Their hard work and commitment to leave their future alma mater better than they found it earned many University of Southern Mississippi students much-deserved recognition for academic achievement, leadership and service at the 2017 Student Awards Ceremony, held April 11 at Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus.
Top award winners include Brooke Boisseau, who received the Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl, the university’s highest scholastic honor; and Christian Ratcliff, recipient of the Judge R.J. Bishop Mississippian Award, which honors a student who is a native Mississippian and graduating senior overcoming challenges in pursuit of a degree.
“Every semester I pushed myself to maintain a 4.0 and really immerse myself in the community,” said Boisseau, a USM Presidential Scholar from New Albany, Miss. “I discovered that the more I gave of myself to Southern Miss, the more it gave back to me.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Ratcliff, a Luckday Day Scholar from Batesville, Miss. “I never thought I’d be up on this stage. I’m just living life, trying to make a positive difference each day.”
Other top award winners included the Barbara Ross Gold Leaf Scholarship to Mary Blair Ward of Columbus, Miss. and Jacob Garrett of Zachary La.; The Leave it Better Than You Found It Award to Hannah Haulsee of Long Beach, Miss.; Most Outstanding Freshmen recognition for Mariam Atobiloye of Nigeria and Ryan Johnson of McCall Creek, Miss.; and Rhea Phillips Valentine of Hattiesburg and Jeremy Moore of Prairie, Miss., named Best Citizens.
USM Student Hall of Fame Inductees included Wisam Beauti of Hattiesburg; Danielle Block of Phoenix; Brooke Boisseau; Aaliyah Cole of Natchez; Miss.; Melissa David of Saucier, Miss.; Jaylen Hackett of Mobile, Ala.; Marissa McGillis of Hattiesburg; and Matthew McMullan of Ridgeland, Miss.
Those named Outstanding Freshmen for 2017 included Alyssa Bass; Erin Crater; Ayanna Love; Jon McDuffie; Tony Reimonenq; Jeralyn Servos; Ian Vowell; and Makalah Wand.
Recognized for being named Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges included Shelby Auer; Wisam Beauti; Nina Bellipanni; Meredith Bennett; Erin Blackledge; Danielle Block; Brooke Boisseau; Aliscia Burkett; Arcia Carson; Aaliyah Cole; John Davenport; Melissa David; Madeline Debetaz; John Diffey; Dana Dillistone; Kathryn Dozier; Linh Duong; Ashley Felder; Jacob Fitzgerald; Shelby Gillis; Adrian Griggs; Jaylen Hackett; Erik Hansson; Hannah Haulsee; Amanda Herrington; Kelly Hill; Melody Hill; Kelsey Hubbard; Zachary Irons; Rodnecia Joiner; Philip Lott; Caroline Luckie; Marissa McGillis; Matthe McMullan; Kelly Mitchell; Jeremy Moore; Stephen Kyle Moore; Miranda Morace; Gabbie Munn; Mikal Murphy; Brandon Nettles; Selena Nguyen; Caroline Pruitt; Autumn Sobel; Ellen Suss; Lakelyn Taylor; Ashley Thompson; Madeline Thornton; Rhea Phillips Valentine; Benjamin Waddle; Susan Walley; and Mary B. Ward.
New Student Government Association officers were also sworn in at the conclusion of the ceremony, including Cameron Cloud of Hattiesburg, president; McKenna Stone of Biloxi, vice president; Kayla Hubbard of Flowood, Miss., attorney general; Henry Brubaker of Vancleave, Miss., election commissioner; and Brooks Rahaim of Richton, Miss., treasurer.