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USM School of Accountancy Students Receive MSCPA Awards and Scholarships, including Prestigious Hamp King Award

Wed, 08/30/2023 - 10:26am | By: Bailey Harris

USMUniversity of Southern Mississippi (USM) accounting student Jarrett Lea has been awarded the Hamp King Award and an undergraduate scholarship by the Education Foundation of the Mississippi Society of CPAs (MSCPA). The Hamp King Award is given to the most outstanding undergraduate scholarship recipient among the nine Mississippi colleges and universities that submitted a nomination for the award.

This is the second year in a row a Southern Miss School of Accountancy student has been selected for this recognition. The award was established in honor of Hamp King, who served as Mississippi’s state auditor for many years.

Lea, a native of Brookhaven, Miss. and a graduate of Brookhaven Academy, is an accounting major who has maintained a 4.0 GPA at USM while being an active and engaged member of the university community. Lea’s awards and recognitions while at USM include the Being a Difference Award by the USM Chapter of the Center for the Public Trust, the Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Candidate Award, and the Haddox Reid Eubank Betts Award given to one undergraduate accounting student annually by the faculty of the USM School of Accountancy.

Lea has been elected to serve as President of USM’s Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, has served as Vice President of the USM Chapter of the Center for the Public Trust, and has served as the President and Treasurer of the National Society of Leadership and Success. He also serves as a Cintas Business Student Ambassador where he helps with recruitment, student engagement, and various on-campus events for the College of Business and Economic Development.

“I am so thankful that the Mississippi Society of CPAs has awarded me this scholarship and prestigious Hamp King Award, and for the Southern Miss School of Accountancy’s faculty and staff for believing in me and pushing me to achieve academic excellence,” Lea said. “I will be using this award and the scholarship money associated with it to further my education and grow as a professional.”

Dr. Blaise Sonnier, USM School of Accountancy Director shared, “Jarrett Lea has excelled in the classroom while also being an active and engaged member of the Southern Miss community. Jarrett is a natural-born leader that jumps in with both feet when something needs to get done and gets those around him excited about the task at hand.” Dr. Sonnier went on to say, “We look forward to watching him in the future as he works his way to the top of the accounting profession.”

USMAdditionally, accounting student Haley Milstead has been awarded the Ralph F. Neely Graduate Scholarship by the Education Foundation of the MSCPA. The scholarship was awarded based on Haley’s academic achievements and involvement in campus activities.

"Jarrett and Haley's remarkable track record of academic excellence and their unwavering commitment to campus and professional engagement serves as a testament to their limitless potential as future leaders. Their dedication and involvement have earned them well-deserved recognition from the Mississippi Society of CPAs.” said Dr. Bret Becton, Dean of the College. “I congratulate Jarrett and Haley for their outstanding achievements and eagerly anticipate the positive impact they will continue to make in the world of public accounting and beyond."

Milstead, a native of D’Iberville, Miss., earned an undergraduate degree in accounting at USM with a 4.0 GPA and is currently enrolled in USM’s Master of Professional Accountancy program. Milstead is President of the USM Chapter of the Center for the Public Trust as well as the immediate past Vice President of Membership and the current Reporting Secretary of Beta Alpha Psi. In addition, she is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She also serves as a Cintas Business Student Ambassador. Additionally, Milstead was the Hamp King Award recipient for 2022.

“I am incredibly grateful to the MSCPA and Southern Miss School of Accountancy for selecting me to receive this distinct honor. I would not be where I am today without the continuous support and instruction provided by the School of Accountancy,” Milstead said. “This scholarship will assist me significantly in funding the next steps of my education as I continue to pursue both my master’s degree and CPA license. I cannot thank the MSCPA enough for having such confidence and faith in my academic abilities and professional potential.” 

“We are extremely grateful to the Education Foundation of the Mississippi Society of CPAs for the scholarship support and recognition they provide to our top performing students,” said Dr. Sonnier. “We are extremely proud to have students like Jarrett and Haley that take full advantage of the educational opportunities we have to offer at Southern Miss.”

The Education Foundation of the Mississippi Society of CPAs awarded $49,000 in college scholarships for the fall 2023 term. Founded in the early 1970s, the Foundation seeks to promote accounting education in Mississippi colleges and universities by helping students pursue a CPA career. College juniors, seniors, and graduate students representing nine Mississippi institutions applied for the scholarships, which required submitted essays, transcripts, and resumes. Scholarships worth $3,000 each were awarded to 16 students and an extra scholarship worth $1,000 was awarded to the Hamp King Award winner.