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Released April 12, 2004


HATTIESBURG - A Gulfport businessman and civic leader will be the keynote speaker at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast's spring graduation.

Billy Hewes, a veteran real estate executive, insurance agent and current Ward 7 city councilman for the city of Gulfport, will address graduates at the May 15 ceremony, scheduled for 9 a.m. at the university's campus in Long Beach.

"Billy Hewes is a credit to his community," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames. "He's a successful businessman and dedicated public servant, someone who exemplifies great citizenship. I'm pleased that he will be a part of our graduation ceremonies at our Gulf Park campus."

Hewes, a native of Gulfport, is a 1960 graduate of Southern Miss, where he was president of both his junior and senior class. Upon graduating from Southern Miss, he received the rank of second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps through the Southern Miss ROTC program. He retired from the military with the rank of captain at age 28.

He is a member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, the Southern Miss Honors Club, and the Southern Miss Eagle Club. He was previously named Gulfport's Outstanding Young Man by the Gulfport Jaycees, is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Hewes is also a graduate of the Realtor Institute, a lifetime member of the Million Dollar/Top Producer Club, and a member of the BancorpSouth Community Advisory Board of Directors and the Orange Grove/Lyman Chamber of Commerce.

"It's an honor to be able to speak at this graduation ceremony," Hewes said, adding that he plans to talk to the graduates about what's needed to succeed not only in their careers, but in life.

He said it was the first graduation that he's been scheduled as a speaker since making remarks during his own commencement exercises at Southern Miss.

"You need to have the proper attitude, a strong desire to succeed, and be able to work well with other people." Hewes said of the focus of his message for the graduates. "Do the right thing at all times, and be honest…those are the basic ingredients of success."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM