HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi
The more than 1,600 students that comprise Greek Life at The University of Southern Mississippi continue succeeding in the classroom.
Members of the University's fraternity and sorority chapters increased their overall grade point average (GPA) to 3.21 in the spring semester, an all-time record, according to Southern Miss officials.
Of the 25 fraternity and sorority chapters at USM, 20 increased their GPAs in the spring, with the sororities raising their overall average to 3.26, their highest ever, and the fraternities raising theirs to 3.02, also a record. All 12 sororities and 8 out of the 13 fraternities are above the all-University GPA.
Charles Childress, director of the USM Office of Greek Life, credits continuing focus, leadership of chapter presidents, collaboration with faculty, staff and administration and peer accountability among students as some of the keys to result.
"Southern Miss Greek Life students continue to meet the challenge of succeeding academically," Childress said. "At the beginning of the spring semester, we worked intensively with chapters to focus on academic success during our annual Greek Life retreat at the Gulf Park Campus. We're extremely proud of their achievements, not only in the classroom but the community as well."
Other Greek Life academic highlights from the spring 2016 semester include:
*Approximately 15 percent of students in Greek Life had a 4.0 spring semester GPA.
*More than 67 percent of students in Greeks have above a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
*More than 84 percent have above a 2.5 spring semester GPA.
*Two chapters set new records for their respective councils and Greek Life as a whole. Chi Omega obtained their highest GPA on record for the entire system (3.51) and Pi Kappa Phi obtained the highest Interfraternity Council (IFC) GPA on record to date (3.28).
*Eta Tau chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. obtained the highest GPA of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) for the semester (3.46), and also achieved the highest new member GPA for the semester (3.59).
*Three IFC chapters achieved their highest semester GPA on record since 1993, including Kappa Sigma (2.96), Phi Kappa Tau (2.95), and Sigma Phi Epsilon (3.21).
*Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Kappa Tau and Alpha Tau Omega raised their GPAs significantly from the fall semester.
College Panhellenic Council President Hannah Haulsee, a senior psychology major from Long Beach, Miss. said that through individual programming provided by chapters and councils, Greek students have opportunities to succeed academically and support Greek Life's "universally fundamental value of scholarship."
"I couldn't be more proud of the hard work our chapter members put into their academics, personal development, and community service. Personally, Greek Life has continued to provide opportunities and accountability for my academic success," Haulsee said. "We're also excited to continue recruiting more students into our organizations who value their education as seriously as our current members."
Catherine Taylor, a senior athletic training major from Southaven, Miss. who is president of the USM National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), said Greek Life's academic achievement is a positive follow-up to its chapters raising more than $400,000 for various charities.
The NPHC is composed of 8 historically black fraternities and sororities. During the spring 2016 semester, the NPHC's four sororities had an overall GPA of a 3.14, with 51 NPHC members graduating and the addition of 24 new members.
"We are always striving to help the Southern Miss and surrounding community, as well as for academic achievement," Taylor said.
Benjamin Waddle, a senior marketing major from Hattiesburg and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said the many academic achievements in the spring mean a lot to Greeks at USM.
"Every one of us, no matter what Greek affiliation we are, came to Southern Miss with one goal and that is to get a degree," said Waddle, who is Sigma Phi Epsilon Vice President of Membership Development and IFC Vice President of Scholarship and Educational Programming. "We worked very hard within our Greek councils to plan and focus our members on putting grades first. This achievement reflects the hard work every Greek member has put toward their studies."
Waddle also credited for the milestone the support of executive council boards in IFC, CPC and NPHC through weekly meetings with representatives from every chapter, as well as Office of Greek Life staff.
"Student involvement, leadership development and high academic achievement are the hallmarks of the Greek Life experience at Southern Miss," said Dr. Eddie Holloway, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students. "I commend the Greek Life staff and our students for their commitment to excellence," he said.
For more information about Greek Life at Southern Miss, visit https://www.usm.edu/greek-life; or email Childress at firstname.lastname@example.org.