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Southern Miss Names Willis Vice President of Administrative Affairs

University of Southern Mississippi President Martha Saunders has appointed Russ Willis Vice President of Administrative Affairs, pending approval by the IHL Board of Trustees.

Willis has served as interim vice president since August 2010. Following approval, his appointment will take effect July 1, 2011. His duties include the overall financial management of the university and its physical plant.

“Russ Willis has been highly regarded as an ‘up and comer’ on campus for some time,” explained Saunders. “He is respected by all who know him and works tirelessly for our University. I am honored to have him on my team.”

Willis is a Pensacola, Fla., native and a 1989 Southern Miss graduate having earned a degree in political science. He also holds a J.D. degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. In 1992 he joined the Southern Miss staff working first in Student Affairs then moving to Human Resources as associate director in 1997. He spent eight years as Director of Human Resources before adding the position of interim vice president. The University will conduct a national search for a new Director of Human Resources.

“I am grateful and humbled to be named the Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi,” declared Willis.  “It is a privilege to be able to serve the university in this capacity. As both a student and employee, I have been associated with Southern Miss for more than 25 years, and I have a deep and abiding loyalty and respect for this institution. I look forward to working with President Saunders, executive cabinet, faculty, staff and students in ensuring that the university’s fiscal and human resources, as well as its physical assets, are managed in the most effective way to ensure its success as we embark on our next 100 years.”

Willis will be assisted in his position by Assistant Vice President for Financial Affairs, Allyson Easterwood, and Director of Physical Plant Division, Chris Crenshaw.

Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth July 3-22 at Southern Miss

The Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth, a three-week residential program serving eligible students currently enrolled in grades 7 through 10, will be held July 3-22 at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus. The program is a cooperative effort with the Duke University Talent Identification Program providing a balance of educational, cultural and recreational experiences.

Students will participate in quality learning experiences that allow them to progress at a rate and a level appropriate for high-ability students. Courses include pre-calculus mathematics, human anatomy and physiology, criminal justice, creative writing, polymer science, political science, psychology, forensic science, and debate.

To be eligible, applicants must have earned qualifying SAT or ACT scores as a seventh grader. Required qualifying SAT and ACT scores differ depending on the academic course chosen. Tuition costs include room, board, recreational and cultural activities and limited accident insurance. Financial aid is available on a limited basis, based on need.

Participating students will be housed in residential halls on the university’s Hattiesburg campus, where they will be supervised by residential counselors when they are not in class.

The application deadline is April 30. For additional information about this program, write to The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive #8207, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001; or call 601.266.5236; or Information may also be found online at


Dr. Lorie Watkins Fulton, assistant professor of language and literature at William Carey University, had her first book,entitled William Faulkner, Gavin Stevens, and the Cavalier Tradition, published in January 2011. In the book, published by Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York, Fulton focuses on how Faulkner uses his most frequent narrator, Gavin Stevens, to voice his political opinions and criticize the Southern social and political structure created by the class he belongs to himself. Fulton’s interest in Faulkner developed after reading The Town and other late Faulkner fiction that strongly differed from the earlier works. Her book began as a dissertation while pursuing her PhD in English at The University of Southern Mississippi, which she completed in 2007. She taught at USM for nine years before coming to WCU in 2008, and she now teaches undergraduate and graduate composition, literature and research courses.

“We are immensely proud of our colleague and her new book which makes both an important contribution to Faulkner studies and the profession which we value,” said Dr. Thomas Richardson, chair of the department of language and literature at WCU. “The book enhances the intellectual energy in our department in language and literature here at William Carey and strengthens Dr. Fulton’s classroom teaching and we are absolutely delighted with this significant accomplishment.”


Joshua Wilson, a junior social science major from Brookhaven, was recently named editor-in-chief of William Carey University’s student newspaper, The Cobbler. A 2010 graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Wilson served as editor of student newspaper, The Wolf Tales, from 2008-2009. He currently serves as the secretary of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesley Foundation Executive Board.

