Meridian, Miss. The Riley Foundation chose long-standing partner Mississippi State University to receive their largest grant to date of $11 Million. Their partnership began back in 2000 with a grant to create the Riley Center, continued with money to renovate the Newberry Building to house MSU's Business School, and now more money to bring even more students in. Riley Foundation President and Chairman Robert Deen Jr. says that the people of the surrounding communities are what has made this project and future ones possible.
"They are really the ones who will make this whole facility at Kress, the Newberry Building and the Riley Center create interest in the revitalization of Meridian."
The Kress Building will house a new major in Meridian: kinesiology, an area of study MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum says is important to have in a healthcare centered city like Meridian.
"We envision the demand in this area will be very strong. In our early, preliminary market assessment, we think we'll have more than 200 students over the next several years choosing to major in this growing field of kinesiology."
Construction is set to begin shortly after the first of the year, with the renovation scheduled to be completed no later than Fall of 2015, but Keenum says they hope to get Meridian's kinesiology program started before that.
"We hope to actually start teaching kinesiology here in Meridian probably in our College Park campus either in the Fall of 2014, or at the latest in the Spring of 2015."