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Ole Miss Technology Summit Leaders Envision a Future of Rapid Change, Challenges

By Jim Roberts
for hottytoddy.com

Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi, and Hu Meena, CEO of C-Spire, sat on the panel “Role of Education in Preparing the Workforce,” during the Tech Summit on Wednesday, Aug. 29.

Jim Barksdale, Ole Miss alum, benefactor and global technology leader, set the tone for the Third Annual Technology Summit Wednesday, Aug. 29, at Ole Miss when he quoted IBM as “projecting knowledge will double every 11 hours” in the next few years.

John Palmer, another Ole Miss alum, benefactor, and technology leader, challenged the audience’s top technology leaders to train a workforce “to get Mississippi off the bottom.”

Palmer, Barksdale and other speakers discussed the rapid changes coming in global technology that are driving all sectors of business and industry.

“I am dismayed that Mississippi only created 2,000 new jobs last year, and our average wage is only $38,000 while the national average is $51,000,” Palmer said.

He urged the group to support UM Chancellor Jeffery Vitter’s efforts to focus on science and technology. Vitter is currently pushing completion of a STEM Center building to bolster technology resources on campus.

Sen. Roger Wicker met with a group of Ole Miss students during the third annual Technology Summit.

Sen. Roger Wicker opened the conference, which included senior level speakers from Samsung, Comcast Business, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, FedEx, Huntington Ingalls Industries, the White House and U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command among others.

Wicker pointed out that Mississippi, through the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is leading the nation in telemedicine, which is the future for providing health care for rural areas.

“I hope today’s Tech Summit will promote discussions about the University’s role in preparing students for a tech-driven future. As a Carnegie-Designated R1 research institution, we’re equipped with outstanding capabilities to pursue that goal, and our research enterprises keep growing. Funding from external sources grew 23 percent last year for the Oxford campus,” Vitter stated in the event program.

“That increase covers funding from federal and state sources, foundations, and through partnerships with business and industry,” he added.

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