Since 1979, The University of Southern Mississippi has continuously offered the Master’s of Science in Economic Development (MSED) with the express purpose of producing quality economic development professionals. USM was the first masters program in economic development offered in the U.S., by that name. The program is widely recognized and respected today across the U.S. and internationally because of that distinction, the accomplishments of the faculty, and the number and quality of its alumni since that time. Over 200 graduate of the program include representatives from local, state, and federal government; elected officials; university faculty; a significant proportion of the staff of the Mississippi Development Authority; numerous local, state, regional, national, and international economic development professionals; and the current Chair of the Southern Economic Development Council, the largest regional ED professional organization in the country. Although several other ED programs have emerged across the South and the U.S., the program remains notable for its interdisciplinary and highly applied focus on ED at the state, regional, and community levels.