William Carey University Recovery Efforts


Thursday, April 27, Update

President Rodney D. Bennett received an honorary degree from William Carey.

William Carey University has presented University of Southern Mississippi (USM) President Rodney D. Bennett with an honorary degree for his work in communities across south Mississippi, including his leadership of USM’s response to a January 2017 tornado that struck William Carey.

Among other assistance, USM has provided classroom and laboratory space, as well as residential facilities for William Carey students, as that university, located just a few miles south of USM in Hattiesburg, continues its recovery.

William Carey President Dr. Tommy King presented Bennett with the honor, a doctor of humane letters, honoris causa, as conferred by the William Carey’s board of trustees.

“Not only because of his opening his arms and the arms of his institution to William Carey in our time of need, but for his involvement in the community in so many ways. Dr. Rodney Bennett and his wife, Temple, have made their home in Hattiesburg and are respected and loved by the people in this community,” King said.

A related William Carey resolution not only highlighted Bennett’s role in USM’s recovery from a 2013 tornado, but also his leadership of USM’s investments in new faculty positions and Coastal operations, as well as work to provide access to high quality education for all students.

Read a related news release.

Friday, Feb. 10, Update

The Department of Housing and Residence Life continues to assist and house William Carey University students who were displaced by the tornado. These students are currently in need of the following items:

  • Laundry detergent (powder, liquid and POD-style may be used) 
  • Shower curtains measuring 6’ x 6’ and 6’ x 3’ 
  • Pillows 
  • Extra-long twin sheets 
  • Bath towels 
  • Bottled water 

Please note that donations of food, clothing and shoes are not being accepted at this time. If you would like to make a donation, the items may be dropped off at the Hickman Hall (map) lobby between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Thank you for supporting our William Carey University friends through their recovery. If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Housing and Residence Life at 601.266.4783 or reslife@usm.edu.

Thursday, Feb. 9, Update

We welcome students, faculty and staff of William Carey University to The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus. If you are a William Carey faculty, staff or student parking on campus, please complete the application for a parking permit found here

Monday, Feb. 6, Update

The Association of Office Professionals (AOP) is holding an office supply drive to collect supplies for our colleagues at William Carey.

Click the link to access a copy of the flyer. 

Locations around campus where donations can be dropped off include:

  • Hub 118 (SMAC) 
  • Cook Library inside Starbucks 
  • International Center inside Einstein Bagels 
  • Asbury Hall first floor lobby at reception desk 
  • Osher Lifetime Learning Institute (OLLI) 
  • USM Barnes and Noble 
  • Gulf Park campus- see Heather Miller- Hardy Hall 218 

Please note donated items should not be items that were purchased with E&G Department Funds. Please only donate items that you own or purchase personally.

Items needed include: 

  • Copy paper 
  • File and hanging folders 
  • Post-it Notes 
  • Scissors 
  • Pens and pencils 
  • Envelopes and labels 
  • Staplers and staples 
  • Tape 
  • Binders and paper clips 
  • Rubberbands 
  • Highlighters 
  • USB flash drives 
  • Blank CDs 

Friday, Feb. 3, Update

The 2017 Faculty/Staff Tornado Relief Grant Program was created to provide support to eligible employees of The University of Southern Mississippi who experienced property loss or damage during the tornado on Jan. 21.
Would you like to help? To support our Southern Miss faculty and staff affected by the recent tornado, please make your gift today.
In need? All benefit-eligible employees of the University who were classified as full-time or part-time at the time of loss are encouraged to apply. Under IRS regulations, individuals affected by natural disasters must demonstrate a need to receive charitable funds.

Friday, Jan. 27, Update

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

In less than one week, USM students, faculty and staff, many of whom were personally affected by Saturday’s tornado, have gone above and beyond to assist in the Pine Belt’s recovery. You have volunteered your time, donated your money, and inspired our region with your care for our community.

