The University of Southern Mississippi and its Board of Trustees were established by an act of the legislature approved on March 30, 1910, by Gov. Edmund F. Noel. Its first name was the Mississippi Normal College, and its original purpose was to train teachers for the rural schools of Mississippi. On February 2, 1932, the legislature established the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and placed under its jurisdiction the five colleges and one university owned and operated by the state. On November 3, 1942, the people of the state voted to make the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning a constitutional board for all colleges and universities of the state. The University of Southern Mississippi is now operated under the jurisdiction of that constitutional board.
The act of March 30, 1910, did not provide any state money for the building of Mississippi Normal College, but did provide that localities in the state might bid for its location by offering land for a site and money for constructing buildings. On September 16, 1910, the Board of Trustees accepted the bid of Hattiesburg and Forrest County to supply $250,000 and a free site. That site was west of the city in cutover timberland with great pine stumps everywhere. Contracts were let to clear the land and to build buildings.
The five permanent buildings (College Hall, Forrest County Hall, Hattiesburg Hall, the Industrial Cottage [now the Honor House] and the President’s Home [now the Alumni House]), a temporary wooden dining hall and other necessary improvements were barely finished when the Mississippi Normal College opened on the rainy morning of September 18, 1912, with a president, a faculty of 18 and a student body of 200.
On October 17, 1911, Joseph Anderson Cook, superintendent of schools, Columbus, Miss., was elected president. The University of Southern Mississippi has had only ten presidents since its founding. The Board of Trustees elected Claude Bennett president effective October 10, 1928. On April 23, 1933, the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Jennings Burton George as the third president, effective July 1, 1933. On June 13, 1945, the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Robert Cecil Cook as the fourth president, and he officially assumed office on July 1, 1945. On October 21, 1954, President Cook submitted his resignation. He served until December 31, 1954, and Dr. Richard Aubrey McLemore became acting president on January 1, 1955. The Board of Trustees, on May 19, 1955, elected Dr. William David McCain as the fifth president. He officially assumed office on August 1, 1955, and retired June 30, 1975. Dr. Aubrey Keith Lucas became the sixth president of the university on July 1, 1975, and served until his retirement on December 31, 1996, the longest tenure of any president. Dr. Horace Weldon Fleming Jr. served as the seventh president from January 1, 1997, until August 31, 2001. Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas returned to the presidency on September 1, 2001, and served until April 30, 2002. On April 13, 2002, the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Shelby Freland Thames as the eighth president, effective May 1, 2002. Dr. Martha Dunagin Saunders became the ninth president of Southern Miss effective May 21, 2007, and served as its first-ever female president until June 30, 2012. On July 1, 2012, Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas returned to the presidency a second time and served as interim president until March 31, 2013. On February 7, 2013, the Board of Trustees named Dr. Rodney D. Bennett as the tenth President of The University of Southern Mississippi effective April 1, 2013. Dr. Bennett serves as the first African-American president.
On March 7, 1924, the legislature changed the university’s name to State Teachers College. On February 8, 1940, the legislature changed the name to Mississippi Southern College, and on February 27, 1962, the legislature changed the name to The University of Southern Mississippi.
The Mississippi Normal College did not grant degrees in its early years but awarded certificates for the completion of certain specified courses of study. On April 8, 1922, the legislature authorized the awarding of the Bachelor of Science degree. The Bachelor of Music degree was authorized by the Board of Trustees on June 19, 1934. The first Bachelor of Arts degree was awarded on August 20, 1940. On May 26, 1947, the Board of Trustees authorized the initiation of graduate work and the awarding of the Master of Arts degree. In the years since 1947, the university’s graduate programs have developed logically to meet the needs for professional competence beyond the academic measure of the baccalaureate degree. Doctoral programs were first authorized by the Board of Trustees on May 20, 1959.
The administrative and academic organization of The University of Southern Mississippi is divided into the following areas: Office of the President; Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration; Office of the Vice President for the Gulf Park Campus; Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs; Office of the Vice President for Research; Office of the Vice President for External Affairs; and Office of the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Academically, the university is organized into the College of Arts and Letters, College of Business, College of Education and Psychology, College of Health, College of Nursing, College of Science and Technology, the Graduate School and the Honors College.
