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Georgia educator likely to be next president of USM

HATTIESBURG — Rodney Bennett is likely to be appointed president of the University of Southern Mississippi today.

Bennett, vice president of student affairs at the University of Georgia, was named the College Board’s preferred candidate to lead 16,000-student USM last week.

He would be the first black president of any of Mississippi’s five predominantly white universities. Bennett has said his top priority will be stabilizing USM’s finances.

Bennett met yesterday with faculty, staff and students at USM’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. He will meet with campus groups this morning at the Thad Cochran Center on USM’s Hattiesburg campus.

Shortly after those meetings conclude, College Board members will vote on naming Bennett the school’s president.

USM has been without a permanent president since July, when Martha Saunders resigned after five years.


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