A leader and advocate for the preservation of the state and nation’s natural environment will be the keynote speaker for The University of Southern Mississippi’s Women’s History Month Celebration, appropriate for the month’s national theme “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet.”
Margrett L. “Gretta” Boley, USDA Forrest Supervisor for Mississippi’s 1.2 million acres of national forests, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in Bennett Auditorium. She will discuss her environmental work and 23 years of experience as a woman and leader in the U.S. Forrest Service. A desert reception will follow at the Power House restaurant.
“There are a lot of women who are tremendous champions in the environmental movement who serve as great role models for all of us, and Margrett is one of them,” said Larry Lee, Southern Miss’ chief sustainability officer. “It’s tremendous to have someone of her caliber, with her knowledge base and history, to come and speak to us.”
A native of Winnsboro, La., Boley is a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy. She began her career as a soil scientist trainee with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation, and later served as a soil scientist with the Coronado National Forest in Arizona and Shasta National Forest in California.
Before coming to Mississippi, she was supervisor of Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest. There she was instrumental in the building of a biomass power plant that produces energy from wood chips for the district office, parking lot lighting and other energy needs.
She has also served as deputy forest supervisor at Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest, and has served on many special assignments, including service on a National Prescribed Fire Review, as Acting Director of Civil Rights in the Southern Region, Acting Deputy Regional Forester in the Rocky Mountain Regions and as Team Member of the Land Care Program in South Africa, among others.
Women’s History Month activities at Southern Miss are presented and coordinated by the university’s Committee on Services and Resources for Women. Associate professor of English Dr. Sherita Johnson serves as chairwoman of the committee. Dr. Jacob Clark Blickenstaff, assistant professor of physics and assistant director of the Southern Miss Center for Science and Math Education, is vice-chairman.
“We’re excited to make connections between the CSRW and issues of sustainability on campus and across the state,” Blickenstaff said. “I hope to see many Eco Eagles at this event.”
Other highlights of Women’s History Month at Southern Miss include:
• March 2 – Submissions due for Kathanne Greene Essay Contest. Contact Dr. Molly Clark Hillard at
• March 5 - Film Review: "Running in High Heels," a documentary on women, power and politics, Cook Library, room 123, 6 p.m.
• March 6 – Submissions due for Committee on Services and Resources for Women Research Grant Competition. Contact Dr. Nicolle Jordan at
• March 10 ---Brown Bag Lecture: Erin Elizabeth Smith, Southern Miss Department of English doctoral candidate in creative writing, Cook Library, room 123, 12:15-1 p.m.
• March 26 ---Brown Bag Lecture: Assistant Professor Dr. Jodie Jawor, Southern Miss Department of Biological Sciences, Cook Library, room 123, 12:15-1 p.m.
• March 31 -- Women’s History Month closing reception and awards ceremony,
Cook Library, room 123, 4-6 p.m.
For more information on Women’s History Month at Southern Miss, email Johnson at
or Blickenstaff at
Margrett L. “Gretta” Boley
About The University of Southern Mississippi
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.