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Alumni Association to Induct Seven Into Its Hall of Fame (with photos) PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Contact Jim Coll - 601.266.5013   

Hattiesburg, Miss.
– The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association will honor seven of the university’s most accomplished graduates when it inducts them into its Hall of Fame during 2007 homecoming ceremonies.

Sam Clinton, James Hutto, Lynn McLelland, Bill Phalen, Tom Potter, Jon Mark Weathers and Clarence Weatherspoon will be formally inducted at a reception and banquet Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Southern Oaks and Gardens in Hattiesburg. The group will also be introduced Saturday during Southern Miss’ homecoming football game against Southern Methodist University.

The inductees and their biographical information follow:

*Sam Clinton ’54, ’77, ’80

Sam Clinton has made a career of both national and collegiate dedication. A former student, employee and current supporter of Southern Miss, Clinton has made valuable contributions to the success of the university.

Clinton first graduated with a bachelor’s degree in math and chemistry from Mississippi Southern College in 1954 and was then commissioned to the Navy. He later returned to Hattiesburg and graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In 1980, Clinton earned a master’s degree in accounting and gained status as a certified public accountant.

As a longtime staff member at Southern Miss, Clinton was employed by the university as a staff accountant, then as Bursar and director of Business Services. He retired from Southern Miss in 1995 and practiced privately until his retirement in December of 2000.

Clinton is active in the Southern Miss and Hattiesburg communities. He is a past chairman of The University of Southern Mississippi Federal Credit Union, a past president and member of the Hattiesburg Metro Chapter of the Alumni Association, a member of the Eagle Club, Dugout Club, Hardwood Club, Southern Miss Track Officials and the USM Retirees Club.

Clinton’s service, however, extends well beyond the Hub City and the Hattiesburg campus. After joining the Navy in 1954, Clinton flew in various fighter and training squadrons, and served as catapult officer on the USS Ticonderoga. In 1969 and 1970, he flew as an adversary pilot in the Top Gun school. Clinton flew more than 190 combat missions over and around Vietnam before retiring from the Navy in 1975.

Clinton attends University Baptist Church of Hattiesburg where he has served as chairman of the finance committee. He is a former officer and member of the Hattiesburg Zoological Society, the University Civitan Club, Civitan International, Family Y of Hattiesburg and Petal, P.A.C.E Head Start and various other military and flying organizations.

Clinton and his wife, Gwendolyn ’55, reside in Hattiesburg.

*James Hutto ’69, ’74, ’82

James Hutto is currently superintendent of the Petal School District, a position he has held since 1998. During his tenure, the Petal School District has added approximately 40 new classrooms, a 1,000-seat fine arts auditorium, a new middle school music and dance building, new athletic facilities and new programs, including a family support center, a computer engineering and networking course, and a senior exit project required for each graduating senior.

In 2005, Hutto was honored as the Mississippi Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. Also that year, he was named Outstanding Superintendent of the Year by the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education for his contributions to arts education.

Hutto, an active member of the Alumni Association for almost four decades, is a former member of the Association’s Board of Directors and Presidential Transition Team. He is a member and past president of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators, a member of Phi Delta Kappa, the Association for Supervisors and Curriculum Development, and the American Association of School Administrators. He is published in several national journals of education including Kaplan Journal, NASSP Bulletin and Educational Leadership.

Prior to moving to Petal, Hutto was superintendent of the Poplarville School District for four years. He has been a professional educator in the State of Mississippi for 39 years as a teacher, elementary principal, high school principal and superintendent.

A native of Brookhaven, Hutto received his associate’s degree from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, followed by his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi.

He and his wife, Allen, are active members of Petal Harvey Baptist Church where he serves as a deacon and teaches a Sunday school class.

*Lynn McLelland ’70

Lynn McLelland has shown her dedication to Southern Miss through various occupational and altruistic efforts.

A native of Bay Springs, McLelland graduated from Bay Springs High School in 1966, and later attended Jones Junior College where she received her associates’ degree. She graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business education.

The Life Member of the Alumni Association continued her support of Southern Miss as an employee, serving as senior secretary to Powell Ogletree from 1970 to 1974. She would later work for the university in a number of areas including radio, television and film; the M-Club; and Southern Miss Athletics. She currently serves as the executive assistant to director of athletics Richard Giannini.

As an active member of the Hattiesburg and Southern Miss communities, McLelland has received multiple honors including the Alumni Association Special Service Award, Southern Miss Outstanding Young Woman, Staff Excellence Award, Jessie Morrison Award, and the H.D. “Doc” Roberts Distinguished Service Award.

She is a member of Forrest General Hospital’s Spirit of Women, the Association of Office Personnel, former president of the Southern Miss Women’s Club, United Way Campaign Leader for athletics, member of the Southern Miss Transportation Committee as well as many other area organizations.

She and her husband, Doug, have two children, Sarah ’96, ’97 and Brian ’99 and one grandson, Henry Brian McLelland.

*Bill Phalen ’65

With an entrepreneurial spirit fostered as a student at Southern Miss, Bill Phalen has grown Phoenix-based Cities West Publishing into an enterprise that produces a pair of the best regional magazines in the country, Phoenix magazine and Phoenix Home & Garden. He currently serves as group publisher and chairman and is the majority shareholder of the company he founded in 1997.

Prior to his latest venture, Phalen, a 34-year resident of Arizona, founded and co-founded three broadcasting companies that acquired 24 radio stations throughout the United States from 1970 through 1996. His last radio ownership interest was with Prism Radio Partners, a company he founded in 1992 with Wall Street partner JP Morgan Bank.

