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New Home for The Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families at Southern Miss formally Dedicated

Fri, 02/11/2022 - 05:24pm | By: Megan Burkes

Collage of photos of the dedication and ribbon cuttingOn Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) cut the ribbon on its newest facility. Located at 200 N. 35th Avenue, Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor is the new home of the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families, a space commensurate with the honor of which our nearly 1,700 military students are so deserving.

Named in honor of lead benefactor and USM alumnus, Joe Quinlan ’73, and the Center’s founding director, Maj. Gen. Jeff Hammond (US Army, Retired) ’79, ’86, the 5,500-square-foot facility will further allow Southern Miss to holistically care for and meet the needs and interests of the military student community. Quinlan-Hammond Hall features study spaces for small groups or individual work, a student lounge and study, a conference room and other meeting areas and staff office space.

“We welcome our military students home,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation. “We hope each student will agree Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor is the ideal space for them, where the Center’s dedicated staff can continue to support and assist them navigate their way through the collegiate experience. As one of the nation’s top military friendly institutions, it is our honor to do so.”

“This facility is more than brick and mortar - it has a heartbeat. Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor reflects the tremendous sacrifice our military students and their families have made for our freedoms,” said Hammond. “It is a significant campus landmark, a safe haven, and a springboard to the future for our students.”

This building project was 100 percent privately funded. Cumulatively, Southern Miss alumni and friends contributed more than $3.1 million for construction. Designed by USM alumnus, veteran and owner of Spring Architecture and Engineering, Rich Bekesh, along with architects Derek Ray and Susan Colgan, the space is centered around a vertical ingress angled like a salute.

The space acknowledges and welcomes veterans, service members and their dependents each time they enter. Embedded bricks and other design elements will reveal the stars and stripes of the American flag, the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the seal of each branch of the United States Military, and memorabilia and murals to all who enter.

USM is nationally recognized as third in the nation for providing services and support to military students by Military Times and maintains designations in other prestigious publications. Center staff provide counsel as military students move through the admission process, on to graduation and career placement. Military students can learn and grow in an environment dedicated to their unique perspectives while pursuing their academic and professional development interests at Southern Miss.

Founded in 1959, the USM Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to serving the University community by overseeing fundraising efforts to raise private support for scholarships and other academic needs at Southern Miss. The Foundation manages donor dollars to provide the most advanced educational opportunities available to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Southern Miss.

For more information on supporting The University of Southern Mississippi, visit

For more information on the USM Center for Military Veterans and Service Members, visit

To support this building initiative, visit