Frances Lucas, vice president and campus executive officer for The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, said she is surprised and flattered to be named the 2013 Woman of the Year by the Lighthouse Business and Professional Women.
“The other nominees are women who have contributed to the coast for many years and are each deserving of this honor,” Lucas said in a press release. “Nonetheless, I am grateful and hope it will bring visibility to our fine university.”
For 57 years, the Women of Achievement Awards has recognized women for their careers in fields such as education, medical, corporate/entrepreneur, government/military, nonprofit and young careerist with the goal of representing women in the workplace on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Lucas received this prestigious award during the Women of Achievement Awards Ceremony at the Biloxi Civic Center in October. She was nominated in the education category for which she possesses over 30 years of experience.
“I was greatly surprised by the award, and guess that it had something to do with restoring and enhancing the Gulf Park campus,” Lucas said. “If so, then I share this award with all of my colleagues on the coast who worked hard to bring our campus back so splendidly.”
Before becoming the vice president and CEO of the Gulf Coast campus in 2010, Lucas served as the first female president at Millsaps College in Jackson. She has held positions at Emory University, Baldwin-Wallace College, Mississippi State University and The University of Alabama.
Lucas has received many awards throughout her academic career, including the Francis Asbury Award for Leaders in Education, the United Methodist Church Mississippi Conference Outstanding Leadership Award, Mississippi Women’s Network Leonard Goldman Citation for Outstanding Service to Students, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Most Outstanding College President and the Mississippi Business Journal Lifetime Achievement Award.