Phalen holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Southern Mississippi and earned a master’s degree in organizational behavior from Norwich University in Vermont. Trained as a cryptographer, he served honorably for six years in the U.S. Army and National Guard.

He is past president of the Tucson Broadcasters Association and was a member of the advisory board of the ABC Radio Network and the Walter Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees at Arizona State University. He also served on the National Advisory Board of the Sedona Cultural Park. All told, Phalen has served on five corporate boards and has been active in charitable board work such as Junior Achievement, where he played a major role in fund drives.

He has been published in “Who’s Who in the World,” “Who’s Who in Finance and Industry,” “Who’s Who in the Western United States” and “Who’s Who in Arizona.”

Phalen is a Life Member of the Alumni Association and a Major Gift Level donor to the Ogletree House Campaign. The courtyard in the new facility will be named in his honor.

Phalen and his wife, Maibritt, reside in Scottsdale, Ariz.

*Tom Potter ’64

Tom Potter has been committed to the success of Southern Miss since receiving his degree in business administration in 1964.

Potter has served as a member of The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association and Foundation boards, vice president of the Alumni Association and president of several alumni chapters. He is a Life Member of the Association and an Eagle Club member.

A former member of the Alumni Association Traditions Committee, Potter has received the Alumni Association Outstanding Service Award, Continuous Service and Meritorious Service Awards.

During his time at Southern Miss, Potter received U.S. Army commission as 2nd Lieutenant, Armor Branch, through the Southern Miss ROTC program and served two years on active duty. He would ultimately attain the rank of major in the United States Army Reserves.

Upon receipt of his BSBA degree from Southern Miss, Potter attended banking schools at the University of Colorado, Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis. He currently holds securities and insurance licenses and has more than 33 years experience in the banking industry. He currently serves as vice president of Trustmark National Bank.

Active in community organizations as well, Potter’s current and past involvement include the Greater Knoxville Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, the Dogwood Arts Festival board, Rotary Club of Atlanta, Ga., Rotary Club of Jackson, and the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg, where he served on the board of directors.

Potter is a former member of the steering committee for the Mental Health Association in Jackson, the finance committee of the Mississippi Chapter for U.S. Olympic Fundraising and has served on the board of directors for Junior Achievement.

Potter and his wife, Paula Briede Potter, have four children and eight grandchildren. They are members of St. Thomas Catholic Church of Hattiesburg where he serves as a lector, commentator and chairman of the finance committee.

*Jon Mark Weathers ’70

A lifelong resident of Hattiesburg, Jon Mark Weathers’ contributions to the community and The University of Southern Mississippi are extensive.

After earning a degree from Southern Miss in 1970, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi in 1972, Weathers was an attorney in private practice from 1972 to 1976 and again from 1980 to 2003. He was district attorney for the 12th Judicial Circuit Court District from 1976 to 1980 and spent his last 15 years of private practice as a shareholder in Bryan, Nelson, Randolph & Weathers PA. In 2003, he was re-appointed district attorney of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court District and currently serves as the vice president of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association and is a member of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Standards and Training Board.

Weathers has served as a past bar commissioner for the Mississippi State Bar representing the 12th Circuit Court District, past chair of the Litigation section and current chair of the Prosecutors section. He is a current member of the Mississippi Bar Association, the South Central Bar Association, American Bar Association and the Bar Association of the Federal 5th Circuit.

Weathers is an active member of the Southern Miss community, involved in The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Honor Club, the Eagle Club, the Partners for the Arts and the Southern Miss 100. He is a Life Member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.

Weathers is a member of the Hattiesburg Civic Association and an active member of Temple Baptist Church serving as a deacon and Sunday school teacher.

He and his wife, Peggy Conerly Weathers ’73, have two sons, Jon Jason ’97 and Bradley Keith ’03, and three grandchildren Bailey, Anna Lea, and Jon Brent.

*Clarence Weatherspoon ’93

Of all Southern Miss alumni to advance to basketball’s highest level, no other has attained the status of Clarence Weatherspoon. The Crawford native started for the Golden Eagles from 1988 to 1992, and his number “35” was retired during his final home game in the 1991-92 season.

During his college career, he was named Metro Conference Player of the Year three times consecutively, and his Golden Eagle teams made two NCAA Tournament appearances. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in rebounding (1,320) and blocked shots (227) and is second on the career scoring list (2,130 points) to another Southern Miss great, Nick Revon. He graduated with a degree in business administration in 1993.

A Life Member of the Alumni Association, Weatherspoon is also a member of the Hardwood Club and the Eagle Club. He was featured on billboards promoting the Alumni Association with fellow alumni Brett Favre, Jimmy Buffett, Lou Ann Poynter and others. He is also involved with the Easter Seals Foundation. Weatherspoon was inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame in April 2006.

Weatherspoon was drafted as a first round pick in 1992 by the Philadelphia
76ers. He played six seasons with the 76ers and set a franchise record for most points by a rookie. Weatherspoon’s professional career also included two seasons each with the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets and one season each in Cleveland, Golden State and New York.

In his 13-year career he pulled down a total of 6,724 rebounds and scored 10,360 points. His best season came in 1993-94, when he started all 82 games for the 76ers and averaged career highs in points and rebounds, 18.4 and 10.1, respectively. Weatherspoon was a member of the 1990 Goodwill Games and the 1991 Pan American Games teams.

One of 13 children, Weatherspoon and his wife Hazel currently reside in Madison.

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

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