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Southern Miss Alumni Association Honors 19 with Annual Awards

Date    11-2-05
Contact Jim Coll (601) 266-5722


HATTIESBURG -- Each year at Homecoming, the Southern Miss Alumni Association presents six awards during the Annual Awards Brunch, designed to recognize volunteer excellence in service to the university.

The awards presented include

• Outstanding Service Award – given to seven alumni based on their service to the University;
• Continuous Service Award – given to five alumni for their long-term efforts and dedication to Southern Miss;
• Special Service Award – given to individuals, not necessarily alumni, who have made a significant, unique contribution to the University, community or their profession;
• Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Award – given to one alum 36 years of age or younger who has made contributions of time and effort to the University, community and their profession;
• Meritorious Service Award – given to one alum annually who has continued to give of their time and talents throughout the years to recognize outstanding alumni support, professional achievement, loyalty and service to the University, and
• Friend of Southern Miss Award – given to one individual annually who is not an alum, but has contributed greatly to the progress of Southern Miss throughout the years.

This year’s recipients include

Outstanding Service Award

Dee Kelly Ervine ’63

Dee Ervine’s dedication to Southern Miss is evident in almost everything she does. She has never forgotten her days as a Dixie Darling, when she served as a captain all four of her years on the team.

After leaving Southern Miss, Ervine founded the Starlettes Dance Team, patterned after the Dixie Darlings, at the University of New Orleans and was the group’s director/choreographer for 10 years. She was also the first director of the New Orleans Saints professional cheerleading group in the newly opened Superdome.

Ervine has assisted Anne Larman ’63 with the organization of the Dixie Darlings Alumnae Association for the past nine years by maintaining contact with more than 800 team members. Her proudest moment as alumnae choreographer was during Homecoming 2004 when 252 Dixie Darlings performed at halftime.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Ervine, who was a member of Kappa Delta sorority, her husband John and their daughter Denise resided on the beach in Pass Christian. All three were members of the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church choir in Long Beach. They are presently residing with children and grandchildren in Rowlett, Texas.

Scott Hemeter ’90

Scott Hemeter’s outstanding service to Southern Miss is apparent in his three-year role as president of the Southeast Central Chapter of the Southern Miss Alumni Association. He was an active board member prior to serving his term as president from 2002 to 2005.

Hemeter graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in construction engineering technology. Presently, he is the owner of Ace Dry Cleaners in Waynesboro.

He and his wife, Dana, live in Waynesboro and are active members of Liberty Baptist Church. Hemeter is also director of club services for the Waynesboro Rotary Club and a member of the American Dry Cleaners Association.

Steve Holifield ’78

The business education that Steve Holifield received from Southern Miss has proven to be a valuable asset.

The resident of Meridian is currently employed as procurement and inventory manager for the Southern Division of Rexel Inc., a multinational distributor of electrical supplies, equipment and datacom products.

Prior to joining Rexel, Holifield was employed by Peavey Electronics Corporation where he held the position of director of International Procurement, Engineering and Distribution/Logistics.

Steve is married to Ann Thornton Holifield ’79 and has two daughters currently attending the University of Southern Mississippi. Steve is a former board member for the Association’s board of directors and he currently serves on the board for the USM Foundation. He is a member of First Baptist Church in Meridian and is an ordained deacon.

Kuykendall Horne-Murry ’92

Kuykendall Horne-Murry was able to show her black and gold pride in the city of red, white and blue – Washington D.C. While a resident of the nation’s capital, Horne-Murry served as president of the District of Columbia Chapter of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.

Horne-Murry received her juris doctorate degree from the University of Houston Law Center and she worked in Washington, D.C. for the House of Representatives’ Veterans Affairs Committee and the National Rifle Association.

She has spent the last four years as an energy attorney in Washington, D.C., with the law firm of Troutman Sanders. During that time, she served as president and corporate sponsor chair of the Mississippi Society of Washington. She recently moved to her hometown of Inverness with her husband, Blair, and their two children, Tyler and Peyton.

Anne Larman ’63

Black and gold ran so deep in Anne Larman’s veins that even when she lived in California her mind was still in Hattiesburg. In 1994, while living in California, Larman founded the Dixie Darling Alumnae Association. A Dixie Darling reunion is held each year in conjunction with Homecoming. Since 1994, Dixie Darling Alumnae have entertained football fans at halftime along with the Pride and current Dixie Darlings.

Larman is a fund-raiser, helping garner funds for the Dixie Darling Scholarship Fund, breast cancer research and the American Cancer Society since 1996. She also initiated a program in 2005 to raise $1 million for The Pride of Mississippi and the Dixie Darlings. In 2004, she took 46 past and present Dixie Darlings to march in London's New Year's Day Parade. Larman's greatest joy as the founder of the Dixie Darling Alumnae Association is in knowing that her efforts have resulted in the rekindling of many old friendships and the development of new ones. Today, Larman still serves as the Dixie Darling Alumnae Association’s president.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, she owned two Curves Fitness Centers for Women gyms in Long Beach and Pass Christian. Larman contributed to numerous charitable organizations through fund-raising projects with Curves members. Anne is temporarily residing in Arizona.

Scott Leslie ’88, ’93

Scott Leslie’s service to the Southern Miss community is evident in his role as president of the Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the Southern Miss Alumni Association. He has been a member of that chapter’s board of directors for the past 12 years. During his tenure as a board officer, the chapter has raised more than $50,000 for the Jackson County Endowed Academic Scholarship Fund and has awarded more than $23,000 in scholarships to Jackson County high school students.

Leslie has also been instrumental in raising money for Southern Miss’ endowed athletic scholarship fund as well as the new athletic facility. Along with being involved with the University locally, he was elected in 2003 to serve on the Association’s board of directors.

He and his wife, the former Ann Cagle, reside in Ocean Springs. He attends St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Ocean Springs and is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society as well as a counselor for the Columbian Squires at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

Andy Stogner ’97

Andy Stogner’s dedication to Southern Miss is displayed in his role as past president of the Desoto County Chapter of the Southern Miss Alumni Association. He is also a member of the Eagle Club.

Upon graduating from Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Stogner worked for Mississippi Valley Gas Company in Southaven.

In 2003, Stogner accepted a position in property and casualty insurance sales with an independent insurance agency located in Memphis.

He is married to Kathy Stogner ’97. The couple resides in Southaven and has a 19-month-old son, Whitman.

Continuous Service Award

Tom Eselin ’58

Tom Eselin’s passion for Southern Miss has not waned since his graduation in 1958. Eselin has served as national president of the Association and as member of the USM Foundation’s board of directors. The Association has recognized Eselin with the Outstanding Service Award, induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame and now with the Continuous Service Award. He is also a member of the Eagle Club.

Eselin is a retired health care executive. Prior to retirement, he spent seven years with Christus Health in Texas and six years with Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans.

He and his wife Virginia are currently residing with relatives in Pascagoula. The couple has three children and two grandchildren.

Harmon Hodge ’79

As a Life Member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, Harmon Hodge constantly shows his support for Southern Miss. He joined the Association while living in Cambridge, Ohio, and also served as founding president of the Columbia, S.C., Chapter. Hodge also served as president of the Atlanta Chapter.

In 1998, the Association honored Hodge with an Outstanding Service Award, and he continues his service with his support of athletics on campus. He was formally the Eagle Club director of Atlanta and remains an Eagle Club member. Hodge and others from Atlanta formed the Atlanta Mafia, a group of alumni who attend Southern Miss football games in costume.

Professionally, Hodge is a systems engineer with BellSouth Science and Technology. He and his wife, Carolyn ’79, live in Atlanta with their daughter Jamie Lee Hodge. The Hodges are supporters of the Northeast Atlanta Ballet, where Jamie is a senior company member.

Mikey Marshall ’83

As the son of a past president of the Alumni Association and two graduates of Southern Miss, Mikey Marshall’s love for the University comes as no surprise. Marshall is the son of Earl Marshall ’58, president in 1979-80, and Bobby Jones Marshall ’62.

Like his parents, Mikey Marshall has shown his dedication to the Southern Miss community through his outstanding service as an alum. He has served as director for the Mobile, Ala., Chapter of the Association and as district director for the Mobile Area Eagle Club. In 1990, Marshall was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award by the Association, and in 2000, he was awarded the Outstanding Service Award. Marshall is also a member of the Eagle Club and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Alumni Association.

Currently, Marshall is vice president and general manager for Metals USA Plates and Shapes Southeast Inc. He and his wife, Julie, live in Daphne, Ala., with their 15-year-old son, Myers. He is a member of Spanish Fort Presbyterian Church, the Senior Bowl Quarterback Club, the First and Ten Club and the Coastal Conservation Association.

Liz Payne ’68

As a Life Member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, Liz Payne has shown her pride for the Southern Miss community through her philanthropic efforts to support Lady Eagle athletics and her support of the College of Education and Psychology. Each year since 1994, one athlete from a Southern Miss female athletic team receives the Elizabeth Newell Payne Endowment. Payne is a member of the advisory council for the College of Education and Psychology. She also serves on the committee for the restoration and expansion of the Ogletree House for the Southern Miss Alumni Association.

Payne is part of a committee of Christian volunteers and physicians of the Honduran Medical Scholarship Fund. The group’s goal is to prepare deserving Honduran students for medical school by providing full scholarship support for an undergraduate degree from Southern Miss. Payne makes it a priority to travel to Honduras each year on a medical and dental mission.

Payne and her husband, Larry, live in Hattiesburg. They have three sons who have attended Southern Miss.

Benny Waddle ’82

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1982, Benny Waddle never let Southern Miss stray far from his heart or his mind. Waddle is a former recipient of the Outstanding Service Award, and he is a board member for both the Southern Miss Alumni Association and the USM Foundation. He also has served on the Association’s events committee and has served as an officer in his local alumni chapter. Waddle also supports athletics as a member of the Eagle Club.

Currently Waddle is senior vice president of Business Banking at Hancock Bank. He is a board member for DREAM and the Salvation Army. Waddle serves as treasurer for the W.I. Thames Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. He is also a member of the Hattiesburg Kiwanis Club and chairman of the American Heart Association 2005 heart walk.

Waddle lives in Hattiesburg with his wife, Pamela Gillespie Waddle ’83, and their two children, Amanda, 13, and Benjamin, 10. They attend Parkway Heights United Methodist Church.

Special Service Award

Arthur Bradley, DDS

Originally a native of Millry, Ala., Arthur Bradley has made Southern Miss and Hattiesburg his home for more than 50 years.

For 20 years, Bradley was president of the Southern Miss Educational Building Corporation, a group responsible for facilitating a number of construction projects on campus. In 1983, he was elected president of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, and he served that post for one year.

Bradley is active in Jaycees, Kiwanis and Parkway Heights United Methodist Church. The Bradleys have three sons, all Southern Miss alumni, and six grandchildren. He retired from his local dental practice after serving the community for 38 years and now works with a Rural Health Initiative Clinic in Leaksville.

Shaun ’95, Collins ’90 and Gregg Hess

Shaun, Collins and Gregg Hess consistently show their black and gold spirit.

The Hess triplets have each served in various facets for the betterment of the University. Shaun and Collins have each served as president for the North Alabama Chapter of the Alumni Association. All three brothers have been president of the Alabama Chapter of the M-Club.

The brothers are especially active in Southern Miss athletics. In 1997, they started the “Alabama Game Get-Together.” The get-together was developed to bring former Southern Miss athletes, alumni, fans and friends together. In 2003 and 2005, they brought more than 85 Pop Warner football players, coaches and parents to the Southern Miss vs. UAB game in Birmingham. They acquired a ticket to the game, a “Go Gold!” t-shirt and sports posters for each attendee. Gregg and Collins coach the Pop Warner football players. Also, the triplets have held football season tickets for more than 10 years.

All three brothers live in Huntsville. Shaun is the president of Monte Sano Pharmaceuticals, a marketing and sales company of proprietary prescription pharmaceuticals. Collins is vice president of operations for Monte Sano Pharmaceuticals. Gregg currently works for Teledyne Brown Engineering in their business development department.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Tony Palazzo II ’91

A Life Member of the Alumni Association, Tony Palazzo is an active and involved member of the Southern Miss community. A past president of the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the Alumni Association, Palazzo serves on the board of directors for the Association and is a member of the Eagle Club.

While at Southern Miss, Palazzo served as treasurer for both the Student Government Association and the Kappa Sigma fraternity and was Student Government Association senator. He is currently the chief financial officer for North Mississippi Medical Clinics, Inc., which is a hospital system-owned physician practice network. He is a member of the Medical Group Member Association, serving as the secretary of the Mississippi chapter, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Palazzo is married to the former Amy LeAnne Taylor of Hamilton, Ala. The couple has two children, Madison and Joseph, and are expecting a third. They reside in Tupelo.

Friend of Southern Miss Award

Holt McMullen

A board member for the Partners for the Arts and the Eagle Club, Holt McMullen’s dedication to the University of Southern Mississippi is unquestioned. McMullan invested much of his time during 2004 as chairman of the campaign for a $12 million bond issue in Hattiesburg that would have contributed greatly to Southern Miss athletic facility improvements if passed.

McMullen is a native of Newton and has been in the banking business for more than 30 years and is currently president of Trustmark National Bank in Hattiesburg.

He is active in numerous community activities. He is treasurer of the Area Development Partnership of Hattiesburg and is a board member for the Pine Burr Area Council of the Boy Scouts and Wesley Medical Center. McMullen is also on the advisory council for the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

He is married to the former Lynn Stevens of Richton and is the father of two children, Arlean Sackler of Hattiesburg, and Will McMullen of Boston. They are active members of Trinity Episcopal Church, where he presently serves as chairman of the finance committee and is a former vestryman.

Meritorious Service Award

Tom Potter ’64

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1964, Tom Potter has stayed connected to Southern Miss in many ways. He is a member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association and Eagle Club. The Association honored Potter’s dedication to Southern Miss with the Outstanding Service Award in 1995.

Potter receives this meritorious award in honor of his former service as member of the Alumni Association board of directors, vice president of the Association, alumni traditions committee member, member of the USM Foundation board of directors and as a member of the planned giving committee of the Foundation.

In addition to his service with the University, Potter is the vice president and manager of private banking at Trustmark National Bank in Hattiesburg. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Southern Miss ROTC program. He served two years of active duty and attained the rank of major in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Potter is married to Paula Briede Potter. The couple resides in Hattiesburg, and they have four children and seven grandchildren.

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Last updated: 12/23/05

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