A “Golden Family Reunion” is the theme for the University of Southern Mississippi’s 2019 Homecoming this week. Alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University will be joining together to celebrate being a Golden Eagle.
Jerry DeFatta, executive director of the Alumni Association, said Homecoming is a time to honor graduates and say thank you.
“Homecoming provides a great opportunity for us to honor those who have left the institution and experienced great success in their personal and professional lives,” he said, “and a time to thank those who have continued to invest in our alma mater. We’re excited to welcome alumni and fans to Hattiesburg to celebrate one of our most long-standing traditions.”
The Golden Family Reunion includes a pep rally and parade, music from the Pride of Mississippi, tailgating; organization reunions, the induction of the newest members of the Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame, and a Conference USA football showdown between the Golden Eagles and the Mean Green of the University of North Texas.
Tierra Cooper, a junior biological sciences major from Laurel, is serving as USM’s Student Homecoming Court Director. She said the occasion is “a special opportunity for the Southern Miss family to fellowship with Golden Eagles from the past and present while making memories to last a lifetime.
“We look forward to welcoming back our alumni with open arms and warm smiles, all the while celebrating our university’s rich history and promising future,” she said.
Highlights of USM Homecoming 2019 include:
-- Thursday, Oct. 10
• Dixie Darling Alumnae Social Event – a 6:30 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, Hattiesburg. Please bring a beverage or snack to the social if you plan on attending.
-- Friday, Oct. 11
• Student Government Association (SGA) “Fountain Sit” – 11:30 a.m., Shoemaker Square, (More on Page 2.)
• SGA Homecoming Court Presentation and pep rally at Live At Five – 5 p.m., Town Square Park, downtown Hattiesburg
• Dixie Darling Alumnae Practice Session and reception – 1-5:30 p.m., practice session, St. Thomas Catholic Church and Pride Field; reception to follow at the Camellia House from 7-8:30 p.m.
• 21st annual Alumni Homecoming Golf Tournament – 7:30 a.m. registration, 8:30 a.m. shotgun start, Hattiesburg Country Club. To register a team, contact Dane Reiter at 601.266.4856 or Kristopher.Reiter@usm.edu. All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Pierce Legacy Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships to children and grandchildren of USM alumni. Lunch will be provided following the tournament.
• Black Alumni Gala – 7 p.m., Lake Terrace Convention Center, Hattiesburg. The Black Alumni Gala is a group of independent black professionals who are graduates of the University of Southern Mississippi with a vision to bridge talents, minds, and ideas to build a network that provides support and resources.
• Alumni Hall of Fame Banquet – 6:30 p.m., Thad Cochran Center Ballrooms. Inductees include Dr. Christopher D. Anderson, Donald W.B. Drapeau, Paul R. Lambert, Michael J. McGrevey, Ronald E. Nettles II, Christy Pickering, and Patrick Wynn. The Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 1987 to recognize those whose contributions have helped move the University forward. Limited seating is available to the general public. All-inclusive tickets for the event are available for $50 and may be purchased by contacting the Alumni Association at 601.266.5013. The Banquet is sponsored by Butler Snow and Hancock Whitney.
-- Saturday, Oct. 12
• 24th annual USM Homecoming 5K – Registration, 7-8 a.m., $25, Payne Center, Hattiesburg campus; race begins at 8:30 a.m. The USM Homecoming 5k supports the student athletic training club with a run a scenic course through campus, which includes running past “The Rock,” while ending at the front entrance to the Payne Center.
• SGA Homecoming Parade – 10 a.m. (Traveling east down Hardy Street from the Midtown Shopping Center to the USM Hattiesburg campus main entrance)
• Southern Miss Alumni Association Annual Awards Lunch & Business Meeting – Noon, Thad Cochran Center Ballrooms
• Dixie Darling Tailgate – Immediately following the homecoming parade.
• Spirit Park LIVE – 1-3 p.m. Spirit Park, featuring food trucks and Junior Eagle Funland, with interactive games, inflatables and activities for fans 12 and under; 2:30 p.m. – Countdown to Kick Off Show with Tom Colt on Rock 104.5; 3 p.m., live concert featuring Adam Doleac.
• Southern Miss Alumni Association Membership Appreciation Tailgate – 3:30-5:30 p.m., Ogletree House, Hattiesburg campus.
• Honors College pregame tailgate – 3:30-5:30 p.m., Honor House, Hattiesburg campus
• Eagle Walk – 4 p.m., Hattiesburg campus, featuring members of the USM football team and coaches, Dixie Darlings, cheerleaders and Pride of Mississippi Marching Band
• USM vs. University of North Texas, homecoming football game – 6 p.m. kickoff at M.M. Roberts Football Stadium - “The Rock!”