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.
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.
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.
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.
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.