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Academics

Delta Music Institute presents Senior Showcase

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University will host its first Senior Showcase on April 24 at 7 p.m. downtown on the Green Space in Cleveland to showcase the range of talent coming out of the DMI.

The Senior Showcase will promote original music by DMI students in the DMI Senior Project class by featuring performances from a diverse group of entertainers.

Included in the line-up are: Jessica Faith, Scott’s House, Deering, Carrie Lynn, Mic Hargrove, From the Pier, Thomas Walker & the Garment of Praise Choir, and the DMI All-Stars, a select group of Delta State students who performed for Mississippi Night during GRAMMY® week in Los Angeles.

“This is the first semester that DMI has showcased all the students in the senior project class on one show, and I think the public will be really impressed with the depth and diversity of talent on the show,” said DMI Director Tricia Walker. “And in the collaborative nature of the DMI, students in the Live Event practicum course, under the direction of Charly Abraham, will be managing the event and handling all production for the show.”

Kacee Russell, lead singer and songwriter for the band Scott’s House, said, “I’m excited to show everybody a few of the songs Scott’s House has been working on, and it’s cool that the DMI seniors will get to show off their hard work to people who might not normally come out to a show. It’s going to be a good ole time.”

The showcase is free and open to the public, and concessions will be available for purchase from the Levee Break Grill and Delta Dairy. Attendees are advised to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in Entertainment Industry Studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Biology students visit the Big River Road Landfill

By | Academics, General, Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

Students in Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding’s Material and Methods class in environmental science recently visited the Big River Road Landfill in Leland.

The landfill is designated for municipal solid waste products such as cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans, paper, tree branches and more. It has been in operation since the 1980s and consists of over 148 acres.

The landfill receives waste from every county that borders Washington County, including those in Arkansas. Roughly 500-600 pounds of waste is hauled into the landfill daily. The facility is operated by Republic Services, the second largest provider of non-hazardous waste collection in the United States.

Amber Hoffman, a regional environmental manager with Republic Services, presented to the class during its visit. Hoffman explained how durable plastic liners, geotextile mats, clay, sand, gravel, dirt, pipes, leachate ponds and more are incorporated into designing each refuse cell — the standard building block of a sanitary landfill. At the Big River Road landfill, a refuse cell is typically five acres in length and exists for 18-24 months before it is filled up.

Brady Chambley, a senior majoring in environmental science at Delta State, was amazed at the complexity of maintaining a landfill.

“The amount of work it takes to keep up a landfill is surprising, yet very important,” said Chambley.

To learn more about the environmental science program at Delta State, contact Baghai-Riding at nbaghai@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4797.

Delta Center hosts Amherst, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and Yale students

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, Faculty/Staff, International Delta Blues Project | No Comments
University of Wisconsin students visited Dockery Farms as part of their Geography of the Mississippi Delta course.

 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted several groups of college and university students conducting experiential learning tours of the Mississippi Delta.

Yale University students gather at The Delta Center's Cast of Blues exhibit.

Yale University students gather at The Delta Center’s Cast of Blues exhibit.

Students from Amherst College in Massachusetts, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University traveled to the Delta as part of a variety of structured educational and cultural programs. These included spring break service learning initiatives, Jewish Hillel student organizations and a formal course on the Mississippi Delta.

The students from Yale stayed in the region for a week, touring Mound Bayou and Po Monkey’s Lounge while completing service projects with Delta Hands for Hope of Shaw, Mississippi. The Amherst and Mississippi State groups visited The Delta Center on the same day, visiting Dockery Farms and the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville.

The University of Wisconsin students visited The Delta Center for the first time as part of a course about the geography and culture of the Delta.

“We learned that the geography course has been offered at the University of Wisconsin for several years now,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “It is fascinating and exciting to know that such a course about the Mississippi Delta exists at a major research university like Wisconsin.”

Over 40 students from the University of Wisconsin visited the Delta as part of their enrollment in the course. Based on feedback from the visiting faculty and students, interest in the culture and history of the Delta at Wisconsin is strong.

University of Wisconsin students receiving their orientation to the Mississippi Delta at Delta State.

University of Wisconsin students receiving their orientation to the Mississippi Delta at Delta State.

“Their university administration, including the president, is very supportive of that course,” said Lee Aylward of The Delta Center. “We look forward to working with them and the other groups again.”

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 http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

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.

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.