April 19, 2014  

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Southern Miss Alumni Association Announces 2013-14 Executive Committee

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Benny Waddle
Benny Waddle '82 has been chosen to serve as president of the Southern Miss Alumni Association's 2013-2014 Executive Committee

The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association recently announced the selection of officers for its 2013-2014 Executive Committee. The committee’s membership includes alumni who are accomplished leaders in their communities who demonstrate strong commitment to the betterment of the university.

Executive committee officers include:

Benny Waddle, ’82, 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, Benny graduated from the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking. Currently, he is the senior vice president of commercial lending for Bancorp South.

An active member of his community, Benny is a board member of the Kiwanis Club of Hattiesburg where he holds the position of treasurer. Previously, he was the finance chairman for Parkway Heights United Methodist Church and assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. Benny 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.

Benny 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. The Alumni Association has honored him with the Outstanding Service Award in 1997 and the Continuous Outstanding Service Award in 2004.

Benny is married to Pam Gillespie ’83, ‘96. The couple has two children both currently attending Southern Miss, Amanda, a junior and former Pierce Legacy Scholar, and Benjamin, an incoming freshman Golden Eagle and also a Pierce Legacy Scholar.

Dale Shearer ’87, Past President

Dale Shearer returned to the volunteer leadership of the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association as vice president in 2010 following a stint on the Association’s board of directors from 2002-05. In his current role as past president, Dale serves on an executive committee that provides guidance for the Association’s operations.

A 1987 graduate of Southern Miss (BA, English), Dale was raised as a Southerner and Golden Eagle. A member of the Eagle Club and fan of any team wearing black and gold, he is the son of Carolyn and Kenneth B. Shearer ’60, who served as president of the Alumni Association in 1970-71.

When he was a student Dale was a member of the Honors College and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and was active in student government. As an alumnus, he has served as a member of the USM Foundation’s board of directors, on the Alumni Association's Presidential Transition Team in 2006 and as a delegate to the IHL Inter-Alumni Council. He has also provided legal counsel to various Association groups, and he and his wife, Janet Denise Saul ’90, are members of The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Honor Club.

Dale is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1991. He is a member of the law firm Copeland, Cook, Taylor and Bush, P.A. that has offices in Ridgeland, Biloxi and Hattiesburg. Dale represents individuals and legal entities in oil and gas, construction, insurance, software development, manufacturing, transportation and other industries doing business in Mississippi. In his community he attends Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church with his family and has served on the board of directors for the city of Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce. He has also provided legal services to nonprofit religious and educational organizations and consulted with local leaderships of the Boy Scouts of America undertaking high-adventure trips.

Dale resides in Ridgeland with wife, Janet, daughter, Mary Kate, and son, Sam.

Angie Collins ’92, ’94, President-Elect

Angie Collins, president-elect for the Southern Miss Alumni Association, is the manager of the Southeast MS Regional Office in Hattiesburg for the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). She has worked at MDA since 1995. Her primary duties and responsibilities include working with existing industries and promoting and delivering agency economic development activities for the 13-county area of Southeast Mississippi on behalf of the state of Mississippi.

Angie attended The University of Southern Mississippi where she received her Master of Science degree in economic development and her Bachelor of Science degree in paralegal studies. She is a certified public manager for the state of Mississippi.

Angie is a past board member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council, a past chairman of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), a 17-state regional economic development organization and has been the recipient of several SEDC Chairman’s Awards. She serves as the secretary for MS South Inc., regional developers’ organization representing nine counties in Southeast Mississippi.

Angie has served on the Southern Miss Alumni Association Board, as well as a director for the Southern Miss Eagle Club. She is a Life Member of the Alumni Association, a member of the Eagle Club and a season ticket holder.

She and her husband, Thomas Wayne Collins, live in Ellisville. He is retired from the United States Air Force and is now pursuing a history degree from Southern Miss. Between the both of them, they have two sons, Chad Cognevich of Laurel and Christopher Collins, who is serves in the Unites States Army as a chaplain’s assistant. They love spending time with their four grandchildren, Caylee and Cash Cognevich and Kylie and Landon Collins.

Sean McGee ’90, Vice President

While a student at The University of Southern Mississippi, Vice President 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, Sean 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 MS Alumni Chapter.

Sean’s wife, Missy Warren ’88, ‘93, are both members of the Alumni Association and are parents of two hopeful future Golden Eagles, Patrick, 15, and Jackson, 12.      

Missy is currently serving on the USM Athletic Foundation and is the daughter of Lawrence Warren and stepmother, Bonnie Warren who is a member of the Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame.

Sean 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. Sean has served in various civic, social and professional organization roles in Hattiesburg.

Tom Hickman ‘01, Finance Committee Chair

Finance Committee Chair Tom Hickman ‘01 is president and wealth strategist for Fairway Financial Management. Securities and investments are offered through LPL Financial member FINRA/SIPC. Tom helps individuals and businesses pursue, manage and maintain wealth through comprehensive financial planning. With more than 12 years in the financial services industry, his prior experience includes working at UBS/PaineWebber, AmSouth Investment and Citizens National Bank/Raymond James.

Tom holds Series 7, 63 and 66 registrations with LPL Financial and also has his annuity, long-term care and life insurance licenses offering a broad range of services to his clients. In addition to investment management, he also specializes in retirement planning, saving for children or grandchildren's education and coordinating strategies to help minimize income and estate taxes.

Tom's goal is to provide every client with confidence to ensure the most effective strategies available are being implemented for them and that new strategies and tactics are continually being reviewed. As their financial point-person, he provides clients with pertinent information that is valuable to their decision-making.

Tom is a member of the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer for the Salvation Army. In addition, he enjoys traveling and recreational sports.

 For information about the Southern Miss Alumni Association, online visit www.usm.edu/alumni.