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Released August 21, 2003


HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi will canvas the Hattiesburg community throughout the week beginning Aug. 25 for the Southern Miss Community Blitz, which will see every aspect of the university community reach out to Hattiesburg-area businesses.

"We will visit a total of more than 250 businesses within the main thoroughfares of the Hattiesburg area during the Southern Miss Community Blitz," said Scott Carr, associate athletic director for Southern Miss.

"We have concentrated on the high-traffic areas of the city so that our visitors and community members would see the support of the university throughout the businesses of the area. When people drive into Hattiesburg, we want them to 'feel' the university. They should see black and gold, and they should feel black and gold."

On Monday, members of the Southern Miss athletic department will make calls on 50 businesses throughout the Pine Belt. Tuesday will bring Southern Miss administration members, including new college deans, making calls on another 50 businesses. Wednesday will incorporate visits from Southern Miss faculty, while Thursday will have visits by Southern Miss staff and Friday will see student visits to businesses that are closer to the heart of the Southern Miss campus.

"We know that business owners and managers throughout the Hattiesburg area are not all Southern Miss graduates, but every business benefits from the presence of the university, and should support our local university that contributes more than $250 million to the local economy," said Athletic Director Richard Giannini.

"I didn't graduate from Southern Miss," said Greg Gough, senior vice president of BancorpSouth in Hattiesburg. "But our business is greatly affected by our customers, which constitute a large number of Southern Miss faculty and staff. We know the dollar effect of the university on our business, and we support the university that supports us, in ways they will never know.

"I appreciate that university personnel understand the impact we have, and can have, on the success of athletics and university programs. We are happy to give to the business (Southern Miss) that gives to us. We have to take care of one another to be successful."

Southern Miss Community Blitz members will distribute pocket game schedules, Southern Miss yard signs, black and gold pompons, game schedule posters, "Go Gold" posters, "Go Gold" T-shirts, Southern Miss spirit-pack order forms, and an ear of corn to commemorate the Southern Miss vs. Nebraska game on Sept. 25.

"This is great fun," said staff council president, Kenton McNeese. "We need the support of the Hattiesburg community in everything we do. This is a great way for us to get in to the community where we live, work, and do business."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM