MDNHA, Delta Center share “Heart & Soul” of Mississippi Delta in D.C.

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Senator Thad Cochran (second from right) recently enjoyed a visit with representatives from The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University. The meeting included a performance by Delta State graduate Keith Johnson (second from left), the great nephew of Muddy Waters. The Delta Center is the management entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA). Also pictured (left to right) are Shelia Winters, DCCL program associate for projects; Dr. Rolando Herts, DCCL director and MDNHA executive director; Rhonda Price, executive director of Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area; and Lee Aylward, DCCL program associate for education and community outreach.

 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently attended the Alliance of National Heritage Areas’ annual meeting on behalf of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The meeting took place during Valentine’s Day week in Washington, D.C.

During the Alliance’s “Heart & Soul” congressional breakfast at the Rayburn House Office Building, the MDNHA and Delta State were honored for receiving National Park Service Centennial Awards for creating the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership. This cultural heritage interpretation project has engaged over 1,000 residents and visitors in honoring the lives of unsung African American church mothers featured in Alysia Burton Steele’s book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.”

Delta State was the only higher education institution and MDNHA is the only National Heritage Area in the country that received NPS Centennial Awards this year.

In recognition of the MDNHA’s rich cultural heritage, the Alliance of National Heritage Areas invited Keith Johnson, “Prince of the Delta Blues,” to be the featured performer at the “Heart & Soul” breakfast. A graduate of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State, Johnson is currently a graduate assistant in The Delta Center pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Delta State. He also is the great nephew of Delta Blues legend, Muddy Waters.

After the breakfast, the Delta delegation met with Mississippi legislators Senator Thad Cochran, Congressman Bennie Thompson and Senator Roger Wicker. They shared copies of the MDNHA’s 2014-2016 progress report and forthcoming economic impact study. During the visit with Cochran, they were joined by Rhonda Price, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area.

Delta Center team members with Congressman Bennie Thompson

“I am very pleased that our team was able to thank Cochran, Thompson and Wicker in person for their continued support of National Heritage Areas,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center and executive director of the MDNHA. “The Mississippi Delta, Hills and Gulf Coast National Heritage Areas are acknowledged by so many of our colleagues and supporters for doing great work in the communities we proudly serve.”

Johnson was especially excited to visit Cochran’s office where he was invited to perform his song “Come to Mississippi.”

“The song explores the culture of the Mississippi Delta. It expresses the feeling of blues musicians that are from Mississippi and includes references to hit songs they have written,” said Johnson. “I wrote this song so that I could connect with the Delta’s heritage, which includes blues music and more. I am honored that Senator Cochran invited me to perform it for him.”

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

The MDNHA is a cultural heritage partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. Led by Herts, it includes

Delta Center team members in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com.

Bolivar County Crawfish Boil scheduled for May 3

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The Delta State University Bolivar County Alumni Chapter recently announced May 3 as the date for this year’s annual Bolivar County Crawfish Boil.

The Delta State University National Alumni Association, along with the Bolivar County Alumni Chapter officers, hosted an information table to announce the event during Bolivar County Alumni Night at Walter Sillers Coliseum on Feb 1.

To pre-purchases tickets to the event, visit https://www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/bolivarcountycrawfishboil. The annual affair features live entertainment, a kids zone area, exceptional food and a silent auction to raise money for the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is given to students who attend Delta State as freshmen and are Bolivar County residents.

Those wishing to serve on the crawfish boil committee are asked to email alumni@deltastate.edu for more information.

The 2018 Bolivar County officers are: Gary Crews, president; Shane Howell, vice president; and Tricia Killebrew, secretary/treasurer.

More details about the crawfish boil will be released as the date approaches.

To stay up to date with Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media outlets: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn Group (Delta State University National Alumni Association), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the dates for the 5th Annual Go Green Weekend (April 27-29), 33rd Annual Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 22nd) and Homecoming (Nov. 10th).

Alumni hosts South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter Meeting

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Dr. Mark Barron ‘02 (left), South Central Mississippi Chapter Alumnus of the Year, and Delta State President William N. LaForge.

 

The Delta State University National Alumni Association held its annual South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter Meeting Feb. 8 at Mitchell’s Special Events & Catering in Brookhaven.

Ken Dixon ’84 is the owner and has hosted the meeting the past four years.

The night of fun and fellowship featured Delta State President William N. LaForge, head women’s cross country coach Doug Pinkerton, Admissions recruiters for the South Central area Aja Buckhalter and John Mauney, Alumni Association staff members, assistant directot Amanda Robinson and director of Alumni Affairs, Jeffrey Farris.

Alumni and friends of Delta State received a university update, ways to continue to get involved in their alma mater, and new happenings within their university town Cleveland, Mississippi.

LaForge provided the university updates related to construction and academic advancements. Farris and Robinson spoke of behalf of the National Alumni Association on ways to stay involved in the life of the university.

