May 25, 2019  

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Spring Commencements to Feature Accomplished, Longtime Faculty Members as Grand Marshals

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Three veteran University of Southern Mississippi educators with distinguished records of achievement in teaching, research and service will serve as grand marshals for the university’s spring 2018 commencements.

The grand marshals and ceremonies they will serve in are as follows:

*Dr. Gwen Pate, Friday, May 11 at 9 a.m., Reed Green Coliseum, Hattiesburg campus – Colleges of Business, Education and Psychology, and Science and Technology.

A Southern Miss alumna, Dr. Pate joined the USM faculty in 1981 as an instructor in its School of Accountancy, later advancing to the rank of professor and for the past four years has served as director of the school. Her teaching interests include financial and managerial accounting at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and her research interests are in financial accounting and accounting education.

Dr. Pate has several journal articles in such publications as Journal of Accountancy and the CPA Journal. Her practical experience includes serving as internal auditor at USM, and as an accountant in the health care field. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Pate will conclude her accomplished tenure at the University when she retires in June. 

“I am deeply honored to be selected as Grand Marshall for Commencement. The University of Southern Mississippi has been a major player in my life from my days as a student through the years I have served as a member of this faculty,” Dr. Pate said. “I hope that I have contributed to the lives of my students and faculty colleagues as much as they and this university have contributed to me.”

*Dr. Janie Butts, Friday, May 11 at 3 p.m., Reed Green Coliseum, Hattiesburg campus – Colleges of Arts and Letters, Nursing, and Health.

Dr. Butts is currently interim director of the College of Nursing’s School of Professional Nursing Practice, and has been a member of the USM faculty since 1993. She teaches classroom and online nursing courses at the Ph.D., master’s, and baccalaureate levels, including those in ethics, legal issues, advanced theory, advanced practice issues, professional development, research, and professional nursing practice.

Dr. Butts is co-author of Nursing Ethics: Across the Curriculum and Into Practice and Philosophies and Theories for Advanced Nursing Practice. Her journal articles and book chapters include topics on ethics, her research, and theory, philosophy of science, education, and professional issues. She served in the capacity of consultant editor from 2008-2014 for the international journal Nursing Ethics journal. She holds post-doctoral certifications from Rush University in Chicago; ethics summer seminar at Georgetown University, Kennedy Institute of Ethics; and health care ethics summer seminar at the University of Washington, Seattle. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Getting selected grand marshal was a pleasant surprise that I did not expect - it represents the pinnacle of my career as a teacher, scholar, and the fulfillment of service to the University,” Dr. Butts said. “Having been at Southern Miss for 25 ½ years, I have seen many students graduate, and each time, the event is a joyous occasion for faculty.”
*Dr. Ken Zantow, Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m., Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi.

An associate professor of management in the College of Business at the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, Dr. Zantow came to the university in 1999. He earned his Ph.D. in management from the University of Arkansas, holds an MBA from Pittsburgh State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Dr. Zantow’s areas of research expertise include competitive strategy, organizational effectiveness, ethics, and management education. Topics within these areas have led him to study transportation/logistics, healthcare, and other industry settings. He has been published in a number of peer reviewed journals, including Academy of Management Learning & Education; International Journal of Hospitality Management; International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management; Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations; Journal of International Technology and Information Management; International Journal of Management & Enterprise Development; and Journal of American College Health.

“I’m honored to serve as Grand Marshall for the Gulf Coast commencement ceremony as a representative of the Gulf Park Campus faculty. To me, commencement is the result of the hard work and determination of our students, and celebrating their success is a special time,” Dr. Zantow said. “What a great opportunity it is as faculty to see the finished product as they move on to careers and other educational opportunities.”

For more information about Southern Miss spring 2018 commencement, including links for live streaming webcasts of the ceremonies, visit