Wilcox Student Plaza to be dedicated on Oct. 4
A special dedication to honor a longtime friend of Murray State University and the Hutson School of Agriculture will be held on Friday, Oct. 4. The Wilcox Student Plaza, located just outside of the school’s offices in the Oakley Applied Science Building, honors a generous supporter of agriculture at MSU, the late David B. Wilcox. The dedication will be held in the plaza at 1:30 p.m. and everyone is invited to attend.
Wilcox, who lived in Paris, Tenn., was an avid supporter of Murray State with his time and donations for many years. He was an initial founding member of the MSU Rodeo Booster Club, and assisted with a donation that allowed the start of a registered Corriente cattle herd to assist the rodeo program at Murray State. He was posthumously inducted into Murray State’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.
Wilcox served as chairman of the board of Allegro Fine Foods, a company he founded with his late wife, Betsy Ross Wilcox, until his death in 2011. Significant gifts to Murray State have been established through the Betsy Ross Foundation — donations that provide scholarships for students attending the university and assist the Hutson School of Agriculture in its work.
“As life goes on, I truly realize that every day is a blessing. Unfortunately, that blessing has an end for all of us,” said John Fuqua, president of Allegro Fine Foods. “However, if during our lives we can have an effect on those who live on, then we truly live on. What better way to do that than to help a student get an education? Dave Wilcox believed this with all his heart and he passed this belief on to me. That is what this plaza and the foundation are really all about.”
Recent agreements were signed by the Betsy Ross Foundation and the MSU Foundation to continue to support the Betsy Ross Wilcox Rodeo Scholarship and the Betsy Ross Wilcox Memorial FFA Scholarship to benefit students in the school of agriculture. The Betsy Ross Foundation made a $20,000 annual commitment for the next 10 years for a gift totaling $200,000.
The rodeo scholarship was established by Dave before his death in memory of Betsy to assist MSU students who are members of the rodeo team. The award is open to both full-time undergraduate and graduate students who are active participants in regional rodeos.
The Betsy Ross Wilcox Memorial FFA Scholarship was originally created by Allegro Fine Foods to honor Betsy. Allegro believes that the FFA contributes much to the development of its members and the future of agriculture, and that agribusiness is an important segment of industry. Recipients of the FFA scholarship must be full-time undergraduate students from western Kentucky and West Tennessee, who are pursuing a degree in, and have a desire to work in, the field of agriculture.
Additionally, funding is provided for the Charles Wilson FFA Scholarship in honor of Dave’s friend who was a former FFA state president and has had a long banking career in Henry County, Tenn. This particular scholarship will be available to students who have been active in FFA, are pursuing a degree in the Hutson School of Agriculture and are from Henry County.
As a new initiative, an additional gift created the Wilcox Family Student Development Fund for Excellence, which may be used for educational, professional and leadership development of agriculture students, to recognize outstanding student contributions and accomplishments, and to maintain and improve the Wilcox Student Plaza.
Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of agriculture at Murray State, knew of Wilcox’s deep interest in students. “Dave Wilcox believed in students and he put his money and scholarships behind that belief. He always said, ‘I don’t care about the university … it’s the students that I care about.’ Yet, when he ‘cared’ about the students, he ‘cared’ about the university because the university is the students.
“The continuing donations of the Betsy Ross Foundation and the naming of the Wilcox Student Plaza will stand as a living testament to Dave’s care and concern for students and for Murray State University agriculture,” Brannon continued. “It will be another great day for MSU agriculture.”
To find out more about these scholarships or to contribute to the scholarship program at Murray State University, contact Abby Hensley, assistant director of annual giving at Murray State University, at 270.809.3131.
March 25, 2015