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Released April 14, 2005

LAURA BRU NAMED PHI KAPPA PHI SILVER BOWL AWARD WINNER

Hattiesburg- She took 168 hours of course work at The University of Southern Mississippi and maintained a 4.0 grade point average to boot, yet Laura Elizabeth Bru was in disbelief when she learned she would graduate May 13 with one of Southern Miss' most coveted awards under her belt-the Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl award.

The Phi Kappa Phi silver bowl is the highest scholastic honor given to any student at Southern Miss. The honor is given annually to the graduating senior with the highest GPA over the largest number of hours taken at Southern Miss through the fall term.

"I am very honored to receive this award," said Bru, an English and foreign language major and theatre minor. "I had no idea I was even eligible; it was a complete surprise."

Bru, a native of Mobile, Ala., came to Southern Miss in the Fall of 2001 where she shined immediately. Other than acing everything in her path, the national merit scholar has been active in theatre productions at Southern Miss and abroad. Her many plays include "Anton in Show Business," "Dinner with Friends," "Saint Joan" and "The Hypochondriac." The latter two are productions she participated in while attending the Univeristy of Wales-Swansea in 2003 as part of Southern Miss' study-abroad program.

When Bru is not flexing her acting muscles, the Honors College student dabbles in her research interests where she is drawn to women's studies, post-communism European culture and contemporary German literature, in which she recently completed her Honors College thesis on popular contemporary German women's writing and the effect of German unification on women.

While Bru's accomplishments are impressive to both her peers and instructors, the Presidential Scholar is convinced she's done nothing out of the ordinary and said she was just simply trying to ensure a spot in graduate school.

"I actually feel really, really humbled sitting next to the folks who were inducted to Hall of Fame," said the 22-year-old, "here they are, they have been involved in everything this school has to offer, and well I have just been going to school."

Bru's parents, who have two other children enrolled at Southern Miss, say they would not have it any other way. "We are very proud of Laura," said dad Stephen. "We try to support all of our children; growing up, their only job was focusing on their education."

Honors College English Professor Dr. Tom Richardson said Bru's focus and academic drive were always noticeable.

"Laura Bru deserves the honor of being first in class," he said. "She's a wonderful representative of the presidential scholarship and the Honors College."

A humbled Bru said the "you can do it" attitude stressed by both her parents and professors is the main reason she's been so successful and has had a great experience at Southern Miss.

"The faculties in both of my majors and in the Honors College have always been incredibly supportive and challenging, and I'm grateful to all of them," she said.

As for her future plans, Bru is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a doctorate in philosophy in the field of comparative literature.

For more information on Bru's endeavors, please contact her at (601) 266-5624.

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April 20, 2005 3:45 PM