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History Senior Micah Lynn Carries USM Gulf Park, Coast in His Heart

Fri, 04/26/2024 - 09:11am | By: Gabriela Shinskie

USM Gulf Park

Although he’s a Versailles, Ky. native, Micah Lynn calls the Mississippi Gulf Coast his second home as he nears graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

“I chose USM Gulf Park because I wanted the smaller campus experience and the location,” Lynn said. “All my professors were attentive and encouraging, and my experience was great.”

Lynn is not foreign to USM, especially after spending countless summers in the beautiful coastal town of Bay Saint Louis, Miss. He transferred from Kentucky State University (KSU) to USM Gulf Park, where he embraced coastal living, finding the Long Beach Campus to be a peaceful and perfect fit for continuing his college career. A transfer student, his two years of study at USM motivated him to embrace his passion for Southern history.

Lynn did extensive research on the campus and connected with a close family friend who attended the then Gulf Park College for Women in the early 1970s and shared her wonderful memories from her time there with him.

“She showed me her dorm in Hardy Hall where she lived. It was very cool,” he said. “She remembered Camille and a notice sent to all students that the Friendship Oak was still standing after the storm.”

South Mississippi’s unique qualities strengthened that passion along with analyzing southern history and race relations in the post-Civil War era. Encouraged by his professors to present research at an undergraduate symposium, Lynn focused his writing on race relations in the South during the Reconstruction era and Civil Rights Movement. His work won him first place in 2023 and second place in 2024.

USM Gulf Park history


Drs. Douglas Bristol, associate professor of history and Westley Follett, interim director of the School of Coastal Resilience, praised Lynn’s accomplishments.

“My Gulf Park History colleagues and I are enormously proud of Micah,” said Dr. Follett. “We each have had the opportunity to teach him, and he has continually impressed us with his coursework and scholarship.”

Lynn recently earned the 2024 John E. Wallace Award for Outstanding History Major at Gulf Park, named in honor of a distinguished past professor of history who taught at USM. It is presented annually to a Gulf Park history senior displaying the highest standards of history scholarship.

“We are delighted to have named him the 2024 winner of the John E. Wallace Award for Outstanding History Major at Gulf Park and can't wait to hear what he will go on to accomplish in graduate school,” said Follett.

“Congratulations to Micah on a well-deserved honor,” Dr. Bristol said. “I am sure it is the prelude to greater achievements in the field of history.”

After graduation, Lynn plans to return to Kentucky to pursue his master’s in history.

But he says he’ll dearly miss the peaceful landscape of the USM Gulf Park Campus and nearby beach, and the countless visits with friends over a meal at the nearby Waffle House.

“I would walk the beach every day after work and class,” said Lynn. “I’ll miss it here. I’d love to find some excuse to come back down here. I love the coast a lot.”