The University of Southern Mississippi Association of Office Personnel (USMAOP) was organized in 1974. Dr. William McCain was USM President and his Administrative Assistant was Roger Johnson. The mission of the organization in the beginning was for office personnel to meet each other and share problems, solutions, and experiences. Cathy Adams was the first president.
The monthly meeting was held on the second Tuesday of each month, and the meeting place alternated between the Commons and the Union. Information is sketchey until the organization began a newsletter, the VOICE, in September 1977. Bobby Anderson was president of AOP, and our own Jewel Tucker was secretary. Jewel designed and published the first VOICE. According to the newly established VOICE, the USM-AOP standing committees for 1977-78 were the Food Committee, Hospitality Committee, Membership Committee, and the Publicity Committee. Dues were $1.00. In October 1977, another committee was established, the Program Committee. There was even a Secretaries' Intramural Basketball Team.
We have a fairly good record of the history of AOP from September 1977 until the present time, thanks to Jewel and the following dedicated secretaries of AOP. More committees were established, and old committees were renamed to reflect their changing duties. In 1982 when Robin Nobles was president (Mary Butler Sumrall was secretary, and Sandra Brackman was treasurer), USM AOP was the largest affiliate of the Mississippi Association of Educational Secretaries (MAES.) Soon the Mississippi Association of Educational Secretaries changed its name and became the Mississippi Association of Educational Office Personnel (MAEOP), and later, the Mississippi Association of Educational Office Professionals. This prompted the USM AOP to change to the USM Association of Office Professionals in 1993. The Gulf Park AOP was growing and expanding right along with the Hattiesburg AOP.
The AOP Membership Tea is a long-standing event. In 1977, a November tea was held for "bosses and secretaries." This appears to be the beginning of the Bosses Luncheon, which developed several years later. The Membership Tea remained as a membership drive, and the Bosses Luncheon was developed as a way of saying "Thank You" to our bosses for their support of this worthy organization.
Our membership fluxuates between 100 and 150 members. Just as it was in the beginning, our members still share problems, solutions, and experiences. As we network with each other, we discuss things we need to know about and things we would like to learn. These discussions usually result in a workshop for the various topics of interest.
From USM AOP's very beginnings, until t the present time, our members have networked together for the common good of this university. As our jobs change and technology soars, we hope to continue in the spirit and principles that started this organization in 1974.