Rodney Bennett Appointed President of the University of Southern Mississippi

Rodney BennettRodney Bennett has been selected as the next president of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He will be the first African American president of any of the five predominantly White state universities in Mississippi.

Dr. Bennett has been serving as vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens. He previously was dean of students and interim provost for institutional diversity at the University of Georgia. Earlier in his career, Dr. Bennett was dean of students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Ed Blakeslee, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi, stated, “With a student-centered approach grounded in experience in all facets of the university, Dr. Bennett brings a tremendous depth of knowledge of higher education, its challenges and how to meet the challenges to help more students succeed in the classroom and beyond. I believe the Board of Trustees has made an excellent choice for the next leader of the University of Southern Mississippi.”

Dr. Bennett holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He earned a doctorate in educational administration at Tennessee State University in Nashville.

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Comments (17)

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  1. Celeste Cunningham says:

    Congratulations and Best Wishes. May your tribe increase.

  2. Dr. Carlos Minor says:

    I am just sorry it took until 2013 for a mainstream Mississippi university to make this move. Best luck Dr. Bennett, and show them how we HBCU alumni roll!!!

  3. Dr. Gladys J. Willis says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Bennett! This is a great achievement for him and the state of Mississippi–long overdue.

  4. Marsha Sudderth says:

    Peace and Blessings in your new endeavor! This being black History Month we must call Tom Joyner for ALKBHF
    A Little Known Black History Fact!

  5. Mona Coffield says:

    As the wife of your former high school guidance counselor, Jim Coffield, I just want to say we are proud of you! Go Warriors!

  6. Ivan Green says:

    Congrads Dr Bennett… Fellow Holston Warrior… Very proud of you..

  7. Kimbery Wright Lyles says:

    Congratulations to my former church friend first then classmate friend. Great people come out of Knoxville TN. So proud of you and your accomplishments thus far. If God be for you no one can be against you. Peace and Blessings and much more success.

  8. Dean Roberts says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bennett!!! It seems like yesterday that we were roaming the halls of Holston High School together. I pray that God’s blessings will be on you as you work to create tomorrow’s leaders at the University of Southern Mississippi.
    Once a Warrior always a Warrior!

  9. Stacy Littlejohn-Webster says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bennett, you have done the class of 1984 Proud!!!!

  10. Sammi Robinson Hawkins says:

    Congratulations my dear friend!! So, so very proud of you!!!

  11. Malinda Curtis Fortner says:

    Sincerest congratulations to a fine man- Holston Class of 1986! So proud of your success….

  12. Debbie Huettel says:

    Congratulations, Dr.Bennett! My husband and I graduated from Holston High School in 1971, and he graduated from USM in 1975. Best of luck to you! Steve and Debbie Huettel

  13. Eric Schmidt says:

    Congratulations, old friend! You were always a natural leader and this comes as no surprise. You were always headed for big things. I’m very proud of you!!!

  14. Eddie Drake says:

    Dr.Bennett. Thank you for striving and becoming such an inspriation to our race and students. Your road to educational success is quite amazing. Look me up in LA or facebook. Take care and God bless you and your family.

  15. Rhonda Powell Hood says:

    Dr. Bennett! Wow! Congratulations on this honor! Your gift of leadership was evident even as a young man. USM is blessed to have you at the helm!

  16. Joyce Williams Huddleston says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bennett!!!! So proud of my Mt Olive Baptist Church childhood friend! What a honor and I wish you all the best in your new position! So fitting for Black History Month!!!

  17. Diane French Largent says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bennett! We always expected great things from you! Best of luck and Go Warriors!

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