next?

New episodes drop on the 1st and 15th of each month. You can listen right here on our website or find us on your favorite podcast service and subscribe today. 

Don’t miss an episode - subscribe today

Listen to new episodes right here on our website or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, Libsyn, Podchaser and many other podcast services.

subscribe on apple subscribe on google subscribe on spotify subscribe on amazonsubscribe on audible subscribe on podchaser

Interested in Developing a Podcast for Your Business or Organization?

This podcast was produced by Jim Ray Consulting Services.  Jim Ray, a 1992 Murray State graduate, serves as the executive producer of the Racer Alumni Podcast.  He can help you with the concept development, implementation, production and distribution of your own podcast, just as he has done for the MSUAA.

Visit Jim Ray's podcast production Services

The views and opinions expressed during the Racer Alumni Podcast do not necessarily reflect those of Murray State University, its administration or the faculty at large. The episodes are designed to be inspiring and entertaining.


© Murray State University Department of Web ManagementWe are Racers.