Rodney Bennett was named the next president of the University of Southern Mississippi, making him the first black president of a predominately white Mississippi university.
Bennett, UGA’s vice president for student affairs, received unanimous approval from the state’s College Board on Feb. 7.
After the announcement, Bennett told reporters, “I don’t know what message it sends, other than don’t let any barrier that other people may place in front of you, and label that people place on you, stop you from pursuing your dream. Race wasn’t going to be an issue for me.”
Bennett is expected to begin his new role in the spring.
Before becoming vice president for student affairs at UGA in 2005, Bennett served as dean of students and interim associate provost for institutional diversity at the university.