• About
  • Careers
  • Newsletter
News The First donates funds to Bower Academic Center

The First donates funds to Bower Academic Center

-

On March 5, The First, A National Banking Association, contributed $150,000 to the $1.7 million privately funded Bower Academic Center project for student-athletes at Southern Miss. 

“We are excited to be able to partner with the university to make this facility a reality,” First Bank President and CEO Hoppy Cole said. “It’s a competitive tool. It’s important for us that Southern Miss remain competitive athletically and academically.”

Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain and his staff understand that the first priority of working with student-athletes is education, extends beyond the classroom.

“It’s not just about wins and losses. It’s not just about the even GPA and graduation. It’s about being prepared for what comes after that and this is a big piece of that puzzle,” McClain said.

The Bower Center will house study spaces, classrooms, a computer lab and office space for academic staff. The donation by The First will also support a financial literacy program for student-athletes. 

“One of the great opportunities we have in Hattiesburg is partnering with our friends at the University of Southern Mississippi,” Cole said. “The financial support we are providing for the Bower Academic Center will make it possible for student-athletes to be better prepared to compete off the field as well as on. This is another part of our commitment to financial education and building strong communities.”

Aspects of the program will include teaching life skills, such as resume writing, how to invest and spend money. As students progress, the options for what they will have learned will lead to more options of what to study.  

“It will not be optional, and I can answer that pretty quickly. It’s not that we don’t make a lot of things mandatory,” McClain said. “We want to put together a life skills program that will kind of walk with [student-athletes] through their four or five years on campus.”

The First sees this investment as a way to benefit both Southern Miss and the community. 

“I think it’s an important tool for the university to remain competitive. It’s an important tool to attract talent and it’s important to educate our young athletes on financial stewardship,” Cole said. “We were founded here in Hattiesburg some 24 years ago and Southern Miss is a major economic driver in our market. So it’s important for us to give back and it’s important for Southern Miss to do well.”

As of now, roughly 400 student-athletes use a 3,500 square foot space in M.M. Roberts Stadium for academic services. McClain said there has not been a decision made on what will be done with the “cramped” and “crowded” area. The new 18,000 square foot Bower center is scheduled to open in July in time for classes in the fall of 2020. 

“This space will allow us to spread out and really function in a way that will benefit them at the highest level,” McClain said. “It is something that has been on our radar in our student-athletes, and they’ll be very, very thankful.”

Latest news

Southern Miss resumes conference play against UTEP

*EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written and published before the cancelation of the UTEP game.

Mac Miller’s family announces new box set

Mac Miller’s family recently announced plans to release a double-disc vinyl box set, ‘Swimming in Circles’, of the rapper’s final two studio albums on Dec. 18.

Opinion: We must prioritize mental health amid COVID-19

The destruction of the pandemic, however, is not over yet. The upsurge in mental health issues as a result is gradually becoming lethal, portending a darker future of psychological health to the public.

Bryson Tiller releases ‘ANNIVERSARY’ after three-year drought

On Oct. 3, 2020, Bryson Tiller released his third album, ‘Anniversary’. This new album has come just in time for the cold months, featuring songs that inspire love and solitude like “Years Go By” and “Sorrows”.

Nannie Mac’s offers students a place to relax, unwind

Nannie Mac’s Snowballs, which is located just a half mile off-campus across from Strick’s Bar-B-Q and Catering, has already brought bright things to the McMullen family since it opened in the beginning of this year. 

Opinion: How National Coming Out Day celebrates pride

Oct. 11, 2020, otherwise known as National Coming Out Day, is special for the queer and LGBTQ+ community. People all over the U.S. will be celebrating this holiday and showing off their pride.

Must read

Southern Miss resumes conference play against UTEP

*EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written and...

Mac Miller’s family announces new box set

Mac Miller’s family recently announced plans to release a double-disc vinyl box set, ‘Swimming in Circles’, of the rapper’s final two studio albums on Dec. 18.

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you