Message from the president: Provost Wiesenburg returning to the faculty


Dear Southern Miss Community:

Late yesterday, Provost Wiesenburg shared with me his intention to resign from his position as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective June 30. He also indicated his desire to return to our faculty as a tenured professor of marine science. As an observational oceanographer who previously led our Department of Marine Science, Dr. Wiesenburg discussed his excitement about contributing to the department’s current initiatives and new opportunities for research expansion, to include the use of the new research vessel Point Sur.

I have accepted Dr. Wiesenburg’s resignation and thank him for his service not only to academic affairs, but also to the University as a whole. I wish him well as he continues to contribute to our University community.

In the coming months, I will engage an executive search firm to initiate a national search, and I will also assemble a screening committee to review identified candidates from which we can select our next Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. I am accepting nominations for screening committee members, and I invite each of you to send recommendations to my office through Polly Odom at My goal is to have a new provost on campus when we return from the holidays in January, and I am planning to appoint a member of the University community to serve in this capacity on an interim basis beginning July 1.

We have achieved significant milestones during the past year, and the University is poised to continue our momentum and realize extraordinary success as we continue to increase quality across the board. We have the support of our alumni, our donors, members of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, and members of the Mississippi legislature. We are moving in the right direction, in large part because of our committed faculty and staff and the quality of our student body, and I remain confident that our greatest opportunities lie ahead. I am committed to continuing our work, and I know that each of you will continue to do your part to ensure The University of Southern Mississippi reaches our collective goals.


Rodney D. Bennett