April 21, 2019  

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USM Alumni Association Director Honored by Mississippi Business Journal

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Jerry B. DeFatta, Jr.

Jerry B. DeFatta Jr., Executive Director of the Alumni Association at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been named to the prestigious Top 50 Under 40 list for 2017 by the Mississippi Business Journal. Honorees were recognized during a ceremony held Thursday, April 21 at the Old Capitol Inn in Downtown Jackson, Miss.

As executive director, DeFatta leads the association’s 11-person staff, manages the overall administration of the organization and serves as secretary and treasurer of the Association's Board of Directors.

DeFatta, who has held his current post since 2010, said the MBJ recognition took him by surprise. “I knew there were a large number of nominations for the award, and after having the opportunity to hear the great accomplishments of my fellow honorees during last week’s banquet, I am humbled to be included among such an impressive group of young leaders,” he said.

Among the notable accomplishments during his tenure as associate director, DeFatta guided the design and implementation of the 20,000 in 2010 Membership Campaign, a successful effort to increase membership in the organization by approximately 25 percent in time for the University’s Centennial Celebration in 2010.

DeFatta, 39, points out the MBJ award not only brings personal satisfaction, but also communicates how strongly people outside the Southern Miss community believe the programs and initiatives developed within the Alumni Association are having a positive impact on the association.

“I think it is positive for the University to have an employee counted among this group of business leaders,” he said. “It shows the institution’s investment in me as an employee is beginning to benefit other organizations in the community. I am grateful to this University for encouraging me to be involved in helping make the Pine Belt a better place to live and work.”

Prior to joining the staff of the Alumni Association, DeFatta was employed with the Cintas Corporation, an Ohio-based uniform and facility service company, where he held various positions serving as a sales representative, service manager and plant manager.

DeFatta and his wife, Bethanie Hontzas DeFatta, live in Petal, Miss., with their children: Eva Marie DeFatta, 7; Ella Kate DeFatta, 7; and Trey DeFatta, 3.

To learn more about the USM Alumni Association, call 601.266.5013 or visit: http://www.southernmissalumni.com