MSU’s Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center gains architect

Studio portrait of Fran Pharis
Fran Pharis (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

Contact: Christie McNeal

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center is welcoming Architect and Community Planner Fran Pharis to its team.

A 2008 Mississippi State University School of Architecture alumna and licensed architect in Mississippi, Pharis previously worked at several private architecture firms, as well as for a company specializing in water purification systems and with a government contractor. She recently assisted in teaching an MSU landscape architecture design studio course.

Pharis officially began her new role as the research center’s architect in March.

While a student in MSU’s School of Architecture, Pharis worked at the Carl Small Town Center and even volunteered there after graduating.

“My time as a student worker impacted how I thought about communities and their need for good, thoughtful design,” she said. “Design should be accessible to everyone and every community regardless of socioeconomic status, history and life circumstances.”

Pharis said she is excited to be back working at the center and helping to further its mission.

“I wholeheartedly believe in the center’s mission to bring good design to small communities in an effort to solve specific problems through education and implementation. All small towns—and the citizens within—have potential to thrive, and I look forward to igniting the necessary passion within citizens and leaders and working toward the goal of creating thriving communities,” Pharis said.

Fred E. Carl Jr., a major Mississippi State benefactor and the center’s namesake, is a Greenwood resident who founded and served as the first president and CEO of nationally recognized Viking Range Corp. A one-time architecture major at MSU, he endowed the university’s statewide community design outreach program in 2004.

A research center housed in the College of Architecture, Art and Design, the center provides planning and design services, seeking to provide solutions to problems faced by communities across the nation. Read more about MSU’s Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @smalltowncenter.

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