William Carey Rebounds One Year Later After Being Hit by a Devastating Tornado
HATTIESBURG, MISS. - January 21, 2017, is a day William Carey University President, Dr. Tommy King will never forget. It's been nearly a year since a massive tornado caused an extensive amount of damage to the campus of William Carey University. For quite some time now, the campus has been in its rebuilding mode.
King spoke about the moment he first got the news that the university had been hit by a tornado. “Around 2:30am we got a phone call from Carey, and we also saw on the television that the tornado had hit the campus head on,” King said. “So, we immediately got dressed. Drove over to see how things were, and it was like a war-zone.” The EF-3 tornado dismantled the university's campus. Buildings that once stood high and tall suddenly found themselves on the ground. “Our first thought was we'll never be able to recover,” King said. “Our biggest worry was that we would lose our enrollment… almost always after a disaster like that schools lose enrollment, but we did not. In fact, we actually gained in enrollment.” Classes resumed online, while King and his administration quickly started their rebuilding process. “Our insurance brought in six-hundred professional workers from all across the country for the clean-up, and they did an outstanding job,” King said. Now, nearly a year later every building is back standing nice and tall. “The progress in rebuilding and restoring the damaged building was outstanding. All of the buildings that were damaged have been repaired now within a year's time,” King explained. King says the current construction seen on campus is actually for more new buildings for the university. Overall, King wanted to say, “thank you” to everyone who helped the university get back on its feet. "We owe a great deal of gratitude to Southern Miss. to churches in the area, and to the people of Hattiesburg and South Mississippi for their support,” King stated.