University dedicates downtown Meridian campus


Robert B. Deen Jr., president and chairman of the board for the Riley Foundation, speaks during Mississippi State University-Meridian's dedication of its new downtown campus last Wednesday. Steven F. Brown, left, dean and associate vice president of MSU-Meridian, and MSU President Mark E. Keenum, second from left, also were in attendance. PHOTO: Beth Newman Wynn | University Relations

Mississippi State University-Meridian formally dedicated its new downtown campus Wednesday, April 4, made possible through a generous contribution from The Riley Foundation.

To renovate a historical landmark to house MSU-Meridian's Division of Business, the Meridian-based philanthropy donated $6.2 million. The gift included the Newberry Building, a four-story structure adjacent to the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts.

In addition to expanding the Meridian campus, the gift will enable the university to strengthen its presence in the city center.

"Our partnership with The Riley Foundation is enhancing MSU's educational opportunities in Meridian, Lauderdale County and across east Mississippi," President Mark E. Keenum said during the dedication ceremony. "Meridian's new downtown campus provides a state-of-the-art space for our expanding student body."

The university chief executive was joined in the center's historic theater by Riley Foundation representatives, as well as local, state and other university officials.

Begun in 2010, the Newberry Building renovation was completed prior to the start of the 2012 spring semester. In addition to conference space and classrooms, the 20,175 square-foot facility houses faculty offices, a computer laboratory and study rooms.

"We are extremely grateful for the continued support of The Riley Foundation for our campus and community," said Steven F. Brown, MSU-Meridian dean and associate vice president. "The new downtown campus is an integral part of our recruiting process as we provide accessible educational opportunities to citizens in our region."

MSU-Meridian currently enrolls non-residential students who typically are working adults or community college transfers. The additional Newberry classrooms and offices will serve the business division's 170 majors and 14 faculty and administrators.

"The generosity and vision of the Riley Foundation have made it possible for Mississippi State to increase educational options for the people of Meridian, Lauderdale County and the region," Keenum said.

"We look forward to continuing to build on this solid foundation in the future," he added.

The Riley Foundation was formed in 1998 with proceeds from the sale of the local Riley Memorial Hospital. The organization works to improve the quality of life for the people of Meridian and Lauderdale County.

Sheri Pape | Mississippi State University Foundation

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