Released May 1, 2003

By Tina Ladner

HATTIESBURG - A variety of majors at The University of Southern Mississippi will benefit from the foresight of one Southern Miss graduate who recently designated a $500,000 life insurance policy to his alma mater. The policy will be used to establish five scholarships at the university.

Keith Payne of Hattiesburg memorialized two Phi Kappa Tau fraternity brothers through the Southern Miss Foundation with the policy, which will fund the Chris Morgan Memorial Journalism Scholarship and the Dustin Tauzier Memorial Business Administration Scholarship.

Scholarships for the Southern Miss Baptist Student Union, the Southern Miss Wesley Foundation and one honoring Dr. Charles Burchell will also be funded.

"Keith was very generous to create this life insurance policy in order to make funds available for these five different fields of study," said Ben Samel, Southern Miss associate director of development planning. "It's similar to leaving money in a will in that this money will not be available until Keith is deceased." However, he said, when fully funded, these endowments will provide financial assistance for students who meet award criteria.

"Keith and the entire family are great friends of Southern Miss," said Dr. Shelby F. Thames, Southern Miss president. "We are truly grateful for their exceptional generosity. Keith will touch numerous lives and professions through this gift."

The Morgan scholarship, given in memory of Chris Morgan, will be awarded to a student majoring in journalism, with preference going to a member of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. In June 1999, 22-year-old Morgan drowned in a cliff-diving accident while vacationing in Italy. Morgan, who was from Jefferson, Louisiana, had just graduated from Southern Miss with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

A student whose major falls under the College of Business Administration will benefit from the Tauzier scholarship, with preference given to members of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. The scholarship is in memory of Dustin Tauzier, a 25-year-old whose died in an April 2002 car accident. Tauzier had pursued a degree in business administration at Southern Miss.

The Keith Payne Baptist Student Union Scholarship Fund is intended to be awarded to a member of either the Baptist Student Union Leadership Team or to a student who has previously served or is currently serving as a BSU student missionary.

The Wesley Foundation Scholarship, also named for Payne, will be granted to a student who is both a member of the Wesley Foundation Leadership Team and is active in its mission program.

Payne, who graduated in 1998, established the Dr. Charles Burchell Recreational Administration Scholarship to recognize Dr. Burchell, a longtime Southern Miss professor, for serving as his mentor and role model. This scholarship is to assist a student enrolled in a degree program within the Department of Recreational Administration.

"Dr. Burchell has played a profound role in making me the businessman I have become," Payne said. "He's one of the teachers I really looked up to while I was in school here.

"I hope that other students will be fortunate enough to learn as much as I did from Dr Burchell."

"Attending and giving to Southern Miss are traditions that run deep in my family," Payne said. "I was raised Southern Miss all the way."

Payne majored in outdoor recreation and now works in real estate. He owns Southern Service Center and Security Concepts Inc. and is a member of the Army National Guard.



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July 15, 2003 2:29 PM