The number of graduates is some measure of the growth of a university. The University of Southern Mississippi has awarded approximately 120,000 degrees since the first one was conferred in 1922.
The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi is a community of engaged citizens, operating as a public, student-centered, doctoral-granting research university serving Mississippi, the nation, and the world. The University is dedicated to scholarship and learning, integrating students at all levels in the creation and application of knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, creative activities, outreach, and service. The University nurtures student success by providing distinctive and competitive educational programs embedded in a welcoming environment, preparing a diverse student population to embark on meaningful life endeavors.
The University of Southern Mississippi aspires to be a model student-centered public research university that prepares students to thrive in a global society by providing high quality programs and transformative experiences in a community distinguished by inclusiveness.
The mission of the institution is supported by the following values:
- Research and instructional excellence focused on student success at all teaching sites and through campus-based and distance education
- Student engagement that fosters personal growth, professional development, and a lifelong commitment to wellness
- An inclusive community that embraces the diversity of people and ideas
- Institutional governance that respects academic freedom and faculty inclusion
- A campus culture characterized by warmth and mutually-supportive connections among students, faculty, staff, and alumni
- An approach to academics, research, and personal conduct based on integrity and civility
- An evolving curriculum that fosters lifelong curiosity and critical thinking
- Community participation that promotes social responsibility and citizenship
Institutional Strategic Goals
- Support student success to foster retention, progression and graduation
- Promote teaching, research, and creative excellence
- Strategically expand undergraduate and graduate enrollment
- Strengthen economic and community partnerships
- Invest in faculty and staff to maximize their potential
- Promote a culture of inclusiveness of people and ideas
- Enhance physical, technological, and financial infrastructure to support our mission, vision, and values
- Improve efficiency and effectiveness of institutional processes and systems
The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the baccalaureate, masters, specialists and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of The University of Southern Mississippi.
SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS COMMISSION ON COLLEGES
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033-4097
Specific programs are accredited by the following agencies:
ASSOCIATION TO ADVANCE COLLEGIATE SCHOOLS OF BUSINESS
777 South Harbor Island Blvd., Suite 750
Tampa, FL 33602-5730 USA
ACCREDITATION COUNCIL FOR EDUCATION IN NUTRITION AND DIETETICS
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
ACCREDITING COUNCIL ON EDUCATION IN JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION
1435 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045-7575
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION STANDING COMMITTEE ON PARALEGALS
321 N. Clark St., MS 19.1
Chicago, IL 60654-7598
AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY
111155 16th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR CONSTRUCTION EDUCATION
1717 North Loop 1604 East, Suite 320
San Antonio, TX 78232-1570
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (APA)
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
11200 Rockville Pike, Suite 302
Rockville, MD 20852-3110
COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION OF ALLIED HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAMS
1361 Park Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION OF ATHLETIC TRAINING EDUCATION (CAATE)
2201 Double Creek Drive
Round Rock, TX 78664
COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2795
COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY EDUCATION
112 South Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3061
COMMISSION ON COLLEGIATE NURSING EDUCATION
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530
Washington, D.C. 20036
COMPUTING ACCREDITATION COMMISSION OF THE ACCREDITATION BOARD FOR ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
415 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201 USA
COUNCIL FOR ACCREDITATION OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
400 N. Columbia Street, Suite 202
Alexandria, VA 22314
COUNCIL FOR INTERIOR DESIGN ACCREDITATION
60 Monroe Center NW, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2920
COUNCIL FOR THE ACCREDITATION OF EDUCATOR PREPARATION (FORMERLY KNOWN AS NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ACCREDITATION OF TEACHER EDUCATION)
1140 19th Street, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036
COUNCIL ON ACADEMIC ACCREDITATION IN AUDIOLOGY AND SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard #310
Rockville, MD 20850
COUNCIL ON ACCREDITATION OF NURSE ANESTHESIA EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
222 S. Prospect Avenue
Park ridge, IL 60068-4001
COUNCIL ON EDUCATION OF THE DEAF
P.O. Box 10076
Beaumont, TX 77710
COUNCIL ON EDUCATION FOR PUBLIC HEALTH (CEPH)
800 Eye Street, NW, Suite 202
Washington, DC 20001-3710
COUNCIL ON SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION
1725 Duke Street, Suite 500
Alexandria, VA 22314
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY ACCREDITATION COMMISSION OF THE ACCREDITATION BOARD FOR ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
415 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
NATIONAL ACCREDITING AGENCY FOR CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCES
5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-511119
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS
4340 East West Highway, Suite 402
Bethesda, MD 20814
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF ART AND DESIGN
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF DANCE
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF MUSIC
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF THEATRE
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ACCREDITATION OF COACHING EDUCATION
