USM One Year After Tornado - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

USM One Year After Tornado

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Feb. 7th of last year, Dr. Rodney Bennett was announced as USM's President, three days later, the campus was struck by a tornado.

Bennett shared how his first year went as president overcoming the tornado.

"It is our university."

Those are words from Dr. Bennett, one year ago when an EF-4 twister ripped through part of the campus, leaving volunteers and school officials to clean up a big mess.

"We have made remarkable progress," he said. "The tornado did multimillion dollar damage to the campus."

The tornado demolished the University's jazz station, ripped apart the Ogletree Alumni House, and damaged the gates around the Hardy Street entrance to the school.

Dr. Bennett  said storm damage lead to 17 campus restoration projects.

"Most of those are scheduled to be completed before the end of this calendar year," he said. "We are a very different institution now than we were last year and I feel good about our trajectory and he momentum that we have at this point."

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