HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - After nearly a year of negotiations, the University of Southern Mississippi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College put the pen to paper and made a partnership official.
Under the new partnership, honors students from MGCCC will be automatically admitted into Southern's honors college if they are in good standing with the community college, and present a recommendation letter from their honors instructors.
Leaders from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi met in Perkinston to make it official.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for them to spend two years with us getting quality instruction and then moving straight on in to the University of Southern Mississippi and get the quality instruction that the university has to offer as well," said Dr. Mary Graham, president of MGCCC.
According to Dr. Graham, there are currently around 150 students who qualify for the new transition. While 60 percent of the community college's students already transfer to USM, Dr. Graham says it was a great agreement that was made possible with the help of several departments.
"None of us really get to days like today without a whole team of people that are a part of the process," said USM president, Dr. Rodney Bennett.
Part of the team in the partnership includes the Dean of Southern's honors college and the Vice President of academic affairs, Dr. Steven Moser.
"I see our honors program continuing to grow and continuing to impact the lives of these students," said Dr. Moser.
So far, Southern's honors college has seen around 35 students from MGCCC.
"We'd like to see that number increase. Those students are coming to us very well prepared and they're ready to do the kind of undergraduate research they'll do with us at Southern Miss," noted Dr. Ellen Weinauer.
Both institutions say the new agreement is the perfect way to solidify and grow the relationship that already exists between the two institutions.