1900 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHER OF MATHEMATICS
1906 Association Dr.
Reston, VA 20191-1502
NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHER ASSOCIATION
1840 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
University Libraries provides a dynamic physical and virtual learning environment that supports the intellectual development and creativity of the University community. Joseph Anderson Cook Library, William David McCain Library and Archives, the Gulf Coast Library and the Gunter Library at the Gulf Coast Research Lab offer services that meet information needs and support the research, teaching, learning, and service of the University’s faculty, staff, and students. An extensive Web site provides access to the libraries’ holdings, including full text and article databases, electronic journals and books, and digitized collections and services such as reference and research assistance, tutorials, and document delivery.
The Joseph Anderson Cook Library
The Joseph Anderson Cook Library contains the principle holdings of books, journals, microforms, music, media, and other materials, which support the research and instructional programs of the University. Cook Library has five floors of book stacks, study areas, and computers, and access is provided to over five million books and microforms and over 150,000 journals. Library services, such as circulation, reference and interlibrary loan, can be found on the first and second floors with the collections being housed on all five floors.
The William David McCain Library and Archives
The William David McCain Library and Archives includes University Libraries’ special collections and archives of the University. Notable holdings include the Mississippiana Collection; the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection; the Civil Rights Collection; the papers of William M. Colmer, Theodore G. Bilbo, and Paul B. Johnson, Jr.; the Walen Collection of Confederate and Civil War History; and the Cleanth Brooks Collection of belles lettres. Research services are directed from the Cleanth Brooks Reading Room, and are available for use by the public and University community. The collections contained in McCain Library and Archives are accessible using the online catalog and additional descriptive finding aids.
The Gulf Coast Library
The Gulf Coast Library, located on the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, has print and non-print materials that support the research and curriculum needs of the students, faculty, and staff. All of the University Libraries’ electronic holdings are accessible to the students on the Gulf Coast, and materials are available for campus-to-campus loan. The Gulf Coast Library includes 37,000 volumes of curriculum resource materials and provides study space and access to computers throughout all three floors of the facility.
The Gunter Library
The Gunter Library, located in the Richard L. Caylor Building, at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs provides technical information for the research staff, resident faculty, and students. A collection of 1,663 print journals and over 30,000 books, reprints, reports, and gray literature, environmental impact statements; fishery management plans; and other materials supporting the research and teaching done by the Department of Coast Sciences and GCRL scientific staff are available to support research, education, and services in the coastal sciences.
The Aquila Digital Community
The Aquila Digital Community is an open access digital repository containing all of the scholarly works created by The University of Southern Mississippi faculty, staff, and students. Aquila also hosts digital journals and newsletters published by the University, as well as information and resources from events hosted by the University. All submissions to Aquila have open access availability and are indexed, making them highly discoverable through internet search engines, such as Google, thereby extending the University’s scholarly output to a wider audience.
Mississippi Digital Library
Hosted and managed by University Libraries, The Mississippi Digital Library (MDL) is the collaborative digital library program for the state that provides online access to primary source materials held by repositories in the state of Mississippi. MDL includes materials covering a wide range of subject areas, with contributions from museums, public libraries, historical societies and other cultural institutions throughout the entire state. MDL’s collections represent more than 150 years of history and culture from Mississippi’s Delta to the Gulf Coast. From photographs to oral histories, the treasures contributed to the Mississippi Digital Library exhibit the incredible diversity of resources that can be found in the state.
