- The University of Southern Mississippi Hospitality Management
program has received a $25,000 endowment from the Mississippi Tourism
The fund, known
as the Mississippi Tourism Association Vicki Miller Endowed Scholarship,
is meant to honor the memory of Miller, a founding director of the
Mississippi Tourism Association. Once awarded, the scholarship will
provide financial assistance to a Southern Miss hospitality management
major who demonstrates academic excellence, service to the tourism
industry and financial need.
very grateful to the Mississippi Tourism Association for their gift
of $25,000 to establish the Vicki Miller Endowed Scholarship,"
said Southern Miss President Shelby Thames. "As tourism is
one of the largest industries and creators of quality jobs in the
world and certainly within our great state of Mississippi, it is
an honor to have our Hospitality Management program's close relationship
with the tourism industry in Mississippi recognized in this manner."
1986, an 18-member Governor's Task Force on Tourism was appointed
to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the hospitality industry
in the state and return recommendations for improving this vital
but often overlooked industry. The task force began their work in
March 1986 and issued their Tourism Development Report in May 1986.
The major objective of the report was the establishment of a statewide
public/private sector promotional organization, known as The Mississippi
Travel Promotion Association (MTPA).
The MTPA began
operations with the primary objective of creating an industry-wide
promotional force with a focus centering on private sector marketing
to the traveling public. That mission, although somewhat broadened
in recent years, remains basically the same.
In 1997, the
Board of Directors voted to change the name of the association to
Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA). The name change reflects
that the association is about much more than promotion at this point.
Today, a board
of directors representing all parts of the state and all segments
within the hospitality industry guides the 275-member organization.
year, The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast and the
Mississippi Tourism Association began a cooperative effort to provide
a state certification program for tourism professionals.
overwhelmed and at the same time very appreciative to have received
the $25,000 from the Mississippi Tourism Association to establish
the MTA Vicki Miller Endowed Scholarship," said Ernie Wilson,
an assistant professor of hospitality management at Southern Miss
Gulf Coast who also serves on the MTA board. "I believe that
it is a fitting tribute to Vicki Miller and what she meant to tourism
in Mississippi, and also is a reflection of the close relationship
between the Southern Miss Hospitality Management program, MTA and
the tourism industry overall."