As a reminder, if you have been personally affected by the storm:

  • Students, faculty and staff may apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Association.
  • USM students should continue to communicate with Ms. Alfreda Horton in the Office of Student Ombudsman Services, 601.266.4025, to notify the University of their circumstances and get help communicating with their professors.
  • USM faculty and staff should continue to communicate with their immediate supervisors.  Human Resources is available to assist as needed.

The USM Foundation plans to begin a fundraising effort next week for those who would like to provide financial assistance to members of the Southern Miss community who were affected. Funds raised will be directed into the Southern Miss Emergency Relief Fund. Subsequently, the 2017 Tornado Relief Grant Program, modeled after a similar program established in 2013, will be available to aid benefit-eligible employees. Further details will be provided next week.

The University’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement is continuing to collect and share information about immediate needs with departments, community and student organizations and its social media followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Moving forward, additional updates on USM’s community recovery efforts can be accessed through the link on the usm.edu home page that features the William Carey logo. 

Continuing Support for William Carey University

President Bennett’s message last week encouraged comprehensive assistance for our friends at William Carey University (WCU), which was devastated by the tornado. We were fortunate to have escaped direct damage, and you have responded by assisting beyond anyone’s expectations through preparing facilities, extending services, and more. While hundreds of William Carey students, faculty and staff can be found throughout the Hattiesburg campus, some specific locations where WCU students and employees may be clustered are included below. As you engage these guests, please continue to extend a helping hand and a generous spirit.

  • As of Friday afternoon, 225 displaced William Carey students are being housed in nine residence halls on the Hattiesburg campus. Consolidation among USM student rooms is underway to make additional empty rooms available for WCU students still in need of housing.
  • Monday, Jan. 30, William Carey’s College of Osteopathic Medicine will begin classes in Harkins Hall, and additional spaces are being prepared across campus for WCU’s classrooms, laboratories and office space. WCU Physical Therapy classes are expected to begin on campus next Wednesday, Feb. 1.
  • Other spaces where William Carey operations are housed or are being planned include: Jones Hall (third floor); Hickman Hall (second floor); Joseph Greene Hall (auditoriums and one large classroom); and the School of Kinesiology Building’s cadaver laboratory.
  • William Carey student-athletes are using Southern Miss facilities for practice in tennis, track & field, basketball, baseball, and softball as schedules allow and until WCU facilities become available.

USM’s holistic response has spanned almost all areas of the University. This is not a comprehensive list, and many other plans are underway related to parking, food services, emergency communications and more. Please make yourself aware of these items so that you can assist WCU students and employees as best as possible.

  • Student Counseling Services (SCS) will provide a weekly trauma support group, coordinated through WCU, for medical students on campus. SCS is also providing space for WCU’s contracted providers to provide mental health support for WCU students on campus as needed.
  • The new wireless network “William Carey” is available in select buildings and is for use by WCU students, faculty, and staff.
  • William Carey students are being provided access to the Payne Center, as well as game rooms in the R.C. Cook Student Union.
  • The health professionals at the Moffitt Health Center are available to support WCU students at no upfront cost to the student. WCU students are asked to bring their current insurance card, and USM will file the visit as a courtesy.
  • Information about library services available to WCU students, faculty, and staff is located on the Libraries’ website at http://www.lib.usm.edu/services/community_services.html. An information table will be located in the lobby of Cook Library, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning on Monday, Jan. 30, and will be staffed by employees of William Carey University Library.
  • The Office of New Student and Retention Programs is prepared to provide space for any WCU tutors who are associated with the TRIO/Student Support Services program as well as study space and access to the computer lab for the program’s students. To be eligible for these resources, students must be currently enrolled in the TRIO Program at WCU.

Finally, please be aware that on Sat., Feb. 4, Southern Miss Athletics will host Pine Belt Community Recovery Day at Reed Green Coliseum. One ticket will allow for entry into three events for the day, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting William Carey University and the Salvation Army. Tickets start at $10 for bleacher seating. WCU students will receive free admission.

