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USM launches fundraiser for new business facility

HATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi aims to become Mississippi’s premier business school with the help of a new on-campus facility.

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, in partnership with the university’s College of Business, has announced a $10-million fundraising campaign to help construct a 90,000-square-foot building. The new structure, with an estimated project cost of $33 million, will be located adjacent to the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.

The university received $11 million from state bonds in 2010, and an additional $15 million is being sought from the Mississippi Legislature in state bonds for 2011.

The project is being funded completely by private donations and state bonds, USM reports. The $3 million above the project cost will be used to establish an endowment to support the maintenance of the facility in perpetuity. No timetable has been established for construction.

College of Business dean Dr. Lance Nail noted that the new facility will serve as a destination point for students, scholars, leaders and executives-in-training from around the world, designed in a way that is expandable for future needs.

“The successful business of the future will be globally integrated and forced to process data more quickly and critically than ever before,” said Nail. “We would perform a disservice to our students to not prepare them for this future — and the new building is essential to that mission.”

Among the other notable features, the building will:

• Increase the square footage dedicated to the College of Business by 50 percent

• House the Center for Healthcare Sales and Marketing and the Center for Financial Services, allowing students, faculty and professionals to work, research and learn together

• Provide students with study and gathering spaces, including the new student leadership suite

• Improve the technology with which business education is delivered to Southern Miss students, including a distance learning lecture hall and tiered, case-oriented classrooms equipped with digital displays and comprehensive multimedia stations.

Following a ceremony held March 29 at the Trent Lott Center during which the fund-raising campaign was announced, Southern Miss vice president for advancement Bob Pierce noted that $2 million had already been pledged, including gifts of $250,000 from Southern Miss alumni Louis and Lou Ann Poynter of Hattiesburg, $250,000 from alumni Carlos and Judy Tolosa, Chuck Atwood and the Caesars Foundation and a $1-million gift commitment from alumni Tom and Jana McDonnell of Madison. Tom McDonnell is the owner of U-Save Auto Rental.

“The College of Business has simply outgrown the size and technology of Joseph Greene Hall,” said Nail. “With our enrollment growth and demand for classroom space across campus, we have almost maxed out our classroom capacity and will be forced to turn away students in the near future without the additional capacity of the new building.”

Source: University of Southern Mississippi


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