Wilson has been a columnist for The Daily Leader, his hometown newspaper, since December 2005, covering local events in southwest Mississippi. Since February 2007, he has also been a special correspondent and obituaries writer for The Daily Leader. He also writes for the Christian devotional magazine devozine, and served on its advisory board from 2008-2009.

Additionally, Wilson is a member of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Brookhaven, where he serves as a member of the communications committee and as a substitute Sunday school teacher. He is the son of Roger and Judy Wilson of Brookhaven.


Dewey Douglas, assistant professor of theatre and communication at William Carey University, was recently selected as one of the region’s four nominees for the Kennedy Center’s National Teaching Artist Grant. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18000 students from colleges and universities nationwide that works to improve the quality of college theatre in the U.S.

Dewey Douglas, assistant professor of theatre and communication at William Carey University, was recently selected as one of the region’s four nominees for the Kennedy Center’s National Teaching Artist Grant.

Gregg Henry, artistic director for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival KCACTF, stated to Douglas, “Your efforts have not gone un-noticed. Your impact on your students and the region is clear. Your artistry and passion for the next generation of theatre artists has been recognized.”

Douglas, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in fine arts from The University of Mississippi, has taught at WCU for five years. He has assisted in over 350 theater productions in his career, serving in a variety of capacities, including scenic/lighting designer, properties artisan, technical director, and playwright. He has worked as a scenic carpenter on the TV series Babylon 5, as a technical director for the Grove Theatre Company and the Grove Shakespeare Festival, and has worked several seasons at the Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory theatre in Costa Mesa, CA. In addition, Douglas has written more than 20 full-scale productions, the most recent being his new adaptation of the Greek tragedy

All Jones County Schools Closed Fri. Feb. 4; Hattiesburg Public Schools and Lamar County OPEN

All Jones County Public Schools are closed today including Laurel Schools.

JCJC has cancelled classes for today.

Headmaster Ronnie Jones at St. John’s Day School in Laurel has announced that classes are cancelled today, Friday, February 4, 2011.

Hattiesburg Public Schools will be OPEN today.

Lamar County Schools are OPEN

24th Hub City Classic THIS WEEKEND

The HHS Forensics Department will host the 24th Hub City Classic Forensic Tournament this weekend at Hattiesburg High School. The tournament attracts schools from across the country to compete and boasts some of the greatest Speech and Debate programs in the country. The event kicks off on Thursday with the 4th Annual Soup and Scenes event. Attendees to that event will be treated to live music, a cajun dinner and performances by some Hattiesburg High’s best Forensics Students.

For more information about the Hub City Classic and the Soup and Scenes event, including dates, times and a list of participating schools, please click here or visit

Comments sought for PRCC nursing reaccreditation review

POPLARVILLE – The Pearl River Community College associate degree nursing program will host a site review next month for continuing accreditation of its program.

Interested persons can  meet the review team and comment on the program at a meeting at 3:45 p.m. Friday, March 4, in the PRCC Nursing Building tiered classroom.

Written comments can be submitted to Dr. Sharon Tanner, chief executive officer, 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 303026; or by email to Deadline for written comments is Wednesday, Feb. 23.

For more information, contact Peggy Dease, PRCC director of nursing education, at 601 403-1016.

PCS Dismisses Early Today

Because of the impending severe weather threat this afternoon (Emergency Management says it is supposed to be in our area sometime between 3 and 7 pm), both the elementary and secondary campuses will be dismissing early.  K5 4th grade will dismiss at 1:30;  5th and 6th grades will dismiss at 1:45; and the high school campus will dismiss at 2:00.  THERE WILL BE NO EXTENDED CARE TODAY!!!

All after school practices are cancelled for the day.  A decision on the varsity basketball games at Hancock will be made later in the afternoon.

Priority registration is extended through tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/2).