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Hartwigs Name USM Public Health Program in Memory of Founding Director

Mon, 05/10/2021 - 09:41am | By: Megan Burkes

In an astonishing act of love and generosity, Dr. Geoff Hartwig and his wife Dr. Marcia Hartwig of Raleigh, N.C., pledged $818,708.44, which, combined with previous giving, brings their total commitment supporting public health at Southern Miss to $1 million. The Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig Public Health Program will honor the life, work and memory of Geoff’s first wife and the program’s founding director, Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig.

Lynn founded the Center for Community Health at USM in 1988, guided it through accreditation in the early 1990s and directed it until metastatic breast cancer forced her to retire in 1995. In spite of her diagnosis on the first day of classes, Lynn spent seven years building the interdisciplinary program to seven faculty members and 100 students pursuing three types of master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degrees. She passed away in April 1996 at the age of 48.

“Dr. Lynn Hartwig was a visionary public health leader in Mississippi, and this generous gift honors her legacy while preparing the next generation of public health professionals challenged with improving the health of the state, region and beyond,” said Dr. Lachel Story, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at USM. “We are immensely grateful for Geoff and Marcia - for both their generosity and their desire to honor Lynn in this special way.”

Founded in 1959, the USM Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the University community by overseeing fundraising efforts to raise private support for scholarships and other academic needs at Southern Miss.

For more information on supporting The University of Southern Mississippi, call the USM Foundation at 601.266.5210 or visit