PATRICK HAMEL: Sour grapes will not save USM Gulf Park

July 15, 2014 

Iwould not have been able to get a degree and support my family without USM Gulf Park.

Back in the 1960s I took my first programming class at Keesler AFB. Then there was a big flap about closing military bases. Keesler AFB had lots of young electronics officers who had no local campus on which to advance their college education and careers.

That fact was made known to the local politicians and its potential economic impact got the attention of the state. That was when the politically-appointed members of the IHL decreed that the USM Gulf Park campus be established. I had to get a business degree because that was the only degree they could issue in 1977.

The nearly half-page Forum on Sunday by Dr. J.P. "Pat" Smith ignores the fact that current national economics will require more base closings, and Keesler, the naval shipbuilders, and Seabees are already likely candidates because we are in the nationally-hated and vilified Mississippi.

USM Gulf Park is not a research university, It teaches people, a detail which is a hated time-waster for professors who cannot live on a teaching salary, but must have big government research grants to raise a family in the manner to which they want to become accustomed. Midlevel administrators in any activity have always been paid based on the amount of resources they control.

Please don't protest when you can do something. Re-educate the politicians on the economic costs if we lose USM Gulf Park, causing Keesler, Stennis and the Seabees to be relocated. The casinos will not support the Coast and everyone will be "upside down" on their mortgages.

Dr. Smith's half a page of sour grapes should be put to a better, more informative use.


Long Beach

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