One hundred years' worth of black and gold pride is on display this week for The University of Southern Mississippi's Centennial Homecoming Celebration.
The final cornerstone event of the university's year-long Centennial Celebration, homecoming 2010 includes the return of its homecoming parade to historic downtown Hattiesburg. A concert featuring a renowned jazz musician and a football game that could determine the Conference USA championship are among the many events scheduled.
"I welcome all of our supporters and their families to our Centennial Homecoming,' said Southern Miss President Martha Saunders. 'As we enjoy all that a Southern Miss homecoming offers – great tailgating, socializing with family and friends, music, a parade and Golden Eagles football – let us also reflect on what the university means to us and how we are better for its 100 years of service to our state, nation and world."
Kasey Mitchell of Picayune and her fellow Southern Miss students are busy getting the campus ready for the arrival of alumni and friends this weekend in Hattiesburg to celebrate a special homecoming. Float decorating and preparations for college, school and organization reunions and tailgating events are underway, incorporating the theme "100 Years to the Top! Southern Spirit Never Stops!"
"It's always great to be on campus, but especially this week because of homecoming," said Mitchell, a senior who serves as Southern Miss Student Government Association President.
"The students are really excited. We had a great turnout for the homecoming kickoff event at The District Sunday," she said. "Everyone is enjoying working together on the floats and other homecoming projects, and we're looking forward to welcoming back our alumni."
Southern Miss Vice President for Advancement Bob Pierce concurs with Mitchell. "Homecoming is always a special time for the university community, but this one is even more so because of its significance in the history of the institution," he said. "I'm personally looking forward to the parade being downtown, which I believe underscores the strong connection we've enjoyed with the city for the past 100 years."
Highlights of the week include the following schedule of events on the Hattiesburg campus, as well as the homecoming parade in downtown Hattiesburg:
- Thursday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m. - School of Music Connoisseur Series features the renowned Terrence Blanchard Quintet, Mannoni Performing Arts Center. For tickets, call 601.266.5418.
- Friday, Oct. 8, 8:30 a.m. - Shell Finish Line/Alumni Homecoming Golf Tournament, Hattiesburg Country Club. This popular event raises funds for the Pierce Legacy Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships for children and grandchildren of Southern Miss alumni. Registration begins at 7 a.m., with the shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.
- Friday, Oct. 8, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Pre-game football luncheon with Southern Miss head football coach Larry Fedora, Thad Cochran Center Ballroom. For information, call the Southern Miss Athletic Department at 601.266.5017.
- Friday, Oct. 8, 6 p.m. – Legacy of Athletics: Southern Miss Centennial Football Reunion, rooftop of south end zone of M.M. Roberts Stadium. For more information, contact Sonya Varnell at 601.266.5017.
- Friday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. – Southern Miss Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony, Thad Cochran Center Grand Ballroom. For more information, call the Alumni Association 601.266.5013.
- Friday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m. – Friday Night at the Fountain pep rally featuring Southern Miss cheerleaders; mascot Seymour; Dixie Darlings; Pride of Mississippi Marching Band; members of the Southern Miss football team and coaching staff; and a concert by the band Blues 9. Call Student Activities at 601.266.4403 for more information.
- Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. – Homecoming parade, downtown Hattiesburg. Lineup begins at 9 a.m. at Hawkins Elementary School on Green Street, traveling down Hardy Street east to Front Street, then north down Main Street and then down McLeod Street back to Hawkins Elementary School. Parade entries are still being accepted with submission of application. For information contact Jennifer Payne at 601.266.4095.
- Saturday, Oct. 9, noon – Southern Miss Alumni Association Awards Lunch and Business Meeting, Thad Cochran Center.
- Saturday, Oct. 9, 4 p.m. – Eagle Walk beginning on West Memorial Drive, featuring the Pride of Mississippi Marching Band, Seymour, cheerleaders, President Martha Saunders, head football coach Larry Fedora and the Golden Eagles football team.
- Saturday, Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m. – Southern Miss vs. East Carolina University football game. Halftime will feature introduction of the homecoming court, Mr. and Miss Southern Miss and crowning of homecoming queen.