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Delta State sculpture loaned for International Ballet Competition

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center | No Comments

The Matthew-Sanders Sculpture Garden at Delta State University is loaning one of its sculptures, “Dancer 10,” to the International Ballet Competition in Jackson from June 10-24.

The steel sculpture, which was installed in the Matthew-Sanders Sculpture Garden in 2015, was created by artist Jack Howard-Potter. Like much of Howard-Potter’s work, the stunning piece conveys a sense of fluid action in space by exploring the wide range of movement of the human figure.

The piece was the purchase award winner of the 2015-17 class of sculptures.

“Dancer 10” was moved from Delta State June 7 and was transported to the IBC in Jackson, where it will remain until the competition is completed June 24. Competition attendees will be welcomed with the piece as they arrive at the venue, Thalia Mara Hall.

Ron Koehler, Michael Stanley and Jeff Jackson carefully prepare to take down the Dancer 10 sculpture in order to transport it to Jackson for the USA International Ballet Competition.

The Matthew-Sanders Sculpture Garden operates on a biennial competition, which brings in new pieces for exhibition. The competition provides opportunities for regional and national artists to exhibit their work, makes visible the university’s commitment to artistic endeavors, enhances the vitality of the campus environment, and offers students first-hand educational experiences.

The inaugural sculpture competition was held in 2000, becoming the first sculpture garden of its kind in Mississippi. The collection now boasts 22 pieces with the main garden in front of Delta State’s Bologna Performing Arts Center, along with a number of pieces installed across campus.

In 2015, pieces spread into the community starting at nearby GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, and later, into historic downtown Cleveland.

The IBC is considered one of the world’s premier ballet competitions, providing ongoing dance programming and promoting new audience support. It is a two-week “Olympic-style” competition for top young dancers and a major stepping-stone toward a professional career.

Competitors from all over the world vie for gold, silver and bronze medals; cash prizes; and company contracts. The audience is filled with company directors interested in hiring dancers, and for this reason, many dancers leave with jobs — possibly the grandest prize of all.

Mona Nicolas, executive director of the IBC in Jackson, called Nan Sanders, co-founder of the sculpture garden, to see if the loan was possible. Sanders then contacted the chief operating officers of the garden, Michael Stanley, chair of Delta State’s Department of Art, and Ron Koehler, former department chair.

“It’s such an honor for us to have a piece from the sculpture garden included at the International Ballet Competition,” said Sanders. “The piece is so fitting for the event, and I think it will be incredibly stunning for everyone to see. It’s also a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the sculpture garden.”

Stanley echoed Sanders’ excitement for transporting the piece to Jackson.

“It’s a beautiful sculpture and it fits right in with what the IBC is all about,” said Stanley. “We’re really glad to partner with them and provide the sculpture for the two weeks they’re in town. It’s a great opportunity for us to promote the Matthew-Sanders Sculpture Garden, and hopefully it will get some people from Jackson to come up and visit.”

Motivated by his study of human anatomy and movement, Howard-Potter works with steel to create large-scale figurative sculptures. His work has been on display throughout the world in outdoor sculpture parks, galleries and public art exhibitions.

“My sculptures seek to convey the motion of the body in extremely stressful and beautiful positions; the moment that a dancer is at the peak of a jump; the weightless split second before a body succumbs to gravity,” said Howard-Potter. “I am describing an ephemeral action in steel to convey this moment for eternity.”

Howard-Potter grew up in New York City, where he was inspired by the public sculpture of Alexander Calder, George Ricky and various performance, dance and artistic exposure. He earned a bachelor’s in art history and sculpture from Union College and has been making and displaying his original sculptures since 1997.

Sanders said she is honored to see how the garden has grown and expanded into the community through the years.

“It’s very gratifying to see the sculpture garden coming into its maturity,” said Sanders. “We have so many wonderful pieces now across campus, but the town has also bought into it with pieces at the GRAMMY Museum and in downtown Cleveland. It’s lovely to see how people have embraced it as a special feature for campus and community.”

Learn more about the Matthew-Sanders Sculpture Garden at


Orientation sessions begin June 11

By | Student Life, Students | No Comments

Delta State University is gearing up for another series of Orientation sessions to welcome first-year and transfer students to the green and white family.

Delta State University offers multiple Orientation programs each summer for new students enrolling for the fall semester.

