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Released April 14, 2005

SOUTHERN MISS HONORS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

Hattiesburg- Hundreds of University of Southern Mississippi students were applauded Tuesday for their academic success during Southern Miss' annual Awards Day Ceremony. Among them were twelve students who walked away with the university's highest honors.

Robin Hill Sila, an elementary education major, was the recipient of Southern Miss' most prestigious award-the Judge R.J. Bishop "Mississippian" Award, which is given to the student who defies economic, family or physical obstacles to pursue a college degree. Despite a ferocious battle with rheumatoid arthritis-a debilitating chronic illness-Sila will receive a bachelor's degree on May 13 from Southern Miss.

Senior Laura Elizabeth Bru, who has maintained a 4.0 GPA since freshman year, took home the Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl award-a tribute to the university's top academic achiever.

Majorie Minor Heltzel and Alford Perryman Jr. were acknowledged for Best Citizen honors.

Students named to the Southern Miss Hall of Fame were James Walter Cain, Mary Meadows Grubbs, Susan Ashley Holified, William Jeffrey Jernigan, Michael Ryan Kelly, Kristen Mary Preau, Sophia Loren Robinson and Keith Edward Wilson.

Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Paul said he was very proud of all the students' achievements.

"Students are the reason for being," he said, "to take a day to pause and recognize their good works is of incredible importance."

Today's ceremony was a pat on the back for the students who earned nearly 700 awards, scholarships and other acknowledgements, including membership in selective honor societies.

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April 21, 2005 1:55 PM