Eddie Holloway comes out of retirement for Interim role


Sean Smith

Eddie Holloway during the presentation of colors before the 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ecumenical and Scholarship Breakfast on Monday morning, January 17, 2023, at the Thad Chochran Center ballroom.


Southern Miss is living up to its commitment to diversity with a new administrative position. The role of Senior Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was created to increase the diversity in USM’s faculty and staff. Dr. Eddie Holloway, a renowned figure at Southern Miss,  came out of retirement to serve in the interim.  


The new position of Senior Associate Provost for DEI was announced in an email from USM President Joe Paul on February 27. “As we continue our work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, I am pleased to announce a new role that will focus on initiatives supporting the recruitment, retention, and professional development of underrepresented faculty and staff, with an emphasis on faculty recruitment pipelines,” the message read. 


Holloway was chosen to fill the role in the interim until a permanent provost is found. It is his first time working at USM since his retirement from Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs in 2019.  


“If our enrollment is approaching 30% student of color, and there being a significantly lesser number of faculty and staff of color, that is not accepting of the institution,” he explained.  


Holloway is a USM alum and a pioneer for inclusion in the Hattiesburg and Southern Miss communities. He worked as the Dean of Students before becoming the university’s first Black Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. In addition to his work at USM, Holloway has been involved in numerous state and local organizations dedicated to diversity and community service.  


The issue of diversity in USM’s faculty and staff is not new. Associate professor Dr. Sherita Jenkins explained where the university may fall short. “Across the diaspora, we don’t have the best reputation,” she said. “When there is an opportunity here, instead of just promoting it as an opportunity to teach at the University of Southern Mississippi, we also need to be more intentional about what it is actually like…to be apart of this community.” 


USM student Raven Day gave a student’s perspective on the importance of representation in faculty. “I think it is very important for USM students to have faculty/staff that reflects their race/ethnicity because it shows them that they can…succeed in fields where they are already underrepresented,” she said. 


Holloway began his position on March 6 and will remain on a part-time basis. According to the university, a new provost is expected to be announced this June.