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Alumni Association announces Service Award winners

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently announced its annual Alumni Service Awards recipients. Each year, the association presents four service awards: the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award; the Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Service Award; the Gladys Castle Friend of Delta State Award; and the Legacy Award. A new award was introduced this year, the Dr. Henry Outlaw Award.

The Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award was established to recognize outstanding service and contributions to Delta State University by an alumnus. This year’s recipient is Charles McGuffee.

Charlie McGuffee

Charlie McGuffee

McGuffee graduated with a B.S. in business administration in ’67. While at Delta State, he played baseball for three years. He was a member of M Club, and was also a founding member of Zeta Beta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha. McGuffee took off from college and worked for the Mississippi Army National Guard from 1963-1965, achieving the rank of SFC E-7. He then returned to complete his degree.

Upon graduation, McGuffee, was employed at Comptroller of the Currency, Dept. of the Treasury as an assistant National Bank examiner in Montgomery, Ala. He later transferred to Jackson, Miss, in November of 1967. He was then promoted as a commissioned National Bank examiner in 1971 and opened an office in Mobile, Ala. as an examiner-in-charge in 1972. McGuffee was responsible for 22 National Banks along the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

He then started a new company called NOW COMMUNICATIONS which was a re-seller of landline phone service. At its peak, the company generated in excess of $25 million. He then took over Delta Regional Foundation in 2004 as president and executive director. Over the past four years, DRF has contributed over $1 million to charities in the Delta and Northwest Mississippi, with the majority going to Delta State University.

He is married to Faye Roberts McGuffee. They have two sons, Mark (Kathy) and Kevin (Kelly) and three granddaughters.

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The Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Service Award is given each year to an alumnus who is 36 or younger and has given outstanding service and contributions to Delta State. This year’s recipient is Hays Collins.

Hays Collins

Hays Collins

Collins, of Pearl, Miss., graduated in 2004 with a degree in business administration through the College of Business. During his time at the university, he was an active member on campus, having served as the student director of the Union. He was elected into the Student Hall of Fame in 2004 prior to his graduation. Collins is now an active member of the Greater Jackson Area Alumni Chapter.

Today, Collins serves as vice-president of Perimeter Foods and his duties include the operation of 10 Jackson-Metro Area Wendy’s restaurants. An accomplished photographer as well, Collins’ dynamic sports photography earned him a Sports Illustrated cover in 2013. His photography was also featured in The Wall Street Journal and he is a frequent contributor to Mississippi Magazine.

In 2011, he launched TwentyEleven Media, a full service media firm. The company has gone on to work with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, The Hazel & Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden at Delta State and Delta Streets Academy in Greenwood.

Collins believes in the spirit of volunteerism and serves as board president for Mississippi Families for Kids and spearheaded a successful midnight bicycle race through the popular Fondren district. He is an elder at Lakeland Presbyterian Church and is married to the former Brooke Rutledge ‘04 of Memphis, Tenn. The couple has two children, Olivia, 5, and Ford, 3.  

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The Gladys Castle Friend of Delta State Service Award is presented to a non-alumnus who has made outstanding service and contributions to Delta State. This year’s recipient is Bolivar Medical Center. CEO Rob Marshall will accept the award on behalf of Bolivar Medical Center. bolivar medical center

Bolivar Medical Center has been a partner with Delta State University for decades, sponsoring numerous sporting events and performancesThe hospital is one of the corporate sponsors of the Delta State Alumni Association, a champion for the annual Pig Pickin’, host of the Welcome Back party for Delta State staff and also sponsors a performance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center annually, as well as showing support throughout the year.

It is also a major supporter and recruiter for the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at Delta State.

BMC is the only acute-care hospital in Bolivar County and is licensed for 165 beds. It houses a 35-bed longterm care facility, and both inpatient and outpatient services are provided. Patients have access to a broad range of quality healthcare services including a 24-hour physician-staffed emergency department, surgery specialists including general surgery, OB/GYN, urology, and pediatric dental. Family medicine, internal medicine, radiology, pathology, pediatrics, cardiology, pathology, radiology, and podiatry are other specialties in medicine.

Imaging services are comprehensive and now include MRI, 64-slice CT and Digital Mammography, which help the physician make the diagnosis and determine the treatment of a problem. BMC has an outpatient rehab facility that includes physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists that work with adults and children.