Dr. Mark Barron ‘02 was recognized as the South Central Mississippi Chapter Alumnus of the Year. Barron is a board-eligible orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacements and care for the spine at Kings Daughter Medical Center Sports Medicine Orthopaedic & Spine Clinic. He was born and raised in Laurel and returned to Mississippi to practice after completing his medical training out of state.

Abby Thomas (left to right), Karen Sullivan, Dalton Clay and President William N. LaForge.

Barron enjoys being close to family and living in a place where he can practice both orthopedic surgery and specialty spine care. He became interested in sports and orthopedic medicine after being injured playing high school sports. He received his bachelor’s from Delta State in 2004. Additionally, he was a four-year letterman for the Delta State football team. He returns to campus multiple times each year to cheer on his alma mater and tailgate at Statesmen Park for the annual Pig Pickin’ festivities.

The South Central Chapter also established the Doug Sullivan Memorial South Central Scholarship. The scholarship was presented to two incoming freshmen students Abby Thomas (Loyd Star High School) and Dalton Clay (Lawrence County High School). The $500 scholarship is a one-time gift for their first year.

To view photos from the event, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/dsualumni/albums/72157663871224677.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Go Green Weekend (April 28), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 22) and Homecoming (Nov. 10).

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Michael McDonald Plays the Mississippi Delta

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Michael McDonald will take the stage Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) at Delta State University. The concert is locally sponsored by Cannon Motors.

Tickets start at $30 and are on sale at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone 662-846-4626, or online www.bolognapac.com.

One of the world’s most distinctive singing voices, Michael McDonald is often imitated but never duplicated. He’s had enough humility over the years to freely blend that voice with others’, whether as a member of Steely Dan, a Doobie Brother, as a highly successful solo artist and songwriter, a member of the supergroup the Dukes of September or, most recently, reaching the Coachella generation as a celebrated co-star on Thundercat’s indie hit “Show You the Way.” Fans who’ve wanted to hear that 50,000-watt clear channel of a voice all by itself have had to bide their time—not just minute by minute, but year by year—waiting for McDonald to reclaim a solo spotlight.

Enter Wide Open, McDonald’s first new album in nine years, and his first set of all-original material since 2000. McDonald has nonetheless remained relevant through the early 21st century; he received his 13th Grammy nomination for Motown, a platinum-selling tribute to the greatest of all soul labels. He subsequently released a top 10-charting sequel, Motown Two along with a Christmas album, both of which certified as Gold Records. Following came Soul Speak, a collection of classic covers and a handful of original songs. But Wide Open finds him rediscovering his other voice—that is, his songwriting voice— in a big way, penning or co-writing 11 of the album’s 12 tracks. It’s a cogent reminder that he won Record and Song of the Year Grammys for co-writing as well as singing the Doobie Brothers hit “What a Fool Believes.” Wide Open marks a return to that classic’s emotional urgency alongside fiercer and fresher band arrangements than he’s ever created before.

With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes and personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. Hailing from St. Louis, McDonald arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, honing his talents as a studio musician before becoming an integral part of Steely Dan. In the mid-’70s McDonald was invited to join the Doobie Brothers as the band redefined their sound with McDonald serving as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s McDonald’s solo career took off with a string of hits including “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning James Ingram duet “Yah Mo B There,” plus he co-wrote the Van Halen hit “I’ll Wait.” McDonald has performed with a who’s-who of critically acclaimed artists across a number of genres, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and Grizzly Bear.

Tickets to see McDonald start at $30 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone 662-846-4626, or online www.bolognapac.com.

Delta State contracts with PepsiCo for campus beverage services

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Delta State University recently announced PepsiCo as its new beverage vendor of choice for the next five years, pending finalized contracts and approval by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Delta State expects to bring the item to the Board at its March meeting.

PepsisCo is one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies with over $63 billion in net revenue in 2016 and a global portfolio of diverse and beloved brands.

A university committee recommended PepsiCo following a detailed analysis of corporate options. The recommendation letter stated, “We feel that PepsiCo presented a commitment to bring first class service, product and equipment innovation, program support and a strong significant and sustainable financial package.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge said he was looking forward to the numerous opportunities the contract will provide.

“I am pleased with the recommendation of our task force, and the decision of our Executive Committee, to enter into a contract with PepsiCo for our new beverage services on campus,” said LaForge. “PepsiCo will provide a large array of services and benefits, including an extensive line of beverages that students like, a significant increase of revenue from commissions, a special partnership with Gatorade for our athletic programs, card reader machines campus-wide for convenience of purchase, and a number of student engagement events and promotional programs on campus for the next several years.”

Pepsi will provide Delta State the opportunity to move forward in the numerous ways, including:

◦  Varied product selections with a beverage portfolio that comprises 22 brands and includes many healthy lifestyle options and protein beverages
◦  A premier partnership with Gatorade and DSU Athletics that offers support, equipment and educational resources
◦  Student engagement by providing multiple promotional campus events at no cost to the university
◦  Partnership with a company that has extensive experience and a strong national presence in 800+ colleges and universities

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.