Ann Blackwell

The Influence of J. B. George

On June 14, the J. B. George Building was dedicated in honor of the third president of The University of Southern Mississippi. It was a wonderful event made more special by George family members that attended the dedication. I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with many of them, including President George’s daughters and their children. The word “charming” comes to mind; the George family was engaging and had marvelous stories to share regarding President George and his progeny.
In reflecting on the event, I was struck by the personal and professional influence J. B. George exerted in spite of challenges he faced in life. He was orphaned at age 13, served our country in World War I, assumed his presidency following the Great Depression, and extended his tenure through the end of World War II. Despite the turmoil of the era, the institution survived and thrived under his leadership. In fact, President George was instrumental in expanding the mission of State Teachers College and renaming it Mississippi Southern College. Of particular note, his professional accomplishments were achieved while he was also successfully building a family.
I believe we can glean a great deal from the biography of J. B. George provided at the dedication and can use the information to evaluate our standards and inform our choices. For the College of Education and Psychology, his accomplishments serve to strengthen our commitment to excellence and to fortify our resolve to produce positive changes in our state through quality teaching, research, and service. It is an honor for our Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education to be located in the building bearing his name.

See related story at http://www.usm.edu/news/article/southern-miss-renames-building-honor-former-president-jb-george.

Ann Blackwell
Ann Blackwell
Dr. Ann P. Blackwell serves as dean of the College of Education and Psychology at The University of Southern Mississippi.

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