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Released April 5, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Some of The University of Southern Mississippi's top incoming freshmen paid a visit to the university's Hattiesburg campus April 2 to learn more about the many opportunities awaiting them when they arrive as students.

The event, Priority Preview, was a way to introduce Luckyday, Leadership and Honors scholarship recipients to the campus to help them become acquainted with the university, its faculty, staff and fellow students, while at the same time learning about the various activities available at Southern Miss.

"These students offer so much to our campus community. By virtue of them being awarded these scholarships, we recognize them as future leaders on our campus, in and out of the classroom," said Wynde Fitts, director of Freshman Year Experience. "This unique preview experience allows these men and women to develop relationships with one another before they come to campus in the fall as part of their transition into true learning communities."

More than 200 students were on campus for the event.

Angela Coleman, a current freshman at Southern Miss from Vicksburg, served as a student ambassador for the event to help the soon-to-be freshmen with any questions they might have about the university and campus life.

Coleman said she liked the potential of the new class of Golden Eagles.

"I wanted to get a chance to see our future freshman leaders," Coleman said. "There's some real potential in the people I've met."

Mary Beth Walker, student activities coordinator at Southern Miss, shares Coleman's excitement about the new group of freshmen and their potential to develop as leaders at the university.

"We've got so many students coming in who are already student leaders at their high schools," Walker said. "It's going to be an exciting year at Southern Miss (with their arrival)."

Whitney Miller of Olive Branch, who received an Honors Scholarship, met with Honors College staff to prepare for her freshman year at the school.

After her first visit to the campus, Miller said she was immediately sold on Southern Miss. "I loved the wonderful atmosphere and the friendly people," she said. "I knew it was for me."

Parents of the scholars also participated in an orientation session to help them become more familiar with the university and the opportunities for academic achievement Southern Miss can provide for their children.

"I like the diversity of the student body, and the close proximity of the buildings on campus," said James Harper of Jackson, whose daughter, Jillian Harper, received a Lucky Day scholarship to attend Southern Miss.

Like Miller, James Harper said Jillian, who plans to major in journalism, had no doubt she wanted to come to Hattiesburg for her college career. "She was so impressed (with Southern Miss)," he said. "She had several offers from other universities, but there was no wavering on her part. She was set on coming here."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM