HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – An inauguration was held for University of Southern Mississippi (USM) President Dr. Joseph Paul on Thursday, October 5.

Paul has been serving as the university’s 11th president since November 2022.

Before assuming the role, the USM alumni worked for more than 30 years as the university’s Student Affairs administrator.

As president, Paul said he will focus on growing enrollment and preparing students for success after graduation.

“Engaging with potential employers, understanding the political issues of the day, and giving our students an emotional intelligence, the power of discernment, the ability to be creative and solve problems is what I’m looking for in terms of our students being ready for life when they leave,” he said.

Paul also plans to open a Life Science Research Center to further the university’s biochemistry research.