Dr. Alvin Williams has dedicated more than 30 years to The University of Southern Mississippi, and while the majority of his efforts have been as a professor and administrator, he was most recently named president of its Alumni Association Executive Committee.
In his role with the association, Williams, a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame and 2010-11 president-elect, is part of an executive committee that provides guidance for the association’s operations.
Joining Williams on the executive committee are President-Elect Dale Shearer of Ridgeland, Vice President Benny Waddle of Hattiesburg, Past President Randy Pope of Hattiesburg and Finance Committee Chairman Donnie Tynes of Madison.
"As president-elect, the past year has offered an exciting opportunity to learn and appreciate the depth and breadth of the Alumni Association's contributions to all things Southern Miss,” said Williams. “I was consistently amazed at the range of activities, relationships and tasks required to make this an exemplary organization.
“The superb alumni staff demonstrated commitment, professionalism and the willingness to go the extra mile to support the Southern Miss family and to strengthen our brand name."
With a newly finalized strategic overview in place, Williams will guide the organization as it begins to implement and carry out specific aspects of this plan. Among other initiatives, a top priority in this role will include working with the university staff and volunteers to ensure children and grandchildren of alumni are recruited effectively, as well as continued support and investment in The Legacy, the student chapter of the Alumni Association, to increase membership and, more importantly, participation.
"The coming year will build on the solid leadership foundation of Past President Randy Pope,” Williams said. “We hope to continue building a strong sense of Southern Miss community, assist in the implementation of our new strategic plan, strengthen our reach to the various market segments, consider innovative ways of sharing the Southern Miss story and to encourage more alumni and friends to re-commit to their University.
“As we move into this new year, efforts to harness and leverage the tremendous energy of the Southern Miss family will be among our key initiatives.”
Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Miss in 1974, master’s degree from the University of Alabama and his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He was interim dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Southern Miss, where he worked from 1980 to 2008. Williams also served as a department chair from 1988 to 2005. He is past president of the Society for Marketing Advances and past editor of the Journal of Supply Chain Management.
Williams has conducted more than 350 presentations and seminars for supply management and marketing professionals in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and China. He has published in various academic and professional journals in marketing and supply management, including Industrial Marketing Management, the Journal of Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Review and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management.
He is currently a distinguished professor of marketing at the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell College of Business. In addition to academia, Williams emphasizes university service and co-chaired the Southern Miss Centennial Celebration Steering Committee.
Williams’ civic and community activities have included, at various times, Boy Scouts of America, which honored him with the Silver Beaver Award; Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club board; United Way of Southeast Mississippi; Area Development Partnership board; and the USM Foundation board. He is married to Lourinda Williams ’75, ’77, and the Life Members of the Alumni Association have two daughters, Adria and Aprille.
Biographical information for the other executive committee members follows:
Dale Shearer ’87/President-Elect
In 2010 Dale Shearer returned to the Association’s volunteer leadership as vice president following a stint on the Alumni Association’s board of directors from 2002 to 2005. A member of the Eagle Club and fan of any team wearing the black and gold, he is the son of Carolyn and Kenneth B. Shearer ’60, who served as president of the Alumni Association in 1970-71.
As an alumnus, he has served as a member of the USM Foundation’s board of directors, on the Alumni Association's Presidential Transition Team and as a delegate to the IHL Inter-Alumni Council. He and his wife, the former Janet Denise Saul ’90 are members of the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Honor Club.
Shearer is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1991. He is a member of the law firm Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush, P.A. He represents individuals and legal entities in oil and gas, construction, insurance, software development, manufacturing, transportation and other industries doing business in Mississippi.
He resides in Ridgeland, Miss. with Janet, daughter Mary Kate and son Sam. In his community, he attends Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church with his family, and has served on the board of directors for the City of Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce. Shearer has also provided legal services to nonprofit religious and educational organizations, and consulted with local leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, undertaking high-adventure trips.
Benny Waddle ‘82/Vice President
Hattiesburg resident Benny Waddle received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern Miss. A certified public accountant, he received his master’s degree from the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking. Currently, Benny is senior vice president at Hancock Bank.
An active member of his community, Waddle is a board member of the YMCA, D.R.E.A.M., the Kiwanis Club and the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation. Previously, he was the finance chairman for Parkway Heights United Methodist Church, assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America and served on the board for the Salvation Army and Area Development Partnership.
Waddle also devotes time to his alma mater, having served as a board member for the Eagle Club and USM Foundation. In 1997, the Alumni Association honored Benny with the Outstanding Service Award.
He is married to the former Pam Gillespie ’83. The couple has two children, Amanda and Benjamin.
Randy Pope ‘73/Past President
Moran M. “Randy” Pope III returned to the position of Alumni association president for a second time in 2010-11.
Among other volunteer roles in support of Southern Miss, the life member of the Alumni Association also served as the Association’s president in 2000-01 and has served two three-year terms on the USM Foundation’s board of directors. The dedicated alumnus is also a past president of the USM Foundation and has served on the Athletic Foundation’s board of directors. He is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame and received the Association’s Continuous Service Award in 2006.
Professionally, Pope is a partner in the law firm Pope & Pope, P.A. along with his father, Moran Pope Jr., a 1944 graduate of Mississippi Southern College. The Hattiesburg native is a 1978 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1979. His practice is primarily in the areas of estate and probate law, real estate and school law. He has tried cases in both state and federal courts in Mississippi and has argued cases in the Mississippi Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Pope is a member of a long line of Southern Miss graduates. His grandfather, Moran Pope Sr. and grandmother, Florence Burrow Pope, were members of the first class at Mississippi Normal College (MNC) and the first married couple to graduate from the institution that is now known as The University of Southern Mississippi. His mother Yvonne ’43 is a graduate of Mississippi Southern College, and his wife Kathy is a 1974 graduate of Southern Miss. He and Kathy have two daughters, Lucy Pope Schultze ’01 and Valerie Pope Nicholson, and one grandson, Jacob Rhys Schultze.
Donnie Tynes ‘75/Finance Committee Chairman
A life member of the alumni association, Donnie Tynes has been a dedicated alumni association volunteer, serving on the finance committee for multiple years, and previously held the title of Finance Committee Chairman in 2009-10. In 2010, ths 1975 graduate of Southern Miss was awarded the Continuous Outstanding Service Award by the Alumni Association.
Tynes is also a loyal member of the Eagle Club, serving as treasurer of the Jackson Eagle Club for more than two decades while maintaining memberships in the Hardwood Club, Wings, Dugout Club and Outfield Club.
He is a certified public accountant who has worked with Trustmark Bank since 1975 and is currently the bank's vice president and director of external reporting. Tynes resides in Madison with his wife Barbara Schuler Tynes, to whom he's been married for 30 years. They have one son, Darren.