USM Veterans Program Ranks 3rd Nationally by Resource Publication
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – The University of Southern Mississippi has earned a No. 3 national ranking for its support and service to its military students.
USM was noted by the military times resource guide in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2021 Rankings”.
The university was also ranked #1 in the Southeast.
The new rankings show a leap forward for USM after being ranked No. 9 nationally for the past two years.
USM is one of three Mississippi universities listed in the Top 30, with the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University ranked 23rd and 26th, respectively.
In 2014, USM launched its Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families under the leadership of Major General Jeff Hammond (US Army, retired).
Approximately 300 military students were enrolled at USM at the time of the center’s launch. Currently, that number is over 1,700 with services available at the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses.
Hammond says the latest ranking validates the efforts many have made to create a comprehensive curriculum for military students.
“We established our program about seven years ago with the goal of being the best,” Hammond said. “Hard work, genuine student care, teamwork, accountability and a sincere commitment to success pays off.”
“It truly means that we are blessed and very grateful to have had the opportunity to create a campus program that puts the needs of others above our own and thereby enables us to make a difference in the lives of our students- veterans and their families.”
Here are the services provided by the USM center:
- Space to study and/or socialize
- Advice on benefits and financial assistance from Veterans Affairs
- Processing Veterans Affairs benefits and financial assistance
- School help, such as tutoring
- Mentorship programs
- Course registration
- career advice
- legal aid
- Army-related service projects
- Help for physically handicapped veterinarians
- mental health counseling
“The work General Hammond and his team do every day to support our veteran population and create a comprehensive program for military students has placed us among the best in the South and Mississippi. I am proud and grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by our staff in supporting our students,” said Dr. Dee Dee Anderson, Vice President of Student Affairs at USM.
Hammond’s vision for the veterans program was enhanced by the construction of a new center on the Hattiesburg campus with the support of University administrators.
The USM Foundation hosted a dedication of the Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor, named after Hammond, and USM’s leading benefactor and alumnus, Joe Quinlan.
The Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor is the first 100% privately funded building initiative through the USM Foundation.
More than 150 alumni and friends from across the country donated more than $3 million at this time, successfully meeting the fundraising goal.
Construction has begun on the state-of-the-art 5,500 square foot facility which will include a conference room, study space for small groups or individual work, a lounge, as well as other meeting spaces and offices for the staff.
The new room should be completed by the end of the year.
Hammond suggests that USM should be the choice of student-veterans when seeking the best education and accommodation opportunities.
“USM is a community among communities when it comes to supporting our military,” Hammond said. “Additionally, and ultimately, we are the most comprehensive and comprehensive military student support program in Mississippi and the South.
“At USM, our administrators, faculty, and staff work together to seek solutions for our military students rather than create barriers to their success.”
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