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Tornado relief drive at USM goes quiet in wake of Oklahoma disaster

HATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation reports its tornado relief and campus beautification campaigns were “entering a quiet phase” as the nation focuses its attention on tornado victims in Oklahoma.

During this time the Foundation will refrain from publicly soliciting donors for the campaigns.

The Foundation launched the tornado relief effort immediately following the Feb. 10 EF-4 tornado that tore through the Hattiesburg area and the campus beautification campaign in April to help fund the restoration of the Hattiesburg campus landscape that was heavily impacted by the tornado.

“Today, we continue the restoration of our Hattiesburg campus,” said University president Rodney Bennett, “but our hearts and minds are with the tornado victims in Oklahoma.”

The University of Southern Mississippi and the USM Foundation encourages its alumni, friends and supporters to consider assisting the Oklahoma tornado victims through their preferred disaster relief organization.

“It is inappropriate for us to continue to publicly request funds for our tornado relief and restoration efforts at a time where there has been such a significant loss of life in Oklahoma,” vice president for university advancement and executive director of the USM Foundation Bob Pierce said. “We were impacted by the tornado on February 10, but we were blessed that no one in the Hattiesburg area died. The focus right now should be on those in Oklahoma. Out of respect to those who lost loved ones, homes and businesses, we are postponing the request for further contributions at this time.”

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