All posts by Jim Coll

Jim Coll

Top Stories – March 2016

Here are a few of the top University of Southern Mississippi stories for the month of March 2016.

USM students continue to favorably compete with the best in the nation.

Jaylen Hackett and JD Rimann are the University’s newest finalists for Truman Scholarships. Hackett, a political science/economics major from Mobile, Ala., and Rimann, a history/English/political science major from Round Rock, Texas, hope to follow in the footsteps of previous Southern Miss Truman scholars – Stephanie McCracken (2014), Brandon Hersey (2013), Marie Holowach Federer (2011) and Lance Brown (1999).

Recently, USM has more than proven its mettle as a heavyweight contender for this elite scholarship. In the last five years, six of the University’s eight nominees have advanced to finalist status — with three being named Truman scholars.

Named in honor of the late U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the Truman Scholarship is awarded to high-achieving college juniors. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study in public service fields and leadership training. The 2016 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced on April 22.

Read more: http://news.usm.edu/article/southern-miss-students-named-truman-scholarship-finalists

Several Greek Life organizations and students have also earned regional and national honors, including Betsy Mercier, who was named Delta Delta Delta national philanthropy chairperson of the year. Tri-Delta also won the St. Jude Chapter of the Year award from that national organization.

Read more: http://news.usm.edu/article/southern-miss-greek-life-gets-winning-results-super-saturday

Outstanding USM student programs continue to provide a model for public higher education institutions throughout the country.

In late February, the University’s Luckyday Citizenship Scholars Program was honored with the Jon C. Dalton Institute Best Practice in Campus Programming Award.

The Best Practice Award is given by the Institute annually to a program or practice that has contributed significantly to the field of college student character and values development. A panel of judges, including practicing student affairs professionals and preparation program faculty, review all nominated program materials.

The Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values was established in 1991 for student affairs professionals, educators, graduate, and undergraduate students interested in character development in college students. The award is presented annually at Florida State University.

Read more: http://news.usm.edu/article/southern-miss-luckyday-program-accepts-best-practice-award-jon-c-dalton-institute

The University continues to host events that attract audiences from across the country and throughout the world.

In early March, the University’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security hosted the inaugural Professional Sport Facilities Safety and Security Summit. More than 80 industry experts attended the summit which serves as the only annual combined meeting for professional and minor league safety and security professionals. The list included security professionals like Jim Mercurio, vice president, stadium operations/general manager for the San Francisco 49ers, who recently helped coordinate safety and security for Super Bowl 50.

On April 6-8, the 50th anniversary of our de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection will be recognized during the Fay B. Kaigler Chidren’s Book Festival on the Hattiesburg campus. The 100th birthday of famed American writer and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983) will also be celebrated with a special Centennial Keats Lecture given by Deborah Pope at the Keats awards ceremony and luncheon April 7.

The festival recently benefited from a $100,000 gift from Richard Peck. The famed author’s gift will help defray registration and travel costs for some regular attendees of the festival whose sponsors have budget challenges involving travel expenditures.

Read more: http://news.usm.edu/article/author-richard-peck-makes-gift-southern-miss

USM takes great pride in serving those who serve others, and we were recently again honored for our commitment to active military, their family members and veterans.

The University has been rated as a 2016 Top Military Friendly Online College – one of only 81 to receive that designation nationally – by Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAET).

In evaluating more than 500 schools, MAET researched online schools across the nation and analyzed them in four areas: military culture, online support, financial aid, and flexibility.

Read more: http://news.usm.edu/article/southern-miss-receives-top-military-friendly-online-college-honor

Jim Coll

Top Stories – October 2015

Here are a few of the most recent, best headlines from The University of Southern Mississippi. Each month, this post is a great reminder for me that we have a lot of awesome people completing a lot of awesome work at USM. SMTTT!

Demolition Begins at Gulf Park Campus to Pave Way for $7 Million Business and Health Building Project

Five modular units housing classrooms and offices for the colleges of Business and Health are being torn down to make way for a $7 million facility that will provide 25,000 square feet of space for students, faculty and staff. The Business and Health Building Project has an estimated completion date of May 2017.

The project is being funded from $3.5 million appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature and an additional $3.5 million appropriated by the legislature for general repairs to, and restoration of, Southern Miss facilities.

The building’s classrooms, breakout rooms and conference rooms will serve as a shared resource for all academic disciplines on the campus. The colleges of Business and Health will occupy separate spaces on the second floor. More than 30 faculty offices have been outlined in the building design.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/demolition-begins-usm-gulf-park-campus-pave-way-7-million-business-and-health-building-proje

Favre Among Seven to be Inducted into USM’s Alumni Hall of Fame

The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association will induct seven of the University’s most dedicated and distinguished alumni into its Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 16, as one of the highlights of the 2015 Homecoming celebration.

The inductees include Three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre and Tom “Bones” Malone, who is best known for being a member of The Blues Brothers band, the Saturday Night Live Band, for which he served as leader from 1981-85, and the CBS Orchestra, the house band for the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/favre-among-seven-be-inducted-usm-s-alumni-hall-fame

USM Foundation Announces Scholarship to Honor Fallen Police Officers

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation has announced the establishment of the endowed scholarship in honor of Hattiesburg Police Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, who were killed in the line of duty on May 9 of this year. The first recipient is Bailee Alexander, a nursing student from Purvis whose father, Jason, is a lieutenant with the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.

The scholarship will provide support to a Southern Miss student who is the child or grandchild of a police officer, firefighter or paramedic/EMT.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/usm-foundation-announces-scholarship-honor-fallen-police-officers

Counseling Psychology Students Continue Graduate Program’s Success on National Exam

Recent graduates of the University’s master’s degree program in counseling psychology achieved a 100 percent passing rate on the National Counselor Examination (NCE).

Passage of the NCE is a qualifier for licensure as a professional counselor in many states and for National Certified Counselor (NCC) status. The exam assesses knowledge, skills and abilities considered important in providing effective counseling services.

Read more: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/students-continue-graduate-program-s-success-national-exam

Social Work Earns $1.2 Million Health Insurance Grant to Expand Health Initiative Outreach Efforts

The School of Social Work at The University of Southern Mississippi has been awarded more than $1.2 million in Affordable Care Act funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The funds will help consumers sign up for affordable Health Insurance Marketplace coverage in 2016.

With Marketplace Open Enrollment beginning Nov. 1, the funding will support outreach efforts designed to connect people with local help as they seek to understand coverage options and financial assistance available at HealthCare.gov.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/southern-miss-school-social-work-earns-12-million-health-insurance-grant-will-expand-outreac

Jim Coll

When you peel back the layers of USM’s personality, you find grit

South Mississippians are a tough bunch. I admit there are others bigger and stronger who are better resourced—and who many would argue have better pedigrees. In many cases, they’d be right.

But not tougher. If you have been around us for any length of time you understand if we are defined by one characteristic, as Southern Miss alumnus Rodney Richardson and branding expert likes to say, it is grit.

If you’re not familiar with south Mississippi or the University that calls that region home, here’s some recent history. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit us—hard. Without complaint, and with the help of many others, we picked up the pieces and moved forward. That meant many University of Southern Mississippi faculty, staff and students got back to work within days of the storm, even as their own homes were uninhabitable or no longer existed. Today, our Gulf Park Campus is fully restored and exceeding pre-Katrina numbers in enrollment and prestige. In 2013, a tornado hit our Hattiesburg campus, and hundreds of us could not wait to get to work as our new president, Rodney Bennett, reacted as though he had been here for years when he said this:

Like many have said, character is not created in times of great difficultly, it is revealed. And when you peel back the layers of south Mississippi and USM’s personality—and when we are at our most vulnerable—what’s left is grit. It’s an ability to get the job done no matter the circumstances. Perhaps even more accurately defined, it’s an ability to get the job done especially when circumstances are challenging, or even appear impossible. It is defined by men like former basketball coach M.K. Turk, who upon his death Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said of him, “He recruited without the advantages of the other schools in his region and never complained.  He just went out and won.”

And it is also perhaps best explained by the famous words of Jackson sportswriter Mickey Spagnola who wrote after our Golden Eagles had just defeated Bear Bryant’s Alabama football team in 1982, “Always choose Southern Mississippi. Don’t fight Southern Mississippi. No matter how hard you fight, these folks will fight harder. These people know sweat. They know hard work and they know nothing ever comes easy. They are hard, I’m telling you, they are hard.”

USM grit is deep-rooted as well, going back to the early 1900s and the founding of the institution, which happened only after years of debate in the legislature, and without identification of suitable funding for operation. And it is evident today in nursing student Corey Auerswald, who by all accounts is kind, determined—and gritty. If you don’t know her story, I encourage you to read USM student Julius Kizzee’s story in the Student Printz. Corey is a wife, a mother, a nursing student and a breast cancer survivor. She has completed rigorous coursework in USM’s nurse anesthesia program while enduring chemotherapy. She is an inspiration to many.

Corey Auerswald

Yes, south Mississippians are defined in many ways, but if I have to pick one word to do that I go back to grit. As we’ve learned the journey to the top is not a straight and smooth path. But if that is the case, it is also true that no one gets back up as frequently as USM and south Mississippi does—that’s the thing about grit as a defining quality. And like Corey Auerswald, you don’t quit. You don’t complain. You get back up. You press forward. And eventually, you win.

