University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
January 13, 2011
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

USA’s Engineering, Athletic Programs Receive Gifts from Thompson Engineering, Thompson Holdings

USA Associate Director of Development Lauren Weigel, USA College of Engineering Dean Dr. John Steadman, Thompson Engineering Chief Executive Officer and USA Trustee Jimmy Shumock, and USA Development Specialist Lee Weldon.
USA Associate Director of Development Lauren Weigel, USA College of Engineering Dean Dr. John Steadman, Thompson Engineering Chief Executive Officer and USA Trustee Jimmy Shumock, and USA Development Specialist Lee Weldon.

Thompson Engineering, Inc., a local engineering design firm, and Thompson Holdings Foundation, Inc. made a recent pledge to the University of South Alabama for naming rights to two rooms within the Shelby Hall Engineering and Computing Sciences building, and also agreed to be the title sponsor for the 2011 Jaguar Challenge Golf Tournament.

Thompson’s pledge to Shelby Hall will support the College of Engineering Excellence Endowment and give them naming rights to two rooms within the building: the large multimedia classroom and the administration suite.  The Excellence Endowment is a fund created to help the College of Engineering’s pursuit of academic excellence by allowing the college’s dean to continually assess its priorities and goals, and direct funding to special areas of opportunity and/or concern. 

Thompson Engineering, Inc. and Thompson Holdings Foundation, Inc.’s Multimedia Classroom will be equipped with a projector screen, wireless internet, and video-conferencing capabilities. The classroom holds 60 students and is designed for the large engineering core curriculum. As the largest engineering classroom within Shelby Hall, all engineering majors will take a course in the spacious auditorium-style classroom. The room will also be used for guest lectures, special functions, Web-based seminars, and online education.

The Administration Suite houses the Dean’s office, as well as offices for two associate deans, an academic advisor and administrative assistants. Located on the second floor, close to the multimedia classroom, this area will be a welcoming area for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors. 

In appreciation for the generous donation both rooms will feature a plaque recognizing Thompson's investment in USA students. The Thompson name will also be inscribed on the College's Donor Wall. As a part of the Shelby Hall Room-Naming Campaign, this gift will receive a gift recognition match from the University. 

Jimmy Shumock, chief executive officer of Thompson Engineering, said that his company was proud to support USA through these gifts.

“We firmly believe our future strength and prosperity are related to that of our communities and universities,” said Shumock, a USA alumnus and newly appointed member of the Board of Trustees. “With our headquarters in Mobile, we rely on USA to help supply our workforce with many different professionals to meet the wide-ranging requirements of our growing business. We find that the students we employ from USA are well prepared for the many challenges we put before them.”

Some 43 members of Thompson’s 350 employees attended USA. Several other employees are currently receiving master’s or bachelor’s degrees from the University.

Shumock said the company was particularly proud to partner with USA on Shelby Hall.

“We know that this state-of-the-art facility will attract and produce the high level engineering graduates that we have come to expect from USA,” he said. “Teaming with USA on this endeavor and other endeavors going forward will enhance our ability to achieve our strategies for growth and success into the future.”
Dr. John Steadman, dean of the USA College of Engineering, said, “All of the faculty, staff and students in the College of Engineering join me in thanking Thompson Engineering for its generous support.  Having the Thompson name on our classroom and the Engineering Administration suite will be a constant reminder of the wonderful partnership we have with this outstanding engineering company.”

USA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Dr. Joseph F. Busta Jr. said, “At Shelby Hall we will be training the next generation of engineers and computer scientists, who will fuel and enhance our local and regional economy. Through this gift, Thompson Engineering shows its commitment to the continued economic success of our region and our students. This gift will help make a real difference for our students.”

Thompson will also be the title sponsor for the 2011 USA Jaguar Challenge Golf Tournament. This will be the fourth consecutive year the firm has been featured as the title sponsor.

Shumock, who also serves as president of the Jaguar Athletic Fund, said his company was happy to lend its name as the title sponsor for the 2011 Challenge.

“We are proud to be a part of the tremendous success of USA in the last few years and have enjoyed entertaining our clients and business partners at this prestigious event,” Shumock said. “As we strive to be the premiere consultant for our clients, we are proud to be teamed with a University and more specifically a university athletic program that has the same mission.”

University Athletic Director Dr. Joel Erdmann said of the Thompson gift, “On behalf of our 350 student-athletes we deeply appreciate this generous sponsorship of the Jaguar Challenge by Thompson Engineering.  It is leadership and commitment like this that enables the Jaguar Challenge to be a tremendous event which directly impacts our ability to succeed at the NCAA Division I level.”

Busta said, “Thompson's gift to our annual golf tournament will improve the quality of our athletic program and support athletes who are balancing their teamwork and their classwork.”


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