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Released March 31, 2005


HATTIESBURG – Biloxi businessman Chevis C. Swetman will be recognized Friday, April 1, as the 2005 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Business at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Swetman, who is chairman, president and CEO of The Peoples Bank of Biloxi, will be honored at a reception and dinner at the Oasis Hotel in Gulfport beginning at 6 p.m.

A 1969 graduate of Southern Miss with a bachelor's degree in finance, Swetman spent two years in the military before joining The Peoples Bank in 1971. He then earned an MBA from Southern Miss in 1975. Swetman and his wife, Marcia, have one son, Tanner.

Chevis is the third generation Swetman to serve as the bank's top administrator following his father, Glenn L. Swetman, and before that, his grandfather, Orcenith George Swetman. His great-uncle, J.W. Swetman, was one of the bank's founders in 1896.

Among his many civic activities, Swetman serves as president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Economic Development Council and is a member of Coast 21. He is also the past president of both the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Swetman has been involved with the annual Cruisin' the Coast event since its inception in 1996, and The Peoples Bank is a presenting sponsor of the event. The weeklong showcase of antique, classic and hot rod automobiles attracted more than 5,300 participants last year. "Cruisin the Coast is a community effort. People are coming to the Coast and spending money. It is a big tourist time for us," said Swetman.

Support of his alma mater is also well documented through the years as awards on his office wall attest: Alumni Hall of Fame in 1998; Outstanding Service Award from the USM Foundation board; Southern Miss Athletic Foundation Circle of Champions and many others.

Swetman is a current member of the Business Advisory Council for the College of Business, a former Eagle Club director and a Southern Miss Athletic Council member. He was a member of the Task Force for the Enhancement of Athletics in 1999.

He has long been a staunch supporter of more educational opportunities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. An advocate of the Southern Miss dual-campus concept beginning in the 1970s, Swetman said, "There needed to be a lot more educational opportunities here if the Gulf Coast was going to grow and prosper, and we felt that (Southern Miss) was the venue to make that happen."

While at Southern Miss, Swetman was president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternity, and a four-year varsity letterman on the tennis team.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established to recognize outstanding achievement by an alumnus of the College of Business who has distinguished himself or herself in either the public or private sector. Former distinguished alumni of the Southern Miss College of Business are Harry Walker (2003), Gene Carlisle (2002) and L.D. Brinkman (2001).


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April 14, 2005 12:20 PM