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Released October 10, 2003

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG - Plans are underway to continue a tradition resurrected more than five years ago after a 27-year absence from The University of Southern Mississippi homecomings when the annual homecoming parade precedes the Southern Miss-Louisiana-Lafayette football game.

Southern Miss students, representing a variety of organizations, as well as other organizations, including businesses and local governments that support the university, are regular participants in the parade. Southern Miss officials hope even more will join the fun with entries this year.

"One of the joys of homecoming has been the homecoming parade, and it has been so endorsed by the alumni and the city (of Hattiesburg)," said Dr. Eddie Holloway, Southern Miss dean of students. Holloway was instrumental in reviving the parade tradition soon after becoming dean of students.

"The parade's not just about the students, but the alumni and the community," said Ashley Holifield of Mobile, who is serving as director of the Student Government Association's Homecoming Parade Committee. "It's our (students') way of getting the community involved."

Holifield said student organizations interested in participating in the parade or building floats for display on campus should come to an organizational meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, outside the SGA offices in the R.C. Cook University Union.

Holloway is urging area businesses and governments and any other organizations that support the university to contact the university if they are interested in being a part of the parade. Entrants in the parade are currently scheduled to meet at the University Mall parking lot on Hardy Street line up at 9 a.m., with the parade scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and to conclude at about 10:45 a.m. The parade will travel east down Hardy Street from the University Mall to the front of the Southern Miss campus.

Holloway said he has fond memories of parades from his youth, including watching homecoming parades in person and seeing the traditional parades on television, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving and Rose Bowl parades. He said the Southern Miss homecoming parade keeps that tradition alive for both young and old alike, and it fosters school spirit and draws the Hattiesburg and Southern Miss communities closer together.

"The cornerstone of the day is increasing student, alumni and community spirit, and strengthening the town-gown relationship (between the city and university)," Holloway said.

Students seeking information on the homecoming parade and float construction should call the SGA office at (601) 266-4407. Community organizations interested in taking part in the parade should call the Dean of Student Office at (601) 266-6028.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM