Thursday, August 24, 2006
Rust enrollment steady
By BARRY BURLESON
Rust College started welcoming freshmen back to campus last weekend, and orientation runs through Saturday. Upperclassmen begin reporting this weekend.
Classes begin next Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Dr. David Beckley, president of Rust, hosted Holly Springs Rotary Club members on campus August 16. The college served 1,106 students during the 2005-06 year, and he expects to reach that number again this year.
“We anticipate our enrollment to remain steady for the first semester, at or near 1,000,” Beckley said.
“Plus, we closed 05-06 with a balanced budget ($15 million).”
He said it’s the 39th consecutive year for the college to operate on a balanced budget.
Martin Street Project
Beckley showed slides of new and renovated homes as part of the Martin Street Project. He said it was a team effort of Rust College and the City of Holly Springs, utilizing monies received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, Texas, through the Bank of Holly Springs.
The project began in 2003, thanks to a program to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities in expanding their role and effectiveness in addressing community development needs in their localities, including neighborhood revitalization, housing and economic development.
“We have five new homes on Martin Street (which is adjacent to the college) and we’re completing the rehabilitation of three homes,” Beckley said. “We’ve spent $445,000 on homes on Martin Street, most occupied by elderly residents, and homeowners have invested nothing.
“Martin Street was too long neglected, and we’re delighted to be a part of it. These (two) grants have made an impact on the appearance of Martin Street.”
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry also talked about the Martin Street project, saying, “It’s been long known the area needed some rehabilitation, and we were happy to partner with Rust and improve a portion of our community.”
A third grant is in the works, which Beckley said will carry on some aspects of Martin Street but mainly focus on Memphis Street from Rust College toward the downtown area.
“We want to help strengthen business and continue to help the appearance of this area of our city,” he said. “We hope to use some of this grant to purchase dilapidated structures. We’re excited about the possibilities.”
Beckley also thanked the Bank of Holly Springs for their assistance in the project.
College administrators coming to Holly Springs
Beckley also announced an “historic first for Holly Springs.”
Rust College will host the 73rd annual conference of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities in Holly Springs on October 22-24.
Beckley is president of the board of directors this year, and he is looking forward to showing off Rust and the city it calls home.
He expects leaders of most universities and junior colleges in the state to attend.
Plans are already underway.
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