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Released April 1, 2004

By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi has named a Southern Miss alumnus, Homer Coffman, as its first chief information officer, pending board approval. A former college dean, naval commander, entrepreneur and company president, Coffman brings with him a wealth of experience.

"I'm ecstatic to be coming back," said Coffman, who has experience as a senior naval adviser to Air Command and Staff College, where he was responsible for the Navy's portion of curriculum development and classroom delivery while he taught military history and space science. "I'm from Mississippi and a dedicated alumnus of Southern Miss. iTech's staff is an excellent group of folks and I'm looking forward to working with them."

Coffman received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Southern Miss and an executive planning, decision-making, and management education from Air Command and Staff College in Maxwell, Ala., and Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kan. He earned a master's degree in organization and development and information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.; a master's degree in computer information resource management from Webster University in St. Louis; and is pursuing a doctorate in information technology management at Capella University in Minneapolis.

"Although all the candidates had qualities to offer iTech, I was especially impressed with the varied background and diversified skill set that Homer Coffman brings to a university setting," said Becky Thompson, iTech director of Information Services Support Unit. "The interaction and dynamics he had with the iTech staff were remarkable. I am looking forward to the CIO building on the recent progress that has been made and having a vision that will take iTech into new areas that will support and enhance our growing university."

Coffman's experience includes his current position as a project manager, where he implemented an 18-month multimillion-dollar project with Del Monte Foods in San Francisco. As chief technology officer with in Atlanta, Coffman served as director of technology, directing and aligning strategic planning, applications development and maintenance and support services to meet corporate objectives. As president and CEO of CyberHawk, he was innovator, developer and founder of an Internet solutions company that was selected as one of the "Emerging 30" companies for two consecutive years.

"We welcome Homer to Southern Miss," said the university's president, Dr. Shelby Thames. "In this new role, Homer will have the challenge of keeping our university up to date with the latest trends, which will be a demanding responsibility. Having recently transitioned our emphasis from technology resources to information services, we think he'll be a great leader in driving this mission for our university. He is fortunate to have a team already in place that is committed to meeting those challenges with great work ethics and enthusiasm."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM