APRIL 18, 2017
President Jaclyn Adams presided over the meeting. Thanks to Conrad Welker who gave the invocation and to David Owens who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks also to Joey Brandon Hodges and Bill McLeod who served as our greeters today.
Gene Owens filled in for Tracie Fowler noted that we have no visitors and no visiting Rotarians today.
Jaclyn recognized Robert Lochhead who recently published a new book entitled “Cosmetic Science and Technology”. The very first edition sold out on Amazon in just a few days. She also reminded us of the May 19 District Conference.
“Cosmetic Science and Technology”. The very first edition sold out on Amazon in just a few days. She also reminded us of the May 19 District Conference.
Paula Brahan asked for a Program Chair volunteer for the coming year. The Chair is responsible for finding other Rotarians who will plan our programs throughout the coming year. If you’re interested, please seen Paula in the near future.
Lynn Walton reminded Rotarians to get their raffle ticket sales in early to qualify for the remaining door prizes.
RYLA nominations are due within the next few weeks. If a Rotarian knows of rising junior who would benefit from this program, please get with Jaclyn in the near future.
Allen Anderson then introduced today’s guest speaker, Dr. Scott Hummel. In addition to being a Rotarian, Scott is the Executive Vice President and Provost at William Carey University. Allen asked Scott to speak today about the university’s recovery after the devastating January tornado.
Scott noted that WCU is the fastest growing university in the state for the past ten years. The school’s enrollment increased from about 2,000 students to about 4,000 students, they increased sports participation from 7 to 17 sports and they added a medical school and a number of doctorial degrees during the last ten years.
On the night of January 21, 2017 a tornado hit the Hattiesburg and Petal areas and made a direct hit on the WCU campus. Of their 50 buildings, 49 were damaged. Four were damaged so badly that they had to be completely demolished. One-hundred-and-five student vehicles were so badly damaged that they could not be driven off the campus. Another 108 were damaged. Eleven of the residential halls were damaged. The storm hit with just three weeks remaining in the winter trimester. Teachers immediately began teaching their classes on-line. The medical and PT schools were moved to the USM Campus and only lost one week of classes. Some of the campus labs also had to be relocated and 300 WCU students were able to relocate to the USM campus dorms. Scott says he is very proud of the university’s staff, faculty and students who pulled together and made it possible to finish the winter trimester on time. He is especially grateful for the help and leadership at the University of Southern Mississippi, hit by a devastating tornado just four years ago.
WCU is very fortunate that there were no life threatening injuries on campus during the storm.
Scott also thanked our club and many more throughout the community who helped the university in its recovery. Without those efforts, Scott maintains that many students would not have been able to continue their studies and he feels certain that WCU enrollment would now be on the decline. Instead, their enrollment is up.
Having only four weeks after the storm before the spring trimester was to begin, WCU got busy trying to repair the damage and get the campus ready for students in the spring. Seven of the damaged dorms were refurbished in those short weeks. There were 600 construction workers working 24 hours each day, 7 days each week.
With the destruction have come some new opportunities for the university. They are adding 100 dorm room beds, a larger Anatomy lab and they are replacing some of the badly damaged buildings with updated structures. Tatum Court, built in 1914 had to be demolished as did Ross and Johnson Halls and a structure the university had at 512 Tuscan avenue.
Fortunately for the university it was insured and has been able to recover much of the $80 million in damages with only a $25,000 deductible. The university opted not to seek federal disaster assistance which would have caused a three year delay in getting at least three of the buildings repaired or replaced.
If you are interested in helping the university in its recovery, please visit http://www.wmcarey.edu/advancement.
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Jaclyn with our motto, “Service Above Self”.