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Released Februrary 19, 2004

By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG -- Will Hansen's Mississippi roots are so deep and far-reaching, they've pulled him back to Hattiesburg.

"I was in Dallas three and a half years," said Hansen, the new development officer for the College of Health at The University of Southern Mississippi. "I wanted to come back because this is my place. This is where I am supposed to be."

A graduate of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism's radio, television and film program, Hansen has worked in student recruitment for William Carey College, as coordinator of chapter services for the Southern Miss Alumni Association, and as director of the alumni association for the University of North Texas.

Now he's at the College of Health, a place in which the Long Beach native feels comfortable.

"After looking into opportunities here, the personality of the college itself and of the (interim) dean, Dr. Joan Exline, made the best fit for me," Hansen said.

"I'm passionate about Southern Miss, and I felt as though the College of Heath is passionate about what they do. Once you dig into all of what (the College of Health) entails, to me it really is the college at the university that educates and trains a skilled workforce unlike any other. Everyone's interested in health and what we do as a college is an invaluable resource to the population in Mississippi - and beyond."

The college's interim dean, Dr. Joan Exline, said she is "pleased to have Will on our team. His positive attitude and enthusiasm are infectious. He will do a great job for us."

Hansen's excited to be back in the family of black and gold because he believes the university's campus leadership and current political positioning in the state will help the institute continue its climb as the most elite university in the state. He's confident "it will be a top-tier institution nationally."

Hansen also takes Southern Miss' state of affairs personally: Not only does he have a degree from the university, but so does his wife, Katie Hansen, who works as a nurse; his sisters; and his dad, who is a 1962 alumnus.

"Southern Miss is my father-son connection," Hansen said of his dad, who is actively involved in Southern Miss activities, particularly athletics.

"My mother's not a graduate of here," Hansen said with hesitant grin, "but she's pretty much a Golden Eagle. She can't help but be."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM