Gazebo Gazette

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top institutions in providing online bachelor’s degree programs for student-veterans.

USM earned a No. 50 ranking by U.S. News in its 2020-21 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list for veterans. This marks the first time that USM has been included in the publication’s rankings for online degree programs geared toward veterans.

Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army ret.) Jeff Hammond serves as director of the University’s Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families. He notes that the center’s mission is to work hard in finding ways to succeed on behalf of USM’s student-veterans.

“Recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a top online program for military veterans affirms the USM commitment to provide the military community with the flexibility, convenience and hands-on care needed for them to achieve their educational goals,” said Hammond.

USM has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2011-2012. The majority of the online classes are recorded and archived so students can access lecture material at their convenience. In addition, the University offers a variety of quality, accredited undergraduate degrees that are extremely affordable.

Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Dean of Online Learning and Enrollment at USM, points out that the ranking reflects the University’s dedication to producing the highest quality online programs possible.

“Over the last decade we have partnered with Quality Matters (QM), a nationally recognized, faculty-driven peer-review process used to ensure the quality of online and blended course design,” he said “All of our online faculty are QM certified and this has insured consistent student-centered online learning that our students recognize as being among the best in the country.”

In January USM earned a prestigious Military Friendly® School Gold Status designation for 2021-2022, marking the fifth straight year that the University achieved this status. This elite recognition further identifies USM as the top “Military Friendly” four-year Institution in the State of Mississippi.

Last November the University broke ground on the Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor, named after the lead benefactor and USM alumnus Joe Quinlan and the vet center’s founding director, Hammond. The transformative facility will serve the unique needs of USM’s student-veterans, which number more than 1,700.

Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor will be a 5,200-square-foot facility with a conference room, study space for small groups or individual work, a lounge and study, as well as other meeting areas and staff office space. The tentative completion date is fall of this year.

Hammond stresses that USM is able to do more for student-veterans, particularly the online military community “because the University greatly values their future and thus makes the needs of veterans a priority. Bottom line, we are committed to serving the unique needs of military students.”

To learn more about the USM Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families go online at or call 601-264-4620. To learn more about the online programs at Southern Miss, visit