OXFORD – One of three dormitories opened last fall at the University of Mississippi will bear the family name of long-time Ole Miss supporters.
The Board of Trustrees, Institutions of Higher Learning, last week approved renaming the University Housing South Building as “Burns Hall” to honor the financial and personal contributions of Roland and Sheryl Burns.
Roland O. Burns Jr., who is president of Comstock Resources Inc., earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Ole Miss.
“Roland and his wife Sheryl Burns’ generous investments, wise counsel, and exceptional involvement in the life of the University of Mississippi are paying great dividends not only for the University of Mississippi that stands before us today, but also for the generations of individuals who will look to Ole Miss for opportunities in the future,” the university said in its request to the IHL board.
The Burnses’ financial contributions to the institution total $5.3 million, including a $1.5 million endowment for the Roland and Sheryl Burns Chair of Accountancy.
“We believe we have an obligation to give back to the community because we have been very blessed,” Roland Burns said. “With our financial backgrounds, our goal is to find the best place to direct contributions to generate the maximum benefit.”
Honors College expansion
The IHL board also approved renovation and addition to the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. The $6.6 million project will expand the existing 18,000 square feet of space by more than 85 percent and add an elevator, stairwell and several new classrooms – one of which will double as a safe room for storms and other emergencies – as well as a conference room, offices and study nooks.
According to David LaBanc, facilities projects and space management coordinator at Ole Miss, the McCarty Company Design Group of Tupelo is the project’s architect, and Hooker Construction of Thaxton will do the actual construction. The addition is expected to open for the Fall 2015 semester, with the renovated area reopening in Spring 2016.