The University of Southern Mississippi, officially known as Southern Miss, is a large public research university located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States. It is situated 70 miles (110 km) north of Gulfport and 105 miles (169 km) northeast of New Orleans. Southern Miss is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
Founded on March 30, 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi comprises the main campus located in Hattiesburg, and multiple permanent branch campuses: Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, Mississippi, , Stennis Space Center, Jackson County, Keesler Air Force Base, J.L. Scott Aquarium, Gulf Coast Research Lab, and Pontlevoy, France.
The University has a particularly extensive "study abroad" program through its Center for International Education, and is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the nation for the number of students studying abroad each year. It is particularly noted for its flagship British Studies program, which regularly sends 200+ students each summer to live and study in the heart of London.
The University is also home to a major polymer science research center, and one of the strongest fine arts programs in the southeastern United States. Southern Miss is also the only institution within Mississippi, and one of only a dozen universities in America, to hold accreditation in all four fine arts emphasis areas (art, dance, theatre and music). The Southern Miss Wind Ensemble is considered to be among the nation's best, as is The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, which has performed with such figures as singer Ray Charles, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, violinist Joshua Bell, flautist James Galway, trumpet player Doc Severinsen, and tenor Plácido Domingo. In the past few years, the Southern Chorale, the university's top choir, has come into national and international prominence. The Southern Miss Pride of Mississippi Marching Band has performed at such venues as the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter.
Originally called the Mississippi Southerners, in 1971 they became the Golden Eagles. The school’s colors, black and gold, were selected by a student body vote shortly after the school was founded, and while mascots, names, customs, and the very campus itself have changed through the years, the black and gold colors have remained constant.