USM celebrates 100 years of classes today
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 00:09
Sitting in class today may feel like any other day to students anywhere, but at the University of Southern Mississippi, Sept. 20 marks a special day in its history. Today is the 100th anniversary of the day classes officially began at Mississippi Normal College.
In 2010, the university celebrated its first 100 years of existence, which marked the year USM received its legislative funding in 1910. Classes, however, were not held regularly at the Hattiesburg campus until Sept. 20, 2012.
Mississippi Normal College, as USM was originally called, was established to train and prepare teachers already in the profession to receive a teaching license good for five years, which would lead the teacher to a four-year diploma program, lending itself to a lifetime professional license.
The Normal College’s class of 1912 saw 227 members along with 17 faculty members. Students attended classes in College Hall, which is currently under renovation and is one of the original five buildings still standing on campus.
USM has grown exponentially throughout the last 100 years. Currently, more than 180 degree programs in six degree-granting colleges both at the undergraduate and graduate level are offered, and the university serves 17,000 students. The university prides itself on its diversity and currently enrolls students from all 50 states and 70 countries.
University Provost Denis Wiesenburg said he is proud of the university USM has become today.
“Southern Miss will continue to grow and adapt to the fast-paced, ever-changing society we live in today,” Wiesenburg said. “Faculty members are creating knowledge and scholarship that is right at the forefront of their fields.”
Wiesenburg also said some jobs students take when they graduate did not exist when they were born, and because of that USM plans to expand offerings both at the Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campuses.
Today marks the first day of the next century for USM to continue growing, changing lives and impacting the community and world.
“We have built this university in the last hundred years and will continue to build it in the next hundred,” Wiesenburg said. “We want students, faculty and staff to pay attention to the past and acknowledge where we came from, while we move forward to the exciting future the Southern Miss family is proud to call ours.”