A century’s worth of collectibles that tell the story of The University of Southern Mississippi’s first 100 years will be on display with the opening of the Centennial Exhibit Friday, March 5 from 3:30-5 p.m. at the university’s Cook Library, room 105-A next to Starbuck’s. Admission is free.
The Centennial Exhibit is a joint initiative of the Centennial Steering Committee and University Libraries. On display through 2010, it will feature Southern Miss memorabilia that includes yearbooks, newspapers, athletic and arts items and many never-before-seen photographs.
Organizers of the exhibit hope it will be an interesting and interactive way of learning more about Southern Miss and prompt visitors to reflect on the progress of the institution over the last century, said Jennifer Payne, Centennial Celebration Coordinator. Many of the items are from the University Archives’ permanent collection, while others have been donated by alumni and friends of the university.
“The Centennial Steering Committee wanted to create a space visually showcasing the university’s first century, while instilling visitors with a renewed sense of Southern Miss pride,” said Payne, who also encouraged others with Southern Miss collectibles to consider offering them for inclusion in the exhibit.
Ray Guy, a former All-American punter for the Southern Miss football team and the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, and Carole Kiehl, dean of University Libraries, are among those who have worked to secure exhibit items.
"The University Libraries are pleased to partner with the Centennial Committee in presenting this new exhibit and museum,” Kiehl said. “The attractive setting and fascinating collection provide a wonderful opportunity for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to learn - or reminisce - about Southern Miss' rich history."
Guy, an assistant in the university’s Office of the Centennial, solicited items from former teammates and Southern Miss athletes for the exhibit. He also worked with Forrest County Chancery Clerk Jimmy Havard, another former Southern Miss gridiron star, to locate minutes of meetings from 1910 of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, when a location for the university and its funding were discussed.
“We even found one of the original bonds issued to pay for the construction of the university,” Guy said.
Following Friday’s opening, it will be available for viewing Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours for groups and individuals can be arranged. For more information, contact University Libraries at 601.266.4241; or email the Office of the Centennial at
; or call Jennifer Payne at 601.266.4095.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.