December 18, 2018  

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Partners for the Arts Announces New Chair, Board Member Additions

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Partners for the Arts recently announced Ron Hancock, alumnus of The University of Southern Mississippi, as chair for 2018-2019. Five recent board member additions were also announced.

Hancock, an American-born composer, arranger and performer, earned his Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in Arts Administration from Southern Miss in 1993. Hancock moved to Atlanta, Ga., to pursue a career in the music industry, where he landed a position in corporate sales & marketing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

During his subsequent 17-year career in Atlanta, Hancock was an active performing member and teaching assistant in The Emory University Early Music Ensemble and its later — Lauda Musicam of Atlanta. He was a founding member of the Sforzandi Chamber Ensemble, and has served as president and music director of the Atlanta chapter of the American Recorder Society. 

“I am extremely honored to take on the role of chairman for Partners for the Arts. Russ Willis served as chairman of this board with the utmost enthusiasm for two consecutive years and I can’t wait to pick up where he left off,” said Hancock. “I look forward to kick off our 2018-19 membership year and to work alongside our board, filled with many patrons who are not only passionate about the visual and performing arts at Southern Miss but also avid supporters of the arts in the community.”

Hancock is currently a licensed Hearing Aid Specialist with Beltone Hearing Care Centers, but has remained faithful to his long-standing passion for the arts through his active participation in the arts community — serving as a volunteer for the Hattiesburg Arts Council and as First Vice Chair for Partners for the Arts at Southern Miss.

“As the incoming dean for the new College of Arts and Sciences, I am deeply impressed by the work of our arts faculty and students and the impact of our arts programs on our University, community, state and region,” said Dean Chris Winstead. “Our arts programs, and new college as a whole, are indebted to Partners for the Arts members, and I look forward to working with Hancock to continue our traditions of excellence in the arts.”

The recent additions to the board include: Stacy Ahua, director at Volunteer Southeast Mississippi; David Gustafson, editor/publisher at Signature Magazine/Hattiesburg Post; Kimberly-Joy Miri, attorney at Lowrey & Fortner P.A.; Andrew-Miri, attorney at Bryan Nelson P.A.; and Millie Swan, chief of marketing and medical staff services at Forrest General Hospital.

Members of the Executive Committee are: Russ Willis, immediate past chair;  Jay Dean, executive director;  Dr. Luis Iglesias, Interim Director of the School of Humanities; Dr. Richard Kravchak, director of the School of Music at Southern Miss; and Stacy Reischman Fletcher, director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Other board members include: Dr. Angela Ball and Dr. Adam Clay, both Southern Miss English professors; George Bassi, director of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art; Jennifer Clark, owner-operator at Emerge Events; Lisa Conn, community leader; Dr. Kimberley Davis, professor in the School of Music; Charles Dawe, realtor at Re/Max Real Estate; Jim Dukes, Jr., attorney at Dukes, Dukes and Hunter; Cory Ferraez, attorney at Holmes, McLelland & Ferraez, PLLC; Megan Jayroe, special education teacher at Longleaf Elementary School; Althea Jerome, retired music professor; Mary Jordan, community leader; Emily Keith, community leader; Michael Marks, public relations coordinator at Forrest General Hospital; Carole Marshall, community leader; and Leigh Ann Underwood, business development and human resources director at Southern Bone and Joint Specialists, P.A.

Created in 1997, Partners for the Arts is a community alliance between the Pine Belt Community and the arts programs at Southern Miss including Art and Design, Dance and Theatre in The School of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Music and the Creative Writing Program in The School of Humanities.

Through individual and corporate memberships, Partners is able to promote arts education and expand access to world-class arts events and artists. By becoming a partner or renewing your partnership, you put the art in Partners for the Arts. Join online, visit usm.edu/partners-arts.