The board of trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi has voted to extend the contract of Rodney D. Bennett as president of the University of Southern Mississippi for an additional two years. Dr. Bennett became president of the university in April 2013.
Just three days after Dr. Bennett had been named the 10th president of the university a devastating tornado struck the university’s campus in Hattiesburg. Dr. Bennett received high marks for his efforts during the recovery process.
Aubrey Patterson, president of the board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, said that “Dr. Bennett’s leadership has been a tremendous advantage for Southern Miss. From leading the recovery effort after the tornado to numerous other building and beautification projects on both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park Campuses, he has provided students with an excellent environment in which to live and learn. His focus on the students is evident in the progress made during his tenure.”
Before being named president of the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Bennett served as vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and a doctorate in educational administration from Tennessee State University in Nashville.