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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

Jim Coll

An Arizona Diamondbacks Fan is Likely the Twins Biggest Supporter

Shawn Miller: Superfan of Southern Miss baseball and Brian Dozier

Brian Dozier Superfan Shawn Miller and family cheer on the Golden Eagles. (Hattiesburg American File Photo)

This is the unlikely story of how an Arizona Diamondbacks supporter, who once lived in Mississippi, has likely become a Minnesota Twins fanatic.

Shawn Miller—it’s a common name. But if you frequented University of Southern Mississippi baseball games in the late 2000s, you know that “Superfan” and his family were anything but common fans of the Golden Eagles and star shortstop Brian Dozier, now an All-Star candidate for Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.

I have not thought much about Superfan in recent years, and haven’t heard from him in longer, but I couldn’t help but picture the smile on his face when this week the Twins released a promotional video and accompanying images in support of Dozier’s All-Star candidacy featuring a bulldozer.

The story goes that Miller and family, including wife Teresa, son Matt and daughter Michelle, were Arizona natives who moved to south Mississippi where Shawn had received a job offer. In 2006, for no particular known reason, Superfan and family became fans of a then little-known freshman shortstop from Fulton, Mississippi. The Millers were huge Diamondbacks supporters, even painting the family car in D-backs colors, but often rode their bicycles to Southern Miss baseball games at Pete Taylor Park with a homemade drum and shakers in tow. If they were out of your line of vision among the thousands of fans at The Pete, you still couldn’t miss their somewhat rhythmic, slightly annoying, but always enthusiastic chant to the beat of the drum, “Here comes the Bull. Here comes the Dozier. Here comes the BullDozier.” For hours. Every game. Little did they know at the time that the lightly recruited Dozier would go on to lead Southern Miss to a berth in the College World Series a few years later and become one of Major League Baseball’s best second basemen.

Prior to this season, I sat down with Dozier, one of five American League finalists in a fan vote to determine that league’s final All-Star selection, to talk about some of his Southern Miss memories—including those of Superfan. Brian indicated that for a few years after he was picked in the 2009 MLB draft by the Twins, he heard from Superfan, getting periodic updates on where the family was living and working at the time. He hadn’t heard from Superfan for a few years but mentioned that some players in the majors, who were once Southern Miss opponents, still ask him about Superfan, inquiring if the Millers were a group of relatives, among many other questions.

I’m not sure what the former Diamondbacks fan is doing these days, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that he’s dusting off an old drum, donning a Twins hat, and making plans if Dozier is selected for the All-Star Game.

If that happens, get ready, Cincinnati, because here comes the Bull. Here comes the Dozier. Here comes the BullDozier—and a Superfan.

Katherine Nugent

Kudos to the Nursing Programs in the State of Mississippi

The 2012 Annual Report for the Mississippi Nursing Degree Programs reported that nursing enrollment in all programs of nursing in Mississippi has increased by 15.9 percent from Fall 2008.  The report further documented that the highest percentage of growth occurred in the enrollment of students in the baccalaureate and higher degree programs of nursing.  There was a 38.7% increase in the number of students enrolled in bachelor programs, a 35.7% increase enrollment in masters programs and a 359.3% increase of students enrolled in doctoral programs.

The deans and directors of the programs of nursing in the state of Mississippi have worked diligently to address the recommendations of the Institutes of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson  Foundation report on the Future of Nursing : Leading Change, Advancing Healthcare http://thefutureofnursing.org/.  Those recommendations include:

  • Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
  • Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
  • Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals
  • Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.

One important initiative in Mississippi is creating “seamless transitions” between academic programs that will help create a more highly educated nursing workforce, which will improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles, as well as graduate competent future nurses.  The data from the 2012 annual report documents our progress.

This data shows that quality patient care hinges on having a well-educated nursing workforce.  Research has shown that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2012).

