Retired businessman William Tatum Jr. and Polk’s Meat Products CEO Julie Polk Breazeale were honored as 2013 Alumni of the Year by The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business during a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Thad Cochran Center.
Tatum, a Hattiesburg native and 1959 graduate, received the Boardman Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. Breazeale, a Prentiss native who earned her undergraduate degree in 2000 and Masters of Business Administration in 2007, was presented the Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year Award.
“Knowing the accomplishments of those awarded previously for Young Alumnus, I knew it was something quite special to be recognized,” said Breazeale. “It will be even more memorable since my dad, John Polk, recently received the Alumnus of the Year award. We are the first father-daughter duo.”
Tatum and his family have deep roots in the Hattiesburg community that date back to the city’s earliest days. An original member of the College of Business Advisory Council, he knows first-hand that business students/graduates influence many different walks of life.
“The College of Business is the heartbeat of a campus,” said Tatum. “No matter what your major is and the college you attend, you must utilize some, or most, of the College of Business graduates in areas such as sales, marketing, CPAs, economics and the like.”
Dr. Faye Gilbert, who took over as dean of the Southern Miss College of Business on July 1, noted that Tatum and Breazeale were ideal choices for the annual awards. “These two award recipients exemplify the qualities that make the Southern Miss College of Business an exceptional place,” said Gilbert.
By this time next year the College of Business is expected to be moving into a new home named Scianna Hall -- a 93,000-square-foot facility that will sit adjacent to the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, facing U.S. 49 South.
The new building is named in honor of Southern Miss alumnus Charles “Chuck” Scianna, who has committed $6 million toward the project, which is estimated to cost $30 million. Scianna Hall will transform the Southern Miss College of Business program that includes approximately 2,200 students, more than 65 faculty members and 17 staff members.
“When I came to Mississippi Southern College in 1955, the business school had no building, as classes were held in every building on campus that had a classroom,” said Tatum. “The new building will be a blessing for the students and faculty, with the most modern technology and facilities available.”
Breazeale echoed those sentiments. “With the construction and completion of the new Scianna Hall, it will become the billboard for USM and showcase the great things Southern Miss has to offer.”
To learn more about the Southern Miss College of Business call 601.266.4659 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/business