The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art
Originally established in 1977 as the C. W. Woods Gallery through a generous donation from the Woods family, the gallery was later expanded and renamed The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art in 1997 by the Board of Trustees. Previously located in the Fine Arts Building, the museum now has a new gallery space, The Gallery of Art & Design located on campus in the historic George Hurst Building on Southern Drive.
Recent exhibitions hosted by the Museum of Art have included: A Century of Drawing Alumni Invitational; Aquaflora, a contemporary painting exhibition and collaboration with the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and Oddfellows Gallery; In Becoming Stone: The Woodfired Sculpture of Scott Ross; and Literary Effigies and Blues Portraits: Woodcuts by Charles D. Jones.
In edition to exhibiting the work of nationally and internationally recognized artists, the museum also exhibits the work of Southern Miss Department of Art & Design faculty with a biannual faculty exhibition, and the work of Art & Design students and graduating seniors.
The museum also displays works of art from the permanent collection. The collection includes works by Joan Miro, Georges Rouault, Max Papart, Thomas Downing, Ed McGowin, Thornton Willis and many well-known Mississippi artists such as Walter Anderson, Dusti Bongé, Marie Hull, and Richmond Barthé. Many select pieces from the permanent collection can currently be seen on long-term display in the Cook Library Art Gallery.
Other General Information and Services
Chief Information Officer
Wireless Internet Access
The University of Southern Mississippi offers students, faculty, staff and guests access to wireless services. For more information about wireless services offered, go to the iTech website at www.usm.edu/itech.
The University provides email services to all current Southern Miss students, faculty, and staff. All students are required to activate their Southern Miss e-mail. To activate your e-mail account, log in to SOAR with your student ID or employee ID and password. Students can follow the directions located on the iTech Web site at www.usm.edu/itech/how-do-i.
CampusID and Password Reset
After you have established your username and password, you can reset a lost or forgotten password by going to campusid.usm.edu. CampusID will allow you to conveniently reset your password 24 hours a day.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (F-E-R-P-A)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended deals with one subject only: educational records. The purpose of the law is to define, more precisely than ever has been done, who may or may not see these records. On the one hand, the law grants students guaranteed access; on the other hand, it takes from the universities the privilege of indiscriminate disclosure.
The FERPA sets forth these main requirements:
- It allows a student access to each educational record that a university or college keeps on himself or herself.
- It requires the institution to establish a policy on how students can access specific records.
- It requires the institution to inform all students as to what rights they have under the amendment, how they can act on these rights according to school policy, and how they can see a copy of the policy.
- It requires the institution to seek student permission, in writing, before disclosing any personally identifiable record to individuals other than professional personnel employed in the university or college and others who meet certain specified requirements.
The University of Southern Mississippi may release directory information on students to any interested member of the public unless the student requests in writing that it be withheld. Directory information is defined as the following: student’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, major, dates of attendance, classification, degree(s) earned, previous educational institutions attended, participation in university-recognized organizations and activities, weight and height of athletic team member, and honors and awards.
The university has developed and put into writing a policy for handling requests from students and for disclosing personally identifiable information about students. Students are notified of their rights under the law by publishing the university policy on the Registrar’s Web page at www.usm.edu/registrar.
Individuals have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of F-E-R-P-A Students should contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.
Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Since 1992, students and faculty of The University of Southern Mississippi have benefited from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities. ORAU is a consortium of 96 colleges and universities, and a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) located in Oak Ridge, Tenn. ORAU works with its member institutions to help their students and faculty gain access to federal research facilities throughout the country; to keep its members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among its members.
Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), the DOE facility that ORAU operates, undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates as well as faculty enjoy access to a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Students can participate in programs covering a wide variety of disciplines including business, earth sciences, epidemiology, engineering, physics, geological sciences, pharmacology, ocean sciences, biomedical sciences, nuclear chemistry and mathematics. Appointment and program length range from one month to four years. Many of these programs are especially designed to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science- and engineering-related disciplines. A comprehensive listing of these programs and other opportunities, their disciplines and details on locations and benefits can be found on the web at http://orise.orau.gov.