Events include:

  • 1:30 p.m. - William Carey Men’s Basketball vs. Faulkner University
  • 4:00 p.m. - Southern Miss Men’s Basketball vs. Western Kentucky
  • 6:30 p.m. - William Carey Women’s Basketball vs. Faulkner University

For more information on these events, visit SouthernMiss.com.

Thank you again for your commitment to assisting our community through its recovery.


Wednesday, Jan. 25, Update

An agreement has been reached with William Carey University that will provide its students, faculty and staff broad access to University of Southern Mississippi facilities and services.
Beginning on Monday, some William Carey classes will be held in USM facilities on the Hattiesburg campus, and plans are developing to allow for William Carey’s use of some athletic facilities and office space, as well as dining services, parking, library access, and more.
Thank you for being a welcoming host to William Carey students, faculty and staff, as they recover from this past weekend’s tornado.
More details will be announced later this week as specifics are finalized.


Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017

Dear Southern Miss Community:

We are fortunate that there have been no reports of tornado-related injuries or damages on The University of Southern Mississippi’s campuses following severe storms that impacted our communities this weekend. One off-campus facility that the University is currently renting for a grant-funded project sustained damage that will be addressed in the coming days. The University’s classes and operations are expected to proceed according to regular schedules this week.

As you know, many of our friends and neighbors are facing great loss in the wake of the storm. If you have been personally affected by storm damage or loss of property, I encourage you to review the information provided below this message regarding available resources and how to communicate with the University during this time.

I want to thank our University Police Department for their work as part of first responder teams and for their ongoing partnership with the City of Hattiesburg to provide support as appropriate. I have spoken with Mayor DuPree about our desire to assist in whatever ways we can during this recovery period. Our Center for Community and Civic Engagement will continue to share information regarding volunteer opportunities at the links provided below this message.

Yesterday, I toured the devastation at William Carey University and met with that institution’s leaders, including President Tommy King, in an effort to identify needs with which USM can assist. I expect those conversations to continue as William Carey’s needs become clarified. As we know, preserving the quality and integrity of education must continue even in devastating situations. We intend to be a strong partner to our sister institution and provide as much support and assistance as we can in the coming weeks.

In the short term, a small group of William Carey students has moved into Hillcrest residence hall, and all William Carey students were invited to dine at no cost at the Fresh Food Company throughout the weekend. I ask you to join me in welcoming these students as you see them on campus. Our goal is to create as seamless an experience as possible for these students who have been displaced through no fault of their own. As we continue discussions with William Carey leadership in the coming days, their needs will become more apparent, and our role in assisting them may evolve.

Let me be clear that USM is not seeking to establish new avenues for William Carey students to transfer. Instead, we are committed to doing all that we can to provide the resources their students need while preserving their experience and identity as William Carey students as much as possible. I have asked USM’s senior leadership to think openly and creatively about ways we can assist, and I encourage you to contact your supervisors or division vice presidents if you have ideas you wish to contribute.

Thank you for your commitment to our community and all of our local students. I am proud to be part of a university and a community that remain resilient in the face of any challenge and come together in support of one another. Let’s get to work.


Rodney D. Bennett


Resources for Students Affected by the Storm

 Resources for Faculty and Staff Affected by the Storm

  • Contact your immediate supervisor to notify the University of your circumstances and to request time off, if needed. Faculty should communicate immediately with their department chairs or directors if arrangements need to be made for classes.
    • Human Resources will be available to assist supervisors and directors with faculty and staff needs as appropriate.
    • Information about additional wellness resources is available online at https://www.usm.edu/success/well-being-resources. With the exception of Student Counseling Services, clinic services listed on this web page are available at low costs for faculty and staff.
    • City of Hattiesburg Action Center: 601.545.4500
    • Forrest County Emergency Management District: 601.544.5911 or http://forresteoc.com/

Information about Volunteer Opportunities

General Information