Jim Coll

The World Championships, Miss America and The Emmys: Big Days Approaching for USM Alumni

Several Southern Miss alumni will compete on the world’s biggest stages over the next 4-5 weeks.

This week, Tori Bowie, the United States champion in the 100-meter dash is among the favorites at the World Championships in Beijing, China. The finals of that event are scheduled for Sunday, August 23. Tori, who was a two-time NCAA long jump champion at Southern Miss, may also compete in the 4 x 100-meter relay.

On Sept. 13, Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts will compete in the Miss America Pageant. Hannah was an Honors College student who graduated with a biochemistry degree in May, and has been accepted to UMC. Among Hannah’s many honors was a Goldwater Scholarship—a national award honoring the next generation of great research scientists. She was one of only three Mississippians to win the award in 2013.

Finally, a National Geographic documentary based on a book by Dr. Andrew Wiest has been nominated for an Emmy Award. Dr. Wiest is not only an alumnus but also a founding director of the University’s Dale Center for the Study of War of Society. His book “Boys of ‘67” that centers on a company in the Vietnam War, was the inspiration for the documentary “Brothers in War.” The Emmy for best documentary will be awarded on Sept. 28.

Of course, we also hope that in late September, Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins will be making a run for the postseason as well. Alumnus and MLB All-Star Brian Dozier leads the Twins and was a key member of the Southern Miss 2009 College World Series team.

Jim Coll

Top Stories – July 2015

It’s been a great month for several Southern Miss alumni; you’ll get a chance to see them on some big stages very soon. Below is some information about their accomplishments and more top University of Southern Mississippi stories from recent weeks.

Southern Miss Alumni on Big Stages

Southern Miss alumni continue to have the opportunity to excel on some of the world’s biggest stages. On Tuesday, Minnesota Twins second baseman, Brian Dozier, will appear in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Brian led the Southern Miss baseball team to the 2009 College World Series. On August 23, Tori Bowie will lead the U.S. team in the opening heats of the 100-meter dash at the Track and Field World Championships in China. Tori was a two-time NCAA long jump champion for Southern Miss and is currently the fastest woman in the United States. And on September 13, Hannah Roberts will represent Mississippi in the Miss America Pageant. Hannah is a May 2015 graduate, a national Goldwater Scholar and headed to medical school at UMMC next year.

School of Social Work Contributes to Hattiesburg Honor

Youth education initiatives–that included guidance from The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Social Work–helped the City of Hattiesburg earn recognition as a “Most Livable” City in America by the 2015 City Livability Awards Program.

Mayor Johnny DuPree received the award on behalf of the city during the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s 83rd Annual Meeting in Dallas. The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve quality of life, focusing on leadership, creativity and innovation.

Former mayors selected Hattiesburg from more than 200 applicants. Hattiesburg was awarded first place for cities with populations less than 100,000 and Boston was selected among cities with populations greater than 100,000.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/southern-miss-school-social-work-contributes-hattiesburg-ranking

College of Nursing Receives $1.6M Grant for Education, Training

The College of Nursing has received a $1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support advanced nursing education and practice.

Funded through the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce Advanced Nursing Education program, the three-year award will provide support to educate and train nurse practitioners at the doctorate level through academic-practice partnerships.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/southern-miss-college-nursing-receives-16m-grant-education-training

Southern Miss and EPA Sign New Memorandum of Understanding

The University of Southern Mississippi and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program (EPA Gulf Program) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will serve to increase cooperation between the two in areas of mutual interest.

This alliance will allow USM and the EPA Gulf Office to offer combined technical skills and research to work toward resolving environmental and natural resource problems within the ecological system of the Gulf of Mexico.

The agreement will also promote equal opportunity in higher education, contribute to the capacity of the EPA Gulf Program to provide high-quality education, encourage participation of USM students and faculty in the Gulf Program’s activities, and assist the EPA Gulf Program in expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice while stimulating an interest in STEM. Activities under the MOU will include guest lectures, a student shadowing program, research opportunities, and outreach and engagement programs.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/southern-miss-and-epa-sign-new-memorandum-understanding

Athletics Launches New Eagle Logo

The Department of Athletics’ new Golden Eagle logo has officially gained trademark status by the United States Patent and Trademarking Office (USPTO). The logo process has taken over a year to complete and was spearheaded by Southern Miss alumnus Rodney Richardson, and his company Rare Design, which assisted with the creation and development of the new logo and brand identity.

Merchandise officially became available for purchase on Wednesday.

Rare Design is recognized for being an industry leader in logo and brand design and has worked with numerous different universities and professional teams including the New Orleans Pelicans, Florida State Seminoles, Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies.

Read More: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/southern-miss-set-launch-new-athletics-logo