466 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI surrendering the heritage of the university, bowing to political correctness, and betraying the students and alumni. Nationally, major news outlets took notice, and Khayat garnered widespread praise. The university won its Phi Beta Kappa chapter, in part because of the support of the leading African American historian John Hope Franklin, who argued that the school was “doing as good a job addressing the issue of race as any university in America.” When Ole Miss won the bidding to host the first of the 2008 presidential debates, Khayat and his supporters expected the national coverage to make explicit the troubled racial past of the school. The Memphis Commercial Appeal noted “the past half-century at Ole Miss has been framed-stained even-by those two weeks in 1962.” Ralph Braseth, executive assistant to the chancellor, told the paper, “We fully understand that race is going to be one of the major topics and we never would have pursued getting the debate here if we didn’t want to embrace the topic.” Instead, they embraced the coverage as an opportunity to display to a national audience a new culture of racial reconciliation. For the university and the nation, the hosting of the September 2008 Presidential Debate between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barrack Obama had immense symbolic value. Dr. David Sansing, Professor emeritus and historian of the university, asserted, “I think what we have here is really a confluence of two lines of history, where you have a new Ole Miss, a post-racial Ole Miss, and you have a post-racial black candidate running for president. Nowhere in America could these two forces reinforce each other as they do here at Ole Miss.” Hosting the debate presented immense financial and logistical challenges. The university needed to raise $4 million in private funds. The event was a resounding success. The university garnered wide spread praise for its handling of the debate and an opportunity to refurbish its image. In the twenty-first century, Ole Miss has lived up to the slogan, coined by Chancellor Robert Khayat, “One of America’s Great Public Universities.” The renaissance of the university can be measured, in part, in dollars and new students. Between 1995 and 2009, enrollment increased 43.6 percent, with new records for enrollment set almost every year. Endowments grew from $114.3 to $472.4 million, an increase of 313.3 percent. This new era saw the opening of a series of modern new facilities, including the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, a $25 million dollar state of the art building seating 1,150, and the $50 million dollar Robert C. Khayat Law Center. In the late 2000s, more than $535 million was invested in the physical facilities with an additional $210 million in construction projects underway. But the recent successes go beyond bricks laid and students recruited: it can be measured in an enhanced academic reputation. The McDonnell–Barksdale Honors TEGRA MEDICAL Tegra Medical offers precision machining and contract manufacturing services for the medical device industry. They produce components and assemblies for leading edge surgical and interventional companies. Their services range from prototypes to full production, and from components to complete medical devices. Tegra Medical formed in 2007 and the Hernando location opened in 2009. The Hernando location is 43,000 square feet and their product focuses are spinal implants and instruments, trauma implants and instruments, and large joint and extremities reconstruction instruments. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEGRA MEDICAL