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Alumni Association announces Top 22 under 40 list

The+Alumni+Association+announced+the+Top+22+under+40+list%2C+which+highlights+University+alumni+and+their+achievements.+
Courtesy of Alumni Association Facebook Page
The Alumni Association announced the Top 22 under 40 list, which highlights University alumni and their achievements.

Murray State’s distinguished young alumni were recognized last week through the Alumni Association Young Alumni Network Top 22 Under 40 Class of 2024 list. 

The Top 22 Under 40 list has been in action since 2020, highlighting young alumni influence and impact on communities around the world, according to Director of Alumni Relations Carrie McGinnis.

“We first chose a Top 22, rather than 40, as a way to stand out among many 40 under 40 lists each year, and to pay tribute to Murray State’s founding in 1922,” she said.

Each year, the Alumni Association solicits nominations by promoting a link to an online nomination form using various methods of alumni outreach. In September, when the forms are due, the MSUAA Young Alumni Council convenes to select the year’s recipients.

“There is a rubric the committee follows each year to determine their selections,” McGinnis said. “The criteria includes: a lifetime record of substantial professional contributions at local, state and national level; innovative contributions in their chosen field; outstanding leadership or mentorship; contributions to community; and a history of active participation in and/or engagement with the MSU community.”

This year’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award winner is 2010 graduate Sacha Sharp, who is an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine.

“I was elated and proud to receive the honor of Distinguished Young Alumni,” she said. “I have several great memories from Murray State, so it is a pleasure to be recognized.”

The Alumni Association announced the Top 22 under 40 list, which highlights University alumni and their achievements.

Sharp said receiving the honor allowed her to reflect on the relationships with people from Murray that assisted her in achieving her professional goals.

“As a first generation, low income student and Black woman, I had several barriers to overcome when attending [Murray State],” she said. “Receiving the MSUAA Distinguished Young Alumni award allows me a moment to reflect on where I started and is confirmation that I am on the right path.”

Sharp said she is happy to be part of the legacy of the University through her time at the institution and now as the award winner.

Among the Top 22 Under 40 Class of 2024 is Aaron Harris, a 2012 graduate who founded Keeping My Promise Inc., a non-profit organization designed to support young adults with education and career journey mentoring.

“The significance [of being selected] goes to show you it’s okay to do it your way,” he said. “Nothing about my journey has been linear. The bumps, the instances where I’ve had to pivot, the chances I took to bet on myself, the willingness to risk it all and start over—those are the reasons it’s significant.”

Harris said the University provided him with a foundation as a young adult, and he encourages people to support the University to make sure the next generation of Racers has the same foundation.

Travis Taylor,  another Top 22 Under 40 Alumni awardee, said being recognized among a crowd of such qualified individuals was a humbling and exciting experience. 

“To be counted among the top young alumni is a great honor, and I’m proud to represent the university that I love so dearly,” Taylor said. 

McGinnis said the selection process for the class was not an easy process, as there were many incredible young alumni who were nominated.

“It is a powerful undertaking to determine each year’s finalists and the Distinguished Young Alumni award winner,” she said.

Sharp will be honored along with the University’s Distinguished Alumni during a dinner banquet on Friday, April 19. The Distinguished Alumni will continue to be announced in the coming days, and ticket information for the banquet can be found on the Murray State Alumni Association page at a later date.

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Caroline Blakeman, Assistant News Editor
Caroline Blakeman is a sophomore pursuing a bachelor of arts in journalism. She is also an honors student. In her free time, she loves listening to classic rock, reading or taking naps.

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