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From Home Furnishing Business

MSU: Franklin Furniture Institute Won’t Close, But Is Reorganizing

Mississippi State University said its Franklin Furniture Institute isn’t being closed after all, but is being reorganized and will continue to contribute research and drive innovation for the state’s furniture industry.

The university said the facility, established in 2001 with a major gift from Franklin Corp. founder and MSU alumnus Hassell Franklin, will be renamed the Franklin Innovation Center.

“MSU’s commitment to the furniture industry remains strong and unwavering,” MSU President Mark Keenum said in a statement. “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.”

Last week, the institute’s former director said the program was being shut down due to budget cuts, but the university later issued a statement that said it was being reorganized. The statement didn’t say who would staff the reorganized program.

University officials said the new program will emphasize innovation and will focus on establishing a stronger connection between students in furniture-related curriculums and the College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach.

The university said its core activities in support of the furniture industry will continue, including furniture testing, fundamental and applied furniture-related research, technical assistance to the industry graduate and undergraduate education and training, and industry-driven specialized programming.

According to MSU furniture is a $7 billion industry in Mississippi and provides more than 48,000 jobs in the state.

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