The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Legendary singer and USM alum Jimmy Buffett dies at 76

USM Communications
Legendary singer and USM alum Jimmy Buffett stands at the sign on campus in his honor in 2018.

Legendary alum of Southern Miss and iconic singer Jimmy Buffett died at 76 on Sept. 1. With a hefty career spanning over 40 years, Buffett also established himself as a successful singer and songwriter, and creator of the Margaritaville restaurants and resorts.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs. He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.” said a spokesperson for the family on his official website.

Buffett graduated in 1969 with a degree in history, and was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Buffett was a longtime supporter and philanthropist of the university, and became a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2018.

“Jimmy Buffett was without a doubt one of the most talented individuals to ever attend Southern Miss. He excelled as a performer, songwriter and entrepreneur, but more importantly he was a kind, genuine human being who made a positive impact on everyone he encountered. He will be greatly missed.” said Jerry DeFatta Jr., Executive Director of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.

Buffet was an honorary co-chair of the Give Wing fundraising campaign at the university. He was a member of the USM Foundation Honor Club and life member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.

Buffett established the Mary Loraine “Peets” Buffett Scholarship Endowment in honor of his mother in 2002. The scholarship is renewable and supports freshmen students with a minimum 3.0 GPA in one of the arts and letters programs. 35 scholarships have been awarded since its establishment.

At the Jimmy Buffett sign beside the Hub, mourners have left black and gold pom poms, streamers, and yellow flowers in honor of the late singer. It was at that spot on campus where Buffett met Greg “Fingers” Taylor, who would become a longtime friend and musical collaborator. Together, the two would form The Coral Reefer Band.

Buffett was a common topic at the first game of the 2023-24 football season on Sept. 2. People sang Margaritaville, told stories of Buffett, remembered his longlasting USM legacy, and talked positively of the icon.

“Certainly all of the Golden Eagle nation mourns the passing of Jimmy Buffett,” said USM President Joe Paul. “It’s a bit ironic, it’s on a game day. We’re gonna remember him at the game. What an icon. A global icon! But certainly a favorite son of Southern Miss.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to SM2

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Southern Mississipi. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to SM2

Comments (0)

All Southern Miss Student Media Center Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *