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USM President Selected by Students as Grand Marshal of 2021 Homecoming Parade

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 16:50pm | By: Margaret Ann Macloud

President Bennett with SGA Chief of Staff Olivia Williams and SGA President Lucas Williams

L to R: SGA President Lucas Williams, President Rodney D. Bennett, and SGA Chief of Staff Olivia Williams

With unanimous support of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Homecoming Committee, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) President Rodney D. Bennett will serve as Grand Marshal for the University’s 2021 homecoming parade on October 9.

“I am delighted to serve as Homecoming Grand Marshal as part of our return to a full slate of game day activities this fall,” said President Bennett. “Our students have demonstrated a deep commitment to making their mark on the next chapter of our Southern Miss Story. I look forward to celebrating a very special Homecoming this year as we gather together once again to commemorate traditions that have characterized the Southern Miss we know and love for decades.”

Lucas Williams, 2021-22 SGA President, said President Bennett is deserving of “every great thing” because of his support for students inside and outside the classroom, and especially for his leadership in both protecting students during the COVID-19 pandemic and their safe return to campus this fall.

President Bennett with SGA Chief of Staff Olivia Williams and SGA President Lucas Williams“What better way to reward the person who worked so hard to get us back here, back in black and gold,” Williams said, referring to the University’s slogan for the full return to campus. “He was always persistent that we were safe, and then when it was safe, we did it right and did it big. I know he didn’t do it alone, but he sets the vision for the institution.”

USM’s 2021 homecoming game will follow the 1:00 p.m. parade on Saturday, Oct. 9 as the Golden Eagle football team takes on the Miners of the University of Texas at El Paso. In choosing President Bennett as the parade’s Grand Marshal, Williams said it was a no-brainer.

“We as students know we’re supported by him. We have an open ear that is willing to hear our concerns and ideas,” Williams said, noting that President Bennett can often be found where students congregate, such as the Fresh Food Company on campus. “A person’s presence is everything. He loves to engage with students. That smile, that hello, goes a long way.”

A full schedule of 2021 homecoming festivities can be found at