A newly established advisory council composed of community members and alumni of the University of Southern Mississippi will serve to promote and expand participation in the school’s premier study abroad programs.
The board’s goals include development of support for study abroad scholarships and expanding the public profile of Southern Miss’ acclaimed international programs locally, nationally and internationally, said Dr. Susan Steen, director of international education at Southern Miss.
“Our council members have strong ties to the university and believe whole-heartedly in the benefits of international education,” Steen said. “They bring a wide array of experiences that will help us connect community supporters with our students and faculty, and we're grateful for their leadership.”
Council members are Southern Miss President Emeritus Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas; Hattiesburg resident Allan Nation, who along with wife Carolyn serve as a host family for international exchange students; Wesley Medical Center Director of Marketing and Southern Miss alum Lisa Slay; REAL School Gardens Executive Director Jeanne McCarty, who participated in the university’s exchange program in Swansea, Wales as a student at Southern Miss; and New Orleans attorney and Southern Miss alum Ira Middleberg, a past Southern Miss Foundation President and current Vice-President of the International Board of Directors of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.
“The creation of this council is a great new step for Southern Miss international programs,” said history professor Dr. Douglas Mackaman, who serves as director of The Abbey and British Studies programs at Southern Miss. “The members really have the interest of our students at heart and offer us the chance, through their leadership, to bring in additional support from alumni and friends.”
McCarty spent her junior year in Swansea and said the experience gave her a global perspective that enriched her life and benefited her professionally.
“Being immersed in a different culture has helped me understand and even embrace a diversity of people and perspectives. I also learned so much about myself as I was challenged daily by a different educational system and little things like converting the British pound,” she said.
“Studying abroad remains one of the best educational experiences I have had, and I want more students to have the same opportunity.”
Middleberg, whose son Aaron participated in study abroad programs while a student at the university, said he looks forward to working with the council to secure scholarships for students who want to study abroad, but need financial assistance.
“The university provides students with unique international study opportunities they might not have otherwise,” Middleberg said. “We want to help give young people who qualify but who cannot afford to take part the ability to experience these opportunities, whether it be seeing the beaches of Normandy, the museums of Paris or the theater in London.”
For more information about Southern Miss international programs and how you can support international education at the university, call 601.266.4344; online, visit http://www.usm.edu/internationaledu/ or e-mail
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.