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Released August 25, 2003


HATTIESBURG -- Lance Bass of the pop group NSYNC recently presented more than $30,000 to his aunt and uncle, Don and Helen Pulliam of Laurel to establish an endowment through The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation in honor of their daughter, Amber.

The Amber Pulliam Special Education Endowment will be awarded to a student majoring in special education. Preference will be given to a student in the Pine Belt area who has 3.0 grade point average or better and whose desire is to work with children with special needs.

Amber, 15, has Down syndrome. Her first years of life were spent in child development classes at Southern Miss. She now attends Northeast Jones High School.

Both Don and Helen are Southern Miss alums. Don received his bachelor's in business administration in 1981 and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Helen also received her bachelor's in 1981 from Southern Miss and her master's from William Carey College in 1984. She was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Amber's older sister, Holli, attends Jones County Junior College on a basketball scholarship. Her younger brother, Ty, is in the eighth grade at West Jones Middle School. All are avid Southern Miss fans.

"We have discussed this for some time and Lance wanted to go ahead and do this for Amber," said Don, who owns AutoPlus Insurance in Laurel and Waynesboro. "Amber won't have the opportunity to attend the university, so this is her opportunity to make her mark at Southern Miss."

Ben Samel, associate director of development for planned giving, said, "Working with both Don and Helen was a rewarding experience. Their devotion to their daughter, Amber, is really inspiring. We all owe special thanks and gratitude to Lance Bass for his love and commitment to provide funds for this endowment, through which scholarships will be awarded for years to come."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM