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Darrin L. Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, to present on campus

By | Academics, College of Business | No Comments

Darrin L. Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., will lecture through the College of Business Lecture Series on April 25, with speeches at 9:45 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. in the Baioni Conference Center.

Williams’ career is a unique combination of business, law and politics. Currently serving as the CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., Williams oversees the strategic direction and operations of each of Southern’s three Community Development Financial Institutions — Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a nonprofit development finance and lending organization, collectively known as “Southern.”

Southern was founded nearly 30 years ago when some of the nation’s most notable political, business and philanthropic leaders, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rob Walton, Muhammad Yunus and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to name a few, came together around a central idea — that the economic challenges facing many underserved communities could in part be addressed through the creation of a values-based financial organization focused on providing these services to those who most need them.

With an initial investment of approximately $10 million and a mission to create economic opportunity, Southern has grown to become one of the most effective and largest community development organizations in the United States, as well as a model for an entire industry of mission-focused financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions. Southern Bancorp today is a $1.2 billion asset organization with over 80,000 customers and 44 locations primarily in underserved markets in the Mid-South.

“The College of Business Lecture Series invites prominent scholars, governmental leaders, and practitioners to campus to expose our students, inform our community and contribute to the informed decision-making of our society,” said Dr. Billy Moore, dean of the College of Business. “This year’s lecture is especially significant because of the current challenges facing our economy. We honored to have someone of Mr. Darrin Williams’ caliber to come and share his experience and expertise with our College of Business family and Delta community.”

Prior to leading Southern, Williams served as managing partner at the law firm of Carney, Williams, Bates, Pulliam & Bowman, PLLC, where he focused on representing institutional investors and consumers in class action litigation against some of the nation’s largest publicly-traded companies. Williams also served three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives (2008-2013), serving as Speaker Pro Tempore of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly. As a lawmaker, he was recognized nationally for his legislative accomplishments, including being named a Champion of Small Business by the National Capital Coalition, an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership by the Aspen Institute, and listed as one of 12 state legislators from around the country to watch by Governing Magazine.

Williams received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College, in Conway, Arkansas, his Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University School of Law, in Nashville, Tennessee, and his Master of Laws degree in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

The lectures are free and open to the public. A luncheon will follow Williams’s lectures. For more information, contact the College of Business at 662-846-4200.

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Highlight video from Winning the Race conference

By | Academics, Community, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University hosted its fourth annual Winning the Race conference on March 28-29.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” was presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and focused on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference included Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

The soundtrack for the video is an original song written and produced by students in the Delta Music Institute at Delta State. Performing the song is Audrianna Johnson, the 2015-16 Fighting Okra Records artist. The song was written by Johnson, Travis Calvin, Eric Johnson, Justin Boatman and Jessica Wishard, and Calvin served as the producer. It was recorded in Studio C at the DMI building on campus.

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Full slate of summer courses available at Delta State

By | Academics, Community, Continuing Education, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Summer at Delta State University offers a number of opportunities for students to stay on track on their path to graduation.

“Summer school is a great way to get ahead with coursework, catch up on credits, boost your GPA and get pre-requisites out of the way,” said Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center at Delta State. “Taking one or two courses each summer may allow you to graduate sooner and start your career earlier — which leads to earning a salary instead of paying college tuition.”

A full list of courses offered during Summer I and Summer II sessions is available online.

Instead of taking a course for four months during the fall or spring semesters, summer school courses are condensed to five weeks. The university offers online and on-campus courses in a variety of subjects that count towards general education requirements or for specific majors. 

“Moving home for the summer? No problem,” said Riddle. “DSU’s online courses allow students to take classes from anywhere in the world.”

Students can also go ahead and register for summer courses during Pre-Registration Week from April 3-7. By meeting with academic advisors, students can register for both summer and fall classes.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research at Delta State, added that summer coursework provides many opportunities for high students and community members alike.

“So many courses we offer appeal to the wide community,” said Moon. “Those include HPER courses such as swimming, art courses, the blues curriculum, and many others such as personal finance, the history of rock ‘n’ roll, astronomy, karate, or even a computer course.”  

Another benefit is that those signing up for courses don’t necessarily need to be degree-seeking students.

“Many students take a course or two for continuing education credits, or as a requirement for a job,” added Moon. “Some sign up for credit towards a degree somewhere else, to try a new subject, or just for self-gratification.”

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World-class heavy metal artists to perform at Delta State

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments
Professor Velvet Brown and Dr. Neal Corwell will perform at Tuba-Euphonium Day 2017 on April 1.

The Department of Music is proud to announce Tuba-Euphonium Day 2017, Delta Tuba-Euph Fest.

The day-long event will be held on the Delta State campus on April 1, and the schedule includes two free concert performances by world-renowned guest artists.

Featured guests include Professor Velvet Brown, professor of tuba and euphonium at Penn State University, and euphonium soloist, Dr. Neal Corwell, recently retired master sergeant and euphonium section leader with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”

As part of the festival, both guest artists will be performing solo recitals. Corwell will be performing a euphonium recital at 11:30 a.m., and Brown will perform a tuba recital at 3:30 p.m. Corwell’s performance will feature works with computer-assisted accompaniment as well as solo repertoire. Brown will be assisted by Delta State’s Dr. Jung-Won Shin, associate professor of music, on piano. Both performances will take place in the Recital Hall of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Corwell will perform works by Albeniz, Chopin, Liszt, Arbans and Saint-Seans, among others. He will also be performing several of his own compositions. Brown’s performance will feature selections by Stevens, York, Ionel, Grant Still, Bonner and Mozart.

For more information, contact 662-846-4606.

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Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship established

By | Academics, Foundation, President, Students | No Comments
Billy Cummins (second from right), signed endowment agreements for the Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of his wife Thursday with Delta State Chief Development Officer Gary Bouse (l to r), President William N. LaForge and Keith Fulcher, executive director of Alumni-Foundation.

 

Delta State University welcomed Billy Cummins to campus Thursday to sign endowment agreements for the Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of his wife, Karen L. Cummins, a 1979 graduate of Delta State University who was a trustee of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and an exemplary employee of Atmos Energy Corporation.

The Delta State University Foundation, which will manage the fund, has received over $50,000 in generous donations from family members, Atmos Energy Corporation, friends and colleagues.

The purpose of the fund is to establish a scholarship for a student attending Delta State University.

Delta State President William N. LaForge said he was extremely grateful to the Cummins family.

“Billy Cummins’s generous gift to the Delta State University Foundation is significant for two reasons. First, it honors a very special person — his wife, Karen — who was a Delta State alumna and served on the IHL Board of Trustees. Secondly, the gift supports a major foundation scholarship fund that Delta State has established, with Billy’s guidance, that will honor Karen’s memory in perpetuity, while providing funds for deserving students to attend Delta State far into the future,” LaForge said.

“I am very grateful to Billy Cummins, his and Karen’s companies — Atmos and Entergy — and all donors who have contributed to this fund in Karen’s memory,” he added. “It is so fitting that we pay tribute to Karen Cummins in this meaningful way.”

The current level of the endowment will provide approximately $2,000 annually to a qualified recipient.

Potential recipients will exemplify the following guidelines:
-Recipient shall be the child of a current employee of the Atmos Energy Corporation or Entergy Corporation. First consideration will be given to children of employees of Atmos Energy.
-Recipient shall possess a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
-Recipient shall maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher while attending Delta State.
-Recipient must meet all university scholarship guidelines to maintain the scholarship while enrolled at Delta State.
-Recipient must be in good standing with the university, will uphold the guiding principles and embody the core values of Delta State University.

The fund is open to additional contributions, which will enhance the value of the scholarship’s endowment. Contributions can be made by check made payable to the Delta State University Foundation, Box 3141, Cleveland, MS, 38733, or online at www.deltastategiving.org.

For more information, contact Gary Bouse, Delta State Chief Development Officer, at gbouse@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4704.