Hattiesburg is a city in Forrest County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 44,779 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Forrest County. In recent years the city has grown to include a portion of eastern Lamar County. It is the principal city of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties. Founded in 1882 by pioneer lumberman and civil engineer William H. Hardy, Hattiesburg was named in honor of Hardy's wife Hattie. The town was incorporated two years later with a population of 400. Hattiesburg's population first expanded as a center of the lumber and railroad industries, from which was derived the nickname “The Hub City. ” It now attracts newcomers to the area because of the diversity of the economy, strong neighborhoods and the central location in South Mississippi. Hattiesburg is home to The University of Southern Mississippi (originally known as Mississippi Normal College) and William Carey University (formerly William Carey College). South of Hattiesburg is Camp Shelby, the largest National Guard training base east of the Mississippi River.