April 19, 2014  

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Southern Miss Executive Frances Lucas Named 2013 Woman of the Year

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Southern Miss Gulf Coast Vice President and Campus Executive Officer Frances Lucas. (University Communications photo)

Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president and campus executive officer for The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, was named the 2013 Woman of the Year by the Lighthouse Business and Professional Women during their Women of Achievement Awards Ceremony held in October at the Biloxi Civic Center.

“I was greatly surprised and flattered to receive this prestigious award,” said Lucas. “The other nominees are women who have contributed to the coast for many years and are each deserving of this honor. Nonetheless, I am grateful and hope it will bring visibility to our fine university.”

Lucas, who joined Southern Miss in 2010, was nominated as a finalist in the education category, a field where she has over 30 years of executive experience. Prior to becoming vice president and CEO at Southern Miss Gulf Coast, Lucas served as the first female president at Millsaps College in Jackson, a position she held for 10 years. In addition to Millsaps, Lucas has worked at Emory University, Baldwin-Wallace College, Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama.

During her academic career, Lucas received numerous awards. These include the Francis Asbury Award for Leaders in Education, the United Methodist Church Mississippi Conference Outstanding Leadership Award, Mississippi Women’s Network Leonard Goldman Citation for Outstanding Service to Students, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Most Outstanding College President and the Mississippi Business Journal Lifetime Achievement Award.

Celebrating its 57th year, the Women of Achievement Awards recognized women in career fields in education, medical, corporate/entrepreneur, government/military, nonprofit and young careerist. Serving and representing women in the workplace on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Lighthouse Business and Professional Women is affiliated with the BPW Foundation, which partners with its affiliates to create successful workplaces by focusing on issues which impact women, their families and employers.