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Released May 7, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Pledges from private supporters totaling more than $5 million have allowed The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Business and Economic Development to move ahead with plans for a fund-raising campaign aimed at raising $50 million to help finance a new state-of-the-art educational facility.

"The campaign goal of $50 million dollars will not only build a world class facility and provide for the best technology, it will also bring the best students and faculty by providing funds for scholarships and professorships," Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames said.

Gene Carlisle, a Southern Miss alumnus and owner of Wendy's franchises throughout Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, made the initial gift to begin the long-term fund-raising campaign. "I know the value of a quality educational atmosphere," Carlisle said. "Our students deserve the best. The competitive nature of business demands the best of teachers, facilities and technology."

The fund-raising campaign was initiated during a news conference in the President's Conference Room in the Southern Miss Administration Building Wednesday. It is hoped that the generosity shown by initial supporters of the building fund will inspire others to give, leading to a successful private fund-raising effort and the creation of a world-class facility.

"With lagging state funding and challenging economic times, it is more important

than ever that we have private support for advancements at our university," Thames said. "The leadership shown by our initial donors is indicative of the type of supporters Southern Miss is fortunate to have, and they are very appreciated."

The new 100,000-square-foot building will provide a variety of learning environments, including six 1,600-square-foot classrooms that will accommodate 60 students each. The wireless technology setting of these classrooms will include seats with built-in laptop and internet access capabilities, as well as projection televisions. Other features of the new building, which will be three stories high, will include a 250-seat lecture hall, a room modeled after a Wall Street trading office and a 95-car parking garage.

It will be a much needed improvement over the college's current home in Joseph Greene Hall, which was opened in 1968 and was named in honor of Dr. Joseph Greene, who was dean of the former business department and the College of Business Administration from 1949 to 1985.

"There is a move away from lecturing toward coaching, and we need our classrooms to be more technologically equipped to do that," said Bill Gunther, dean of the College of Business and Administration.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM