Laura Kate Fortner Named 2018 John S. and Jutta Karnstedt Ferretti Fellow

Laura Kate Fortner has been named the 2018 John S. and Jutta Karnstedt Ferretti Fellow by Delta State’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program (MA-LS).

A native of Marks, Mississippi, Fortner earned a B.A. in history in 2018 and completed a senior capstone paper entitled, “The Rude Awakening Is Everybody’s Wrong: How the Vietnam War, Social Conflict, and Returning Soldiers Made Rock Classic.”

“Laura Kate is an outstanding scholar with great passion and creativity for learning. She not only excels in her individual work but her insights also strengthen the classroom environment so that all students have a great learning experience,” said Chuck Westmoreland, associate professor of history and coordinator of the MA-LS program.

“Laura Kate’s commitment to learning makes her a fitting recipient of the fellowship, which goes to an incoming MA-LS student and honors both Mrs. Jutta Ferretti and her husband, John. Nobody embodies a commitment to lifelong education and service better than Mrs. Ferretti. She is a Delta State treasure and her presence, energy and support is a true blessing to the university family. We in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program want to thank her for her dedication to our students.”

Jutta Ferretti

“I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Ferretti my freshman year and having lunch with her in the cafeteria,” Fortner said. “Mrs. Ferretti is truly a remarkable person and her love for Delta State and Cleveland shines through in everything she does. She has my eternal admiration for her accomplishments and my eternal thanks for the generosity of this Fellowship.”

The degree program is one of only a few in the South and provides graduate-level, interdisciplinary expertise in literature, history, gender and diversity studies, globalization studies, and the humanities in general.

The fellowship is made possible by a gift from Ferretti and her late husband, John. Ferretti graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary studies degree in 2010, becoming the oldest graduate in the history of Delta State at the age of 86.

“Education has always been very important to me and my late husband, John,” said Ferretti, in a previous Delta State release. “Learning in all fields affects the present and future, as there is still so much to be discovered that we are not aware of today. Education also opens many doors to the students [and that benefits] lives locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. You cannot help people in this life without being helped yourself.”

For more information about the MA-LS program and the John S. and Jutta Karnstedt Ferretti Fellowship, contact Westmoreland at 662-846-4174, or visit

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