Dr. Joe Paul has officially been inaugurated as the 11th president of the University of Southern Mississippi.
State leaders, USM faculty, and others gathered at Bennett Auditorium on USM’s Hattiesburg campus to welcome Paul into the role he has already been filling for over a year.
Paul began his duties as USM’s president on Nov. 1, 2022, after having served in the interim role since July 16 of last year. For more than 40 years, he served the University as a student affairs administrator.
Today, we are celebrating the official inauguration of Dr. Joseph S. Paul as the University’s 11th President.
Here’s just a few highlights from the last 444 days! pic.twitter.com/VgjbhMZNik
— Southern Miss (@SouthernMiss) October 5, 2023
He holds a Ph.D. in administration of higher education from the University of Alabama and was named the university’s Most Outstanding Doctoral Student in the field in 1985.
The Bay St. Louis native earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and political science from USM in 1975, graduating magna cum laude from the University Honors College, and received a master’s degree in communication and management from Southern Miss in 1978.
Paul was inducted into the USM Alumni Hall of Fame in 2000. He replaces Dr. Rodney Bennett, who served as president from 2013-2022.