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ear Ole Miss Students, The sounds of building construction seemed to be the hallmark of this school year — certain to be remembered as an eventful year at The University of Mississippi. You were here to share the experiences and were probably inconveni enced by closed streets, more limited parking areas and blocked traffic. What I hope these construction projects come to mean to you and many other generations in the future is improved quaUty of life, as Ole Miss researchers, faculty members and students work to provide an- swers for the many challenges facing this state and nation. Ceremonial shovels overturned dirt, and work began on the long- awaited $14.5-million expansion and renovation of the John Davis Williams Library. A new three-story wing on the west side of the library will almost double the library ' s size, enabling the University to provide improved library services to students and faculty. This project — expected to take over two years to complete — is critical to meeting the present and future needs of our undergraduate education program, our growing population of graduate students, and our vital and expanding research programs. Work continued on the 100,000-square-foot, $23 million National Center for the Development of Natural Products, the third federally funded, national research center on the Ole Miss campus. The Center ' s purpose is to discover, develop and commercialize new drugs and agrochemicals derived from plants. The School of Business Administration turned 75 years old and celebrated this anniversary with an event whose guest list was over 2 million. That ' s how many viewers usually watch WiUiam F. Buckley ' s Emmy-winning PBS television program " Firing Line, " which was taped on campus just as the fall semester got underway. During the program, a distinguished panel of nationally and internationally known politicians and business leaders debated the issue: " Resolved: U.S. industry does not need protection. " Many of the panelists participated in a special convocation, forums and seminars for students. This was just one of many events hosted on campus to prepare Ole Miss students to succeed in a business environment that is becoming increasingly globalized. With $200,000 in private funds, the Ole Miss Business School created a computerized classroom in Conner Hall. The state-of-the-art facility provides students an opportunity to enter the business world with a real understanding of computer appUcations in the fields of economics, finance, marketing, management, and management information sys- tems. Foremost among a wealth of vital research during the 1 992-93 ac- ademic year was the announcement of the discovery by scientists in the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy ' s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of a new source from which to isolate the promising anticancer drug Taxol. RIPS scientists signed a $2.45 miUion agreement with the major pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb to pursue the discovery. When it came to finding money for their research, constructing new research facilities or providing fellowships for their students, Ole Miss professors and administrators set a new record this year. They received nearly $29 million in contracts and grants for such activities — the highest level of funding from outside agencies in one year in the University ' s history. This year also saw Mississippi become the first state in the nation to establish a statewide literacy and job skills training program using satellite technology and a new cable television network. The $5.2 million program — called Project LEAP (for Learn, Earn and Prosper) — is a partnership between the University, the Governor ' s Office of Literacy and the Mississippi Cable Television Association and rep- resents the largest non-construction grant ever received by Ole Miss. A dedication during the spring semester opened an unusual reading room in the John Davis Williams Library — a room made possible by world-renowned book publisher Seymour Lawrence, who gave Ole Miss his private collection of books and papers. Signed first editions, photos, original manuscripts in the authors ' handwriting, correspondence and memorabilia of some of the greatest contemporary writers — including winners of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes — are now available for students to enjoy and study. Other milestones included the $3 million renovation of Barnard Observatory — which houses a world-class research center on the study of the American South — and the beginning of restoration of out- buildings at Rowan Oak — the historic home of author William Faulkner. Work is also underway on the $3.5 million athletic training center and field house renovation to serve all sports, as well as on a $800,000 renovation and addition to George Hall, which houses the Department of Communicative Disorders. During the 1993 spring semester, the University also began classroom improvements and mod- ifications for the disabled estimated at $1 million. With all these accomplishments and works in progress, the future holds even more promise. One of our most important goals for the coming years is to make a major effort to enhance the classroom experience. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ray Hoops is chair- ing a committee to evaluate the undergraduate experience at Ole Miss. A number of recommendations, such as reducing the student-teacher ratio in lower-division courses, are expected to come out of this study and, when implemented, will be very positive for students. And, yes, as major construction projects continue and are completed, other work is planned. Two goals, for example, are to add a $2 million wing to Lewis Hall-which houses the Department of Physics and As- tronomy-and a wing to Conner Hall — which houses the School of Business Administration. As students and alumni gather in the Grove and in Vaught- Hemingway Stadium for the 1993 fall football season, we will celebrate a " Century of Heroes " -the 100th anniversary of Ole Miss football. From the numerous activities being planned for that o bservance, we will move right into a sesquicentennial celebration of the founding of the University(February 1894) and the opening of the Universi- ty(November 1898). Highlighting this four-year period will be a major fund-raising campaign to enhance academic endowments, library hold- ings and student scholarships. As some of you leave Ole Miss as 1993 graduates, I bid you much success in your chosen fields. As new alumni, I hope to see you attending all the exciting events ahead and hope you will be forever active supporters of your university.
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