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Southern Miss News Briefs Package (with photos) PDF Print E-mail
Friday, March 23, 2007
Contact David Tisdale - 601.266.4499   

This briefs package highlights timely news and events from The University of Southern Mississippi. For more information on any of the stories below or for assistance in arranging interviews, contact the Department of Marketing and Public Relations at 601.266.4491.

          *Koch to give commencement addresses
          *Guitar Studio Concerts set for March 24
         *History Day at Southern Miss March 24
          *Southern Miss Alum to Perform in Concert March 29
         *Southern Miss Offers Gifted Ed Scholarships
*Science Symposium Set for March 31

                                Southern Miss Alumnae Koch to Give Commencement Addresses

Hattiesburg – CNN White House and Pentagon correspondent Kathleen Koch, a University of Southern Mississippi alum from Bay St. Louis, will be the university’s spring 2007 commencement speaker.

Commencement ceremonies for the Hattiesburg campus will be held May 11 at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Reed Green Coliseum. The Southern Miss Gulf Coast commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. May 12 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.

Koch, along with longtime Southern Miss professor Dr. Gene Wiggins, was inducted into the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism’s Hall of Fame last year. She narrated two documentaries for CNN focusing on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on her hometown in the specials “Saving My Town – The Fight for Bay St. Louis” and “The Town That Fought Back.”
                            Two Concerts Presented by Southern Miss Guitar Studio

Hattiesburg -- The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Music will present guest guitarist Issac Bustos in recital at 7:30 p.m. March 24 at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg.

His program will included works for guitar by Agustin Barrios, Johann Sebastian Bach, Manuel Ponce, Fernando Sor and others.  Bustos’ appearance comes courtesy of Southern Miss Assistant Professor of Music Nicholas Ciraldo and his guitar studio.

Born in Managua, Nicaragua, Bustos began playing popular Latin-American music on the guitar by ear at age 11. By age 12, he was accepted into the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Managua where he received top honors in guitar performance. Isaac immigrated to the United States with his family in 1988 and continued his studies.

He has gained critical acclaim and is quickly becoming recognized as one of the top young guitarists of his generation. “Soulful and virtually flawless,” hails the Portland Oregonian and the Boston Globe writes, “In warm, round tones, the notes of Bach cascaded from the guitar, every note correct and played without hesitation.”

Admission is free and open to the public.  For more information, call the Southern Miss guitar studio at 601.266.5401.

Issac Bustos 
                              Southern Miss Faculty Guitarist to Give Local Concert April 1

Hattiesburg -- Nicholas Ciraldo, assistant professor of guitar at The University of Southern Mississippi, will present a faculty recital at 7:30 p.m. April 1 at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg.   He will perform a substantial program, consisting of some of the best music for guitar by Fernando Sor, Leo Brouwer, Fernando Sor, and Heitor Villa-Lobos, among others. 

Praised as “an exceptionally musical and accomplished guitarist,” Ciraldo is a leader among his generation of American classical guitarists.  Having won numerous awards in the United States and Europe, Ciraldo’s style has been described as “effortless…idiomatic,” by critics.  His performances have been as equally widespread, from Boston's Jordan Hall to Berlin's Berliner Dom.

An avid chamber musician, Ciraldo has collaborated with many fine performing artists, including harpist Franziska Huhn, flutist Thomas Robertello, and guitarist Eliot Fisk.  He was co-founder of the Quadrivium Guitar Quartet.  Currently, he enjoys a busy concert schedule with his wife, flutist Rachel Taratoot Ciraldo, as the Ciraldo Duo. 

He is also founder of the Hammer/Nail Project, a program that links student composers and guitarists and shows how to write for the guitar in the most idiomatic way possible.

Admission is free.  For more information, call the Southern Miss guitar studio at 601.266.5401.

Nicholas Ciraldo

                            Southern Miss Alumnus Returns to Campus for Concert March 29

-- Southern Miss alumnus and saxophonist David Wright will return to the University of Southern Mississippi March 29 to present a guest artist recital at 6 p.m. at Marsh Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. 

A former student of Dr. Lawrence Gwozdz, professor of music and saxophone, Wright’s performance is part of the ongoing Sigurd Rascher Centennial Concert Series.  His program will feature works by Handel, Badings, Osterc, Swain, Wirth and Dressel.

Wright earned his B.M.E. from the State University of New York at Fredonia and his M.M.E. and D.M.A. from Southern Miss.  He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, China, and Latin America.  In addition to his solo activities, he is also a member of the Traverser Saxophone Quartet and co-founder of the Traverser Saxophone Symposium and Appalachian Saxophone Orchestra.  He is visiting professor of saxophone at West Virginia University.

Rascher (1907-2001) was the leading pioneer of the classical saxophone who performed in every cultural center internationally. His artistry led significant composers to contribute major works to his repertoire, most of which remain staples of the saxophone library. Gwozdz’s saxophone studio at Southern Miss is hosting several concerts to commemorate the pioneer’s 100th year.

Admission is free. For more information, call the Southern Miss School of Music at 601.266.5543.

                                      Southern Miss Offers Scholarships in Gifted Education

Hattiesburg -- The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi has $500 scholarships available for persons enrolled in graduate degree programs in gifted education for the summer of 2007.

To qualify, the student must meet the admission requirements of the university for master’s, specialist’s, or doctoral programs with an emphasis in gifted education.

Consideration will be given to graduate students in specialized programs in elementary and secondary schools for the college and university positions in the field of gifted education. For additional information, write to: Director, The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive #8207, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001; call 601-266-5236 or 601-266-2546; or email to This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it .

                            Southern Miss to Host National History Day Competition March 24

– The University of Southern Mississippi will host National History Day competition for secondary school students across the state on the Hattiesburg campus Saturday March 24 at the R.C. Cook Student Union.

The goal of the National History Day program is to introduce students to historical research and to make history come alive. Competitors will compete alone or in groups in the categories of research paper, documentary, performance, or exhibit. 

The National History Day in Mississippi competition is hosted by the Southern Miss History Department each year. Winners go on to the national competition in Washington, D.C.  For more information on this event, call the Souther Miss Department of History at 601.266.4333.

                           Southern Miss Biological Sciences Graduate Student Forum
                                              To Host Science Symposium March 31

Hattiesburg -- The University of Southern Mississippi’s Biological Sciences Graduate Student Forum will host their 23rd Annual Science Symposium on March 31. The symposium is being co-hosted by Sigma Xi, a leading scientific research society.

Southern Miss faculty members will serve as judges for the event, which will include monetary awards to first and second place winners in the oral and poster competition at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The symposium is open to graduate and undergraduate students in science-related fields to present their research in oral or poster format.  The event will be held in the Walker Science Building’s Reuben Auditorium, room 137, starting at 9 a.m. March 31. The public is invited.

The symposium is also an opportunity for students to gain experience explaining their research to an audience of their peers, and for the community to learn more about the cutting edge scientific research being conducted by students at Southern Miss.  For more information, please contact Melinda Miller-Butler at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or 601-266-6138.

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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