Sandersons donate $1 million to USM nursing building fund

Joe and Kathy Sanderson (Photo courtesy of USM)

Joe and Kathy Sanderson (Photo courtesy of USM)

A $1 million gift commitment from Joe and Kathy Sanderson of Laurel has pushed the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation’s College of Nursing Building Campaign over the $5 million mark and closer to its $8 million goal.

With the donation, the clinical simulation lab will be named for the Sandersons. The Sanderson Clinical Simulation Lab will cover more than 8,000 square feet on the second floor of the proposed Asbury Hall. It will feature specialized patient care areas with patient simulators, task trainers, simulated health care records and equipment needed to provide care that will enhance patient safety.

The campaign began last year with the announcement of a $4 million gift from the Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg that also provided naming rights for the new building.

Joe Sanderson is the chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, a publicly held poultry company and national food corporation. Sanderson has held numerous positions in the company since 1969, including the role of president from 1989 to 2004

“My wife and I are very pleased to support the expansion of the College of Nursing at The University of Southern Mississippi,” he said in a news release. “We know that our state will need the health care professionals that will be produced out of this program including registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nurses with PhDs who will teach other nursing students. We congratulate USM on its vision and are happy to add our support.”

“The Southern Miss College of Nursing faculty and students are extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson for their generous support of our growing program,” said Dr. Katherine Nugent, dean of the College of Nursing. “The Nursing Clinical Simulation area is a vital aspect of the education of nursing students as simulation improves clinical skills, facilitates critical thinking and prepares our graduates to be proficient nurses.”

The USM Foundation, in partnership with the University’s College of Nursing, announced the fundraising campaign on Jan. 18, 2012, to aid in the construction of a new nursing facility. As of March 20, the campaign has received $5.3 million in commitments.

Of the $8 million campaign, $5 million has been earmarked for construction, with the remaining $3 million to be used for an endowment to support the long-term maintenance needs of the proposed 86,000-square-foot building. It has a total project cost of $28 million. Federal grants and state bond funding provided by the Mississippi legislature will also be required to complete the project.

Asbury Hall will be built on the western edge of the Hattiesburg campus.

“The University of Southern Mississippi deeply appreciates the continuing generosity of Joe and Kathy Sanderson,” said Dr. Aubrey Lucas, interim president of the university. “These friends are always supporting colleges, universities and other institutions that make life better in our state. Their gift to the College of Nursing building will help provide much-needed health care personnel for the citizens of Mississippi.”

For more information on the College of Nursing Building Campaign visit www.usmfoundation.com/nursingbuilding.