President LaForge discusses Delta State’s efforts to one day be recognized as the academic center of the blues — where scholars, musicians, industry gurus, historians, demographers and tourists come to the “blues mecca.” This effort will be made possible through the International Delta Blues Project.

This vision is backed by the assets of the Mississippi Delta and Delta State, including: the expertise of faculty; Delta Center for Culture and Learning; Delta Music Institute; involvement with the renowned Mississippi Blues Trail; relationship with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi; leadership in the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area; and experience engaging in blues, race relations and civil rights dialogue.

Among the key components of the International Delta Blues Project will be the development of a blues study curriculum over the next year or so, and the creation of a Blues Leadership Business Incubator.

One of the components of this vision is the International Conference on the Blues. This inaugural conference is scheduled for Oct. 6-7. The two days will consist of intense academic and scholarly activity, and will include a variety of musical renditions to ensure authenticity and a direct connection to the demographics surrounding the “home of the delta blues.”

According to LaForge, with the engagement of the Robert M. Hearin Foundation as a partner, Delta State will become the rightful scholarly center for blues studies.

Featured guest Don Allan Mitchell, one of the co-chairs of the conference, discusses more about the event. It was planned in conjunction with Bridging the Blues, a series of events taking place over several consecutive weeks aiming to maximize the opportunities for discovery of the richness of the blues tradition in the Mississippi Delta region.

Bridging the Blues is sponsored by organizations in three states — Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee — and serves as an umbrella organization to promote a wide variety of blues-related activities.

LaForge thanks Mitchell, co-chair Dr. Shelley Collins, Dr. Rolando Herts, the Delta Center and everyone who is working to make this conference a success.

“It sounds like the International Conference on the Blues will have a far-reaching impact, including attracting young and emerging scholars to Delta State University, increasing interest and knowledge of the blues, providing opportunities for scholarly activity and promoting exposure to the region,” said LaForge.

Other events noted included:

· Tonight, the Natchez Area Alumni Event starting at 6 p.m. at the Roux 61 Restaurant.

· Oct. 1, the Career Services department is hosting a College of Business Career Fair in Broom Hall. If you own a business, this is a great opportunity to meet with several prospective employees at once. For more information, contact the Career Services office at 662-846-4646 or careerservices@deltastate.edu.

· Also on Oct. 1 the Bologna Performing Arts Center will host two performances of the School-Time Matinee Series, “The Musical Adventures of Flat-Stanley.” Find out more by contacting the BPAC at 662-846-4625.

· The Statesmen Football Team travels to Florida Institute of Technology this week and will play on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. This game will be televised, so check your local listings to see the green and white in action, or go online to www.espn3.com.