The University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university with its main campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees. The university is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".
Founded on March 30, 1910, the university is a dual campus institution, with the main campus located in Hattiesburg and the other large campus, Gulf Park, in Long Beach. It has five additional teaching and research sites, including the John C. Stennis Space Center and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
Originally called the Mississippi Southerners, the Southern Miss athletic teams became the Golden Eagles in 1972. The school's colors, black and gold, were selected by a student body vote shortly after the school was founded. While mascots, names, customs, and the campus have changed, the black and gold colors have remained constant. USM offers 16 sport programs at the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.