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The University of Southern Mississippi, officially known as Southern Miss, is a comprehensive doctoral, public research extensive university located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and is situated 70 miles north of Gulfport and 105 miles northeast of New Orleans. Southern Miss is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
Founded on March 30, 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is comprised of the main campus located in Hattiesburg, and multiple branch campuses: Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, MS, Stennis Space Center, Jackson County, Keesler Air Force Base, J.L. Scott Aquarium, Gulf Coast Research Lab, and Pontlevoy, France. The University, through its Center for International Education, operates a number of international programs, and is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the nation for the number of students studying abroad each year. It is particularly noted for its flagship British Studies program, which regularly sends 200+ students each summer to live and study in the heart of London.
The University is home to a major polymer science research center, a nationally recognized writer's center and one of the strongest music programs in the southeastern United States. The Southern Miss Wind Ensemble is considered to be among the nation's best, as is The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, which has performed with such world-renowned figures as singer Ray Charles, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, violinist Joshua Bell, flutist James Galway, trumpet player Doc Severinsen, and tenor Plácido Domingo. In the past few years, the Southern Chorale, the university's top choir, has come into national and international prominence with invitational performances at the National American Choral Director's Association Conference in Los Angeles, Carnegie Hall, and abroad. In 1977 when Jimmy Carter was sworn in as 39th President of the United States in Washington, D.C., the Southern Miss Pride of Mississippi Marching Band was invited by him to be present and performed at his ceremony.
Originally called the Mississippi Southerners, in 1971 they became the Golden Eagles. The school’s colors, black and gold, were selected by a student body vote shortly after the school was founded, and while mascots, names, customs, and the very campus itself have changed through the years, the black and gold colors have remained constant.