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Released Aug 1, 2003

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG - Heroes aren't just those found in comic books. They're live, in the flesh, everyday people who may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but whose accomplishments are considered by many to be superhuman.

That's the message State Auditor Phil Bryant relayed to approximately 1,000 graduates at his alma mater during his commencement address Friday at The University of Southern Mississippi's summer graduation ceremonies.

"I want to express to them that there are still heroes among us," he said, adding that Southern Miss graduates should also aspire to acts of heroism in their own life, whether through volunteerism, community and public service or giving back to their university.

As an example, he cited Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames as one of his own heroes because of his leadership at the university.

"I want our graduates to know that there are people out there who make sacrifices every day for our university, for our state and for our nation."

Bryant was first appointed to this position in November of 1996, to serve the unexpired term of his predecessor. He was elected to a full term as State Auditor in November 1999.

Prior to becoming state auditor, Byrant served five years as a member of the House of Representatives, where he was the vice chairman of the Insurance Committee and authored the Capital Gains Tax Cut Act of 1992. He currently serves as Chairman of the E-Government Committee for the National State Auditors Association (NSAA) and currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Mississippi Legislative E-Government Oversight Committee. He is a principal member of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers.

Bryant said Southern Miss graduates are getting a great foundation to pursue acts of heroism with their education from the university. "Education is the foundation of their life experience, and it's laid for them right here at Southern Miss," he said.

He used humor to make his point about his message on heroism by revealing a T-shirt emblazoned with a Superman logo that he was wearing under his robe.

"Super Auditor," he laughed.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM