Historical timeline

University milestones and
campus development by decade

Click on the decade to jump to that section, or learn more on our Centennial site.
 

1910  |  1920  |  1930  |  1940  |  1950  |  1960  |  1970  |  1980  |  1990  |  2000
 

1910-1919

Milestones

  • March 30, 1910: Mississippi Normal College is founded by a legislative act as the state’s first state-supported teachers training school. The school’s five original buildings are built on 120 acres of cutover timber land donated by H.A. Camp, A.A. Montague and Dr. T.E. Ross.
  • 1912: Mississippi Normal College opens for classes and is home to a total of 227 students and 17 faculty members during its first term. This year also marks the establishment of the first football team. Composed of 13 men (two with one arm), the team plays nearby high schools at Kamper Park.
  • 1914: The first yearbook for Mississippi Normal College, Neka Camon, is published. The title is a Native American term meaning “The New Spirit.”
  • Dec. 21, 1918: The first school newspaper, the Normal College News, is published. With the tag line “get there on time and stay to the end,” the paper is published every Saturday while school is in session. 

Campus development

  • 1912: College Hall: The principal academic building which contained classrooms, administrative offices, the library and an auditorium.
  • 1912: Forrest County Hall: Three-story dormitory for men and married couples.
  • 1912: Hattiesburg Hall: Women’s dormitory identical to Forrest County Hall
  • 1912: Industrial Cottage: Classroom space for women where sewing and cooking instruction takes place. Now named the Honor House.
  • 1912: President's Home: Now the Ogletree House and currently serves as the home of the Southern Miss Alumni Association 

1920-1929

Milestones

  • 1922: MNC is authorized to confer baccalaureate degrees. Kathryn Swetman is awarded the first degree from MNC that May.
  • 1924: MNC’s name changes to State Teachers College through a legislative act of March 7, 1924.
  • 1926: The first cheerleading squad is formed.
  • 1927: The name of the school news paper is changed to The Student Printz.
  • 1928: President Joe Cook is fired and Claude Bennett assumes the presidency.
  • 1929: State Teachers College is approved for membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (SACS). 

Campus development

  • 1921: World War I Memorial Streetcar Car Station: Built to honor students who served during WWI, it is located at the front entrance to the campus. Funds for the building are donated by faculty, students, alumni and friends of the college.
  • 1922: Southern Hall: Academic building, originally called Science Hall, it houses classrooms and the library. Now used as classrooms and home of the school newspaper, The Student Printz.
  • 1927: George Hurst Building: Academic building is the original home of Demonstration School, where student teachers are trained.

1930-1939

Milestones

  • 1932: The Great Depression creates a devastating economic downturn in the United States and marks the beginning of a very difficult time for the State Teachers College. The state of Mississippi is forced to refuse funds to all public institutions, and for six months faculty and staff members at STC receive no pay.
  • 1933: Dr. Jennings Burton George becomes the institution's third president.
  • 1937: State Teachers College celebrates its 25th anniversary. The three-day “Silver Jubilee” celebration features speeches, receptions, reunions and a large parade through downtown Hattiesburg.

Campus development

  • 1930: Fritzsche-Gibbs Hall: Original Home Science Nursery School. Now serves as home to the College of Health.
  • 1930: Administration Building. Now the Aubrey Keith Lucas Administration Building.
  • 1930: Bennett Auditorium
  • 1930: The Hub: Is built as the dining hall facility. Now home to Southern Miss Activities Co
  • 1932: The Sunken Garden: Decorative garden is built on the site currently occupied by McLemore Hall. Begun in 1929 as a class project, it is completed in 1932.
  • 1934: Power Plant: Is built to house facilities for heating the campus. Now home to the Powerhouse Restaurant.
  • 1934: Lake Byron
  • 1937: Textbook Center: Originally constructed as the Demonstration School Gymnasium.
  • 1939: East Stadium: Originally doubling as a men's residence hall and athletic stadium, it is constructed with federal public works funds and college revenue bonds.

1940-1949

Milestones

  • 1940: STC name changes to Mississippi Southern College.
  • 1941: Mississippi Southern College posts first undefeated football season (9-0-1)
  • 1942: The U.S War Department establishes an Army administration school on campus to train staff for WWII military camps, bringing 1,000 male students to campus.
  • July 1, 1945: Dr. Robert Cecil Cook is named the fourth president of MSC.
  • 1948: MSC joins Spring Hill College of Mobile, Ala., and seven Louisiana institutions to form the Gulf States athletic conference.

 

Campus development

  • 1940: Kennard-Washington Hall: Now home of Student Services. Named in 1993 for Clyde Kennard, an African American who attempted to enroll at Southern Miss during the 1950s, and Dr. Walter Washington, the first African American to receive a doctoral degree from the university.
  • 1946: Gilbert Hartwig Southern Arena Playhouse: Purchased from the U.S. government. Originally called West Hall, it is located behind what is now Cook Library.
  • 1947: Weathersby Hall: Originally built as a women's residence hall. Demolished in 2005, its lawn (adjacent to Shoemaker Square) is now used as a gathering spot for students.
  • 1949: Health, Physical Education, & Recreation Building
  • 1949: Publications and Printing Services: Originally the Physical Plant Building and the former home to the Copy Center, which relocated in spring 2010 to the Thad Cochran Center.

1950-1959

Milestones

  • 1952: MSC joins NCAA.
  • 1953: The Dixie Darlings, precision dance team, is formed by band director Dr. Raymond Mannoni. Originally named the Southern Belles.
  • 1953: WMS, the 10-watt campus radio station, is established
  • 1954: President R. C. Cook resigns
  • 1955: Dr. Richard Aubrey McLemore named Acting President
  • 1955: Former state archivist for Mississippi, Dr. William David McCain assumes the presidency. His main goal as president is to see the college achieve university status
  • 1958: First perfect football season (9-0); United Press International names the team national champion in the "Large College" Division

Campus development

  • 1951: Hickman Hall: Women's residence hall named for Alma Hickman, a member of the original 1912 faculty.
  • 1953: West Stadium: Originally built as a men's residence hall and stadium.
  • 1954: Marsh Hall: Academic/Fine Arts Building named in honor of Frank Earl Marsh, chairman of the Department of Music, 1930-1960.
  • 1954: Bolton Hall: Women's residence hall named for Miss Willa Bolton, professor and chairman of the Geography Department, and a member of the original 1912 faculty.
  • 1956: McLemore Hall: Originally built as the R. C. Cook College Union, the building's name is changed in 1976 when a new student union is built directly behind the Hub. Renamed for Dr. Richard Aubrey McLemore, Acting President from January-August, 1955.
  • 1956: Lake Sehoy: 40-acre artificial lake in Lamar County, donated by the J. J. Newman Lumber Company in 1910.
  • 1957: Danforth Chapel
  • 1959: Jones Hall: Women's residence hall
  • 1959: Scott Hall: Residence hall
  • 1959: Walker Science Building: Academic building
  • 1959: Van Hook Golf Course: 18-hole golf course that closed in 2004. The land is now used for The Garden, the university's innovation and commercialization park.

1960-1969

Milestones

  • Feb. 27, 1962: Governor Ross Barnett signs the bill that makes Mississippi Southern College The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Aug. 14, 1962: First Ph.D. awarded to Eugene Keebler
  • September 1965: As Civil Rights movements and integration are sweeping college campus throughout the nation, the first African American students, Raylawni Young Branch and Gwendolyn Elaine Armstrong, are admitted.
  • 1966: School of Nursing organizes through a special legislative appropriation.

Campus development

  • 1960: Pine Haven Apartments: Married student and family housing complex
  • 1960: Joseph Anderson Cook Memorial Library
  • 1962: Arthell Kelley Hall: Geography
  • 1962: J. B. George Commons: Cafeteria
  • 1962: Pulley Hall: Women's residence hall
  • 1962: Bond Hall: Men's residence hall
  • 1962: Beedie Smith Clinic: Medical facility named for campus nurse, Beedie Smith (1923-1950), affectionately known as "Grannie."
  • 1963: Wilber Panhellenic House: Sorority residence hall
  • 1964: Hillcrest Dormitory: Women's residence hall
  • 1964: Elam Arms: Residence Hall, originally privately owned and named for the owner's daughter, Charlotte Elam. Ownership has since been transferred to Southern Miss.
  • 1964: Owings-McQuagge Hall: College of Education and Psychology
  • 1965: Reed Green Coliseum: Constructed for general assembly and athletics.
  • 1965: Child Development Center
  • 1966: Wilbur Stout Hall: Academic lecture hall
  • 1967: Vann Hall: Men's residence hall
  • 1968: Joseph Greene Hall: College of Business Administration
  • 1968: Roberts Hall: Women's residence hall

1970-1979

Milestones

  • Oct. 17, 1970: Southern Miss football team defeats Ole Miss for the first time
  • 1972: “Golden Eagles” adopted as nickname for athletic teams
  • Oct. 19, 1972: An explosion in the Polymer Science Lab destroys the entire first floor of the Walker Science Building.
  • 1972: Gulf Park Campus established at Long Beach. Campus originally built at the Mississippi College for Women
  • 1973: Ray Guy becomes Southern Miss' first top round NFL draft choice
  • 1975: M.M. Roberts Stadium Expansion: Upper decks added to both East and West Stadiums
  • June 30, 1975: President William D. McCain retires
  • July 1, 1975: Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas assumes presidency

Campus development

  • 1970: Johnson Science Tower: Tallest building on campus (10 stories)
  • 1971: Johnson Natatorium
  • 1972: Mannoni Performing Arts Center
  • 1972: Fountain in front of Administration Building
  • 1973: Rose Garden planted by the Hattiesburg Area Rose Society
  • 1975: Harkins Hall: Academic building for the College of Nursing
  • 1976: William D. McCain Library and Archives: University Libraries Special Collections
  • 1976: Howard Gene Henderson Physical Plant Facility
  • 1976: Speech and Hearing Building
  • 1976: R. C. Cook University Union: New student activities building is built directly behind The Hub to replace original union from 1956. Named for fourth president, Dr. Robert Cecil Cook.
  • 1977: C. W. Woods Art Gallery: 
  • 1979: New President's Home: Two-story brick home built on Jamestown Road in Hattiesburg. The home is constructed under the auspices of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.

