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Southern Miss Alumni Association Announces GOLD Council

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 11:04am | By: Nicole Ruhnke

The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association has announced the creation of the GOLD Council – a volunteer leadership council comprised of graduates of the last decade. Members of the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Council represent the University's young alumni and will serve the Association in creating unique opportunities for this important segment of the alumni base to remain connected to Southern Miss.

“Each year, our University graduates approximately 3,000 students, which translates to 3,000 new alumni,” said Jerry DeFatta, executive director of the Alumni Association. “Through our recent strategic planning process, the need to creatively engage young alumni became increasingly apparent. It is imperative that we engage new alumni soon after their Southern Miss experience; however, it is critical that our Association provides a level of engagement that is valuable to this important constituency.

“The addition of Shonice Montgomery to our team as the coordinator of student and young alumni programming made an immediate impact on our ability to engage this important demographic, and I am thankful for her commitment to this initiative and the creation of our GOLD Council.”

Members of the GOLD Council include:

Bailey Montgomery Alford, '16 of Hattiesburg, Miss.

Nicolet Hopper Bell '15, '16 of Brandon, Miss.

Carlen Chestang III '15 of Hattiesburg, Miss.

Jacob Fitzgerald '17 of Jackson, Miss.

Kaila Moran Griffith '14 of Gulfport, Miss.

Amelia Landers '14 of Hattiesburg, Miss.

Elena Lofton '15 of Mobile, Ala.

Charlotte McLoughlin '14 of Covington, La.

Erin Delos Santos '16 of Gulfport, Miss.

Gavin Snyder '15 of Jackson, Miss.

Brandon Walker '14 of Mobile, Ala.

“I am so excited to be a member of the GOLD Council and serve the University that I love so much,” said Elena Lofton '15. “I have missed the feeling of actively contributing to my peers' Southern Miss experience and connecting with people, and I can't wait to do that for alumni in Mobile and along the Gulf Coast. It is my hope that we enhance what it means to be a Golden Eagle by providing opportunities for alumni to connect beyond their collegiate experience.”

“As a graduate of the last decade myself, I am excited about the creation of the GOLD Council and the opportunities before us as an Association,” said Shonice Montgomery, coordinator of student and young alumni programming. “As we work toward our mission as an organization, we are now able to intentionally offer events and programming specifically targeted to keep young alumni engaged. From exclusive events and increased networking opportunities, we look forward to serving young alumni in ways that maximize their experience and strengthens their bond with Southern Miss.”

The mission of The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association is to build a feeling of pride and loyalty among the alumni of the institution while strengthening participation in alumni and University programs; to coordinate the efforts of alumni on behalf of the University as a whole; and to provide a unified voice for all alumni in the affairs of the University.

To learn more about the Southern Miss Alumni Association, visit