• Erin Berg

Franklin Innovation Center replaces MSU Franklin Furniture Institute

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State University (MSU) announced it is establishing the Franklin Innovation Center as a result of reorganizing the Franklin Furniture Institute following this week’s reports that the institute lacked funding to continue.

The new Franklin Innovation Center will be a collaboration among the university’s schools of business, engineering and architecture, and MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum will spearhead the reorganization process.

University officials said the program of testing, research and outreach performed by the institute will not be changed by the new structure.

“MSU’s commitment to the furniture industry remains strong and unwavering,” said Keenum. “As we move into our fourth decade of support for this vibrant Mississippi industry, both MSU and our furniture industry partners are mindful of the need to bring innovation, cutting edge technologies and a fresh vision to how the industry will grow and thrive in the future.”

In a statement, MSU said a particular area of focus for the new Franklin Innovation Center will be to establish “a stronger connection between students in furniture-related curriculums and the MSU College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach” to help students, faculty and staff to start companies, create jobs and market new products.

Furniture Today reported on Monday that the institute would reorganize due to funding changes and that the staff of four full-time employees, including its director Bill Martin, were notified their positions would be terminated effective July 31.

Through a major gift from Franklin Corp. founder and MSU alumnus Hassell Franklin, the Franklin Furniture Institute was launched in 2001 to help secure the future of Mississippi’s furniture industry which provides the state economy with more than 48,000 jobs that earn $2 billion payroll.

Erin BergErin Berg | Associate Editor

Erin Berg is an Associate Editor for Furniture/Today. After earning her B. A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California, Erin began her career in marketing where she served clients in a wide variety of industries from film and television entertainment to aviation. Erin lived in Italy and four different states before landing in North Carolina in 2009.

Erin can be reached at EBerg@furnituretoday.com or at 336-605-1040.

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