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Released August 26, 2003

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi has reached a record enrollment for the 2003 fall semester with just more than 16k students registered at its campuses in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast.

Southern Miss officials announced Monday that 16,049 students had registered for classes, which continues a trend of increasing enrollment at all of the university's campuses.

"This record enrollment is evidence that we have a lot to offer at Southern Miss, and students recognize that," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames. "We anticipate steady growth in the future as we continue to offer quality academic programs that can help students secure a bright future."

In addition to the university's Hattiesburg campus total of 14,140, Southern Miss Gulf Coast experienced a record enrollment of 1,909. "That's the largest enrollment that we've experienced on the Gulf Coast," said Sheila White, director of public relations for Southern Miss Gulf Coast. "That's up 6.8 percent over last fall."

This is the second year that Southern Miss Gulf Coast has admitted freshmen, with 119 first-year students enrolling for the fall.

"I am excited that we are reaching new heights with our enrollment on the Coast," said Dr. Jay Grimes, Southern Miss Gulf Coast provost. "Our students and their education are our first priority. We pride ourselves in being innovative and responsive to our customers and our community."

The overall figure represents a fourth-straight record fall enrollment, topping last year's total of 15,172.

Courtney Pargo, a Southern Miss junior from Okolona, says she's not surprised that more people are choosing the university for their education. "There are a lot of good things going on here," she said. "It has a great environment, and the social work program (Pargo's major) is good. It's a really friendly campus - I love it."

Southern Miss Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Joe Paul said the record number "shows that people recognize the value of higher education and the quality faculty and academic programs at Southern Miss."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM