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Delta State

Clemons named Employee of the Month

By | Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Craig Clemons, manager of custodial and support services, as the June 2018 Employee of the Month.

Clemons has worked in custodial services at Delta State since 1997. He said he remains motivated to lead his staff after being tasked with managing a crew shortly after being hired by President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt.

“It warms the heart to receive this recognition,” said Clemons. “In 21 years, there have been some times where I felt beat down, but it picks me up to know that the hard work doesn’t go unrecognized.”

Clemons is a native of Duncan, Mississippi.

Made up of volunteers from the Staff Council, the Incentives & Recognition committee meets monthly to review nominations for the Employee of the Month award. The committee has been celebrating staff performance in this manner for over 15 years.

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and opinions to the president.

Presidents LaForge and Keenum announce Local Government Leadership program

By | Community, President | No Comments

In conjunction with Delta State University’s fifth annual Delta Mayors’ Summit on June 19, Delta State President William N. LaForge and Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark E. Keenum hosted a press conference to announce a partnership between the two universities to benefit local government leaders.

The new program, termed the Local Government Leadership Institute, assists and supports local officials of the Mississippi Delta in addressing governance challenges by providing activities, basic training, and helpful tools to assist them in running their municipalities effectively and efficiently.

Since November 2017, the Local Government Leadership Institute, in partnership with the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State and the Mississippi Municipal League, has provided training for more than 130 elected leaders across the Delta. These leaders represent nearly 35 Delta cities and towns. Through the Leadership Institute, participants have collectively earned more than 225 Certified Municipal Officer elective hours offered by the Mississippi Municipal League.

“Delta State is very pleased to partner with Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Municipal League to provide this unique training experience for local government officials,” said LaForge. “The university’s vision for, collaboration with, and improvement of, our Delta communities is well served by this dynamic program.”

“I am very grateful to MSU President Keenum and the MML leadership for joining with us in an enterprise we believe can be transformational,” added LaForge.

Keenum echoed LaForge’s praise for the program.

“Mississippi State University and the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development are very pleased to partner with Delta State University and the Mississippi Municipal League to deliver education and training opportunities through the Local Government Leadership Institute,” said Keenum. “The Stennis Institute is an exceptional example of Mississippi State’s commitment to making a difference in the many diverse communities it serves throughout the state.”

LGLI seeks to cultivate more knowledgeable, skilled, and effective municipal leaders and managers; improve local government services and environment for business, education and citizens; enhance community relations; increase public trust in local government; advance public civility and racial harmony; and, improve the community’s economy and quality of life.

The program is under the direction of Dr. Temika Simmons at Delta State University.

“We believe that well-managed local governments are important not only to the citizens they serve, but to the businesses, industries and other institutions that are located in those communities,” said Simmons. “The leadership, management and infrastructure provided by local governments are key elements in a community’s delivery of services and quality of life efforts. As a civic and institutional partner, Delta State University is committed to providing the support needed by our local elected leaders as they continue their work to strengthen and grow the Mississippi Delta jewel that we call home.

Simmons reiterated that the program is made possible by generous support from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and the collaborative relationship with partners at the John C. Stennis Institute at Mississippi State and the Mississippi Municipal League.

Delta counties served by LGLI include: Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, Washington, Issaquena, Sharkey, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Leflore, Humphreys, Yazoo, Warren, Desoto, Tate, Tunica, Panola, Carroll, and Holmes.

“Our reach has extended beyond the initial counties targeted in the first year cohort,” said Simmons. “We have seen participation from elected leaders statewide and continue to see interest and growth at each training session. Our services include monthly trainings, opportunities for collaboration, and access to municipal resources.”

Dr. Dallas Breen, executive director of the Stennis Institute, is looking forward to improved education and training opportunities as a result of the institute.

“Working collaboratively, Mississippi State and DSU, along with partners like MML and others, are leading the way to greater educational attainment and economic opportunity for all Mississippians through innovative programs like the Local Government Leadership Institute,” said Breen.

MML Deputy Director Robbie Brown is also thrilled by the institute’s impact.

“The Mississippi Municipal League is always striving to provide our member municipal officials with education and training that will help them be better leaders and improve their community,” said Brown. “When Dr. Temika Simmons approached us about partnering with the Local Government Leadership Institute to provide training to municipal officials in the Delta, we were thrilled to be a part of this opportunity. A lot of small towns have very limited funds for traveling to conferences and education opportunities. By holding this training at Delta State, LGLI is providing a need to those municipal officials in the Delta area without stretching their funds. MML looks forward to continuing our partnership with LGLI in providing education and training to municipal officials in the Delta and around the state.”

For more information on the Local Government Leadership Institute, visit or contact Simmons at 662-846-4254.

Students receive competitive award to conduct biomedical research

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Students | No Comments
Ashley Griffin (left) and Virginia Baker


This summer, two Delta State University students, Virginia Baker and Ashley Griffin, were selected as part of a group of only 34 students in Mississippi to participate in a biomedical research internship through Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Research Scholars program.

Students in the INBRE program work with researchers throughout the state to conduct biomedical research. This practical experience provides students with a skill set and knowledge base which will help them as they further their educational career and their research.

“The Mississippi INBRE Research Scholars program provides our students with real-world, hands-on research experiences,” said Dr. Glen Shearer, INBRE program coordinator. “Our students engage in cutting-edge research in some aspect of biomedicine, and thereby, become a part of the worldwide enterprise to discover and disseminate new knowledge,” said Dr. Glen Shearer.

Baker and Griffin spent the first week of their internship at The University of Southern Mississippi learning laboratory basics and safety techniques. They were also able to hear from professionals about graduate programs, résumé and interviewing tips, and presenting at professional conferences.

After completing this training week, students began working with mentors to complete the remaining 10 weeks of their internship. Baker will be spending her summer in the lab of Dr. Nathan Hammer at the University of Mississippi. Griffin will be working in Dr. Kedra Wallace’s lab at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“Along with their research activities, our students begin to build their professional ‘people network’ – some of whom will be life-long colleagues and mentors,” added Shearer.

Both Baker and Griffin have aspirations to further their careers in research and medicine to be of service to their home state of Mississippi. Following the internship, they will have several opportunities to present their research, further expanding their professional network and marketable experience.

Mississippi INBRE, directed by Dr. Mohamed Elasri, a professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, is a statewide program that is supported by an award from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. Their mission is to enhance the biomedical foundation in Mississippi and to reach out to Mississippians in order to improve health throughout the state.

The program seeks to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness, as well as impact the health of citizens of Mississippi.

For more information about Mississippi INBRE, visit

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