May 23, 2019  

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George, Roberts to Address Graduates at spring 2016 Commencements

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Jeffrey George, a two-term University of Southern Mississippi Student Government Association President, and Hannah Roberts, the Miss America runner-up in 2015, will give the university's spring commencement addresses May 13 and 14, respectively.

Graduation ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 13 at Reed Green Coliseum on the Hattiesburg campus, and a 10 a.m. ceremony will be held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi Saturday, May 14. Approximately 1,800 students are earning degrees from the university this semester.

A native of Covington, La., George will graduate May 13 with a bachelor of arts in political science. He is only the third two-term SGA president at USM in the last 50 years, and was the first student representative to serve as a member of the University’s Executive Cabinet. He has been inducted into the Southern Miss Student Hall of Fame and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. In 2015, he was voted president of the State Institutions of Higher Learning Student Body President’s Council.

George served as a legislative intern for Senator Thad Cochran in Washington, D.C. He volunteers for The Arc of South Mississippi, a non-profit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2015, he received the Hub Award Leadership Scholarship from the Greater Pinebelt Foundation and the Lambert Public Service Scholarship from the USM Foundation.

Roberts, a native of Mount Olive, Miss., graduated summa cum laude from Southern Miss in 2015 with a degree in biochemistry. A Goldwater Scholar, she was named outstanding senior from the College of Science and Technology and is a member of the Southern Miss Student Hall of Fame. A two-time winner of the Miss University of Southern Mississippi Scholarship Pageant before earning the Miss Mississippi title, she was a member of USM’s Kappa Delta sorority, the American Chemical Society, and Campus Crusade.

Through her “Pages of Love” book collection/donation program, Roberts has distributed more than 25,000 new and “gently-used” books to various schools, churches, hospitals, and other organizations. She was accepted into medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center prior to graduating from Southern Miss.

Wynde Fitts, USM’s associate dean of students and advisor to the Student Government Association, has witnessed George’s Roberts’ achievements up close and believes they’re outstanding choices as commencement speakers. 

“What a unique opportunity it will be to have Hannah share the story of her journey as Miss Mississippi. She is such a remarkable young woman who has accomplished so much at such a young age,” Fitts said. “Her personal story is inspiring, and I’m glad she will get the chance to share it with our Southern Miss family on the Gulf Coast.

“And Jeffrey is an inspiring young man not because of all the accolades he’s received, but the way in which he has earned them. His determination and hard work have paid off and his optimism about the future of this institution is infectious. He loves Southern Miss passionately, and it shows in all he does.”

For more information about Southern Miss’s spring 2016 commencement exercises on the Hattiesburg campus, visit;  for information on the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Commencement Ceremony, visit