MSU receives major gift for new university farm
The school of agriculture at Murray State University will have a new addition in the near future thanks to a generous donation by alumnus Bill Garrett ’49 of Winter Haven, Fla. Garrett recently donated commercial property in Eufaula, Ala., that appraised for more than $670,000. This property will be sold in the spring to provide the initial funding for a research and laboratory farm at MSU to be named after Bill and Merry Garrett. This new farm initiative is an important component of the university’s comprehensive campaign, Hold Thy Banner High: The Campaign for the Students of Murray State University. Garrett, originally from Trenton, Tenn., started his education at MSU when he returned from serving in World War II. His entering class, the first to graduate after the war, was a mix of soldiers and sailors who had traveled all over the world. “In 1946, Murray looked like a military post due to the G.I. Bill, which gave us an opportunity to get an education that I am sure changed all of our lives,” Garrett said.
It was during this time that Garrett met his wife, the former Merry Wadsworth of Wauchula, Fla., who attended MSU and worked at the Bank of Murray. They were married during his junior year and then moved to Winter Haven after he graduated. Both were successful there in business and with their agricultural interests. The two of them spent a wonderful 60 years together before Merry passed away in January 2009.
Garrett, with a background in agriculture, understands that the basics of life come from the agricultural system and wanted to donate something to the university that will not only continue to make MSU’s school of agriculture an outstanding academic program but also to better the community. “The two things we have to have to live are food and water, which agriculture is a big part of. We have to preserve that basic concept of life so we have to expand agriculture in every way possible,” Garrett explains. The new university farm will do just that since it will be used to expand the university’s research in agriculture and in areas of great potential importance to Kentucky’s economy.
“Bill Garrett has made a generous donation that will jump start our new farm initiative and will allow us to provide a variety of new learning opportunities for our students in the school of agriculture. In addition, Bill has agreed to serve as the honorary chair of this campaign to find and acquire a new research and laboratory farm,” said Dr. Randy Dunn, MSU president.
Garrett is a proud supporter of Murray State and its students and continues to tell the world about his wonderful memories of Murray and what the university and its students now are accomplishing. “I like to see students who excel and appreciate their education and what it has done for them. I loved my time there and cherished it all of my life – I know a lot of the students are making the most of it,” he said.