Longtime Magee businessman John Polk and U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo were honored recently as alumni of the year by the College of Business at the University of Southern Mississippi. Polk, retired executive of Polk Meat Products and newly elected state senator, received the Boardman Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award. Palazzo, who is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was presented the inaugural Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year award.
A 1971 graduate of Southern Miss, Polk took over the family’s meat products business in 1974. Earlier this month Polk was elected to the Mississippi Senate from the 44th District. He said the distinguished alumnus award caught him completely by surprise.
Palazzo, a Gulfport native, earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Southern Miss in 1994 and returned to obtain a master’s degree from his alma mater in 1996. He and his wife, Lisa, operate Palazzo & Company, PLLC, an international CPA firm specializing in individual income taxes. A Republican, Palazzo was elected to the U.S. House from the Fourth District in 2010.