Rodney 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.