Two major players in South Mississippi's gaming industry have joined
with The University of Southern Mississippi to further develop and
ensure a bright future for the area and state's economic fortunes.
The Beau Rivage
Resort and Casino and Grand Casinos have partnered together to raise
$100,000 for the USM Foundation's permanent endowment for the Trent
Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and
will bring Southern Miss' renowned multiple academic and professional
economic develop programs together in a state-of-the-art educational
facility that will serve and advance the economic development professional
throughout the state, nation and world.
Rivage and Grand Casinos are extremely proud to have fueled support
from the Mississippi Gulf Coast gaming industry and its key vendors
in raising funds for this premier facility," said Jeff Dahl,
Beau Rivage president and member of the State Steering Committee
for the project.
The U.S. Department
of Commerce has designated the Trent Lott National Center at Southern
Miss as a national center for economic development. The center was
awarded this designation because of its special outreach component
that takes the research to community leaders, government officials,
and businesses to teach them to utilize the information and turn
it into development for Mississippi, the region and the nation.
will be very important to the future growth of our state. It will
not only benefit the university research efforts, but all the residents
of Mississippi by providing a catalyst for future development,"
said Duncan McKenzie, president of Grand Casino Biloxi and State
Steering Committee member. "This is a very exciting opportunity
and I am proud of the casino industry and its vendors for taking
a leadership roll in the fundraising effort."
An $8 million
campaign to help fund the construction and endowment of the center
is currently underway. The campaign is a dual initiative, combining
fund-raising drives through both a national and state committee.
alumnus Bobby Chain, a former Hattiesburg mayor and State Institutions
for Higher Learning board member, is the National Coordinating Chair
for the project. Gov.-elect Haley Barbour is the National Committee
Chair, and Mississippi Power President and CEO Michael Garrett serves
as State Committee Chair.
grateful to our friends at the Beau Rivage and Grand Casinos and
all of those who see the benefits that this project will bring not
only to South Mississippi, but to the nation and the world as we
seek to improve the quality of life for our citizens through the
economic development profession," said Southern Miss President
Dr. Shelby Thames.