Driver of Economic Opportunity
Born in Yazoo City, Haley Barbour became governor of Mississippi in 2004. During his two terms as governor, his team generated numerous large economic projects in the energy, aerospace, and automotive fields, including, in 2007, Toyota’s selection of Blue Springs for the company’s newest U.S. auto assembly plant, the most sought-after economic development project in the United States that year.
CME is Imagined
In 2008, it was announced that a manufacturing center would be established on the campus of the University of Mississippi, with partial funding for the center coming through the state incentive package that helped attract Toyota to the state. The intent of the center was to offer students a minor or emphasis in manufacturing, along with strong cross-disciplinary studies that included business, management, accounting and engineering.
Through Barbour’s vision and leadership, the Center for Manufacturing Excellence was established and constructed. The first class of students entered the program in fall 2010, and the new facility opened in 2011.
CME Named for Barbour
On Oct. 18, 2012, the Center for Manufacturing Excellence was named the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Hundreds of students, state and local government, and education and industry officials, both local and national, attended the dedication ceremony.
This ceremony was the culmination of several years of hard work and the shared vision of Barbour, UM Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat and Toyota management.
“I am honored that the University of Mississippi has named this new Center for Manufacturing Excellence for me. During my terms as governor, one of our most important accomplishments was the creation of higher skilled, higher paying manufacturing jobs. I am grateful to the university for this personal recognition, but even more grateful for the important work that has been and will be done at the CME to support a wide variety of manufacturing industries and companies in Mississippi and beyond.”
— Governor Haley Barbour
Today, Haley Barbour remains an active member of the CME Advisory Council.