Through its selection of an annual Hall of Fame Class, the Hattiesburg Public School District Foundation acknowledges the contributions of the alumni from the Hub City’s five legacy public schools. Students who finished their last year of high school on the campuses of Eureka, Hattiesburg/Blair, Hattiesburg/North Main Street, L.J. Rowan and Royal Street high schools are eligible for inclusion in The Hattiesburg Hall of Fame.
Quite unplanned, as fate would have it, each of Hattiesburg High School’s predecessor institutions unknowingly shared a common mascot – The Tiger.
The inaugural class, inducted on Oct. 4, 2018, included: 10-time Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year Rick Cleveland; Hattiesburg’s First African-American Mayor Johnny DuPree, Ph.D.; NFL Standout Harold Jackson; Chairman of the Board for Bank of America Walter E. Massey, Ph.D.; president/CEO of Camellia Health Abb Payne; founder of Southern Bone & Joint Doug W. Rouse. M.D.; and the first Female president of The University of Southern Mississippi, Martha Dunagin Saunders, Ph.D.
Also honored in the inaugural year were NBA star Purvis Short; Midtown developer Rob Tatum; country music Songwriter of the Decade Craig Wiseman;. Honored posthumously were the first African-American Navy aviator Jessie L. Brown; former PGA President James Ray Carpenter; first female Lt. Governor Evelyn Gandy; and baseball Legend Bobby Myrick.
In consultation with primary publicity partner, The PineBelt News, and beginning June 1, the foundation invites the public to give input regarding future Hall of Fame nominations.
Interested parties should go to HattiesburgHOF.com to offer suggestions about who should be inducted into the Class of 2019. Public participation will help to ensure that future classes are equally as diverse when it comes to race, gender and career paths.
All nominations will be presented to the Selection Committee regardless of how many times a name is submitted.
“Only one nomination is needed for an alumnus to be considered by the committee and eventually inducted,” said HPSD Foundation Executive Director Dan Kibodeaux. “This helps us dispel the notion of being recognized solely because of popularity.”
Serving as Board of Directors President is Russ Hendley who acknowledges, “The HPSD Foundation Board of Directors is responsible for approval of final inductee selections. Funds generated from the Hall of Fame provide for student scholarships, teacher grants, early childhood education and ongoing programs of the HPSD Foundation.”
According to Hattiesburg Hall of Fame Chair Michael Marks, “We are excited to be a part of the district’s effort to reclaim its alumni, across the nation, as role models for our current student body. As was evidenced at The Masters, the Tiger is back!”