November 16, 2018  

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Southern Miss Luckyday Program Accepts Best Practice Award at Jon C. Dalton Institute

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Representatives of the Southern Miss Luckyday Citizenship Scholars Program accept The Jon C. Dalton Institute Best Practice in Campus Programming Award. (Submitted photo)

The Luckyday Foundation Citizenship Scholars Program at The University of Southern Mississippi was presented with The Jon C. Dalton Institute Best Practice in Campus Programming Award at the annual conference on Feb. 5, 2016. Dr. Larry Sparkman, director of the Luckyday Program, accepted the award on behalf of the Luckyday Foundation and Program at Southern Miss.

The Best Practice Award is given by the Institute annually to a program or practice that has contributed significantly to the field of college student character and values development. A panel of judges, including practicing student affairs professionals and preparation program faculty, review all nominated program materials.

The criteria for evaluating best practices include: positive impact on student learning related to character and value development, successful demonstration in addressing student and campus needs, originality and creativity, evidence of sustainability, and practical use of research and assessment.

Along with Dr. Sparkman, the Luckyday Program staff, other Southern Miss faculty and staff partners who assist with aspects of the program, and a contingent of Luckyday Scholars who are, or have been, on the student-led Executive Leadership Team attended the conference. The Program staff and students presented a concurrent session detailing the Luckyday Program.

“The Luckyday Program encompasses so many different aspects from leadership, mentoring, and study abroad opportunities, just to name a few,” said junior Kelly Mitchell, one of the student presenters. “Presenting the Luckyday Program in just a few short minutes is practically impossible. While at the conference, I realized that not everyone has the opportunity to be a part of a program that is centered on service, servant leadership, and community. However, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to share the Luckyday Program with other people throughout the United States.”

The focus of this year’s conference theme was “Student Activism and Advocacy.” Traveling with the Luckyday program staff was Dr. Shea Kidd Houze, Director of New Student and Retention Programs at Southern Miss. Houze presented a concurrent session at the conference on “Centering Stories When Voices Are Silenced: Experiences of Identity Negotiation in College,” based on her dissertation work.

“The Dalton Institute provides of forum for practitioners, faculty, and students to engage in conversation around social change in higher education and beyond,” said Houze. “I have had the pleasure of serving on the faculty for the Luckyday seminar and so appreciate the partnership with that program as we work to engage students around issues affecting our communities.”

The Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values was established in 1991 for student affairs professionals, educators, graduate, and undergraduate students interested in character development in college students. It is held annually at Florida State University and is named in honor of the Institutes’ Founder and Faculty-in-Residence, Dr. Jon. C. Dalton.

Founded by the late Frank Day of Jackson, Miss., The Luckyday Foundation announced in 2001 it would fund a record number of 400 scholarships annually at USM. As the largest gift in university history, it provides more than $1.6 million annually with $27 million to date made in gifts and commitments to the USM Foundation. There are currently about 450 students in the program.

For more information about The Luckyday Citizenship Scholars Program, visit