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Released March 30, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will be the speaker for spring commencement exercises at The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus May 14.

Barbour will address graduates and their family and friends, along with Southern Miss administrators, faculty, staff and other guests at two ceremonies during the day, at 2:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

"It is a privilege and an honor to participate in The University of Southern Mississippi's commencement exercises," Barbour said. "Southern Miss graduates have received a superlative education and are embarking into the professional world, ready to use their talents. I want to create a climate in Mississippi that attracts more and better jobs for them, and I am extraordinarily hopeful as I think about the strides they will make to better our state's future."

Barbour, a Yazoo City native, was elected governor last November. He received his law degree from Ole Miss in 1973. In the mid-1980s, he served as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan for two years as director of the White House Office of Political Affairs.

From 1993 to January 1997, Barbour served two terms as chairman of the Republican National Committee. He served as one of only 10 members of then-Gov. George W. Bush's National Presidential Exploratory Committee and chaired Bush's Washington Campaign Advisory Committee in 2000.

Barbour founded and formerly served as chair and CEO of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, which Fortune magazine ranked as the nation's top lobbying firm.

"Gov. Barbour and I both love Mississippi, and we also love the potential Southern Miss graduates have to lead our state and nation to great heights in the future," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames. "We're thrilled to have him speak at our commencement ceremonies."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM