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Released October 17, 2003

SOUTHERN MISS UNIFORMS READY FOR ADOPTION

HATTIESBURG - The Pride of Mississippi Marching Band at The University of Southern Mississippi has been showing off its new uniforms at each home game this season and most recently at the University of Alabama game in Tuscaloosa. Thanks to the success of the "Adopt-a-Uniform" campaign, the director of The Pride, Dr. Gary Adam, hopes to be able to outfit an even larger band in the future.

"The response from the Southern Miss community has been overwhelming," Adam said. "We have thus far doubled the number of uniforms 'adopted' than in our last campaign in 1990. The response to our call for help has been remarkable."

Prior to this season, The Pride's uniforms, purchased in 1990, were well past their prime. Adam said the old uniforms served the band well for the last 12 years, but were showing a good deal of wear. A change was well overdue.

"Our new uniforms keep a traditional appearance while adding presence into the performance on and off the field," Adam added.

The new Southern Miss Pride black and gold marching band uniform is accented by black sequins lining a white front stripe, which gives the uniform great flash when set off by its white accents on the cuffs and collar. Adam said 275 uniforms were initially purchased this summer, but another 50 uniforms are needed to accommodate growth.

"The purchase of these uniforms would not be possible without the support of Dr. Shelby Thames," said Dr. Thomas Fraschillo, director of bands at Southern Miss. "President Thames allocated $15 of every student's activity fee to the arts, the majority being used on the purchase of new uniforms this year."

He also noted that 50 cents of every football ticket sold goes directly to the band program for the support of scholarships and equipment. "Our president has made a bold financial gesture to support our arts programs - particularly our marching band this year," Fraschillo said. "The Pride belongs to the university, and being highly visible, we need to reflect the university well."

The Pride unveiled its new uniform at a press conference in May 2003. President Thames was on hand to lend his support.

"The Pride is a great public relations tool for the university through performances during football games, local and national television such as ESPN and internationally in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Ireland," Thames said. "New uniforms will help give both past and present members of The Pride a renewed sense of satisfaction in their presence and presentation."

Thames added that this allocation of student fees is the university's way of helping bring more recognition to the arts programs in the College of Arts and Letters and to strengthen its visibility and programming for continued success.

Fraschillo first announced the "Adopt-a-Uniform" campaign at the unveiling in May as a way to buy additional uniforms and to establish a fund to support uniform upkeep and purchase much needed equipment. He said an individual or a group of sponsors could adopt a uniform for $300-the actual cost of the uniform.

"Each donor's name will be embroidered inside the 'adopted' uniform so each Pride member will know who made their uniform possible," Adam explained. "Donors also will be recognized during halftime and pregame announcements at each football game during the 2003-2004 season, in addition to receiving Pride Club membership for one year."

Dr. Thames and his wife Shirley were the first to adopt the black and gold uniform-actually the first two.

Adam, who is in his second year as director of the famous marching band, wants to use the "adoption" money to purchase the 50 additional uniforms needed to accommodate the future growth of the band, as well as outfit The Pride guard unit in complimentary new uniforms.

"When I look to the future of The Pride, I want to see growth and a renewed pride in our band," Adam said. "I tell my students to 'look proud, play proud, be proud…you're The Pride of Mississippi-a honor not taken lightly as evidenced by the generous support given us by our alumni, administration, and friends."

For information on how to adopt a Pride uniform, contact the university bands office at (601) 266-4990.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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