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Division of Student Affairs

A Message from the President: Planning for a Full Return for Fall 2021

Dr. Rodney Bennett

Hello, Golden Eagles,

I am so proud of your grit, resilience, and determination. Your hard work has enabled you to succeed in the face of countless challenges over the past 12 months, and I could not be more proud of what you have accomplished.

I am confident we are finally turning the corner on the pandemic. Vaccinations are being administered with increasing speed, and infection figures have been trending down. We’re offering more in-person classes and student activities than during the Fall 2020 semester, and we continue to plan for a special week-long schedule of Commencement ceremonies in May to celebrate each of our graduates from 2020 and Spring 2021. We have every reason to believe we will be able to continue returning to a sense of normalcy through the remainder of this spring and summer.

Today, I am excited to share that I have charged University leadership with preparing for a full Fall 2021 semester, returning classes that were previously offered face-to-face to their traditional in-person formats and implementing a complete slate of student engagement opportunities and events. The upcoming fall promises to not only be like those of the past, but better, as our Student Affairs team has taken this opportunity to re-envision the student experience. I cannot wait to see the new programming and opportunities they will implement as part of our fall return.

I look forward to a fall semester where we can all be in classrooms and labs together, safely gather with friends and colleagues, return to normal work and family life, have a robust on-campus living and dining experience, fully participate in athletic events and tailgating, and enjoy the wide range of traditions that have characterized the Southern Miss experience for decades.

I know the challenges of the past year have felt almost insurmountable at times, especially for those of you who may have lost a loved one or had your lives altered in ways that will never be the same. I know you are tired. I know that the ongoing pandemic has prohibited you from engaging in the full Southern Miss experience. But we are so close to making it through this wilderness. I encourage each of you to stay the course and to remain focused on our Community Standards until the pandemic becomes a memory of an obstacle that could not stop you in pursuing your dreams.

I look forward to a strong finish to our spring semester and what I know will be an unbelievable return this fall.

To The Top – Together,

Rodney D. Bennett

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