Like many alumni, Terry Pollard (The University of Southern Mississippi'94,
'96) wanted to give something back to his fraternity and his alma
mater. Active as a student - he was a member of Southern Style,
The Southerner and Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) - Pollard has continued
to stay involved by producing a documentary about the history of
his fraternity's Southern Miss chapter.
released project is a true labor of love. Pollard first considered
writing a book about the chapter's history. However, as time progressed,
he decided that a short film would offer a more complete record.
"A video documentary can tell so much that a book cannot,"
he said. "To see and hear our older members up close and personal
is something you cannot get from a book."
Pollard was able to get in touch with some of the chapter's founding
members. In fact, he began the project by filming interviews with
J.T. Palmer, the chapter's first initiate, and other key founding
members. Palmer, who in his 14 years at Southern Miss was a student,
teacher and adviser, supplied Pollard with hundreds of photos and
documents that detailed the history of the fraternity at the university.
Currently, Pollard is in the process of scanning photographs and
documents and obtaining information from alumni of the last six
in the process now of naming six 'decade ATOs' in order to streamline
the enormous collection and compilation of information," he
said. "Each 'decade ATO' will assist in gaining information
from ATOs for the decade in which they attended college."
Once that stage
in complete, Pollard will edit, render and composite the video,
adding titles, effects and music to help tell the chapter's story.
The finished documentary will consist of several segments that detail
the history of the chapter, starting with "The years of Zeta
filming, all work on the documentary is done on Pollard's personal
computer. The 30-year-old self-taught filmmaker said he was 11 years
old when his father first introduced him to computers. "At
that time, very few people had computers, and I felt very fortunate
that my father exposed me to them," he said. Pollard, who is
an English instructor at Mississippi Gulf CoastCommunity College,
likened the process of making a movie to writing a story. "You
have to know your tools and your ingredients," he said. "The
rest is persistence and perseverance."
2003, the DVDs and VHS tapes will be available for sale ($35 and
$25, respectively). A portion of the proceeds will go toward the
Alpha Tau Omega Alumni Fund, which helps send one of the chapter's
current initiates to LeaderShape, an annual ATO leadership building
to raising money for the fraternity, Pollard said he hopes to expose
younger fraternity members to the chapter's history. "I hope
to unify alumni and younger individuals through this documentary
by telling the story of my fraternity and the university over the
past 60 years from other viewpoints they wouldn't normally be exposed
to," he said.
For more information,