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Top Ad Executive Among Prominent Alums to be Honored at Journalism Symposium PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Contact Tearanny Street - 601.266.6823   

Writer: Lisa Parker

Renowned New York City advertising executive and Hattiesburg native Peter Rogers will return home Nov. 20 to be inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism's annual Hall of Fame.

Rogers, widely known for placing classic one-liners with luxury products such as Vidal Sassoon and Blackgama Mink, will be one of 12 outstanding Southern Miss graduates inducted for their distinguished work in advertising and public relations. Other inductees include a California-based entertainment producer, a former Coca-Cola executive, a former standout Mississippi Power executive and a former Southern Miss professor.

“We’re thrilled to honor some of USM’s, and in fact some of the world’s, leaders in advertising and public relations," said Dr. Chris Campbell, director of the school. "There are so many accomplished professionals from the university in these fields, and we plan to recognize more in the future.”

The Hall of Fame was created in 2006 as the highlight of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism's annual symposium to honor its most distinguished graduates, as well as other Mississippians who have contributed to the school or to the field of mass communication and journalism in Mississippi. This year’s symposium is titled “Universal. Strategic. Modern. Southern Miss' Leadership and Legacy in Advertising and Public Relations.”

The morning session of the symposium will feature discussions with each of the graduates about their work and careers to be held in the Thad Cochran Center, room 216, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The panel sessions are free and open to the public.

The Hall of Fame luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. in Cochran Center Ballroom I. Inductee Mart Martin will deliver the keynote address. Tickets for the luncheon are $35 and are available by contacting the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at 601.266.4258.  Proceeds will benefit the Barbara Shoemake and Robert Gene Wiggins endowments, named for two prominent former Southern Miss faculty members and supporting scholarships and fellowships for deserving students in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Various round table discussions and question-and-answer panels with the inductees will take place in the afternoon session. Topics will include entrepreneurship, creative advertising strategies, non-profit and relationship-building public relations. Event sponsors include Cities West Publishing Inc., Mississippi Power, and the Pine Belt and Mississippi Beach Chapters of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.
The inductees include:

• Rick and Beth Bice, '78 and '77, established Bice Advertising Inc., in 1978 aiming to provide creative advertising, graphic design and multimedia for clients. Their work spans more than 30 years and includes local clients such as Southern Miss, the City of Hattiesburg, the Area Development Partnership, South Mississippi Electric Power Association and Hattiesburg Clinic. The firm has won numerous awards and honors, including nods from the regional and district American Advertising Federation. Rick was named Graphic Designer of the Year in 2005.

• Dr. John Forde, APR, '84 and '88, has led the Communications Department at Mississippi State University for 22 years and continues to teach online and in the classroom. In 1997, he served as the president of the four-state Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF) and received its Professional Achievement Award. Forde has also been a member of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) as well as the Mississippi Speech Communication Association. In 1991, he received the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation through SPRF, and currently serves as a representative on the Universal Accreditation Board.

• Reed Guice, '71, opened The Guice Agency in 2004 in Biloxi with the goal of building exceptional brands through advertising, consulting, and public relations services. His client list includes the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the East Coast Hockey League; the New Orleans Saints/Mississippi Region; Hard Rock and Boomtown Casinos; the Governor's Commission on Recovery; and the American Red Cross. He is the winner of the American Advertising Federation's highest commendation for professional achievement, the Silver Medal Award, as well as its highest creative honor, Best of Show.

• Rex Kelly, '80, served as an executive for Mississippi Power, where he received the top spot in customer satisfaction and earned the Utility Communicator International’s (UCI) Communicator Award six times. Kelly is a past president of PRAM and is recipient of its Professional Achievement Award. The PRAM Mississippi Beach Chapter created the Rex E. Kelly Professional Achievement Award in his honor. He was also the director of the Southern Public Relations Federation and was named Senior Practitioner by the federation. Kelly has since retired and serves as the Senior Counselor with the Hawthorn Group in Alexandria, Va.

• Mart Martin, '78, leads the creative division of Jackson Spalding in Atlanta. He served as the director of public relations for the 1985 United States Olympic Festival and the 1983 World Summer Games. As a 20-year veteran of the Coca-Cola Company and former director of public and media relations for its North America division, Martin led publicity efforts for brands such as Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Sprite and has worked on major events like the Super Bowl, NASCAR, and the World Cup. He was the assistant director of communications for the Special Olympics International (SOI) and was the public relations liaison between SOI and the World Summer Games at Notre Dame in 1987.

• Danny Mitchell, '70 and '71, joined GodwinGroup in 1983 and is now the senior partner and chairman of its board. Mitchell is a past president of PRAM as well as SPRF. He received the Silver Medal Award from the American Advertising Federation in Jackson in 2001 and was inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 2007. Additionally, Mitchell has been inducted into the Southern Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.

• Lt. Col. Roger Steven Murray, '85, serves as the communications director for the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs in Tallahassee, Fla. An award-winning public affairs professional, he has had more than two decades of success in directing extensive employee communications, media relations and community affairs programs both stateside and overseas while in the U.S. Air Force and with the state of Florida. In 2004, he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, as chief of current operations for Combined Joint Task Force-Seven and received the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association's "Best of the Best" Award for Outstanding Air Force Public Affairs Professional. He received the Air Force Public Affairs Director's Award for Special Achievement in a Crisis Situation for his efforts in 2005 at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, as part of Joint Task Force-Katrina.

• Donna Ritchey, APR, '87, currently serves as partner and executive vice president of GodwinGroup in Jackson. She joined the agency in 1989 and has been a stockholder since 1995. Ritchey currently serves on the agency's eight-member executive committee, an entity formed to oversee agency operations. Ritchey is accredited in public relations and has been named a Senior Practitioner by SPRF. She also serves on the Mississippi Business Journal's Business Women's Advisory Board and as vice chairman of the board for the Boy and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi.

• Peter Rogers, '57, opened Peter Rogers Associates in New York City in 1974. The agency was known for positioning luxury products with simple graphics and one-liners: "If you don't look good, we don’t look good"; "Danskins are not just for dancing"' and "What becomes a legend most?" to name a few. Rogers' client list included famous names such as Vidal Sassoon, Pierre Cardin, Gloria Vanderbilt, David Webb and Elle Magazine. In addition to his campaigns, he has appeared editorially in various consumer magazines including Time, People, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Town and Country and others. After a highly successful advertising career spanning more than 50 years, Rogers closed Peter Rogers Associates and now resides in both Connecticut and New York City, where he is a founding member of "Fete de Swifty," the mayor's fund to advance New York City.

• Barbara Shoemake, '82 and '85, joined the Southern Miss faculty in 1992. She was a founding member of the Pine Belt Chapter of PRAM and was named Practitioner of the Year by the organization in 1997. She was a member of the first local organizing committee of Camp Bluebird, a camp for cancer patients, near Hattiesburg. She received a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Alabama in 1995. After her death in 1998, the PRAM Pine Belt chapter established a scholarship for Southern Miss public relations students in her name to honor her life and work.

• Cindy Smartt, '83 and '84, became the sole proprietor of San Diego-based Smartt Entertainment Inc. in 2002. Since then, the Signal Mountain, Tenn., native has become nationally and internationally recognized as a top producer of corporate events. She has booked and produced corporate entertainment for leading corporations such as PGA of America, Chevron and American Airlines. Smartt has also produced for Jay Leno, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross and the Goo Goo Dolls. Recent shows have featured Andrea Bocelli in Rome, Italy, Bon Jovi in Maui, Hawaii, and Keith Urban in Sydney, Australia.

The Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism is one of the university’s largest, with more than 500 majors working toward undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, film, journalism, media production and public relations.  For more information on this event, contact Mandy Nace, assistant to the director, School of Mass Communication and Journalism, at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or 601.266.4196.

Rick and Beth Bice
Dr. John Forde
Reed Guice
Rex Kelly
Mart Martin
Danny Mitchell
Lt. Col. Roger Steve Murray
Donna Ritchey
Peter Rogers
Barbara Shoemake
Cindy Smartt

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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