Hartwig family makes $800K pledge to USM public health school in honor of college founder

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 10:16 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Geoff and Marcia Hartwig pledged more than $800,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi College of Public Health in honor of the late Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig, who founded the college back in 1988.

This pledge brings the total pledge from the Hartwig family to $1 million.

“The Hartwig’s are such incredible people, and they would be the first to say this wasn’t about them, that this was about Lynn and what she did,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation.

According to university officials, Dr. Lynn Hartwig founded the Center for Community Health at USM and was the director of the college until a breast cancer diagnosis forced her to retire in 1995. Lynn later passed away in 1996 at the age of 48.

Lachel Story, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, said that there are many kids who want to be a part of the public health program but cannot due to restraints such as funding. This pledge will be used to open opportunities for students like this.

“This is going to help us be able to recruit those students as well as support them while they are here, as well as make sure we have stellar faculty that are the best in their field to teach them while they are here,” Story said.

To have Lynn’s legacy live on with the public health program at USM, the Hartwig’s have named the Public Health program in honor of her.

“It will go to tremendous links to support future public health professionals and honoring Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig’s legacy here at the University of Southern Mississippi,” Story said.

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