I’m going to deviate from our typical posts today to share something personal with our readers.
As many of you know, a string of devastating storms swept through the southeast a little over a week ago. The beautiful campus and surrounding community where I work took a direct hit from an F3 tornado early Saturday morning, January 21st. The damage is truly heartbreaking. All buildings on William Carey University’s Hattiesburg, Mississippi campus sustained damage, many severe and some beyond repair.
It was very emotional to return to campus and see the damage in person. It was even more emotional to clean my desk out in the library and start the salvage/preservation process with some of our special collections materials. Thankfully, most of our collection will be salvaged. There’s no doubt that William Carey will come back stronger and better. Our university lost an entire campus to Hurricane Katrina, so unfortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo. That being said, we have pretty strong disaster protocols in place. However, we couldn’t do it alone. I can’t thank our neighboring university (and my Alma mater!), the University of Southern Mississippi enough. They have gone above and beyond to house our students, set up classrooms and labs, and provide library access.
While the immediate needs of our students have been met, financial assistance will be needed to help out with textbooks, computers, clothing, vehicle repair, and the like. If you’re interested in helping our students and/or campus, please visit the William Carey University Office of Advancement donation page.
Also, please don’t forget our surrounding community. This tornado tore an approximate 25-mile path through Hattiesburg and Petal, Mississippi, following close to the same path as an F4 tornado which devastated our area almost exactly four years ago. Numerous families and businesses are suffering major damage for the second time. Various relief efforts are listed in this article from the Clarion-Ledger.