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USM interim vice president to lead Gulf Park campus

LONG BEACH — Steve Miller, interim vice president at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, is the new leader of the school.

USM President Rodney Bennett announced the appointment Tuesday.

Miller had been interim vice president of the degree-granting campus for a year.

“When this position first became available last year, I had every intention of conducting a national search,” Bennett said. “However, over the past 12 months as I worked with Dr. Miller in an interim capacity, it just became clear to me that with his work ethic, with his communication skills and with his ability to develop and maintain effective relationships across departments here at the Gulf Park campus and in Hattiesburg, that Steve Miller was the right person for this position.”

Miller’s appointment will be effective June 1, pending approval from the state College Board. Bennett said he has already discussed the move with board members.

Miller told The Sun Herald he is looking forward to continuing work he’d started and to focusing on further improving the campus.

The two biggest projects will be construction on a new building for the College of Health and College of Business — integral because lacking the academic space has made scheduling classes a challenge — and beautification work including around the U.S. 90 entrance to the campus.

Miller’s overseen the completion of work on a health center, fitness center and a home for the school of social work; established connections with the Port of Gulfport in preparation for the arrival of a new research vessel; increased partnerships with military and veteran students; and increased the visibility of the campus across the Gulf Coast, Bennett said.

Miller said he would work to provide students across the coast with access to higher education.

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