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hill demonstration school

Hill Demonstration School

The Legacy Award was established to honor an alumnus who has made an institutional impact on the university. This year’s recipient is the Hill Demonstration School. John Lewis ‘67 of Cleveland will accept the award on behalf of the school.

 In 1926, HDS opened for grades one through six. Laurie Doolittle became the head of the school and remained in charge for 12 years. At that time, 25 students attended the school. The school had a two-fold purpose. The first was to provide the highest physical, mental, spiritual and social development for children. The second was to give prospective teachers the opportunity to test their educational theories and to make those practical adjustments that were necessary for the purposeful and successful teacher.

By 1927-28, there were 50 children in attendance. The kindergarten classes were not added until 1929. In the Delta State Teachers College Bulletin, it was noted, “This year (1930), the Demonstration School will be housed in the old administration building and will consist of the kindergarten and the first five grades of the elementary school.”

The school was more than likely renamed the Hill Demonstration School because the old administration building was “Hill Hall.” The new administration building for Delta State Teachers College was being planned and constructed.

During the 1957-58 school-year, HDS was discontinued as a unit of the college.

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The Dr. Henry Outlaw Faculty/Staff Service Award, established in 2014, is given to a former Delta State faculty or staff member who has had a significant influence in the life of the university and/or alumni association.

Vicki Floranelli

Vicki Floranelli

Outlaw was a beloved science professor and chair of physical sciences. This year’s recipient of the award, which was established by the National Alumni Association and inspired by the Dedicated Statesman Association, is Vicki Bassie Fioranelli.

Fioranelli grew up in Gunnison, Miss., the daughter of Lewis and Betty Bassie. She is the oldest of nine children. She attended Siena Women’s college in Memphis and graduated from Delta State in 1968. She was a teacher, owner of Vicki’s Chocolate Store for seven years, and joined the DSU Alumni-Foundation staff in 1987.

She served alumni all over the state and beyond. For seven years, she served as director of Career Services. Additionally, she served on the building committees for the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House, the Capps Archives Building, and the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

In her career, Fioranelli served as president of: Staff Council, Catholic Ladies Sodality, Junior Auxiliary, and Cleveland Exchange Club, where she was the first female in the state invited to join the all-male civic club in 1986. She served as vice president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce for Community Affairs and membership chair of Crosstie Arts Council. She was is also a charter member of Octoberfest and Dedicated Statesman Association.

Her awards included: H.L. Nowell Staff Council Award; Business Woman of the Year by the Mississippi Business Journal and Delta Business Journal; Career Services of the Year award, and honorary membership into Tri Delta Sorority. Emeritus status was granted upon her retirement from Delta State.

Fioranelli retired to Memphis with her husband of 42 years, Charles, a retired farmer. They have a daughter in Nashville, Monica Wright (Chase), a nurse practitioner, with grandchildren, Austin and Stella; and a daughter, Mia, a speech therapist, in Memphis. Fioranelli is an active member of the Memphis Delta State Alumni Chapter.

She joined the Greater Memphis Exchange Club and received the Exchangite of the Year Award as well as served two years as district director. She and Charles are dedicated St. Jude Volunteers.

The award recipients will be recognized during Homecoming on Nov. 6 at the Alumni Awards Gala at 7 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center. The event is open to the public.

To purchase tickets, visit www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/homecoming2015.

Bettinger postcard_updated

Charles Schwab CEO and president (DSU alumnus) to speak to students Oct. 23

By | Academics, Alumni, College of Business | No Comments

Walt Bettinger, CEO and president of Charles Schwab, and alumnus of Delta State University, will visit the campus Oct. 23 to speak to faculty, students and staff. 

Bettinger, who was named a Top 20 Businessperson of the year in 2014 by Fortune magazine, attended Delta State from 1979 to 1981 on an academic and golf scholarship and then returned home to Ohio to complete his degree. He also was featured on the cover of Barron’s in October of 2014. His lecture is part of the Delta State University College of Business Lecture Series and will take place at 10 a.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium. 

Delta State is one of only a select number of universities able to claim multiple Fortune 500 company CEOs as alumni. The other is David Abney, CEO of UPS, who also will be on campus the weekend of Oct. 23.

To RSVP for the event, visit http://www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/waltbettingerevent.

Lucy Janoush '78, will be honored as the 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.

Homecoming award winners announced

By | Academics, Alumni, Athletics, Community, Faculty/Staff, Foundation | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association is excited to announce the 2015 alumni award recipients, who will be honored during a series of events set for Nov. 6-7 during Delta State Homecoming weekend.

The Alumni Association will recognize the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, the Hall of Fame inductees and the Alumni Service Awards. The Delta State Department of Athletics will honor the Athletic Hall of Fame, Coaches Hall of Fame and Distinguished Statesmen Award. In advance of formal announcements to follow, the alumni association released just the names of the winners today.

The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year is presented to a graduate who has made significant contributions to human or institutional programs in which a situation, an institution or a movement has been materially changed for the better due to that individual’s personal participation. This year’s recipient is Lucy Janoush ‘78, of Cleveland.

Induction into the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the DSU Alumni Association. Established in 2007, the Alumni Hall of Fame is extended to alumni and friends who have achieved professional distinction and made significant community service contributions at the local, national and/or international level, and who have thus brought honor and distinction to Delta State. This year, three distinguished alumni, along with Janoush, will be inducted into the hall: Colonel Gentry Boswell ‘91, of Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; Dwight Herlong ‘91, of Santa Clara, Calif.; and John C. Cox ‘96, of Cleveland.

The Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award is presented to recognize outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by an alumnus. Charlie McGuffee ‘67, of Clinton, Miss., will receive the award this year.

The Kent Wyatt “Young Alumnus” Service Award recognizes outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by a graduate 36-years-old or younger. The 2015 recipient is Hays Collins ‘04, of Brandon, Miss.

The Gladys Castle “Friend” of Delta State Service Award recognizes outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by a non-alumnus or institution. This year, the Bolivar Medical Center of Cleveland will be recognized.

The Legacy Award is presented to an alumnus who made an institutional changing impact at the university. Accepting the award on behalf of the Hill Demonstration School will be John Lewis ‘67, a graduate of Delta State College. The Hill Demonstration School was founded by Laurie Doolittle in 1927 under the leadership of Dr. William Marion Kethley.

The Dr. Henry Outlaw Faculty/Staff Service Award was established in 2014 as a way to recognize former Delta State faculty or staff members who have had a significant influence in the life of the university and/or the National Alumni Association. Established by the National Alumni Association Board of Directors, and inspired by the Dedicated Statesmen Association, the award will be given this year to Vicki Fioranelli ‘68, Delta State Alumni director emeritus.

The National Alumni Association will be releasing more information about the 2015 winners as the Homecoming weekend draws near.

The alumni association has a variety of activities planned throughout the weekend. This year’s featured reunion is the class of 1965, which will be celebrating 50 years since graduating from Delta State College. The 1965 class will be inducted into the prestigious Golden Circle, which is a constituency group of the association that honors alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago.

The official hashtag for the 2015 Homecoming is #DSUHC15. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. To purchase tickets to the Alumni Awards Gala, contact the association at 662-846-4660 or http://www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/homecoming2015.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

Delta State University and Delta State Athletics will erect a statue of legendary baseball coach Dave "Boo" Ferriss Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.

Coach Ferriss to be honored with statue

By | Alumni, Athletics, Community, Foundation | No Comments

Delta State University and the Department of Athletics are erecting a statue in honor of legendary baseball Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss in recognition of his decades of commitment to the Green and White.

The life-size statue, created by renowned Mississippi artist Kim Sessums, will feature Ferriss in his Delta State uniform and will be placed behind the grandstand at the baseball complex named in his honor. The statue dedication is scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.

Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers said the statue is an appropriate way to pay tribute to a coach who had an illustrious career at Delta State.

“As a friend of Delta State University Athletics, you already know the impact that Coach Ferriss has had on the Delta State baseball program, and also for the game on the state, regional and national levels,” said Mayers. “What truly makes this man worthy of having a statue erected on the Delta State campus is reflected in the time he has always taken to know his players and fans so well — something he has continued to do in the years since he last hung up his uniform.”

Ferriss retired from Delta State following the 1988 season, but he continues to be a tireless supporter at all levels of baseball throughout the state and especially for his beloved Statesmen.

While he is known locally as the legendary Statesmen baseball, Ferriss also became a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer.

The Shaw, Miss. native spent 46 years in baseball on the collegiate and professional levels, including 26 seasons at Delta State. A legend in national collegiate baseball coaching circles, Ferriss was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988 in Atlanta, Ga.

He compiled a 639-387-8 record at Delta State, and his coaching record ranks him among all-time national coaching leaders at the NCAA Division II level. His 1988 team was ranked 9th nationally in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

When Ferriss took over the DSU baseball program in 1960, he started it from the ground level. The Statesmen played many of their games off campus and Ferriss coached without the benefit of an assistant. He directed teams to the NCAA Division II Playoffs in eight of his last 12 years, including three trips to the NCAA Division II championships where the Statesmen finished third, second and third respectively in 1977, 1978 and 1982.

Gulf South Conference championships came in 1978, 1979, 1985 and 1988, with the Statesmen finishing second in 1981 and third in 1982. Forty-nine of his players earned All-Gulf South Conference honors.

Ferriss also earned several honors for his coaching accomplishments. In 1988, he received the United States Baseball Federation Service Award for his contributions to the game. He was named NCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times while also earning Gulf South Conference coaching honors three times.

In 1978 and 1982 he was selected as College Baseball Coach of the Year in Mississippi and was runner-up in that category in 1985.

In 2007, University Archivist Emily Jones helped pay tribute to Ferriss’s remarkable career by establishing The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum, which is housed inside the Robert L. Crawford Center adjacent to the baseball field.

“This statue is really going to tie everything together,” said Jones. “It will let everyone know right where they are — at the field named in his honor, the museum to the side and now the statue. Everyone is going to feel welcomed.”

Mayers encouraged fans and Delta State supporters to take part in the community effort to raise money for the statue fund.

“We invite you to be a part of this momentous occasion by contributing to the Ferriss Statue Fund,” said Mayers. “Along with your donation, we encourage you to jot down a fond memory to be shared with coach and Mrs. Ferriss.

“Coach Ferriss has given us more than 55 years of service and memories here at Delta State. Don’t miss this opportunity to support this overdue tribute and to share in honoring this legendary coach and man.”

To donate to the Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss Statue Fund, visit https://www.deltastategiving.org/Fund/Give/678. For more information, contact the Delta State University Foundation 662-846-4704.

Delta State will rename New Men's Residence Hall to Blansett Hall with a public naming dedication Oct. 17 to honor Dr. Wayne Blansett, former vice president of Student Affairs.

Blansett to be honored with building dedication

By | Alumni, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Delta State University and supporters from the community will gather Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. to honor one of the university’s most beloved leaders, Dr. Wayne Blansett, recently retired vice president of Student Affairs.

To recognize Blansett’s 40 years of dedication to the institution, Delta State will hold a naming dedication to rename New Men’s Residence Hall to Blansett Hall. The ceremony will also include a reception in the lobby following the main event.

Over the past four decades, Blansett has remained a fixture as one of the most respected leaders at Delta State. Serving the green and white for nearly half of the institution’s existence, Blansett retired at the end of the academic calendar in June of 2015.

Most recently serving as vice president of Student Affairs — 1993 to 2015 — Blansett has been a role model and mentor for countless students in Delta State’s storied history. As he put it, his job was to improve the total development of students at the university.

“I started working at Delta State when I was 23-years-old,” said Blansett in a previous press release. “I’ve had a long and rewarding career, and I will certainly miss the interactions with students, staff and the entire Delta State family.”

The true leader is also a proud alumnus of Delta State, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1973, Master of Education in Counseling in 1974 and a Doctorate of Education in Professional Studies in 1988.

Shortly after his graduate studies, Blansett began working for his alma mater as the assistant dean of students from 1975-1980. He then progressed as the director of Student Activities (1980-1984), associate dean of Student Affairs (1984-1990) and dean of Student Affairs (1990-1993).

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, who has been Blansett’s longtime friend and colleague, said the building dedication is an appropriate way to pay tribute to Blansett’s outstanding service to the university.

“No one bleeds ‘Green and White’ more than Wayne Blansett,” said LaForge. “It is very difficult to say a professional farewell to someone who has given his entire career to this university and who has had such an enormous and positive impact on thousands of students during his 40 years of service in the student affairs arena.”

Continue to follow Delta State’s daily news feed at www.deltastate.edu for more information on Blansett’s building dedication.