Bennett announces new Founder’s Day tradition


Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

On March 23, University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett announced via email to the student community that Founder’s Day will have a new tradition.

“As we prepare to commemorate the 107th anniversary of The University of Southern Mississippi’s legislative founding, I am pleased to share exciting news about this year’s Founders’ Day celebration,” Bennett wrote.

Each year, Bennett will deliver the State of the University address each year, alternating between the Hattiesburg and Gulf park campuses. Additionally, the university will live-stream the address for those students unable to attend the event.

“It is my distinct pleasure, as President of the university, to announce a new tradition we will begin this year, which we hope will help us better fulfill the original vision for Founders’ Day and reach more members of our Southern Miss community than ever before on this special occasion,” Bennett wrote.

Bennett wrote that a separate university student awards day – normally given out during the Founder’s Day celebration on the Hattiesburg campus – will occur on a separate day in April.

“This new awards program will be modeled after our Gulf Park campus’ Awards Day Ceremony and will allow greater focus on our students’ accomplishments,” Bennett wrote. “Our divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs are working together across our campuses to ensure the success of both of these events.” 

According to Bennett, in 1955, March 30 – now known as Founders’ Day – was designated as a day “to build up a little more custom and tradition concerning the university.”

Bennett wrote that on March 30, 2017, he will deliver a State of the University address at 3:00 p.m. in the Fleming Education Center Auditorium on our Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

“We will continue to recognize faculty and staff who have served our institution for 10, 20, 30 and 40 years on Founders’ Day, but we will invite them to private receptions hosted in Hattiesburg and in Long Beach to honor their service and contributions to our University community,” Bennett wrote. 

The Founder’s Day ceremony  will begin at 10 a.m. with the Years of Service Pin Reception for Hattiesburg-based faculty and staff. Those honored at this event will receive notice via invitation.  At 2 p.m., The Gulf Park campus and Stennis-based faculty Years of Service Pin Reception will begin. 

Founder’s Day will end at 3 p.m. with Bennett’s State of the University Address. Next year’s Founder’s Day celebration will occur on the Hattiesburg campus. On April 11, Student Awards Day for the Hattiesburg campus will occur in Bennett auditorium at 3 p.m. and on April 25, Awards Day for the Gulf Park campus will occur in the Fleming Education Center and Auditorium at 4 p.m.

Additional details regarding Founder’s Day and awards day will be released at a later time. Persons interested in further information regarding Founder’s Day can visit as more details emerge.