April 16, 2014  

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Gulf Park College Arch Restored; Brings Back Memories for Alumnae

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More than 50 alumnae from the Gulf Park College for Women gather at the arch bearing the name of their alma mater. The arch, a gift from the class of 1950, has recently been placed back in its original location overlooking the gulf after being swept away during Hurricane Katrina six years ago. (Southern Miss University Communications photo by Charmaine Schmermund)

The Gulf Park College for Women arch, a gift from the class of 1950, has recently been placed back in its original location overlooking the gulf after being swept away during Hurricane Katrina six years ago.

Found after the hurricane, the arch was safely stored by The University of Southern Mississippi’s physical plant until they could repair, paint and reinstall the arch back on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss.

The arch, which serves as a beautiful reminder of the college, was placed just in time as the Gulf Park College for Women alumnae gathered for their 40-year reunion in July. The college served as an educational institution for young women from 1921-1971 before becoming the Gulf Park campus for Southern Miss in 1972.

Charlotte Kull Campbell of New Braunsfels, Texas, a graduate from the Gulf Park College for Women in 1952, said she is thrilled to see the arch back in its place. “The arch was here when I went to school on this campus,” she said. “We would take pictures with it, sit around it, and walk around the front lawn with our beaus. This just brings back memories.”

Each year, the college’s alumnae return for their reunion to reunite with friends and reminisce about their college years. With 110 alums in attendance, this year’s reunion boasted the largest group since 1995 when the group celebrated the 500th birthday of the renowned Friendship Oak tree.

“We have some classmates who have not been back in 50 years,” said Nancy Phillips O’Fallon of Plano, Texas, a 1961 graduate and president of the Gulf Park Alumnae Association. “There are alums joining us from all over the U.S. and from Ecuador.”

Although Southern Miss did not occupy the Gulf Park campus until 50 years after the college first opened, the history that preceded the university is still an important part of the campus’ heritage. The Southern Miss Gulf Coast Library features a year-round display of photos and publications from Gulf Park College for Women located in the library’s Heritage Room. In addition to the display, an extensive archive of artifacts is available for viewing through appointments with the library.

For more information about Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast.