HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will host an inauguration for the university’s 11th president, Dr. Joseph Paul.

The official Inauguration Ceremony is set for 3:00 p.m. on October 5 at Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus.

“An inauguration marks the beginning of a new direction. Dr. Paul has had a little over a year to evaluate Southern Miss and this is his opportunity to share his vision for the future of our University,” said Jerry DeFatta, Executive Director of the USM Alumni Association. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business of a large organization, so this event provides a unique opportunity to take a step back and analyze where we have been and provide some perspective on where we are headed.”

The Paul Inauguration festivities include a Gulf Coast Community Celebration set for Wednesday, October 4 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Hardy Hall Courtyard on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. The event is free and open to the public.

Following the Investiture Ceremony on Thursday, October 4, a Hattiesburg Community Celebration will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Spirit Park on USM’s Hattiesburg campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Monika Gehlawat, Associate Director in the School of Humanities, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the inauguration.

Paul began his duties as USM’s 11th President on November 1, 2022, after having served in the interim role since July 16th of last year. For more than 40 years, he served the University as a student affairs administrator.