EntertainmentHomecoming Committee names University President for Grand Marshal

Homecoming Committee names University President for Grand Marshal

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The Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously voted for University President Dr. Rodney Bennett to serve as this year’s Grand Marshal for the Homecoming parade.

The Homecoming parade is one of Southern Miss’s oldest traditions, beginning all the way back in 1925. It was also one of the many events that had to be postponed or canceled last year due to COVID-19 concerns. However, as Southern Miss continues to push for on-campus events this semester, Homecoming Week festivities are planned to resume as normal.

Jerry DeFatta, the Executive Director of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, announced this year’s Homecoming game with particular excitement.

“After more than a year of being unable to host in-person events for alumni and fans, Homecoming 2021 will be a particularly special time for Golden Eagles,” said DeFatta. “Homecoming is always an exciting time on campus as we recognize alumni who have played a vital role in the life of the University and welcome home graduates in celebration of their loyalty to our alma mater.”

The Homecoming parade, taking place on Oct. 9 this year, is led by the Grand Marshal, who later selects the best float in the parade. A new Grand Marshal is selected each year by the SGA, usually to thank them for years of service to the school.

The SGA said that their decision to give Bennett the title was largely based on his work throughout COVID-19. They believe that his efforts to resume normal university functions should be recognized by the campus at large, as they believe his “vision” helped many get back onto campus this year.

“What better way to reward the person who worked so hard to get us back here, back in black and gold,” said Lucas Williams, the current SGA president. “He was always persistent that we were safe, and then when it was safe, we did it right and did it big. I know he didn’t do it alone, but he sets the vision for the institution.”

Bennett was honored at being named Grand Marshal and thanked the SGA for their decision.

“I am delighted to serve as Homecoming Grand Marshal as part of our return to a full slate of game day activities this fall,” said Bennett. “Our students have demonstrated a deep commitment to making their mark on the next chapter of our Southern Miss Story.”

Homecoming Week is set to begin Oct. 4, with the SGA and other on-campus organizations planning multiple activities for students to participate in. The parade itself will be held on Oct. 9 shortly before the Homecoming game. This year, the Golden Eagles (C-USA 1-3) will face off with the University of Texas at El Paso’s Miners (C-USA 3-1) at The Rock.

“I look forward to celebrating a very special Homecoming this year as we gather together once again to commemorate traditions that have characterized the Southern Miss we know and love for decades,” said Bennett.

For more information about this year’s Homecoming Week festivities, check out the Student Alumni Association’s official schedule at southernmissalumni.com/homecoming.

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