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Released September 30, 2004

NEW PILOT PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP
HELPS SOUTHERN MISS STUDENT

HATTIESBURG - The Amite County Farm Bureau in Liberty, Miss., has named its first Southern Miss scholarship recipient of a new pilot program designed to initiate an interest in the business community to help aspiring students graduate from higher learning institutions.

Jasmine Patterson of Liberty, a junior at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been awarded the $2,500 Amite County Farm Bureau Scholarship to help cover tuition and fee expenses. "This is the first time I've ever received a scholarship, and I'm really excited about it," said Patterson, a nursing major. "I was taking out a lot of loans and now this will help with my tuition."

Patterson will continue to receive this annual scholarship if she maintains a 3.0 grade point average or above until graduation. The Amite County Farm Bureau will fund the scholarship in advance for $2,500 each year through the USM Foundation, a 501(c)3 fund-raising entity at the university.

The Amite County Farm Bureau Scholarship is available for eligible Amite County students attending one of Mississippi's state universities - The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi. The program may expand to other state universities if it is successful.

"I think the pilot program will endure and will be something our membership will be proud of," said Amite County Farm Bureau's agency manager, Mike Bridwell of Liberty. "The anticipated impact of these scholarships will not only assist our young people in the pursuit of their degrees, but also encourage other businesses to invest in scholarships. We believe that education addresses every challenge facing our state."

The Amite County Farm Bureau board of directors determined funding scholarships was a good investment in the future, said Bridwell. Farm Bureau, an independent, nongovernmental, voluntary organization, is governed by its representation of farm and ranch families.

Patterson qualified for the merit-based scholarship because she was a full-time undergraduate student enrolled at Southern Miss from Amite County who had membership in the Amite County Farm Bureau. "I'm looking forward to finishing school and this will help financially," said the 21-year-old student, the daughter of Thomas and Schire Patterson of Liberty, who have held membership in the Amite County Farm Bureau for more than 20 years.

For more information about the USM Foundation, call (601) 266-5206 or visit www.usm.edu/foundation.

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October 25, 2004 5:23 PM