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The Ogletree Legacy

More on Powell Ogletree

Powell OgletreeVery few individuals are as woven into the fabric of the University as is Powell Ogletree. A former editor of The Student Printz and a double graduate of Mississippi Southern College with a bachelor’s degree in 1948 and a master’s degree in 1951, Powell literally dedicated his life to the betterment of The University of Southern Mississippi.

Powell accepted Dr. R.C. Cook’s invitation to become the first full-time alumni secretary for the institution and started work on June 22, 1953. He moved into a 10’ x 16’ office in College Hall with one secretary. There were records on 3,200 former students, 150 paid alumni members, no organized chapters, and financial assets of $55.86. When he retired on October 31, 1987, there were records on 59,000 alumni, more than 17,500 active members of the Association, 60 organized chapters, and assets exceeding $600,000.

Powell and Frances OgletreePowell’s thumbprint can be seen on most of the watershed events that affected the future of the institution during his tenure. Can you imagine Southern Miss without its university status? What if we had not changed our mascot to the Golden Eagles? What if the University president still resided at the corner of one of the busiest traffic intersections in the state? What if Southern Miss had no Foundation to accept and administer its charitable gifts? What if an Alumni Hall of Fame had not been established to recognize our most notable alumni?

While Powell shared credit for all of these accomplishments with many others, any Southern Miss historian will quickly tell you that none of the questions posed above could have been answered in the affirmative without Powell’s involvement and leadership.

There is no question that Powell’s 34 years of service to the University, coupled with his continued involvement and dedication as director emeritus of the Association from the time of his retirement until his passing on June 11, 2005, warrant that his commitment be recognized with a facility worthy of his name.

The Ogletree House is an architecturally beautiful structure. However, time has taken its toll, and the complete restoration and expansion of the facility in 2008-2009 will help return it to its original glory.

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