Southern Miss Alumni Association Welcomes New Associate Director for External Affairs

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association recently welcomed Shea Kidd Houze as the organization's new associate director for external affairs.

Houze earned a degree in speech communication from the university in 2002. Upon graduation, she was employed in the sales industry until deciding to pursue a career in higher education. Subsequently, she completed a master's degree in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia in 2006.

Over the past seven years, Houze has gained experience in the areas of first year experience, new student orientation, student success and retention programming, multicultural affairs, career services and student activities.

In her prior role at the University of Memphis, Houze served as the coordinator of the First Scholars Program, a four-year program for first-generation college students. In addition, Houze will complete a doctoral degree in educational research from the University of Memphis this year.

As a second-generation alumna of Southern Miss and Hattiesburg native, Houze has vivid memories of walking over the white, arched bridge at Lake Byron, being mesmerized by the Dixie Darlings at halftime during football games at The Rock and listening attentively to her mother's Southern Miss stories.

Throughout her tenure as an undergraduate student until now, Houze has had the desire to leave Southern Miss better than she found it.

"The opportunity to return to my alma mater in this role gives me an opportunity to live out this mantra," she said. "As the guardian of tradition, pride and spirit for The University of Southern Mississippi, the Alumni Association has a long-standing tradition of maintaining relationships with current students, constituency groups and alumni. I look forward to continuing the spirit of excellence through engaging our alumni, current students and community partners in new and meaningful ways."

Houze's primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to, membership recruitment, tracking and evaluation, as well as managing the Association's development efforts. She will also oversee the Association's field operations, programming initiatives and manage affinity partner relationships and other revenue-generating programs.

"We are excited to welcome Shea to the staff of the Alumni Association," said Executive Director Jerry DeFatta. "When this position became available, there was no doubt that Shea's background had uniquely prepared her for this position. I am looking forward to working with her in this important role and am excited about the positive impact she will have on our organization."

For more information about the Southern Miss Alumni Association, call 601.266.5013 or visit:

About The University of Southern Mississippi
Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. As one of only 34 institutions in the nation accredited in art, dance, music and theatre, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi. We are among U.S. News & World Report's most popular universities and recognized by The Princeton Review for our commitment to sustainability. Our Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at