HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — The University of Southern Mississippi is celebrating a donation to its College of Public Health in honor of the college’s founder.
Dr. Geoff Hartwig and his wife, Dr. Marcia Hartwig, of Raleigh, North Carolina, have pledged more than $800,000 to the school in honor of Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig, who was director of the college until breast cancer forced her to retire in 1995. Lynn Hartwig, Geoff Hartwig’s first wife, died the next year. She was 48.
In a news release, Lachel Story, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, described Lynn Hartwig as a “visionary public health leader” in the state.
“This generous gift honors her legacy while preparing the next generation of public health professionals challenged with improving the health of the state, region and beyond,” Story said “We are immensely grateful for Geoff and Marcia – for both their generosity and their desire to honor Lynn in this special way.”
The gift, announced Monday, brings the total pledge from the Hartwig family to $1 million.
“The Hartwigs are such incredible people, and they would be the first to say this wasn’t about them, that this was about Lynn and what she did,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation.
Story said there are many students who want to be a part of the public health program but can’t due to restraints such as funding. The pledge will be used to open opportunities for students who fit that category, she said.
“This is going to help us be able to recruit those students as well as support them while they are here, as well as make sure we have stellar faculty that are the best in their field to teach them while they are here,” Story said.