The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning officially named Dr. Joe Paul, as President of the University of Southern Mississippi.
Paul was named Interim President in July while a search was conducted. As the result of several listening sessions with students, faculty, alumni and community leaders, it was clear the Paul was a consensus choice for the permanent appointment.
“Dr. Paul is well-known to the campus community and truly needs no introduction. At the Listening Sessions, scores of Southern Miss alumni and students described the way Dr. Paul keeps the needs of the students first and foremost and gives each one the support needed for them to soar,” said Trustee Tom Duff, co-chair of the Board Search Committee. “The personalized experience students receive at the university are one of the many attributes that make The University of Southern Mississippi special. Dr. Paul is the best person to build on these strengths and help the university reach the next level of success.”
“We have work to do in growing the enrollment, maximizing our impact on our Mississippi Gulf Coast and ensuring the continued growth of our research enterprise,” said Dr. Paul. “I am also deeply committed to creating an unapparelled student life and leadership experience. A spirit of shared governance will be front and center for me. I want to assure all that I will attack these next four years with the energy and urgency with which I have approached these first four months. We will chase audacious goals with passion and persistence. Our Southern Miss grit will prevail.”
Paul 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. He was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame in 2000.
The official announcement will happen Thursday on campus at 3:00 p.m. in the Thad Cochran Center. Classes for the day had already been cancelled in advance of a nationally televised football game on ESPN between Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette.