October 30, 2014  

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Mississippi Export Railroad Establishes Scholarship at Southern Miss Gulf Coast

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MERR 38 was a switch/road locomotive used to haul freight by Mississippi Export Railroad from July 1938 to March 1957. (Submitted photo)

In celebration of its 90th anniversary, Mississippi Export Railroad Company established the Mississippi Export Railroad Gulf Coast Scholarship Endowment with a gift of $50,000 to The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation.

“Moss Point, Mississippi has been the home of Mississippi Export Railroad for 90 years,” said Greg Luce, president and chairman of the board at Mississippi Export Railroad and member of the Southern Miss class of 1966. “In recognition of our anniversary, we wanted to give back to the coastal community by offering financial assistance to those pursuing a higher education.

“The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast has specific needs for their students, and we have a desire to help them grow and succeed as a premier research university of the Gulf South. We are very excited about the partnership.”

The scholarship will be awarded to a student enrolled in any program at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“We are thrilled to join the celebration of 90 years of service to the community from Mississippi Export Railroad with their commitment to enhancing the quality of education at Southern Miss,” said Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president and campus executive officer for The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. “This gift will help support the much needed educational opportunity for students in South Mississippi.”

In 1922 the late Gregory M. Luce, great grandfather of the current president and chairman of the board, purchased the defunct Alabama & Mississippi Railroad. The railroad was shortened from 84 to 42 miles and renamed Mississippi Export Railroad Company.

Soon after, the railroad began serving the paper mill near Moss Point and eventually facilitated the return of log trains to the rails in south Mississippi. Attention to advances in rail technology and Gulf Coast industry over the past century have allowed Mississippi Export Railroad to become one of the safest and most efficient shortlines in the country.