- Family and friends of graduates of The University of Southern
Mississippi gathered here Friday at Reed Green Coliseum for
spring commencement exercises as students marked the end of
one chapter in their lives and the beginning of another.
than 1,500 received diplomas at two separate ceremonies on
the Hattiesburg campus, while more than 150 graduates will
participate in commencement ceremonies Saturday at the Southern
Miss Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames encouraged graduates at the
ceremony to continue bettering themselves beyond the degree
they received Friday. "Whether you are receiving your
bachelor's, master's or Ph.D., it is vital that you continue
to improve yourself, and continue to feed your mind,"
is also scheduled to address graduates at the Gulf Park ceremony.
Hamm of Stringer, outgoing Southern Miss Student Government
Association President, delivered the commencement address.
Hamm is a marketing major at Southern Miss with a 3.94 GPA
and was elected Mr. Southern Miss in 2002. He was introduced by longtime
Southern Miss benefactor and alumni Gene Carlisle, president
of the Carlisle Corporation, who recently donated $3 million
toward the construction of a new building for the College
of Business Administration and Economic Development.
Hamm, Carlisle was a marketing major while a student at Southern
Miss. He praised Hamm for his accomplishments during his undergraduate
career. "I am especially honored to introduce to you
a fellow marketing major with the same drive I had as a student
- but with a lot better grades than I had," Carlisle
noted that the world has changed dramatically since the terrorist
attacks on the United States in 2001 and the recent war in
Iraq, but he encouraged Southern Miss graduates to go forth
undaunted in pursuit of their goals.
be the first to admit there are problems out there,"
Hamm said. "However, the greater problem is that people
are looking at the world outside in the wrong perspective.
The world that is about to be ours is full of obstacles, but
it is also full of opportunity."
as life presents opportunities, so to does it include change,
he added. "If we look back, we notice that a lot has
changed while we've been here: buildings, colleges, professors
and parking places," he said. "Change will now and
forever be a fixture of our lives. Life is about to be different,
and it us up to us to manage that change."
of how or why the 2003 graduating class chose to make Southern
Miss a part of their lives, Hamm hoped that "it was for
we started at Southern Miss, many of us wondered what the
next few years would hold," Hamm said. "Many of
you knew what you wanted to be, and you went after it. Many
of us were simply taking the next logical step in our lives.
Whatever the reason for attending Southern Miss, I hope the
experience has been amazing."