The difference a year can make in the expansion of learning opportunities
was on full display at The University of Southern Mississippi's
Institute for Learning in Retirement Thursday afternoon. One year
to the day after a groundbreaking ceremony for the ILR's new Asbury
Annex, a group that included representatives from the university,
members of the Hattiesburg area business community and dozens of
ILR members officially opened the new facility here with a dedication
for Learning in Retirement is a program that brings both quality
and prestige to Southern Mississippi," said Southern Miss President
Dr. Shelby Thames, speaking to a group gathered for the event. "This
program is one of the many on our campus that engages both the university
and the community."
directly the ILR members in attendance, Thames added, "You
at the ILR speak with a voice that encourages life-long learning.
That's an important message to get to all people in our society.
Southern Miss believes in lifelong learning, and thus we encourage
the growth of ILR."
Mayor Johnny DuPree was also at Thursday's ceremony. He said that
he saw the dedication of the Asbury Annex as a milestone event.
look at this building, that's what I'm reminded of - where we've
been, where we've come, and where we have to go," he said.
Annex was named for the Asbury Foundation, Inc. of Hattiesburg,
which contributed $210,000 toward construction. Asbury Foundation
President William K. Ray was in attendance Thursday, as were representatives
from numerous other organizations that donated parts of the $750,000
that was eventually raised. Individual contributions, many made
in the amount of $10,000, were also a large part of the building
3601 Pearl Street, the annex was built to relieve pressure on the
Peck House, which has been the ILR's main facility. The number of
ILR members now attending the institute's business and social events
has outgrown that building.
Sue Pace, who
founded the ILR in 1991 and now serves as liaison between the ILR
and Southern Miss, spoke to the institute's growth in her remarks
we started with 94 charter members," Pace said. "We now
have well over 400 members each year, and I think these are the
true pioneers. Thank you all."