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USM finally holds inauguration ceremony for Bennett

Dr. Rodney Bennett

Dr. Rodney Bennett

HATTIESBURG — More than a year after he took the reins at the University of Southern Mississippi, President Rodney Bennett has been officially inaugurated.

Bennett is being hailed as the first black person to lead a historically white university in Mississippi.

The 10th president of the 15,000-student university has already faced a major challenge, leading the recovery of the Hattiesburg campus from a tornado that struck days after he was chosen by the College Board, but before he even officially started the job.

Bennett was previously the vice president of student affairs at the University of Georgia. The former president of that university, Michael Adams, was the guest speaker at the inauguration.

Another inauguration was held Thursday at USM’s Gulf Coast campus in Long Beach.

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