Michael Sims believes his future is bright, and for that he credits The University of Southern Mississippi.
Sims, a Goldwater Scholar who graduated Friday, May 9 during commencement exercises on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus, said among the many strengths of his alma mater is getting its students involved in the practical side of learning, from the research laboratory to its study abroad programs.
“USM does a great job of showing you how your subject area works in real life,” said Sims, a chemistry and polymer science double major. He was also a Presidential Scholar and student in the University's Honors College. “I can’t think of a better place to have been trained for my future.”
After wrapping up some polymer science research projects this summer, Sims will enroll in the University of Florida’s doctoral program in chemistry. “I really enjoyed my time working in the laboratory and tutoring students at Southern Miss, so I believe a career in academia as a researcher and teacher would be very rewarding,” he said.
Graduate Tonya McGee of Laurel said "I'm so pleased to become a Southern Miss Alumnus. Southern Miss has prepared me for a successful career, and I am so thankful to the faculty and staff who took time to invest in me. For now and forevermore, Southern Miss to the top!"
Sims and McGee were among 1,800 students who were candidates for degrees this semester. A graduation ceremony will also be held Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, featuring U.S. Rep. Stephen Palazzo as commencement speaker.
Holmes Adams, a Mississippi attorney who serves as chairman of the Luckyday Foundation board of managers, served as commencement speaker for Friday's two commencements at Reed Green Coliseum. The Luckyday Foundation funds scholarships at the university for Mississippi high school seniors who demonstrate leadership skills, are exemplary students and who are involved in their communities.
Praising the graduates for their accomplishment in securing their degrees, Adams warned them the future would have its highs and lows, with more of the latter. “Life is hard, and it does not become simpler with age,” he said, positing that acceptance of that fact is a prerequisite for emotional maturity. “The paradox is that can become a source of strength.”
A Harvard University graduate who is listed among some of the best lawyers in the country, Adams told the graduates that as time passes, such accolades, titles and degrees will hold less meaning than the simple things we take for granted – friendship, love, or the natural beauty of the world around us.
“Be a good friend, a good lover. Work on human relationships. Tend to your soul,” Adams said. “At your last setting sun, it is your soul that really matters.”