DSU’s Fourth President, Dr. Aubrey Lucas, to Receive Lifetime Achievement Honors at Mississippi Pinnacle Awards

By Mallory Burchfield | February 7, 2024 | Uncategorized

Written By:

Katie Martin, SMP President

HATTIESBURG, MISS (January 28, 2024) – Mississippi is coming to Hattiesburg as Sales and Marketing Professionals announces its Humanitarian honorees, in conjunction with The Mississippi Pinnacle Awards. Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas will receive the highest humanitarian honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mississippi has always been known as the Hospitality State.  Doing for others is in our genetic makeup.  As we raise scholarship dollars for the next generation of marketers, we want to also recognize those practitioners who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to strengthen Mississippi communities,” said Michael Marks, Chair of the statewide awards.

Humanitarian Award honorees will be formally presented at an awards gala to take place at Lake Terrace Convention Center on Tuesday night, April 9 in Hattiesburg. The black-tie event will celebrate the accomplishments of statewide finalists before naming 2024 Mississippi Pinnacle Awards winners. The Mississippi Pinnacle Awards honor excellence, professionalism, and outstanding achievement in sales, marketing, and community engagement and showcase the highest level of public relations talent in the state. 

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas

Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas is President Emeritus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Lucas received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and attained his Ph.D. from Florida State University. In 1975, Lucas became the 6th President of the University of Southern Mississippi. He also served as chair of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and on the board of the American Council on Education.

Lucas served as the fourth president of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi from 1971 to 1975. Striving to increase and improve Delta State’s credibility as a reputable institution of higher learning, one of Dr. Lucas’ goals was to improve academic programs. He worked closely with the National Council Accreditation for Teacher Education. In 1973, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccredited Delta State. In 1974, Delta State College became known as Delta State University.

On July 1, 1975, Dr. Aubrey Keith Lucas became the sixth president of the University of Southern Mississippi, having served as instructor, director of admissions, registrar, and dean of the Graduate School. Among the accomplishments that punctuated the Lucas years were the formation of the Teaching and Learning Resource Center; creation of the Faculty Senate; establishment of the Center for International Education; replacement of the quarter system with the semester system; creation of the Polymer Science Institute; reorganization of the university’s 10 schools into six colleges; formation of the Institute for Learning in Retirement; and affiliation with the athletic conference, Conference USA. After 21 years, Dr. Lucas stepped down from the presidency on December 31, 1996.

Dr. Lucas is active in civic and charitable organizations as well as the United Methodist Church. He served as the Lay Leader for the Mississippi Conference from 2000–2004 and has served on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, and on the Board of Directors of Africa University in Zimbabwe. He has served as Chair of the Center for Ministry at Millsaps College. Along with other Methodist visionaries who studied at Southern during the 1950s, Lucas attributes great influence to the teachings and leadership of the Rev. Sam S Barefield, Jr, who was at that time Wesley Foundation Director.

Dr. Lucas served as Chair of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Board of Trustees, Chair of the Hattiesburg Salvation Army Advisory Board, Chair of the Mississippi Arts Commission; Chair of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters; Chair of the Board of Directors of the Hattiesburg Area Community Foundation, and has served on the Mississippi Humanities Council. He is a member of the Hattiesburg Convention Center Commission.

With his trademark bowtie in place, Aubrey K. Lucas oversaw the evolution of the University of Southern Mississippi. For that and other activities, he is one of only 11 Mississippi Medal of Service recipients when then Governor Haley Barbour said of this select group’s service distinction, “These individuals have had tremendous influence on Mississippi. Their hard work and contributions have made Mississippi a better place to live and work.” 

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