Just over a year after taking office as the 10th president of The University of Southern Mississippi, Rodney Bennett will be inaugurated at the Inaugural Ceremony Friday, May 2 in Bennett Auditorium.
Students, faculty and staff at The University of Southern Mississippi are invited to attend both the 2 p.m. ceremony and the following reception.
Bennett has been praised for his ability to connect with students and his eager willingness to better this university. Even before officially joining the Southern Miss community, Bennett attended and spoke at the February 2013 effort to clean up debris in the wake of
the EF-4 tornado.
“This is our institution,” Bennett said the morning of February 13, 2013. “It is going to succeed or fail based on what we do, and each of our personal commitment to its success.”
“You can’t depend on someone else to have the passion to make Southern Miss what we want Southern Miss to be and continue to be,” Bennett said that day.
In just one year Bennett has participated in a tornado clean-up, fought for the preservation of USM’s Army ROTC program, cheered for Southern Miss athletics, set forth short-term and long-term goals for USM and more. Bennett even began Dr. B’s Book Club, an incentive meant to encourage student reading throughout the summer.
Furthermore, Bennett is the first African-American president of what has historically been a predominantly white institution of higher learning. For this achievement, Bennett was listed among EBONY magazine’s Power 100, an annual list of the most influential African-Americans in the nation.
With such an active and groundbreaking president, the Southern Miss community will now have the chance to formally honor Bennett in this Inaugural Ceremony. The ceremony will celebrate not only the university’s new leadership, but also a bright new era under the guidance of Rodney Bennett.