The move comes as the result of a landmark gift from McKee Foods (the maker of the Little Debbie brand) to the university. The gift comes in several parts: $650M for future construction projects, endowed positions for all full-time faculty and full-ride scholarships for any student that pledges to work for McKee’s for 10 years after graduation.
In addition, the agreement stipulates that all of Southern’s administration will be on McKee’s payroll. “This is not a big deal, they basically already were. We are a huge philanthropic contributor,” said a McKee exec under condition of anonymity.
As part of the deal, key buildings will be named after various snack cakes. A few name changes detailed in a university press release include the news that Wright Hall (Administration) will be renamed Nutty Bar. Hackman Hall, home to all religion classes, will now be known as Cosmic Brownie and the Iles Physical Education Center will be renamed Swiss Cake Roll. The McKee Library will not undergo a name change.
In addition to the name changes, a clause in the new agreement requires the university’s School of Physical Education, Health, and Wellness to “stop making such a stink about sugar levels in American desserts.”
There has been some internal push-back on this requirement as several Wellness instructors see a conflict between the Little Debbie brand and the Adventist health message. The department only acquiesced under heavy pressure from administration as well as a guarantee that Hulsey Wellness Center would be re-branded as the healthiest Little Debbie snack, the Oatmeal Creme Pie.
“We are excited about this move to secure the future of our school well into the future. We are no strangers to name changes and each time we have changed our name we have grown into that new name. We re-branded from being a college to a university almost two decades ago. We are now proud to assume our new identity as snack cake ambassadors,” said Marketing and University Relations representative Jared Thompson.