About The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association
On September 18, 1912, 227 students began classes on the opening day of Mississippi Normal College. From those humble beginnings, a premier, comprehensive, dual-campus University was formed.
When the University, established by a Legislative Act on March 30, 1910, first opened its doors in 1912, it did so with five buildings handling all of the campus functions. Today, the Hattiesburg campus alone claims more than 150 buildings in its daily mission of educating students. The student body has changed as well; those first class members were mainly from rural Mississippi areas looking to become teachers for their local areas. These days Southern Miss students come from across the globe to study in such diverse areas as polymer science and theater.
While the University has gone through many changes and much growth over time, the Alumni Association has changed and grown at the same pace. T.A. Sewell's election in 1917 as alumni president is the earliest record of Association activity. It is believed that the organization served mainly as a placement service during these early years.
The Alumni Association, much like the University, hardly resembles the organization in its early days. Although chapter activity was evident back in the 1940s and publications date back to the same period, the Association as it is known today did not truly begin until 1953 when Powell G. Ogletree began working as the Association's director. In the early days of the Association, it occupied office space in the Student Union -- now McLemore Hall. Today it is housed in the Ogletree House, formerly the president's home. Every Southern Miss president through Dr. William D. McCain lived in this home, now named for the man who served as director of the Alumni Association through 1987.Over the years, the Association has worked to maintain contact with the University's former students and be of service to both these former students and to Southern Miss. One of the first major objectives of the Association was to obtain and establish scholarship aid for incoming students. They established a number of scholarships in the 1950s, and this work eventually led to the creation of the USM Foundation in 1959.
The Alumni Association exists to assist all former students of Southern Miss, but it is active, dues-paying members who receive the most benefits. The Association Web site serves as a locator service for alumni, and has helped locate many old friends and roommates. The Talon quarterly magazine is mailed to alumni active in the Association.
Other benefits of joining the Alumni Association include:
- The Legacy Scholars Program -- The award is a one-time $1,000 scholarship given to the children or grandchildren of Southern Miss graduates. To be eligible, at least one parent or grandparent of the candidate must be an active member of the Alumni Association for the immediate past 10 years or be a Life Member.
- Eligibility for application for an out-of-state tuition scholarship for children of alumni (subject to University guidelines)
- Availability of Alumni Association group life and health insurance
- Car rental and hotel discounts
- University library privileges
- Receipt of student rates on tickets for most events sponsored by the School of Music and the College of the Arts
- Receipt of Alumni Association window decal and membership card
- Discount on Alumni Association merchandise
- Eligibility for membership at the Payne Center recreation and fitness complex (graduates only)
- Participation in the C.A.R.D. (Current Alumni Retail Discounts) program allowing discounts by local vendors and retailers with the presentation of a current Association membership card.
The Association works with various chapters across the country to bring Southern Miss to people, no matter where they may live. Eagle Landing tailgates at away games and tournaments are among the events that the Alumni Association provides.
Of course, the Alumni Association also plays a major role in Homecoming. The annual Hall of Fame Banquet, to honor outstanding graduates and former students, is hosted by the Association. Alumni awards, reunions, both big and small, luncheons, and celebrations all come out of the Ogletree House every Homecoming weekend.
The Alumni Association is a driving force in the effort to advance The University of Southern Mississippi. By joining with the thousands of others who support the Alumni Association, you will be helping the Association act on behalf of all alumni to support and maintain the greatness of the University while pushing the institution forward to new levels of accomplishment.
Involvement in the Association is not an expensive consideration; however, the dues and Life Member fees are vital to the continued operation of the organization. As a member of the Association, you are not just giving back, you are also laying a solid foundation for a stronger university for generations to come.
The Southern Miss Alumni Association serves as your voice and your connection to your alma mater. When visiting campus, please stop by the Ogletree House; you're always welcome.