ORAU’s Office of Partnership Development seeks opportunities for partnerships and alliances among ORAU’s members, private industry and major federal facilities. Activities include faculty development programs, such as the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards, the Visiting Industrial Scholars Program, consortium research funding initiatives, faculty research and support programs, as well as services to chief research officers
For more information about ORAU and its programs, contact
|Dr. Gordon Cannon
Vice President for Research
ORAU Councilor for Southern Miss
|Monnie E. Champion
ORAU Corporate Secretary
Visit the ORAU home page at www.orau.org.
Retention of Students and Program Completion Information
A University of Southern Mississippi Fact Book that includes information on retention and graduation is located in the reserve material at the Circulation Desk in Joseph Anderson Cook Library and is available upon request and online at www.usm.edu/ir.
The University of Southern Mississippi, in its efforts to foster an environment of respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the university community, is committed to maintaining a work-learning environment free of sexual harassment. It is the policy of the university that no member of its community shall sexually harass another. Any employee or student who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action, including termination. Sexual harassment is illegal under federal law (Southern Miss Student Handbook 2006-07, p. 22).
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The University of Southern Mississippi complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act. No otherwise qualified individual with a disability, solely on the basis of his/her disability, will be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination in the administration of any educational program or activity, including admission or access thereto or in treatment or employment therein by The University of Southern Mississippi. All reasonable accommodations must be approved through the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for students, or the Human Resources director for faculty/staff. Students who need assistance in reasonably accommodating a disability in the classroom or on campus should contact the ODA director at 601.266.5024 or 228.214.3232; faculty and staff should contact the director of Human Resources at 601.266.4050. Individuals with hearing impairments can use Mississippi Relay Service at 800.582.2233 (TTY) to contact campus offices.
The University Press of Mississippi
The University Press of Mississippi was founded in 1970 to encourage the dissemination of the fruit of research and study through the publication of scholarly works. Functioning as the scholarly publishing arm of the state-supported universities in Mississippi, the University Press is governed by a board of directors made up of one representative from each of the eight state universities, one representative from the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, and the director of the Press.
The University Press publishes more than 50 books each year. Primary areas of interest are Mississippi history and literature, but manuscripts in all areas of study are welcomed.
Administrative offices of the University Press are located in the Education and Research Center of Mississippi, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211.
The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association
The Alumni Association was established in 1917 as an organization mainly involved in functions relating to placement service. Since its rebirth in 1946, when the executive committee recognized the need for a working Alumni Association with organized alumni groups in the various counties of the state, the Association has operated in its present form, serving as a link between the university and its former students.
Southern Miss graduates and former students are encouraged to become active in the Alumni Association through its many geographic chapters and constituent societies. Of more than 130,000 graduates since the university’s founding, more than 15,000 are currently enlisted as paid members of the Association.
The Association provides a number of benefits to its members, including a subscription to its award-winning quarterly magazine The Talon, which helps graduates stay informed of campus developments and provides updates on former classmates. Other benefits include a waiver of out-of-state tuition fees for children of members who meet certain requirements, receipt of mailings on area alumni chapter meetings, select university library privileges, car decals, eligibility to join the Southern Miss Credit Union and various other special events. The Association also maintains a website and distributes a monthly electronic newsletter, Alumni Mail.
The Association is very active in developing other programs to support all areas of the university. Some of these include the Pierce Legacy Scholars Program, which awards one-time scholarships to select children and grandchildren of alumni, sponsoring arts events, organizing meetings across the Southeast and spearheading the Growing Up Gold legacy engagement program.
The Alumni Association also sponsored the drive to raise funds necessary for the construction of the first R.C. Cook University Union building, helped set up the USM Foundation (the repository for all gifts to the university) and organized The Legacy, an organization composed of hard-working, enthusiastic students involved in a variety of activities each semester to promote the university.
Organized alumni chapters are urged to hold a meeting each year on or around March 30, for the election of officers. This date was selected by the Association as Founders’ Day in commemoration of the founding of the university on that date in 1910. All former students of Southern Miss are encouraged to get together in honor of the university on this date.