New president Rodney Bennett's comments from news conference

Newly elected Southern Miss president, Dr. Rodney Bennett, drove to Hattiesburg from Georgia and attended this morning's news conference:

"I want to start by saying thank you to everyone who has helped with this unfortunate disaster to our campus. I want to say a quick word to the parents of our students: My goal as president is to ensure your children are safe, not only on campus but in Hattiesburg.

"We will work as quickly as we can to restore the campus community back to our primary goal of teaching and research. And while the incidents of yesterday were frightening and destructive, this will in no way stop us from continuing to work toward moving Southern Miss to the top.

"I found out about 7 o'clock last night. I've been devastated. I said to my wife, 'I'm going to Hattiesburg.' She said, 'how are you going to get there?' I said, 'I'm going to drive.' She said, 'what if the roads are closed?' I said, 'we'll figure it out when we get there.' But I knew this is where I need to be and got here as quickly as I could."

Gov. Phil Bryant, a USM alumnus, followed that by saying, "See, Dr. Bennett has that Southern Miss spirit already: 'We'll figure it out, but we're going to get there.' "

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