Mississippi’s governor-elect, University of Southern Mississippi alumnus Phil Bryant, was honored Thursday by the Southern Miss Alumni Association with the announcement of the creation of the Phil Bryant Executive Leadership Scholarship during a reception at the Trent Lott Center.
The scholarship fund, founded with an initial $10,000 gift from the Alumni Association, will support Southern Miss students who demonstrate the same strong leadership skills that Bryant has displayed as a successful public servant, said Jerry DeFatta, executive director of the Southern Miss Alumni Association.
“It is our hope that this fund will become a repository for gifts by individuals and organizations who wish to honor Gov. Bryant’s service to our university and the state of Mississippi,” DeFatta said.
Bryant, who currently serves as the state’s lieutenant governor, was elected Mississippi’s 64th governor Nov. 8 and will be sworn in to office Tuesday, Jan. 10. The 1977 Southern Miss graduate has also served as state auditor and in the State House of Representatives. He was inducted into the Southern Miss Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
“The creation of this scholarship is the greatest gift I could receive, knowing it will help other blue-collar kids like I was when I first came to the university,” Bryant said. “I’m humbled and grateful."
Bryant has served his alma mater as a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Southern Miss College of Business. His honors include by the Central Mississippi National Rifle Association with its 2005 Kirk Fordice Freedom Award; the 2004 Statesman of the Year award presented by American Family Radio; the 2003 Crime Victims Advocate of the Year; and the prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship.
For his relentless pursuit to expand electronic government on the state and local level, Bryant received the "In the Arena Award" presented by the Center For Digital Government and was the 2003 recipient of the "Mississippian of the Year Award," presented by the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP).
In 2005 he co-authored the book titled, "Leadership Secrets of Government Financial Officials," the fifth book in a leadership series that will be distributed to the state governors and other executives with emphasis in sharing of knowledge on leadership in government. In 2004 he co-authored his first book, "21st Century Government-Digital Promise, Digital Reality."
A Magnolia Report Poll in 2001 selected Bryant as the most respected statewide elected official. He was also honored with a federal appointment by the United States Secretary of Treasury to serve on the U.S. Taxpayers Advocacy Panel (TAP).
For more information about the Phil Bryant Executive Leadership Scholarship and how to support it, contact the Southern Miss Alumni Association at 601.266.5013.