More than 1,300 students are candidates for degrees at The University of Southern Mississippi’s fall 2009 graduation, set for Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Reed Green Coliseum on the university’s Hattiesburg campus.
The 10 a.m. ceremony will include graduates from the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Health, Honors, and University Libraries. Graduates of the Colleges of Business, Education and Psychology, Science and Technology, University Libraries, and Honors will participate in the 3 p.m. ceremony.
There are 1,342 fall candidates for graduation, including 1,048 undergraduates and 294 graduates. Among the candidates, 1,120 are from the Hattiesburg campus while 222 candidates are from the Gulf Coast campus and teaching sites.
Anthony J. Topazi, president and CEO of Mississippi Power, will give the commencement address to participants in both ceremonies.
The company’s president and CEO since Jan. 1, 2004, Topazi began his career with Alabama Power in 1969 as a cooperative education student engineer. He held numerous positions there including Western Division Vice President, where he had a primary role in recruiting the first Mercedes Benz automotive assembly plant outside of Germany to the state of Alabama.
Topazi also serves as chairman of Momentum Mississippi, a public-private partnership appointed by the governor to oversee the state’s economic development strategic planning. He is co-founder and chairman of the Gulf Coast Business Council, an organization focused on regional public policy issues, and the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation, a non-profit company dedicated to redevelopment of workforce housing along the Coast.
In addition, Topazi serves on the boards of directors of the Hancock Bank Holding Company and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – New Orleans Branch.
He is past chairman of the Mississippi Economic Council and current chairman of the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development. He serves on the boards of directors for the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the advisory board of the Knight Foundation and the INFINITY Science Center.
A 2007 inductee in the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame, Topazi was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame earlier this year.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.
He and his wife Patsy have two sons, Michael and Chris; a granddaughter, Evelyn; and a grandson, Christopher Anthony.
Other Southern Miss commencement activities include:
• Department of Military Science pinning ceremony for commissioning of Army officers -- 3 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, George Hurst Building.
• School of Nursing pinning ceremony -- 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, Mannoni Performing Arts Center
• School of Social Work reception and hooding for graduate students, pinning for BSW students – 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, R.C. Cook Union Room B.
• Department of Medical Technology certificate ceremony -- 12:15 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, R.C. Cook Union Room B.
• English Language Institute luncheon and awards ceremony -- noon, Friday, Dec. 11, Thad Cochran Center Room 216
The ceremonies will be webcast and available for viewing via a link from the university’s home page at www.usm.edu.
For more information about Southern Miss commencement, call the Office of University Communications at 601.266.4491 or go online to www.usm.edu/commencement.
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.