Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a University of Southern Mississippi alumnus, will give the Spring 2013 Commencement address Friday, May 10 in two ceremonies at Reed Green Coliseum on the Hattiesburg campus.
The ceremonies will be at 10 a.m., which will include graduates from the Colleges of Business, Education and Psychology and Health; and at 2:30 p.m. with graduates of the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Nursing, and Science and Technology. A ceremony for graduates of Southern Miss Gulf Coast will be held Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
“We’re pleased to have Gov. Bryant as our Spring 2013 Commencement speaker,” said Southern Miss President Dr. Rodney Bennett. “He’s a great role model for public service and a dedicated alumnus of our beloved university. I know our graduates will benefit from his insight and words of encouragement as they look to the future.”
A native of Moorhead, Miss. Bryant was elected Mississippi’s 64th governor in November 2011. Prior to becoming governor, he served one term as Mississippi’s 37th lieutenant governor and served as state auditor. He represented his legislative district in the Mississippi House of Representatives for five years.
“I’m honored to be asked to share this special moment with Southern Miss graduates,” Bryant said. “As they turn the page to the next chapter in their future, they have the benefit of a world-class education that I know from personal experience gives them the tools they need to succeed.”
As lieutenant governor, Bryant proposed webcasting of the Senate proceedings and led a effort to pass the most comprehensive ethics reform in nearly 25 years, which included requiring elected officials to file their ethics reports online. While serving as state auditor, his office recovered more than $12 million in taxpayers’ dollars embezzled or improperly spent. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, he was vice chairman of the Insurance Committee and authored the Capital Gains Tax Cut Act of 1994.
A former deputy sheriff, Bryant earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Hinds Community College and a bachelor’s degree at Southern Miss. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi College, where he served as an adjunct professor of government.
Bryant is the contributing author of three books, including 21st Century Government – Digital Promise, Digital Reality; Leadership Secrets of Government Financial Officials, and Best Case Practices.
He served as the 2008 Honorary Chairman of the Republican Lieutenant Governor’s Association and is a past president of the Mississippi Republican Elected Officials Association. Bryant also served on the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association Executive Committee as the Southern Region Republican at-large member.
Bryant and his wife, First Lady Deborah Bryant, have two adult children, Katie and Patrick, who are both Southern Miss graduates. They are active members of St. Marks United Methodist Church.
For more information about commencement at Southern Miss, online visit http://www.usm.edu/commencement.