October 4, 2015  

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The story of the modern South, the intersection of NASCAR and science and the litigation of one of the most important legal struggles of this century are among the featured topics of The University of Southern Mississippi’s fall 2015 University Forum.

Success is hard to come by — it isn’t a given in any field. Harder, perhaps, is continuing an elevated level of success. In football, for instance, only a few quarterbacks have followed Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks with a Super Bowl victory of their own. More often than not, replacing a legend in the field is a difficult, almost impossible task.


Such is the challenge facing Dr. Jeffrey Wiggins, director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. Wiggins and fellow faculty members follow in the footsteps of academic giants who built USM polymer science into one of the world’s best.

After the Deepwater Horizon incident, the coastline oiling that occurred raised questions about oil movement and impact. For example, before a surface slick reached land, was there oil below the surface waters and how might that affect coastal environments and organisms?


The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative recently awarded CONCORDE a grant to study nearshore currents and circulation flows and their potential role in creating sub-surface oil exposure pathways.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Pride of Mississippi Marching Band and the Dixie Darlings will kick off the 2015-16 season with Pride Preview. This free concert will be held Friday, August 28 at 7 p.m. at Centennial Green on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus, and all are invited to bring lawn chairs and picnic dinners to enjoy an evening of music and entertainment.

Launched Feb. 6, 2014, the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society Campaign has exceeded its $2 million goal. The fundraising initiative built upon early successes of the program and elevated the Dale Center from one of the top five military history programs in the country to the premier academic program for the study of war and society in the United States.

Thirteen graduates of the Joint International Hydrographic Applied Science Program (JIHASP) at The University of Southern Mississippi were recognized during a special ceremony held by the Department of Marine Sciences (DMS) at John C. Stennis Space Center.

A series of health-conscious initiatives has helped The University of Southern Mississippi gain recognition by the American Heart Association as a fit friendly workplace.

Every year, Hattiesburg’s music lovers anxiously await the announcement of The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra season. Celebrating 96 years, the venerable organization is the state’s oldest orchestra and a leader in cultural offerings for the region.

Music Director Jay Dean notes: “Every symphonic concert this season features wind or brass soloists. Some of these performers will be students who come from different parts of the world, including Mississippi, while others are globally renowned celebrity artists."

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Nutrition and Food Systems is partnering with Mississippi Winn-Dixie and Kroger locations to offer grocery store tours.  

Southern Miss dietetic interns will deliver grocery store tours about fruits and vegetables during the fall 2015 semester. Students will be trained by a Grocery Store Tour Registered Dietitian to conduct the tours with college students in Hattiesburg, the Gulf Coast and Jackson. Specific tour locations will be selected by the dietetic interns.

The Japan-America Society of Mississippi (JASMIS) will host the taiko (Japanese drum) performance ensemble Shirohato Taiko from Sumida, Tokyo for a series of performances in Mississippi August 20-26. Included on their schedule is a concert in Hattiesburg at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Mannoni Performing Arts Center Monday, August 24 at 8 p.m. with general admission $5 at the door the day of the show and free for USM students.

Balloons filled the sky and the smell of freshly boiled seafood filled the air, as the ribbon was cut to officially introduce MBK South, a new My Brother’s Keeper, Inc. wellness center, to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Friday, July 24.

University of Southern Mississippi graduate student Laura Whitmore hopes to discover a bit of magic at the North Pole this summer, whether she detects any signs of Santa’s workshop or not.


Whitmore, a second-year master’s student in the Department of Marine Science (chemistry emphasis), will participate in a unique 65-day research cruise to the top of the world aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Healy.” Her Arctic Ocean adventure begins Aug. 9 with departure from Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. has funded a two-year Entergy Scholar Graduate Assistant position in The University of Southern Mississippi College of Business to conduct economic development research for the counties served by Entergy in Mississippi.


The University of Southern Mississippi Youth Orchestra (SMYO) will hold fall 2015 auditions at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 17 in Room 105 of the Fine Arts Building on the Hattiesburg campus. The SMYO is searching for intermediate and advanced string players.

The University of Southern Mississippi has joined the IDEA® Academic Partnership to provide students enrolled in the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) program with experience using professional data analytics technology.

The University of Southern Mississippi is on a seven-year roll when it comes to producing Phi Kappa Phi National Fellows. And with the steady influx of high-achieving Honors College students, the trend shows no signs of slowing down.


The seven-year streak began with Justin Poelma in 2009 and continued this year with Stephanie McCracken’s selection.

The DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi is hosting the 19th Annual DuBard Symposium: Dyslexia and Related Disorders on September 16-17, 2015 at the Thad Cochran Center on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus.

Exercise is commonly prescribed to improve cardiovascular health, but since individuals with spinal cord injuries cannot move their legs, alternatives must be sought. Researchers at The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Kinesiology are evaluating other methods to improve cardiovascular health among individuals with this challenge.

The green light has been given to begin work on the Marine Education Center (MEC) at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Cedar Point Teaching Site in Ocean Springs, replacing the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

A documentary inspired by a University of Southern Mississippi history professor’s book on the famed Vietnam combat infantry unit “Charlie Company” has been nominated for a coveted Emmy award.


Dr. Andrew Wiest, founding director of the university’s Dale Center for the Study of War and Society, is the author of “The Boys of ’67: Charlie Company’s War in Vietnam,” on which the National Geographic documentary “Brothers in War” is based. It has been nominated for the award in the Outstanding Historical Programming-Long-Form category.

The University of Southern Mississippi Thad Cochran Center was recently filled with people from all over the campus who assisted the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (Mississippi INBRE) program over the last year.

For Dr. Faye Gilbert, serving as president of the Southern Business Administration Association (SBAA) means honoring a commitment to provide students with the most rewarding college experience possible.


Dr. Jennifer Lemacks, assistant professor in The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Nutrition and Food Systems, has landed a National Institutes of Health grant for research focused on examining community-based solutions for health disparities in underserved populations.

As the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears, a decade-old play based upon the devastating storm will make a revival during special performances next month in Hattiesburg and Ocean Springs, Miss.