The 2018-19 Annual Report, published by the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi, tells stories of outstanding achievements made by our faculty, students, staff, donors, and alumni over the course of the academic year.
BREAKING THE MOLD THE COLLEGE’S FIRST FEMALE ACCOUNTING STUDENT In <strong>19</strong>52, Miriam Moore Adamson became the first woman to graduate from the Accounting program at The University of Southern Mississippi. In addition to her undergraduate degree in accounting, Miriam also received a minor in business administration. Born in House, Mississippi, she led a life full of adventure as she often moved to new cities. Miriam rarely stayed in one place for long due to her father’s position in the Navy. Little did she know, she would continue to move frequently until retirement. After graduating high school in a class of only 13, Miriam later attended East Central Junior College in Decatur, Mississippi. Majoring in secretarial studies, she explained that at that time, women normally prepared to be a secretary/bookkeeper, teacher or nurse. Upon completion at East Central, she began working for Mississippi Paint and Glass as a secretary and bookkeeper. There, she realized that bookkeeping was much more enjoyable for her than secretarial work, and that began her pursuit of an accounting degree. She saved up her money, bought a car, and drove it down to Hattiesburg. When asked about her college experience, she described Southern Miss as a supportive, friendly campus. She and her friends would often attend football games, go see plays put on by the Theatre department, 36 | C O L L E G E O F B U S I N E S S A N D E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T
and go to the beach for the day. She and her roommate, Bernice Snowden, who had also attended East Central with Miriam, remained friends until Bernice passed away a few years ago. While reminiscing on her time in the Accounting program, Miriam told stories about her favorite professors and classes. “Mr. Scott would put a copy of our exam, turned upside down, on each student’s desk. There were a couple times in Cost Accounting that Mr. Scott said, ‘Thanks to Miss Moore, I had to change this exam.’ He would say it with a grin.” Mr. Scott was making changes to the exam so that the questions were also relatable for Miriam, as all were geared specifically toward men at the time. “I LOVED MY ACCOUNTING CLASSES AND TOOK EVERY ADVANCED CLASS THAT THEY TAUGHT IN MY TWO YEARS AT SOUTHERN MISS. EVEN THOUGH I WAS THE ONLY FEMALE IN MY CLASSES, MY MALE CLASSMATES WERE VERY SUPPORTIVE AND ALWAYS TREATED ME WITH RESPECT.” “When I was about ready to graduate, Dr. Joe Greene, the dean of the Business School, said he had checked the records back as far as he could, and as far as he could tell, I was the first female to graduate from [Southern Miss] in accounting.” Once she graduated from Southern Miss, Miriam followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the Navy in <strong>19</strong>53. She was the only female in her company of 30. “They took good care of me, treated me like they would have their little sister. One of the guys in my company gave me the nickname, Mim.” Mim worked as a disbursing officer for two years in San Diego before leaving to marry her husband, Don Adamson. A few years later, Don secured a position at IBM, which they jokingly said stood for “I’ve Been Moved.” The Adamson family moved 15 times over a 30-year period, living in places such as Michigan, Louisiana, New York, Connecticut, Georgia and Mississippi. In each new location, Mim would quickly find an accounting position and begin work again. Due to these frequent moves, Mim had the opportunity to work for quite a few interesting companies. While the family lived in New York during the late ‘60s, Mim worked as a bookkeeper for Mr. Ed Jurist, who owned Vintage Car Store, and the name says it all. “At the time, it was the largest vintage car dealer in the country. He always had a showroom filled with cars that men drooled over.” Mim mentions Jurist owning and selling vehicles, such as Phantom IV Rolls and Excalibur cars. When the family moved to Boca Raton, Florida, in the mid ‘70s, Mim accepted a position at Creative Ceramics working for Elliott Mackle. The company was transitioning into a ceramics manufacturer, building a factory, hiring employees and starting production, and Mim was hired to set up and run an accounting system for the growing business. In Connecticut, Mim secured a job as an accountant for Mr. Scott Savage, the owner of Savage Eye Wear and other businesses. Scott invented certain swim goggles and nylon frames for eye glasses and different types of ski goggles. “His goggles were used in the Winter Olympics at least one year.” Miriam also secured jobs through various CPA firms, being assigned to work temporarily for companies in need. “Without my degree in accounting from USM, I could never have held the jobs that I did. Professor Robert Scott did a great job of preparing the accounting majors for life outside of college.” She described her courses as being taught by professors that cared about and assisted with her success. In addition to Mim’s career, she has always been very involved in volunteer work. She set the books up for Boca Raton Methodist Church in Florida while living there. She was elected president of the Board of Trustees at Long Ridge Methodist Church in Connecticut, where she led the initiative to renovate their Fellowship Hall. She was on the Finance Committee at the First Methodist Church in Greensboro. She started a coffee club of 10 ladies, which grew to over 350 members who lead many volunteer projects. She joined the Missions Committee at her church in Hattiesburg. Mim and her husband of 65 years have three children (Debbie, Doug and Cindy), six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She is known by the family as a “self-taught technology whiz.” In fact, while her granddaughter was in graduate school a few years ago, Mim was called for assistance with a group project involving Excel. Shocking the fellow group members, Mim immediately knew how to solve the problem they were experiencing! Mim and Don retired in Georgia before moving to Hattiesburg in <strong>19</strong>97. “We just decided we wanted to be some place with a college campus and in a city that has what Hattiesburg has.” They have travelled the world to places, such as Hong Kong, Australia, Switzerland, Ireland, China, Scandinavia, Thailand, England, Italy, Austria, Russia and many, many more. 3 + 2 = ? FEMALE ACCOUNTANT, DOG MATHEMATICIAN Miriam owned a dog that could do simple addition problems. Kuddles, the peek-a-poo, could be asked to add two single-digit numbers together and tap out the correct answer with her paw in the palm of your hand. She eventually got so good, she could tap out the family’s zip code. She was featured in multiple newspaper articles, performed for schools and churches, and became a sensation in each of the towns the Adamson family moved to. A N N U A L R E P O R T 2 0 1 8 - 1 9 | 37