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Alumni Association and Career Services host annual Passport To Success

By | Alumni, Career Services | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association and Delta State Career Services recently hosted the second annual Passport To Success event. The program successfully prepped Delta State students to enter their careers confidently, while maintaining a strong professional social media presence.

Students were given assistance with creating professional LinkedIn profiles, were offered headshots for their LinkedIn profiles and resumes, received résumé building tips, and learned about best practices for searching for jobs and internships. Additionally, students were given guidance on professional dress attire and encouraged to follow Delta State University on all social media avenues.

“The National Alumni Association is in the business to develop partnerships,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni. “Through the leadership of our National Alumni Association Board of Directors, we have completed year 2 of the “Passport to Success” workshop hosted during the spring semester of the academic school year. The primary objective of this workshop is to allow our students to develop a professional LinkedIn profile before they graduate from Delta State University.”

The workshop was open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Multiple stations and staff were on site to assist more than 50 students who took advantage of the programming.

“With the growing number of users on the professional social media platform LinkedIn, we are seeing more and more students gain exposure and leads to career opportunities,” said Nakikke Johnson, student relations specialist. “These days, a foot in the door may actually start online.

As a special incentive, students who participated in each station were also entered in a drawing for special prizes. Student Katie Parker’s name was drawn as the winner of a Yeti Hopper cooler.

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 Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 21–22) and Homecoming (Nov. 9-10).

Annual Bolivar County Alumni Chapter Crawfish Boil

By | Alumni | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association held its annual Bolivar County Alumni Chapter Crawfish Boil May 3 in front of Walter Sillers Coliseum.

This year’s event featured Crustaceans Crawfish, Judson Brown & Cliff Byrd Championship BBQ and pizza for children 12 and under thanks to Domino’s. Entertainment for the night was provided Southern Reality & Fusion Gymnastics through Delta State University Continuing Education.

Jeffrey Farris director of Alumni Affairs, and Gary Crews president of the Bolivar County Chapter spoke to the crowd of over 350 on the importance of a lifelong alumni experience, recognized volunteers for 2018, event entertainment, and 2018 event sponsors. The Bolivar County chapter president Crews presented Dr. Rose Strahan, queen of the crawfish boil, and Bill Quinton ‘94, king of the crawfish boil. Dr. Rose Strahan, of Cleveland, is the 2010 Gladys Castle “Friend of Delta State” Service Award recipient. Strahan served as chair of the Mathematics Department for 1978 to 2009. She is an active member of the Dedicated Statesmen Association. Bill Quinton ‘94, of Cleveland, is the Director of the Bolivar County Emergency Management Agency. He is a past Bolivar County Alumni President, Past National Alumni Association Board Member, Life Member of the Delta State University Alumni Association and avid Delta State Athletics supporter.

The chapter also held a silent auction with all proceeds going to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was named for former assistant alumni director Liza Vaughn ’95 who passed away in April of 2012. It was established for incoming Delta State students from Bolivar County. Three $1000 scholarships were given to students who will attend Delta State this Fall.

Cameron Leslie – Ray Brooks High School
Kayleigh Lindsey – Bayou Academy
Anna Pierce Hackney – Cleveland Central High School

The event would not have been possible without the help of many volunteers and sponsors. This year’s Bolivar County officers were Gary Crews, president; Shane Howell, vice president; and Tricia Killebrew, secretary/treasurer. The Student Alumni Association also helped volunteer with the Kids Zone.

This year’s event sponsors were:

National Alumni Association Corporate Sponsors:

Statesmen Level:
Bolivar Medical Center
Cardiovascular Solutions of Central Mississippi – Dr. Fakorede, MD

Okra Level:
Air Evac Lifeteam
Patrick Davis State Farm,
Renasant Bank

Bolivar County Chapter Sponsors:

Okra Level:
DSU University Advancement of External Relations
Boyle Lumber
Crustaceans Crawfish
Delta Radio
Needle Specialty Products
Radio Cleveland, Inc.

Green Level:
Lenny’s Subs
Backdraft Inc.
Cleveland State Bank
Denton’s Dairy
Guaranty Bank
McNeer Mini Storage
Mississippi Grounds
Right at Home/ Delta Maids
Robinson Electric
The Image Specialist

White Level:
A la Carte
Ace Hardware
Advance Physical Therapy
Anytime Fitness/ Studio S
Byrd Service Station
Cleveland Rentall Outdoors
Eley Barkley, P.A.
Go Knightrider, LLC
Joe Reed and Company Inc
Meador & Crump, Attorneys at Law
Mid South Water, LLC
Peters Pottery
Planters Bank
Rogers Entomological Services, Inc
Shelter Insurance
Shipp Family Eyecare, PLLC
South Street Pharmacy
The Bolivar Commerical
The Childrens Dental Clinic
Williams Equipment & Supply Company
Gaines Management Group
The American Legion MS Delta Post No.1776

To make a donation to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship, visit or call 662-846-4660.

To view photos from the 2018 Bolivar Country Crawfish Boil, visit

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 Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 21st – 22nd) and Homecoming (Nov. 9th & 10th).

Delta State University 2018 Retirement Recognition and Service Awards Ceremony

By | College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Aviation, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

Retirees (front, from left): Phyllis Bunn, Management, Marketing, and Business Administration; Rebecca Hochradel, Management, Marketing, and Business Administration; Sheryl Stephens, Management, Marketing, and Business Administration; Cathy Conico, College of Business and Aviation; and Rhonda Boyd, Delta Music Institute. (Back, from left): Duane Shuttlesworth, Counselor Education and Psychology; Vicki Hartley, Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research; Becky Finley, Registrar’s Office; Susan Allen Ford, Languages and Literature; James Brown, Accountancy, Computer Information Systems. Not Pictured: Mose Bailey, Facilities Management; Cheryl Oleis, Student Success Center.


Delta State University honored retiring employees and awarded service pins to others at the 2018 Retirement Recognition and Service Awards Ceremony held recently on the second floor of the H.L. Nowell Union on campus.

Delta State President William N. LaForge, Vice President for Finance & Administration Mr. Jamie Rutledge, and Director of Human Resources Mrs. Lisa Giger presided over the ceremony and presented awards to 10 Delta State employees who have recently retired or will retire by June 2018.

35 Years of Service:  Susan Allen Ford, Languages and Literature

30 Years of Service (from left): Sheryl Stump, Roberts LaForge Library; Barry Bays, Delta Music Institute

25 Years of Service (front, from left): Vicki Bingham, School of Nursing; Moorlin Evans, Facilities Management; Jan Haynes, Family and Consumer Sciences. (Back, from left): Darwaun Hayes, Facilities Management; Joseph Bentley, Chemistry and Physics. Not Pictured: Mike Kinnison, Baseball; Cheryl Oleis, Student Success Center; Helen White, Facilities Management.

20 Years of Service (front, from left): Karen Bell, Interdisciplinary Studies; Christy Riddle, Student Success Center; Polly Cameron, Facilities Management; Lynn Byrd, Accountancy, Computer Information Systems, and Finance; Vicki Webster, Accountancy, Computer Information Systems, and Finance. (Back, from left): Leslie Griffin, College of Education and Human Sciences; Doug Pinkerton, Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; John Alvarez, Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; Thomas Taylor, Family and Consumer Sciences; Rosetta Scott, Facilities Management. Not Pictured: Melissa Joiner, Facilities Management


Delta Center, MDNHA host NPS civil rights open house at Delta State

By | Delta Center | No Comments

Community members and national stakeholders listen as Dr. Timla Washington reads Congressman Bennie Thompson’s letter during the NPS civil rights open house at Delta State.


The Delta Center and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently hosted an open house session for the National Park Service’s Mississippi Civil Rights Sites Special Resource Study. One of five open house sessions held throughout the state – including another Delta region open house at Tallahatchie County Courthouse – the meeting provided a space for Mississippi Delta residents to share information about significant civil rights landmarks, people, and events in their communities.

NPS has encouraged those who were not able to attend the open house sessions to register their comments on the resource study website at The Mississippi Civil Rights Sites Special Resource Study is listed with the Southeast Regional Office and a review ending date of June 1, 2018. According to the website, all public comments are due by that date.

“As Congressman Bennie Thompson has stated, the National Park Service has a wonderful opportunity to preserve and honor the history of civil rights and the struggle for freedom here in Mississippi,” said Keilah Spann, NPS Southeast Regional Office cultural resources historian. “We can accomplish this in part by connecting with the communities and the people here. So much of the history of the civil rights movement is still within the people who were active in it and are living. We have a unique opportunity yet a limited window of time to capture and preserve this history.”

Of the approximately 40 attendees at the Delta State open house, several were community and civil rights leaders including:
– Mr. Charles McLaurin of Indianola who worked with Fannie Lou Hamer;
– Ms. Jessie Williams, a retired history and American government educator who initiated the integration of Shaw High School as its first African American teacher;
– Dr. Matthew Holden, a Mound Bayou native and retired political science professor researching the life of Mound Bayou founder Isaiah T. Montgomery; and
– Senator David Jordan of Greenwood who attended the Emmett Till trial at Tallahatchie County Courthouse in 1955.

Bolivar County Administrator Will Hooker speaking about local civil rights sites and leaders such as Amzie Moore and Isaiah T. Montgomery.

“We are pleased that the National Park Service resource study team asked to host their first civil rights open house session at Delta State,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center and executive director of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. “This conversation started during the team’s initial visit to the Mississippi Delta in February through Mississippi Department of Archives and History. To have two civil rights open house sessions here in our region sends a strong message that the Mississippi Delta is a national civil rights heritage treasure. This is an historic opportunity for residents and entire communities to proudly share their civil rights stories.”

Later that day, a second NPS open house session also was held at the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner. The session was hosted by the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

“The National Park Service study helps to solidify the importance of the many Civil Rights Movement sites in Mississippi,” said Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. “We look forward to working with them, and we were proud to host them in Sumner where over fifty community members came out to voice their opinions.”

In 2017, U.S. Congress passed a law directing NPS to conduct a special resource study of Mississippi’s nationally significant civil rights sites. Initial Mississippi Delta sites include key landmarks of the Emmett Till murder such as Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, MS, and Bryant’s Grocery Store in Money, MS.

The open house sessions are part of NPS’ efforts to gather information about additional civil rights sites in the Mississippi Delta and throughout the state. They will report their findings to Congress when the study has been completed.

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 Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit

Community members speaking with Ben West, NPS Southeast regional chief for planning, to propose additional Mississippi civil rights sites for the NPS study.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is a cultural heritage partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. It includes 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