Dr. Steven Moser

USM – Defining Resilience

Photo by Dean Dave Davies, Honors College

Photo by Dean Dave Davies, Honors College

Almost from the moment we saw the devastating images of the Ogletree House, Jazz Station and even places that we could not recognize anymore, the Southern Miss family wasted no time in rolling up its sleeves and coordinating recovery efforts.  While nearly fifty faculty and staff from the Department of Art & Design and the School of Music were displaced due to damage to their buildings and office spaces, the morale among them remains high.

Art and Design professor, John Mark Lawler, said that despite the circumstances, faculty and staff in his department were positive. “The staff I’ve spoken to are willing to make it work, whatever it takes.  It’s bad, it’s a disaster, but that’s life.  You take the punches and roll with it.  Students are concerned about each other and us, but everyone seems to be doing ok.  Everyone is constantly asking how they can help,” says Lawler.

Dr. Ed Hafer is a School of Music professor whose office took a direct hit.  Though he lost some things, he says the greatest loss is that the music family has been displaced, though only temporarily.  “Folks are shocked at the amount of damage, but remain hopeful.  Students, in particular, are very resilient.  Everyone is excited about building bigger and stronger than before.  We are all just so glad that no one was hurt,” said Hafer.

Damage from February 10, 2013 Tornado

Damage from February 10, 2013 Tornado

As early as Sunday, efforts were made to make sure that faculty, staff and classes would have a home, at least until more permanent arrangements could be determined.  Faculty and staff from Art and Design have moved into office space made available in George Hurst Building, while Music faculty and staff have found temporary office space in the Liberal Arts Building, Honors House and Cook Library.

As of Thusday, we have rescheduled 87 lecture  classes displaced across Art & Design and Music, and more than 600 various types of ensemble classes/rehearsals, applied study (lessons), and chamber classes for 475 majors.  For Art and Design, we currently have about 200 students who have been impacted by the storm. Fortunately, most students were not on campus because of the Mardi Gras holiday on Monday and Tuesday, so as bad as it may look to one walking through the hardest hit areas of campus, it could have been a lot worse.  On Wednesday, with classes still cancelled and when many students could have slept in, nearly 1,000 student volunteers showed up wearing rubber boots, rain slickers and baseball caps ready to help remove storm debris from their home-away-from-home.

Southern Miss students coming out to help clean up the front of campus. They stepped up and made the campus look better fast.

Southern Miss students coming out to help clean up the front of campus. They stepped up and made the campus look better fast.

Sunday evening, sophomore Acting major Kerri Walker was glued to Facebook at her home in Brandon after learning that parts of campus had been in the direct path of the tornado. As a performing arts student herself, she was heartbroken for art and design and music students whose spaces had been badly damaged.  “I got up at 6:00am on Wednesday morning and drove from my home to volunteer and help with the clean-up.  I’d seen the social media alerts and I just had to be there,” Walker shared.  Walker said that everyone really wanted to help do all they could to restore the campus.  Volunteers included students, faculty and staff and individuals from the community.  As so many have said in the past few days, it could have been a lot worse, Walker added.

But if there is a silver lining to this tragedy—and we have seen many silver linings so far, it has brought the Southern Miss family together. “To see the university and community come together, it made me love USM—MY university–even more.”

Dr. Joe Whitehead

Construction Graduate Gives Back to Community

Garrett Wright, a construction engineering graduate from Gulfport, Miss., has received national recognition as a recipient of the Pearson Prize for Higher Education.  Wright was one of 20 students honored as Pearson Prize National Fellows.

Garrett is featured on our Southern Miss website home page, as the example of our “Achieve” feature.   He has gone on to pursue a masters degree in economic development.

Garrett Wright, featured on usm.edu

Garrett Wright, featured as "Achieve" example on University website

Garrett Wright Construction Graduate

Construction Engineering Graduate, Garrett Wright

 

Watch Garrett’s video about his success as a Southern Miss student through campus and community involvement.