Retired Army Col. Tyler Fletcher, who founded The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Criminal Justice in 1973, was honored Monday at the city of Hattiesburg’s Memorial Day program by Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.
Bryant, a Southern Miss alumnus who described his former professor as “an American hero,” presented Fletcher with a proclamation honoring his contributions to the field of criminal justice. The ceremony was held at the Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center.
Fletcher, a military veteran who served in the Vietnam War and retired from the Army in 1971 as Chief of Security and Investigations, thanked Bryant for the honor and paid tribute to the veterans in the audience.
“I’m lucky to be among these veterans who make this country possible,” Fletcher said in remarks made following the presentation. “Thank you for the wonderful life that has been given to me.”
Fletcher joined the Southern Miss faculty in 1971 and was charged with developing an academic program at the university for law enforcement officers. In 1973, he founded what was then the Department of Criminal Justice, serving as its chair for three decades before retiring in 2000 as Professor Emeritus.
Because of his efforts, the Southern Miss School of Criminal Justice is now one of a few programs in the country offering masters and doctoral degrees in the field, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in forensic science.
Graduates of the program serve with local, state, regional and national law enforcement organizations across the country, as well as with private companies and in the legal profession.
"Col. Fletcher's contributions to the field of criminal justice and to the academic life of Southern Miss are immeasurable,” said Dr. Lisa Nored, associate professor and chair of criminal justice at Southern Miss. “He's very much deserving of this honor and we salute him for his service to our country and for enriching the lives of so many of our students."
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant honored retired Army Col. Tyler Fletcher, founder and former professor in Southern Miss Department of Criminal Justice founder and former professor Monday at the city of Hattiesburg’s Memorial Day program with a proclamation recognizing his contributions to the field. (Southern Miss Marketing and Public Relations photo by David Tisdale)
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The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.