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Released April 13, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- University of Southern Mississippi alumni and friends who are employees of one of the Southeast's top 10 accounting firms are honoring the contributions of two of their own with a major commitment to the university's College of Business and Economic Development (CBED) for its proposed new business building.

Horne CPA Group President Hugh Parker and Board Chairman Larry Welborn have announced the funding of the Roy and Mary Evelyn Ward Grand Hall. The gift, in excess of $150,000, is made possible by the firm and more than 25 employees who are Southern Miss graduates or friends of the Wards and the university.

A member of Horne CPA Group since 1966--just four years after founding partner William F. Horne began the practice--Roy Ward served as president and chairman of the board from 1977-2000. Under his leadership, the firm has become the largest accounting firm in Mississippi and one of the top 10 in the region. He currently serves as chairman emeritus.

"Mary Evelyn and I are completely overwhelmed that Horne CPA Group would honor us in this way," said Roy Ward. "We know this new facility will be another avenue for the university to continue attracting outstanding students to the College of Business and Economic Development. We are pleased to be a part of this endeavor."

Roy, a native of Hattiesburg, and Mary Evelyn, a native of Jackson, are both 1962 graduates of Southern Miss. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and she earned bachelor's degrees in speech and English and was named to the 1962 Southern Miss Hall of Fame. Throughout their association with Horne CPA Group, they have been active in numerous church and civic organizations including the Rotary Club of Jackson, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Junior Achievement, United Way and First Baptist Church of Jackson.

The Wards were most recently honored as the 2004 People of Vision. Roy also is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Health Care Financial Management Association.

"Roy and his wife, Mary Evelyn Ward, are outstanding community servants who give freely of their time, talents and resources," said Parker. "This commitment to The University of Southern Mississippi is to honor their impact on so many lives."

Last May, supporters of the College of Business and Economic Development launched a fund-raising campaign to finance a new, 100,000-square-foot building. The college has been in its current location in Joseph Greene Hall since 1968. Horne CPA Group's gift will be earmarked for the lobby/grand hall of the new building.

"Horne CPA Group is excited about the future at The University of Southern Mississippi, and we are proud to support the College of Business and Economic Development," said Welborn. "We believe this contribution will honor Roy and Mary Evelyn and will challenge future Southern Miss graduates to follow their example of leadership and integrity."

Horne CPA Group employs more than 200 professionals comprising a total staff of nearly 300 and serves industries from health care to construction. Its headquarters are in Jackson, Miss., with nine offices across the South serving clients in more than 45 states.

"We are extremely grateful to Horne CPA Group for this tremendous gift to the university," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames. "It is a huge statement of support for the future business leaders who will come from Southern Miss. We are indeed very proud of Roy and Mary Evelyn Ward and the distinction that they have brought to Horne CPA Group and to the community as accomplished alumni of this university."

The College of Business and Economic Development is one of five degree-granting colleges at Southern Miss. More than 75 faculty members teach courses to approximately 2,500 graduate and undergraduate students in 11 different majors in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast.

"Our alumni throughout the business community in Mississippi continue to make us proud through their accomplishments and success," said Harold Doty, dean of the CBED. "The example set by alumni at Horne CPA Group and their commitment to this university will surely help us be more successful in educating future business students."


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May 5, 2004 1:17 PM