Holmes Adams, a successful Mississippi attorney whose work with the Luckyday Foundation helps provide opportunities for students to attend The University of Southern Mississippi and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Southern Miss alumnus and supporter, will be the spring commencement speakers at the University’s celebrations in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast, respectively. Approximately 1,800 students are candidates for degrees at the University this semester.
Adams, a partner with the regional law firm Adams and Reese LLP, will address graduates during ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Reed Green Coliseum Friday, May 9, in Hattiesburg. Palazzo, who is in his second term representing the state’s 4th Congressional District, will serve as commencement speaker for the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.
Adams is chairman of the Luckyday Foundation board of managers. The foundation has funded more than 1,400 scholarships at the university for Mississippi high school seniors who demonstrate leadership skills, are exemplary students and who are involved in their communities. In 2011, the Luckyday Foundation also made a $4 million gift commitment to the USM Foundation to be used for construction of new student housing. Designated as Luckyday Citizenship Hall, the new facility will be one of three buildings included in Century Park South, a residence hall complex that will provide 954 beds for freshmen and other scholarship students.
Adams is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and is listed in the Best Lawyers for Trusts and Estates for the United States and Mid-South Super Lawyers for Trusts and Estates. Adams also represents public school districts in all facets of their operations, and is past chairman of the Mississippi Law Institute.
A 1975 graduate of Harvard Law School, Adams received a B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi in 1968 and was valedictorian. Between undergraduate school and law school, he served in the U.S. Army with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam and with the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Congressman Palazzo has served Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011. He is a Persian Gulf War veteran and member of the Mississippi National Guard and also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 2006-2010.
During his first term, Palazzo was selected to serve on the Majority Whip team as well as chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, both rare honors for a freshman member. He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Homeland Security.
His legislative accomplishments include passage in 2011 of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economy of the Gulf Coast (RESTORE) Act. The RESTORE Act was designed to bring hundreds of millions of dollars back to the Gulf Coast for environmental and economic development projects. Palazzo was also responsible for passage of crucial space legislation, known as the Space Exploration Sustainability Act.
A Gulf Coast native and Biloxi resident, Palazzo holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southern Miss.
For more information about commencement at Southern Miss, visit http://www.usm.edu/commencement.