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Dale Center for the Study of War and Society

The Dale Center: Center of Military History Excellence

As one of the top military history programs in the country, the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society houses a distinguished academic community with expertise in how conflict affects communities, soldiers, and non-combatants. The Dale Center expands on the field of military history, with its traditional focus on leaders, strategies, and operations, and seeks to identify and understand the social and cultural consequences of war. The Dale Center has earned a reputation as a center of excellence, with its faculty members recognized among the best scholars in the field and its students as noteworthy future scholars.

Dale Center Signature Events and Programs

The Dale Center hosts a number of important academic and community events throughout the year that bring together scholars, students, and community members around topics dealing with military history and War and Society.  In addition, the Center promotes cutting-edge scholarship in the field of war and society.

The Lt. Col. John H. Dale Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series in International Security and Global Policy brings prominent voices to Hattiesburg for on a regular basis. 

The Lt. Col. John H. Dale Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series in International Security and Global Policy honors the late Lieutenant Colonel John H. Dale, Sr., a career member of the military who served in World War II and the Korean War and earned the Bronze Star.  The lecture series is made possible through a generous donation by Southern Miss alumna Dr. Beverly Dale, Lt. Col. Dale’s daughter.

The lecture series brings internationally prominent speakers to Hattiesburg to give their assessment of the state of foreign and military affairs. Former speakers include Ted Koppel; General Bufford "Buff" Blount; Dan Rather; General David Petraeus (US Army Ret.); Dr. Robert M. Gates; Dr. Madeline Albright; and Ambassador Wyche Fowler. 

The Richard McCarthy Lecture Series was founded in 2006 through the generous support of Dr. Richard McCarthy and Dr. Craig Howard and is designed to bring together students, faculty, and community members to access cutting edge research in the field of military history and War and Society.

Over the years, the McCarthy Lecture Series has provided the campus and Hattiesburg communities a broad range of programming, ranging from a panel discussion led by veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to more academic programs including talks by leading historians of War and Society and military history, such as Sebastian Junger, Beth Bailey, Jeremy Black, Dennis Showalter, Margaret MacMillan, Jeffrey Gray, Brian Linn, Wayne Lee, and John Lynn, just to name a few.

The General Buford “Buff” Blount Professorship in Military History was founded in honor of General Buford “Buff” Blount, who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1971 and went on to a distinguished career in the U.S. military, which included leading the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division into Baghdad in 2003.

The Blount Professorship is awarded biennially to provide funding for the work of a historian at Southern Miss who is engaged in research toward the publication of a major study in the field of military history or war and society.  Several books have been made possible through the support of the Blount Professorship.

The University of Southern Mississippi's Dale Center for the Study of War & Society is proud to house the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) World War II Association’s Archive of documents, memorabilia, books, and webpage--a treasure trove for researchers of World War II in Europe.

The 103d Infantry Division was activated on November 15, 1942 and served in the European Theater of World War II until their deactivation on September 22, 1945. 

In 2022, the Dale Center undertook the multi-year 103rd Infantry Division Digital Humanities Project, with the goal of creating an improved website and extensive digital document collection.

The goal of War Stories: Preserving National Guard Voices is to capture and preserve the oral and written story of Mississippi’s National Guard during the transformational 21st Century.  

Through capturing oral histories and collecting written documents, the project will accumulate and preserve invaluable primary sources concerning a host of important topics including: the National Guard's kinetic ability on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, the developing relationship between the National Guard and the active military, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the stories of Mississippi guardsmen and their families during the stress of multiple deployments, the increasing diversity of the National Guard, and the transforming relationships between the Guard and its home communities.

Dale Center Faculty Fellows are innovative and productive scholars who publish widely in the fields of history, military history, and war and society.  A a list of books written and edited by Dale Center fellows present and past, is available here.   

The Dale Center is proud to be educating the next generation of officers for the U. S. military.  Leading military educational institutions like the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Air Force’s Air War University have entrusted the Dale Center to educate the officers who will go on to teach the leaders of tomorrow’s U.S. armed forces.  See our page on Military Office Training for more information. 

Dale Center faculty, students, alums, and friends at SMH Conference in 2023Dale Center faculty, graduate students, and alumni, along with our patron Dr. Beverly Dale, at the Society for Military History's annual meeting in San Diego, California in 2023.