1980-1989

Milestones

  • 1981: The Center for International Education is created.
  • 1982: Nationally ranked Polymer Science Institute is created.
  • March 26, 1987: Men's basketball team wins National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in Madison Square Garden, bringing home the first basketball championship to the state of Mississippi.
  • 1988: The university implements a campus wide reorganization. Key changes include: the creation of the College of Health and Human Sciences, the renaming of the College of Arts, a new School of Public and International Affairs and the combining of the School of Engineering Technology with the College of Science and Technology.

Campus development

  • 1981: Bobby L. Chain Technology Building: Academic building named for benefactor and former IHL Board President, Bobby L. Chain.

1990-1999

Milestones

  • 1990: Football star Brett Favre ends his career as quarterback for the Golden Eagles.
  • 1993: A campus-wide “Celebration of Diversity” was held to signify a breakthrough in race relations on campus.
  • April 1995: After 13 years in the Metro Conference, Southern Miss becomes a charter member of Conference USA.
  • July 1995: Miss Oseola McCarty donates $150,000 to Southern Miss. She is awarded the university's first honorary degree in 1998 and dies one year later on Sept. 26, 1999.
  • August 1995: President Lucas announces resignation, effective Dec. 31, 1996. His 21 years of service make his the longest presidential tenure in university history.
  • 1996: A benchmark year for arts program at Southern Miss, as the Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 75th anniversary.
  • Jan. 3, 1997: Dr. Horace Weldon Fleming Jr. becomes seventh president.
  • 1998: The university is classified as a dual-campus system, offering four-year programs at Southern Miss Gulf Park and Keesler Air Force Base.
  • 1999: The Lady Eagles softball team wins the Conference USA championship and the South Regional championship before advancing to the College Women’s World Series.

Campus development

  • 1990: Shelby F. Thames Polymer Science Research Center: Named for the founder of the Polymer Science Department, who goes on to serve as University president from 2002-2007.
  • 1990: Baseball grandstands
  • 1993: Payne Center: Physical fitness and recreation center
  • 1995: Five-story addition to Cook Library: Expanded study rooms and additional computer terminals are two of the most popular new features.
  • 1996: Marshall Bell Track Facility
  • 1999: Liberal Arts Building
  • 1999: Theatre and Dance Building

2000-2010

Milestones

  • 2000: Southern Miss graduates its 100,000th student, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies Southern Miss as a Doctoral/Research Extensive Institution, placing it among the top 150 institutions in the nation.
  • 2001: President Horace Fleming resigns the presidency.
  • May 1, 2002: Dr. Shelby Thames becomes the eighth president. Under his administration, a new academic structure is created for Southern Miss, in which the nine academic colleges are consolidated to five.
  • 2002: The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus welcomes its first entering freshman, as a four-year institution.
  • 2003: A campus-wide branding campaign leads to the new eagle head logo designed by Southern Miss alumnus Rodney Richardson, released on Jan. 29, 2003.
  • 2005: Hurricane Katrina hits the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All of the Southern Miss Gulf Coast sites sustain substantial damage, forcing classes on the coast to be canceled for almost six weeks. With more than 120 faculty and staff displaced after the storm and campuses destroyed, Southern Miss comes together to rebuild and rebound for the betterment of the coastal communities.
  • May 21, 2007: Dr. Martha Saunders becomes the first female and the ninth university president of Southern Miss.
  • 2009: The Golden Eagle baseball team advances to the College World Series and finishes the 2009 season as the nation’s eighth-ranked squad.
  • 2010: The university marks the 100th anniversary of its legislative founding with a yearlong Centennial Celebration.

Campus development

  • 2001: DuBard Language School
  • 2001: McCarty Hall: Upper classmen residence hall
  • 2002: Southern Miss Athletic Center: state-of-the-art, 60,000-square-foot facility
  • 2004: Center for International and Continuing Education: Five-story, 42,000-square-foot center that provides academic space to Southern Miss’ international students and the Honors College.
  • 2006: Thad Cochran Center: State-of-the-art addition to the Student Union complex, housing Barnes and Noble bookstore, a new dining area known as the Fresh Food Company and a conference facility which includes meeting rooms and a large ballroom.
  • 2007: Pete Taylor Park Luxury Boxes and Press Box
  • 2007: Power House Restaurant: Transformation of the 1934 campus Power House energy plant into a fast-casual restaurant. The facility receives the 2007 Best Concept Award for Best New Facility from Food Management magazine.
  • 2007: The Village: 354-bed residential community for upper-class female students, including honors students, scholarship recipients, sorority members and athletes.
  • 2008: Trent Lot Center for Excellence in Economic Development
  • 2008: South End Zone Complex at the Rock: Five-level addition to the South End of M.M. Roberts Stadium.