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Ryan to Serve as Grand Marshal for fall 2018 Commencement

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 01:04pm | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Maureen Ryan

A University of Southern Mississippi (USM) educator long prized for her talents in the classroom and as an administrator has been honored with a noteworthy role in the school's fall 2018 graduation ceremonies.

Dr. Maureen Ryan, a University Distinguished Professor of English and special assistant to the Provost, will serve as Grand Marshal for commencement Friday, Dec. 7 when the university bestows diplomas and certificates to graduates at two ceremonies (9 a.m. and 3 p.m.) at Reed Green Coliseum on the Hattiesburg campus. Approximately 1,200 students are candidates for degrees this semester.

The role of Grand Marshal is bestowed upon a Southern Miss faculty member with a minimum of 10 years of experience and an exceptional record of research, teaching and service at the university.

“I'm pleased to serve as grand marshal for the fall commencement,” Dr. Ryan said. “I always enjoy our commencement ceremonies -- celebrating our students' hard work, and launching them into the next exciting phase of their lives.”

Dr. Ryan holds degrees from Penn State and Temple Universities. At Southern Miss, she has also served as dean of the Honors College, associate provost for Institutional Effectiveness, and interim dean of the Graduate School. She was dean of the former College of Arts and Letters, after taking on the role in an interim capacity in 2015. As special assistant to the Provost, Dr. Ryan is charged with furthering the institution's goals related to the Plan for Academic Reorganization, Vision 2020.

An expert in modern and contemporary American literature, Dr. Ryan's publications include “The Other Side of Grief: The Home Front and the Aftermath in American Narratives of the Vietnam War,” and “Innocence and Estrangement in the Fiction of Jean Stafford.” She was USM's sixth Charles W. Moorman Distinguished Professor of the Humanities.

“Dr. Ryan is assertive and bold, willing to speak her mind, and ready to tackle new challenges, all characteristics of a good grand marshal,” said Dr. Mac Alford, president of the USM Faculty Senate. “She is appreciated by our faculty and students for her determination, witty humor, and long record of excellence in teaching.”

For more information about commencement at Southern Miss, visit