As this proud university slowly closes the book on a yearlong Centennial celebration, alumni everywhere should take a few moments to reflect on the maturation process that has taken place over the past 100 years.
What began as a simple teachers college in 1910 has blossomed into a multi-faceted institution of higher learning with state-of-the-art residence halls, premier research programs and highly acclaimed faculty. With enrollment at an all-time high, Southern Miss is poised to enter its second century as the definitive choice for students across this country and beyond.
A little more than 30 years ago I sat inside classrooms in College Hall, Southern Hall, Stout Hall and many others absorbing various bits and pieces of knowledge that helped shape the newspaper/communications professional I became. Without my coveted degree (a facsimile of which I still carry in my wallet today), I shudder to think how unfulfilled my life would have been.
Immense credit should be granted to those visionaries of yesteryear who fought to see a senior college erected on this hallowed ground. Every student, educator, administrator and staff member would do well to remember the struggles and salute the efforts that helped carve Southern Miss’ spot in American history.
Yes, economic woes and budget reductions create formidable obstacles that cannot be ignored. But visit the campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach and you will learn quickly that the business of teaching is alive and well at this university. I am confident that 100 years from now such will still be the case.