February 19, 2018  

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USM Luckyday Program Set to Top 1,000 Graduates this Spring

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A large group of Luckyday scholars will receive degrees this spring. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

“Jessica Adcock. Zachary Agee. Leah Alda.” One by one, names of senior Luckyday Scholars were called as The Luckyday Foundation Executive Director Patricia Smith and board member Kristin Merrell bestowed the Luckyday graduation stoles on the scholars.

This graduating class from The University of Southern Mississippi will hold a unique spot in the history of the program as it brings the number of Luckyday alumni to over 1,000.

The Luckyday Citizenship Scholars Program began in the fall of 2002. With the initial class of 94 students, the program grew each year, adding around 100-130 each fall as new classes entered the University. The first graduating class of 2006 included 72 students who became the first Luckyday alumni, and with that a new chapter of the Luckyday Program began.

“We are delighted to celebrate the success of so many accomplished students,” said Luckyday Program Director Dr. Larry Sparkman. “It is a special gift to watch students grow through their hard work, supported by the gifts of The Luckyday Foundation. I believe Frank Day would have been proud of them.”

On April 17, the Luckyday Program welcomed The Luckyday Foundation board members to the Ogletree House at Southern Miss for the annual Luckyday Senior Reception. Foundation members, senior scholars, and some friends of the program had time to visit and share memories while enjoying hors d'oeuvres. 

Several key people made brief presentations. Sparkman read a lengthy list of accomplishments of the class, along with funny, memorable, and touching comments previously collected from the students through an online senior reflection. Holmes Adams, The Luckyday Foundation chairman of the board of managers, also offered words of encouragement to the class of 2017.

In response to Adams' words, senior scholar Kelly Mitchell spoke on behalf of the graduating class, offering words of encouragement to her fellow classmates and words of thanks to The Luckyday Foundation.

“Thank you for giving me opportunities that have helped mold me into who I am today. Thank you for giving me the chance to experience the United States with people who are always up for an adventure,” said Mitchell. “Thank you for giving me monetary support to help ease the financial burden going to college often presents. Thank you for giving me opportunities to serve in leadership roles to ensure that I have the tools I need to be successful in the ‘real world.’ Thank you for providing me with mentors who have not only taught me but shown me firsthand what it means to be a servant leader. Thank you for all you have done for me and my classmates over the past four years. I am eternally grateful for all the opportunities Luckyday has given me and for the impact you have made on my life. I will never be able to thank you or the Day family enough for all you have done.”

This senior class will increase the number of Luckyday alumni to 1,097, representing quite a testament to the hard work of so many students and to the generosity of Frank R. Day, who conceived the program.

For more information about the Luckyday Scholars Program at USM, call 601.266.5981 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/luckyday.