USM College of Nursing receives $1 million gift - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

USM College of Nursing receives $1 million gift

The following is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi:

With a $1 million gift commitment from Joe and Kathy Sanderson of Laurel. The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation's College of Nursing Building Campaign has exceeded the $5 million mark on its way to reaching its $8 million goal. The campaign began last year with the announcement of a $4 million gift from the Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg that provided naming rights for the new facility to be known as Asbury Hall.

The contribution by Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson will name Asbury Hall's Clinical Simulation Lab for the family. The Sanderson Clinical Simulation Lab, covering more than 8,000 square feet on the second floor of the proposed building, will feature specialized patient care areas with patient simulators, task trainers, simulated health care records and equipment needed to provide care that will enhance patient safety.

Mr. Sanderson is the Chief Executive Officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc., a publicly held poultry company that is one of the leading food corporations in the United States. Mr. Sanderson has held numerous positions in the company since 1969 including the role of President from 1989 to 2004. In addition to his current position as CEO, he also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and is a member of the Executive Committee.

"My wife and I are very pleased to support the expansion of the College of Nursing at The University of Southern Mississippi. We know that our state will need the health care professionals that will be produced out of this program including registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nurses with PhDs who will teach other nursing students. We congratulate USM on its vision and are happy to add our support," said Mr. Sanderson.

Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson are among the state of Mississippi's most generous benefactors, having made significant gifts to numerous charities including the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Mrs. Sanderson, a former school teacher, is actively engaged in the community and has been recognized as the Humanitarian of the Year by the Junior Auxiliary of Laurel.

The Sandersons' gift will be a critical component of the funding required to build the new nursing facility, and it will help provide nursing students and faculty with the tools they need to continue to make a difference in the lives of Mississippi residents.

"The Southern Miss College of Nursing faculty and students are extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson for their generous support of our growing program," said Dr. Katherine Nugent, Dean of the College of Nursing. "The Nursing Clinical Simulation area is a vital aspect of the education of nursing students as simulation improves clinical skills, facilitates critical thinking and prepares our graduates to be proficient nurses."

The USM Foundation, in partnership with the University's College of Nursing, announced the fundraising campaign on January 18, 2012, to aid in the construction of a new nursing facility. As of March 20, 2013, the campaign has received $5.3 million in commitments. Five million dollars of the $8 million campaign has been earmarked for construction with the remaining $3 million to be used for an endowment to support the long-term maintenance needs of the proposed 86,000 square foot building with a total project cost of $28 million. Federal grants and state bond funding provided by the Mississippi legislature will also be required to complete the project.

The state-of-the-art Asbury Hall, to be located on the western edge of the University's Hattiesburg campus, will provide an applied learning space that will empower nursing faculty to continue to strive for instructional excellence and will further impact the College of Nursing's ability to recruit qualified students and faculty. By increasing the square footage dedicated to the College by 135 percent, Asbury Hall will provide much-needed space for teaching and experiential learning, replacing a facility that can no longer meet the requirements of nursing education.

"The University of Southern Mississippi deeply appreciates the continuing generosity of Joe and Kathy Sanderson," said Dr. Aubrey Lucas, Interim President of the University. "These friends are always supporting colleges, universities and other institutions that make life better in our state. Their gift to the College of Nursing building will help provide much-needed health care personnel for the citizens of Mississippi."

Bob Pierce, Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the USM Foundation praised the Sandersons for their significant investment in the facility and also credited former University President, Dr. Martha Saunders, for her extensive role in securing the gift. "The Sandersons are wonderful stewards of their finances, and they have made an incredible impact on this state with their charitable contributions. We appreciate all they have done and of course are grateful they decided to make such a sizable gift to this important project. I am pleased we will have an impressive space on this campus named in their honor," said Pierce. "I am also indebted to Dr. Saunders for her involvement in this process. Her departure from the presidency didn't hinder her engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the Sandersons and the potential of this gift."

For more information on the College of Nursing Building Campaign visit

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