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Released June 5, 2003
Editor's note: This story appeared in the spring edition of The Talon, the Southern Miss Alumni magazine.

Brotherhood Recorded


By Heather J. Broome

HATTIESBURG- 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.

The soon-to-be 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."

Fortunately, 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 decades.

"I am 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 Sigma: 1930-1940."

Other than 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."

By homecoming 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 conference.

In addition 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.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM