The University of Southern Mississippi celebrates its Founders’ Day March 27, marking the 104th anniversary of the university.
Southern Miss was created by an act of the Mississippi Legislature in 1910, as it was first named Mississippi Normal College. In 1955, Mississippi Normal College designated March 30, 1910 as the institution’s official birthday, but today, the institution will host events to commemorate the prestigious occasion.
“This is truly a special day,” said Bradley Floore, a junior finance and accounting double major. “It is a time to reflect on all the many ways this great university empowers us to lead richer and more meaningful lives.”
The day will include events on both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campuses, which are open to anyone wishing to attend. In Hattiesburg, the official Founders’ Day Ceremony begins at 3 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium. During the program, faculty with 10 to 40 years of distinguished service in the classroom will receive special recognition, and highly respected student leaders will receive coveted awards such as the Best Citizen, Leave It Better Than You Found It, Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl Award and the Hall of Fame.
“The student awards are what excite me the most about Founders’ Day,” said Kiffani Zachery, a junior marketing major. “I love to see them get recognized for contributing so much to the university through their leadership and willingness to leave Southern Miss better than they found it.”
The Best Citizen Awards will be given to two students who demonstrate traits of servant leadership, selfless giving to the university and to fellow students and meritorious citizenship.
In 2009, the Division of Student Affairs established the Leave it Better Than You Found It Award for a senior who exemplifies the idea through passion and leadership to leave the university better than he or she found it. The Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl Award is the highest scholastic honor given to a Southern Miss student, as he or she maintains a 4.0 GPA and has accumulated the highest number of total credit hours from the university.
The Hall of Fame honors, recognized as the highest distinction a Southern Miss student can receive, will be deemed to eight students. These students contribute high scholastic achievement, leadership, campus involvement and create a meaningful impact on the quality of life at the university.
Also, the newly elected SGA executive officers are also sworn in during the ceremony.
At 4 p.m., immediately following the ceremony, the Founders’ Day reception will take place on the north lawn of the Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building.
To cap off the evening, the Southern Miss Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.
“Southern Miss has become an unwavering beacon of hope for so many students, including myself,” said Don Holmes, a senior English major. “As a graduating senior, I will personally absorb this Founders’ Day because I am not sure when I will be back to enjoy another one.”
Holmes also said by recognizing and honoring the founding of this academic institution, he honors what an education can do in the lives of others.
For more information on Founders Day, visit http://www.usm.edu/about/founders-day.