On July 1, 2014, the Southern Mississippi Alumni Association installed its executive committee for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and on Aug. 15, 2014, during the organization’s annual board of director’s orientation, welcomed six appointed board members, who will serve a three-year term. Individuals include alumni who are accomplished leaders in their communities who demonstrate strong commitment to the betterment of the University.
“It is evident the group of alumni appointed to both the executive committee and board of directors share a collective passion for their alma mater,” shared Jerry DeFatta, executive director of the Southern Miss Alumni Association. “I look forward to working with the volunteer leadership of this organization as the Alumni Association moves forward into another productive year and continues to reconnect with and engage alumni across the country.”
New board members include Ember Ahua of Hattiesburg, Vicki Adkison of Moss Point, Mary Dayne Gregg of Hattiesburg, Lance LeFan of Hattiesburg, David Leiva of Hattiesburg, J. R. Robinson of Hattiesburg, and Gene Smith of Petal.
Executive committee officers include the following:
Angela Hilbun Collins ’92, ’94, President
Angela Hilbun Collins, president of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, is the manager of the Southeast Mississippi Regional Office in Hattiesburg for the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). Her primary duties and responsibilities include working with existing industries and promoting and delivering agency economic development activities for the nine-county area of Southeast Mississippi.
The 1994 recipient of the Munro Oil Company Award, Collins received her Master of Science degree in economic development and her Bachelor of Science degree in paralegal studies from Southern Miss. Along with fellow students, Collins founded the Student Economic Development Association (SEDA), which is still active today.
This Life Member of the Association has served on the organization’s board of directors and is a past recipient of the Outstanding Service Award. Previously, Collins served as a director for the Southern Miss Eagle Club, a board member for the Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC), and is a past chairman of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). She has received several SEDC Chairman’s Awards for her contributions and dedication to the SEDC, including the Honorary Life Member Award. Collins was also recently honored with the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Award.
She and her husband, Thomas Wayne Collins, live in Ellisville. They have two sons, Chad Cognevich of Laurel and Christopher Collins of Aberdeen, Maryland, and are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren, whom they are teaching to love Southern Miss as much as they do.
Sean McGee ’90, President-Elect
While a student at The University of Southern Mississippi, president-elect of the Southern Miss Alumni Association Sean McGee ’90 was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and employed with The Student Printz. As an alumnus, McGee has served as a member of the USM Foundation’s board of directors, the Southern Miss Alumni Association board of directors, and is a past president of the South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter.
McGee and his wife Missy Warren ’88, ‘93 are both members of the Alumni Association and parents of two hopeful future Golden Eagles, Patrick and Jackson.
Missy is currently serving on the USM Athletic Foundation board of directors and is the daughter of Lawrence Warren and stepmother Bonnie Warren, who is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.
McGee has worked for BancorpSouth in Hattiesburg since 2003 and is currently serving as senior vice president and manager of the Premier Banking Department. In his community, he and his family are members of Main Street United Methodist Church, where he serves as the chairman of the administrative council. McGee has served in various civic, social and professional organization roles in Hattiesburg.
Becky Montague ‘94, Vice President
Becky Montague is an honor graduate of the National Center for Paralegal Training, graduated summa cum laude from Southern Miss, and earned a master’s degree in fiction writing from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. As a student, she received the Howard Bahr Award.
Montague served on the faculty of Jones County Junior College until 2006. She is the author of Bringing the World to Mississippi: The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and is currently working on a novel.
This Life Member of the Alumni Association has served on the boards of the Hattiesburg Concert Association, Hattiesburg Arts Council and Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. She was a co-founder of the Hattiesburg Public Art and Design Initiative, served on the Hattiesburg American editorial board and served on the vestry and as chair of master planning at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Montague has served on the boards of both the USM Foundation and Alumni Association. Inducted into the Southern Miss Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2012, she is a former chair of Partners for the Arts, where she has served as a long-time Advisory Board member, and was arts chair of the Southern Miss Centennial Committee. Montague has also served on the Advisory Boards for the College of Arts and Letters and Department of Dance, co-chaired the college’s annual arts gala, and has been a member of numerous search committees across campus.
Montague and her husband, Doug, are the parents of three adult children, all Southern Miss graduates, and are members of the Honor Club and Eagle Club.
Benny Waddle, ’82, Past President
Benny Waddle is a Life Member of the Alumni Association and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern Miss. A certified public accountant, Waddle graduated from the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking. Currently, he is the senior vice president of commercial lending for BancorpSouth.
An active member of his community, Waddle is currently on the United Way of Southeast Mississippi Board of Directors. Previously, Waddle was a past treasurer and board member of the Kiwanis Club of Hattiesburg and was the finance chairman for Parkway Heights United Methodist Church and assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. Waddle has also served on the board for the Salvation Army, D.R.E.A.M., the Area Development Partnership, YMCA and the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation.
Waddle has also devoted much of his time to his alma mater, having served as a board member for the Eagle Club, the USM Foundation and the Alumni Association from 2003-06. Most recently, Waddle was president of the Alumni Association, which honored him with the Outstanding Service Award in 1997, and the Continuous Outstanding Service Award in 2004.
Waddle is married to Pam Gillespie ’83, ‘96. The couple has two children, Amanda and Benjamin, both former Pierce Legacy Scholars and current Southern Miss students.
Byron Jordan ‘88, Finance Committee Chair
This Life Member of the Alumni Association completed a three-year term on the Alumni Association's Board of Directors in 2011 and previously served as chair of the Scholarship Committee. Byron Jordan has served as president of the Southeast Central Alumni Chapter and president-elect of the former Hattiesburg Metro Chapter.
During his tenure as president of the Southeast Central Chapter, the group was awarded Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the Year. Jordan was also honored with the Outstanding Service Award in 1998 and the Continuous Service Award in 2011.
In addition, Jordan is a longtime member of the Eagle Club, has volunteered with United Way and the 4-H Club, and served as president of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. He is currently an officer and board member of the Waynesboro Rotary Club.
Jordan is currently serving as executive vice president and community bank president for First State Bank. He lives in Waynesboro with his wife Linda. They have two sons, Daniel and David, a daughter-in-law, Meghan, and a two-year-old grandson, Hayden. His youngest son, David, is a currently a sophomore at Southern Miss.