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The Pride of Mississippi

The Pride of Mississippi

A Message from the President


Many of you may be aware that The Pride of Mississippi Marching Band is initiating a process to consider selecting a new name and opening music piece for the Dixie Darlings – our beloved and iconic precision dance team – and that their initial proposal received support from the Southern Miss Alumni Association’s Traditions Committee.

After considering many perspectives on this matter, I have informed the School of Music, the academic unit that houses the Pride, that a process to evaluate a potential name and music change must include a thorough due diligence period that engages all critical stakeholders – to include current and former Dixie Darlings members; broad representation from the Southern Miss Alumni Association, the USM Foundation, and the USM Athletic Foundation; and members of the general student body. To allow sufficient time for a robust process, a name and music change will not be approved for the upcoming academic year and performance season. 

I have asked the School of Music to develop a complete plan for a measured, thorough process, in ongoing consultation with the Southern Miss Alumni Association’s Traditions Committee, and to recommend next steps through the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for External Affairs.

I have tremendous respect for the Dixie Darlings organization and the ways in which it has represented The University of Southern Mississippi for many years. I remain confident that we will continue to accomplish our institutional goals, together.


Rodney D. Bennett



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