Jim A. Payne, president of Payne Enterprises, will be honored with a reception at 6:00 p.m. on April 1, with a dinner at the Grand Casino Gulfport Hotel to follow.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established to recognize outstanding achievement by an alumnus of the College of Business and Economic Development who has distinguished himself or herself in either the public or private sector.
Payne received his degree in business management from Southern Miss in 1964 and an MBA from Mississippi College in 1981. In addition to managing a variety of investments through Payne Enterprises, Payne also manages two foundations he created. The Jimmy A. Payne Foundation is affiliated with Southern Miss and the Jim Payne Family Foundation is dedicated to medical research activities with emphasis on cancer research.
In 1989, Payne became the first Southern Miss graduate to give the university a $1 million gift. This gift, along with a similar one from his brother Larry, provided crucial funding for construction of the Payne Center, the university's recreational facility for faculty, staff and students. Since then, Payne has given generously to numerous athletic, academic and alumni funds and scholarships at Southern Miss. He also was instrumental in the purchase of a satellite uplink truck for the university.
In addition, Payne served as president of the USM Foundation for three years and now is a member of the board of directors and the investment committee. He has served as president of the Eagle Club and was inducted into the university's Alumni Hall of Fame in 1992.