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Jesse Elmo Lang was born in Magnolia, Mississippi. He was an outstanding athlete in football, basketball and baseball, who came to Southern Miss, then Mississippi Southern College, in 1949 on a football scholarship. During his time as a Southerner, he set numerous records on the football field and was named Mr. USM his senior year.  

After graduating in 1954, Lang served in the U.S. Army with the 11th Airborne Division as a paratrooper. Upon his retirement from the Army, he began work as an insurance adjuster, later becoming an attorney who practiced law in Pascagoula for more than 40 years.  
Among his many honors, Lang was recognized for his achievements as an athlete in 1967 when he was inducted into the USM Sports Hall of Fame. He served as the Southern Miss Alumni Association’s president from July 1971 through June 1972, and during his tenure, he initiated and conducted a campus contest to determine an appropriate nickname and mascot for the University.  The result of the contest was a change from “Southerners” as the athletic teams were then known, to the current nickname of “Golden Eagles.” Lang was recognized for his service to the Alumni Association and the University in 1987 when he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame.  
He was married to Vivian Duckworth Lang, also a Southern Miss graduate, for 54 years. They have eight children, all Southern Miss graduates, as well as 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He passed away in August of 2008.
Lang always told his children and grandchildren, “College will be the greatest time of your life.” He was extremely grateful for his education at Southern Miss, as it provided a poor sharecropper’s son an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful life. The Elmo Lang Memorial Scholarship has been created to offer other students that same opportunity. 

The Elmo Lang Memorial Scholarship Eligibility

A student is eligible for The Elmo Lang Memorial Scholarship if he/she meets the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be a resident of the state of Mississippi demonstrating financial need and must possess a minimum 3.0 high school grade point average.
  • The applicant mus be eligible for admission to Southern Miss as a freshman and much enroll at the University for the upcoming fall semester.
  • The applicant must enroll full-time.
  • The applicant must submit a 300-word essay describing his or her activities and community involvement while a high school student.
  • The applicant shall be considered by the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee based on academic performance, financial need and the review of the essay. There are no restrictions based on race, physical disability, veteran status or sexual orientation.

The Elmo Lang Memorial Scholarship Selection Criteria

  • Applications must be submitted to the Alumni Association by March 15, for the upcoming fall semester. Students selected for the scholarships will be notified by mail by May 15, and will be asked to confirm their acceptance of the award in writing to the Alumni Association office by June 15.
  • Applications must include an official high school transcript and a photocopy of an entrance exam score (ACT or SAT).  
  • Applications must have previously completed the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form at www.fafsa.ed.gov and listed The University of Southern Mississippi as a school of choice to receive the application.
  • The number and amount of the scholarships to be awarded shall by determined by the Southern Miss Alumni Association and shall be limited to the funds available for the academic year as determined by the Investment Policy Statement of the USM Foundation. Each recipient shall be selected by the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee in accordance with the criteria as described herein, contingent upon review and approval of the student’s eligibility. The amount of each scholarship shall be dispersed to the recipient(s) at regular intervals during the school year in accordance with normal University policies.  
  • Each scholarship is for one academic year. Prior recipients are not disqualified from consideration of this scholarship during subsequent years. Should a recipient become ineligible during the academic year, a new recipient may be named using the criteria as described herein.  

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