A new facility to be dedicated next week at The University of Southern Mississippi will serve as the hub of academic and outreach efforts for the institution’s ongoing focus on economic advancement.
A dedication ceremony for the newly completed Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship is set for March 5 at 5:30 p.m.
The public is invited to the event in the rotunda of the building which is located on the Hattiesburg campus next to M.M. Roberts Stadium on Championship Lane. The building’s namesake, the Hon. Trent Lott, will be the honored guest along with state and local dignitaries, including Mississippi’s Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.
“This facility is the epicenter and key outreach component of our economic advancement activities. Southern Miss is committed to enhancing the quality of life of Hattiesburg and south Mississippi,” said Southern Miss President, Martha Saunders.
The 53,000-square-foot, three-story building, designed by Albert and Associates of Hattiesburg, embodies the Greek Revival architecture style. A glass staircase encapsulated in its rotunda serves as the focal point of this magnificent structure. Finlo Construction of Hattiesburg was general contractor for the project that began in February 2005, delayed temporarily later that year by Hurricane Katrina.
Its first floor includes classrooms, meeting rooms and a catering kitchen for events. The second floor houses the offices of the Center’s director, the Department of Economic and Workforce Development, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and the Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation. The third floor is home to the offices of University Advancement.
"Southern Miss already has a great record of economic development education and advocacy. Yet, this new center will help the university and our state take this critical next step attracting some of the most promising young people and the most prolific economic development practitioners to train and work here,” said Lott.
“This center will help Mississippi sustain our economic progress for the long term, provide Mississippi's communities with more skilled economic development professionals who can retain existing jobs and recruit new ones. It is my vision that this be a center of resource to our state, the region and beyond."
Lott served Mississippi in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, including as its majority leader, for a combined 35 years until he left the U.S. Congress in 2007. In addition to supporting economic growth and security legislation, he was also a passionate advocate for a strong national defense and was successful in building coalitions among Republicans and Democrats. He is also the only person to have held the position of Republican Whip in both the House and Senate.
With a long history of leadership in economic development, Southern Miss offers a unique combination of academic programs for students and professionals looking to further their education. Programs offered include a bachelor’s degree in applied technology; a master’s in economic development; a master’s in workforce training and development; and a doctorate in human capital development.
These programs, along with outreach initiatives, will come together at the center to support Southern Miss’ commitment to global research, regional innovation, university entrepreneurship and national education.
“This will be a great day not only for Southern Miss, but for the State of Mississippi,” said Lt. Gov. Bryant. “This facility is a true testament to the life’s work of the man it honors. A man that is a true friend and mentor of mine will always be remembered as Mississippi’s Senator. Trent Lott’s vision has always been that of an entrepreneurial spirit, helping make Mississippi better one step at a time. This building continues that vision now and into the future as we position ourselves as a world leader in economic ingenuity and innovation.”
For more information about the event, call 601.266.6525.
The Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus. (Photo by Steve Rouse)
About The University of Southern MississippiThe University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu. -30-