by Sean Macken

Last Tuesday evening, a boisterous crowd provided a ringing endorsement for student and professor colleagues that were cited for their achievements over the past year during the USM Gulf Park Campus’s annual awards ceremony in Long Beach.

Dr. John R. Kelly, the Chief Administrative Officer for the city of Gulfport, received the Friendship Oak Award for his contributions to USM. Emcee Kenneth Zantow expressed the numerous ways Dr. Kelly has supported USM Gulf Park to include providing mobile bandstands for the recent Jazz and Blues festival.

Dr. Kelly, who received his doctorate from USM, said he feels a connection to the university and in helping talented young people achieve their dreams.

Top faculty awards went to Dr. Westley Follet, Dr. Christopher Hayes, Dr. Kelly Darnell and Tom Rishel. 

Tiffany Kersten, winner of the Student Choice Award received her award with a resounding applause from students in attendance.  Students held their own during the ceremony where most recipients were lauded not only for their academic prowess, but also for the volunteer and student government support.

The Who’s Who Students included Undergraduates Lance Horton, Chantel Gary, Shelmon Moore, Brittany Hosey, Ashlyn Lossett, Lauren Slay and Kristen McGuire; and Graduate students Felicia Bowens and Leila Mejdoubi.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were Melissa Estes, Sara-Lee Kidd and Elizabeth Snyder.  Laterrica Moore was named Best Citizen for the campus.