Southern Miss president issues updated note to students, rest of university

(The following details come from The University of Southern Mississippi.)

Dear Southern Miss Community, Today marks an important day in the history of our institution, as we begin to deliver our entire curriculum remotely as part of The University of Southern Mississippi’s response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. It is fitting that we begin this new journey, together, on the 110th anniversary of our institution’s legislative founding. The past few weeks have brought with them more uncertainty than many of us have experienced in our lifetime – and we do not yet know exactly what tomorrow will bring. Even so, I am confident that we will continue to rise above the unknown challenges of COVID-19 with the same grit, determination, and resilience that has characterized the Southern Miss we know and love for decades. Each of you have demonstrated your commitment to supporting each other in the face of this international public health crisis. • As students – you have remained engaged and followed CDC guidance to help protect yourselves and those closest to you. I am deeply grateful for your patience and adaptability as our faculty, staff, and executive leadership team have worked quickly to implement changes designed to support your success. I encourage you to continue consulting resources to help you Keep Learning during this transition, and to contact your instructors or the Dean of Students office if you need assistance. • As faculty and staff – you have worked countless hours to learn new technologies and convert course work, operations, and services to remote formats. I sincerely appreciate your dedication to making this transition as seamless as possible for our students and your willingness to remain flexible throughout this ever-evolving situation. • As alumni and friends – you have helped to share the University’s COVID-19 response updates, and you have supported one another as neighbors and as members of our Golden Eagle family. Thank you for continuing to demonstrate the Southern Miss Spirit to the world, despite the uncertainty we all now face. Even though our immediate future is different than what we had planned, and many of the decisions we are forced to make bring with them great disappointment, I remain encouraged and inspired by each of you. In a time when we must remain physically apart from one another, each of you have demonstrated that nothing can temper the Southern Miss Spirit – and you have proven, yet again, what we all know to be true. The Southern Miss we know is built upon the unwavering caliber of our people. We are not afraid. We do not hide. We do not stop when something challenges our dreams. We band together. We support one another. And we overcome any obstacle with courage, persistence, and compassion for our fellow Golden Eagles. Moving forward, our collective success will not be determined by any one individual or any one group. Each of us has a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families, and to support each other, to the extent we are able to do so. This too shall pass – and when it passes, I look forward to celebrating extraordinary stories of how each of us overcame all odds, as I know we will do. And so, on this 110th anniversary, I know that each of you join me in being grateful for The University of Southern Mississippi, an institution that means so much to so many – an institution that has provided each of us with opportunities we otherwise would not have had. Thank you, again, for your part in creating our Southern Miss legacy. Sincerely, Rodney D. Bennett President

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