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Released March 2, 2005


HATTIESBURG – Students interested in pursuing careers in pharmaceutical sales will soon have greater opportunities to do so at The University of Southern Mississippi thanks to Cypress Pharmaceutical Inc. founder Max E. Draughn and his wife, Susan.

The couple today announced a $1 million commitment to establish the Max E. Draughn Pharmaceutical Sales Program in the College of Business. The gift provides for the creation of a pharmaceutical sales professorship, lecture series and advisory council, all in an effort to strengthen the undergraduate preparation for students entering the pharmaceutical sales profession.

"Both (Southern Miss) and the pharmaceutical industry presented me with opportunities which helped me to achieve my career goals," said Max Draughn. "This is an opportunity for Susan and me to help others further their educational and career goals."

"This is one of the largest commitments ever made to the College of Business. Development of the Max E. Draughn Pharmaceutical Sales Program will allow us to expand and strengthen a program that has been in the works for a number of years," said Dean Harold Doty. "These additional resources will help create greater value for our students and greater visibility for the program and for the university. We are extremely grateful to be the beneficiaries of the Draughns' generosity."

This program will provide the framework for students to get a broad-based business education that has a strategic focus on sales and marketing coupled with practical industry experiences. The guiding mission of the program states that it "endeavors to prepare the most professionally adept talent pool capable of responding to the diverse demands for sales and marketing personnel in the pharmaceutical industry."

"For our students it means credibility, visibility and acknowledgment of our serious commitment to quality pharmaceutical sales education," said Dr. Alvin Williams, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing. "Pharmaceutical sales is one of the most lucrative and visible jobs for our graduates and has become increasingly attractive over the years as a career option for marketing majors."

One of the first goals of the Draughn Pharmaceutical Sales Program is the establishment of a formal major in pharmaceutical sales in the Department of Management and Marketing. Although a pharmaceutical sales program has been in place at Southern Miss since 1985, it has not been a separate and distinct major. Students interested in the field major in marketing and take several courses in chemistry, anatomy and physiology and pharmacology.

Max Draughn is a Petal, Miss., native and a 1984 graduate of Southern Miss who founded Cypress Pharmaceutical in 1993. The company, located in Madison, Miss., was named the second fastest-growing privately held company in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal in 2003. In 1998, Draughn founded Hawthorn Pharmaceuticals, a branded division of Cypress. Together, the two companies have 150 employees nationwide and generated $100 million in revenue in 2004. He was honored by the College of Business last fall as its 2004 Distinguished Entrepreneur and is a member of the college's Business Advisory Council.

Susan Draughn, a Hattiesburg native, holds a degree from Baylor University and is a former certified public accountant. The couple has three sons, Owen, Case and Stephen.

For more information about the Max E. Draughn Pharmaceutical Sales Program and other programs in the College of Business, contact the dean's office at (601) 266-4659.


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April 8, 2005 2:34 PM