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Alumni

Delta State shines on national TV

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Delta State University has received quite a bit of airtime on national television lately — first with an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” followed by a shoutout from Al Roker on NBC’s “Today” show.

Delta State’s very own “BBQ Princess” Leslie Roark Scott ’95 made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” June 11 taking part in the 14th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York City.

Scott and her father Gary Roark are masterminds behind the award-winning Ubon’s BBQ in Yazoo City, and the duo has received national attention for their tasty BBQ.

Scott is no stranger to national TV, having made appearances on “Chopped Grill Masters,” “Chopped Impossible,” and will be on the new show “Smoked” July 6 on the cable channel Destination America.

“It’s getting easier for me to be on TV, but it’s definitely taken some time. I’m always excited about having the chance to represent Ubon’s, Delta State and Mississippi,” said Scott. “That’s the most exciting opportunity right now — to be out there and talk about the things I love.”

Tune into Scott’s new show July 6 on Destination America.

“I’m excited about it because I got to talk about Delta State, I cooked okra and I talked about the Mississippi Delta the entire time,” said Scott.

And Delta State made a strong appearance on the “Today” show Tuesday when host Al Roker was drawn to Kate Hargrave Hood ’98 passionately waiving her Fighting Okra flag in the crowd.

Hood and her family are vacationing in New York this week after winning the trip from the Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland Children’s Benefit Ball Auction.

“It was an unbelievable and awesome experience to make it on the show,” said Hood. “Nothing gets attention like the Fighting Okra! I’m a second generation ‘Today’ show watcher, and I knew Al Roker being a food fanatic would love the flag and it would get him interested. I’m proud to be a DSU alumnus!”

Roker approached Hood, who proudly shouted her Delta State Pride.

“All right, the Fighting Okra — wow, they go up against the Battling Rutabaga. Watch out,” joked Roker.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.

Alumnus elected chairman of Mississippi Bankers Association

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Frank Sibley ’71, president and CEO of Citizens Bank & Trust Bancshares in Marks, Mississippi, has been elected chairman of the Mississippi Bankers Association.

Sibley graduated from Delta State with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration. He also completed the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and the Commercial Lending School at the University of Oklahoma.

The MBA is a 127-year-old trade association representing all banks and savings institutions operating in Mississippi. MBA members hold over 95 percent of all bank deposits in the state.  

As MBA chairman, he will chair the association’s board of directors and executive committee.

Sibley has been an officer with Citizens Bank & Trust for 32 years. He joined the company in 1984 after working for Peoples Bank of Indianola for 12 years.

His involvement in the MBA includes service as vice chairman and treasurer, as well as a three-year term on the MBA board of directors. Additionally, he served as chairman of the board of the MBA Education Foundation, and served on the MBA Insurance Committee, Executive Committee and Legislative Committee.

Active in his community, Sibley is president of Wellsgate Homeowners Association in Oxford. He is also a past president of the Wilson Lake Country Club, Delta State University Foundation Board, Marks Rotary Club and Indianola Lions Club. He is a member of Marks Presbyterian Church where he serves as an Elder.

Sibley and his wife, Kay ’73, have two children. Their son, Taylor, is president and chief operating officer of the Marks office of CB&T. Their daughter, Dr. Gina Russell, is an audiologist at Magnolia Speech School in Clinton. 

Delta State Giving Days-Fireside Chat

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Joining President LaForge is Anne Wynn Weissinger, former President of the DSU Foundation, to discuss Delta State Giving Days.

Like most public universities, Delta State receives only a portion of the funding needed for operations and programs from the state and from tuition.  Therefore, the university relies on financial support from individuals, businesses, and foundations to fund scholarships, to provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff members, and to market the university’s outstanding programs. To support these efforts, the Delta State Alumni and Foundation Office is in the midst of a new fundraising effort called “Delta State Giving Days.” The objective of the campaign is to raise a remaining $75,000 of the $500,000 total amount needed for the Delta State Annual Fund.

This important campaign began May 23 and will run through June 30. We encourage everyone to go online and give to the Annual Fund today. No gift is too small, and every dollar will be maximized as Delta State continues on the path of success.

In other news on campus, the university is pleased to welcome Delta State’s new Vice President of Student Affairs to campus later this month. Dr. Vernell Bennett, who will begin in July pending IHL approval, previously served in the same role at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. She will replace Dr. “Butch” Caston, who has been serving as the interim Vice President, following the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett last year. It is also the time of year when campus is buzzing with summer camps for students of all ages. There is still time to participate, and you can find information on all of the Delta State summer camps at deltastate.edu/summercamps. To stay up to date on all of the news, activities and events on campus, visit our website at deltastate.edu.

Entergy Mississippi gives grant to Delta State InFuse program

By | Alumni, Foundation, General | No Comments

The Bolivar County Power Lunch was held recently at Delta State University. The luncheon celebrated a new $50,000 grant presented to Delta State by Entergy.

“At Entergy, our vision is ‘We Power Life’. That means not only providing electricity, but also enriching our communities through improved educational opportunities,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO.  “Our grant to Delta State will be divided between providing scholarships for worthy students and helping to fund the InFuse program. This program will provide more students with science and technology skills and education, preparing them for the in-demand jobs of the future.”

This is not the first time that Entergy Mississippi has partnered with schools in the region they serve. In 2012, the company received two Governor’s Awards of Distinction from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. The company has been listed in the top 10 for Site Selection magazine’s Top Utilities in Economic Development for the past eight years, and this year, Corporate Responsibility magazine named Entergy Corporation #18 overall  among the Top 100 Corporate Citizens and #4 in corporate giving.

“Delta State University deeply values its partnership with Entergy Mississippi, and sincerely appreciates their support of our students and of InFuSE, the university’s current initiative to secure private funding to support programs in the sciences,” said Gary Bouse, chief development officer, Delta State Foundation.

Speakers at this event included: Robbin Jeter, vice president of customer service and operations, Ed Gardner, director of business and economic development, Aaron Hill, manager of transmission planning, Brandon Presley, Mississippi public service commissioner Northern District, Cecil Brown, Mississippi public service commissioner Central District, and Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. started as Mississippi Power and Light Company in 1923. Entergy Mississippi now serves over 445,000 customers in 45 counties.