The first program kicks off June 11, followed by sessions on June 28 and July 16.

Orientation check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the session begins promptly at 9 a.m. The program will last until mid-afternoon.

Learn more about the schedule at

“Our dedicated Orientation teams looks forward to welcoming our new Delta State students each summer,” said Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs. “Delta State truly is a family-oriented campus, and Orientation is the first introduction to this environment. Our number one goal is to show our new Statesmen and Lady Statesmen that we will be here to help them have the greatest college experience possible.”

The one-day program is designed to familiarize students with DSU policies and procedures, while also providing introductions to faculty, staff, students and campus life.

Parents and guests are encouraged to attend an Orientation session with their DSU student. If attending, students are required to attend all scheduled events in order to register for fall courses. Parents and guests are limited to two per student.

New this year, freshmen and transfer students will both attend the same one-day sessions.

Following Orientation, new students can look forward to Move-In Day 2018, scheduled for August 19. This fun, welcoming event is a great opportunity for students to make new friends and settle into their new home away from home.

For more information on Orientation, contact the Office of Student Life at 662-846-4666 or

University updates scholarship policies

By | Academics, Admissions, Students | No Comments

Delta State University recently updated its academic scholarship policy to align more closely with hours required for degree completion, as well as state financial aid policies.

“The changes will take effect fall 2018 and will apply to incoming students only,” said Dr. Debbie Heslep, dean of enrollment management at Delta State. “Current students will not be impacted by these changes.”

The changes include:
— Recipients must complete 15 hours each fall and spring semester.
— Freshman scholarships will be available for a maximum of 8 semesters of undergraduate study only.
— Transfer scholarships will be available for a maximum of 4 semesters of undergraduate study only.
— Transfer students with community college hours only (excluding dual credit hours) will be considered.
— Transfer students will be required to maintain a 3.25 Delta State grade point average for scholarship renewal.

In addition, the Statesman Award will only pay room and board if the student is living on campus. Also of note, Recognition Awards will only be available to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members.

“The slight changes impact transfer scholarships based on membership in a national honor society,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The change in the GPA requirement to receive and maintain the scholarship reflect more accurately the academic achievement expected of a student in this honor society. The change also aligns our scholarship requirement with other universities.”

Follow all Delta State news at




Delta State to host 9th annual TFA Delta Institute

By | Academics, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Delta State University will welcome Teach For America back to campus as the organization kicks off its ninth year of training hosted by the university.

Approximately 310 corps members and staff members will begin the intensive summer curriculum June 11 for the 2018 TFA Delta Institute.

On June 10 from noon to 5 p.m., Delta State will host TFA Registration Day at DMI Studio A to welcome the corps on campus. Volunteers are sought to work one-hour increments in one of the following areas: greeters, welcome wagon, Okra Kart drivers, handing out information packets and lunch boxes, and dorm check in at Foundation Hall.

To sign up for a volunteer slot, contact Leigh Emerson, assistant director of Communications and Marketing at Delta State, at or 662-856-4677.

“We are very excited to welcome Teach For America back to our campus again this year,” said Emerson, “We’re grateful that Delta State and TFA have maintained this solid partnership since 2010.”

TFA is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.

These corps members work in school districts challenged by poverty, geography or other issues. Their training to teach begins at summer institutes, and Delta State is one of just a handful of training facilities across the nation.

Learn more about TFA at Follow all Delta State news at

Applications open for McNair Research Scholars

By | Academics, Continuing Education, Students | No Comments

The Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State University is still accepting applications for the fall 2018 cohort of McNair Research Scholars.

The program was established in memory of astronaut-physicist and Challenger crew member, Dr. Ronald E. McNair. It is administered through the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State.

The MRS program is one of eight federal TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. TRIO outreach aims to improve student programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The goal of the McNair cohort is to increase the attainment of doctoral degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

All services offered by the program are free of charge to its participants.

View the application at

Scholars will benefit by:
-opportunities for research and scholarly activities
-academic field trips
-paid summer research internships
-tutoring for preparation for graduate school entrance exams such as GRE, NCLEX, GMAT, etc.
-mentorship by a faculty member
-seminars and workshops to prepare participants for doctoral study
-career counseling and exploration
-financial literacy and planning
-increased access and exposure to STEM coursework and careers

For more information, contact project director Wendolyn Stevens at 662-846-4876,, or visit for eligibility requirements.