Delta State alumnus featured in BBC story

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The BBC recently published a story about UPS CEO David Abney, a Mississippi native and alumnus of Delta State University.

The story, titled “David Abney: The UPS boss who rose from the bottom rung,” mentions the impact Delta State had on Abney’s career.

“A business student at Delta State University in Mississippi, at night he would work at the local UPS depot, loading packages onto vans. By day he would sleep between lectures on a sofa in the student lounge … He also regularly returns to Delta State University, where he is a member of the board of directors for the university’s foundation, and sponsors an annual business conference at the college,” the article states.

To read the complete story, visit

Delta State University Hosts a Mississippi Today Conversation with Andrew Lack and Walter Isaacson

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CLEVELAND – Delta State University is hosting a Mississippi Today panel discussion Aug. 31 on New Media and Politics featuring NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack and Aspen Institute president and CEO Walter Isaacson.

The conversation between Lack, founder of Mississippi Today, and Isaacson, author of several celebrated historical books, is part of a two-day celebration and outreach to the Delta region about the Mississippi Today story.  Lack and Isaacson will discuss how the rise of New Media has impacted the 2016 presidential election.

Mississippi Today is inviting Delta residents to join in celebrating the news organization’s launch at a no-cost business casual public reception Aug. 30 at the Grammy Museum Mississippi beginning at 6 p.m., is a digital-only nonpartisan news site that launched on March 28 and has aggressively and objectively covered state and local government affairs and community issues, as well as Mississippi’s social culture, including sports coverage by celebrated columnist Rick Cleveland. The news operation is committed to covering issues and events across the entire state, including the Delta region.

The panel discussion hosted by Delta State University will be held in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall. The event will begin with coffee and pastries at 8:30 a.m., with the panel discussion beginning at 9 a.m.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge will introduce the panel, which will be moderated by Jim Barksdale, CEO of Barksdale Management. Barksdale serves on the board of Mississippi Today.

Lack, now chairman of NBC NEWS, chose Mississippi for the site of this innovative approach to news coverage largely because of his family ties to the Delta running back through several generations. His great-grandfather was the mayor of Greenville.

“All of us involved in this project have great aspirations for Mississippi’s future, and believe that competitive, world-class journalism is an essential piece of that puzzle,” Lack said.

Isaacson, a New Orleans native, leads the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C. His most recent book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014) is a biographical tale of the people who came up with the great innovations of the digital age. Among his other books are Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.

The Mississippi Today Conversation is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Access to is free and its stories are meant to be shared through social media and with other news organizations. The organization is committed to providing wide-ranging coverage presented by a diverse staff of journalists.

The news venture is co-edited by Fred Anklam Jr. and Dennis Moore, award-winning journalists with long ties to Mississippi who have returned home to help bring this innovative news coverage to the state.

“The chance to do public service journalism in a digital format in my home state made the decision to join Mississippi Today a no-brainer,” Anklam said. “We are already seeing a great response to our reporting efforts from our state residents and those interested in Mississippi.”

Mississippi Today is the public arm of Mississippi News and Information Corp., a nonprofit corporation established in 2014. The launch of Mississippi Today was realized through grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation and through the generous support from individual donors, including Lack.

Mississippi Today also is committed to helping develop the next generation of distinguished journalists who reflect the state’s diversity by recruiting exceptional graduates of journalism, communications and public policy programs and by working with current students in the state’s colleges and universities to develop skills that will prepare them for productive careers.

“The team at Mississippi Today is focused on informing residents about state and local government, education and poverty.  Their journalism has the potential to increase civic engagement, by making Mississippians more aware of how government action or inaction affects their lives,” said Karen Rundlet, program officer for journalism at Knight Foundation, the nation’s leading funder of journalism and media innovation.

Support for continued operation of Mississippi Today comes from sponsors, donors, advertising and Mississippians Together, our annual fund that unites readers from different backgrounds who share an interest in meeting challenges facing the state.

For more information, see our events page.

Alumni to gather in Desoto County

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The Delta State University Alumni Association will travel to Southaven for its annual DeSoto County Alumni Event on Aug. 13. This year’s event will be held at the BankPlus Training Center and will begin at 6 p.m.

An update from campus will begin at 6:45 p.m., and the Desoto County Scholarship Silent Auction will be open from 6-8 p.m. The cost will be $15 for individuals and $25 for couples. Children are welcome, and kids under 12 eat free.

President William N. LaForge will be the featured guest from campus. Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Vernell Bennett, the Alumni-Foundation staff, as well as other Delta State faculty and staff, will also be in attendance.

Each year, the event has a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the DeSoto County Scholarships, which are awarded to incoming Delta State freshmen from the area. This year’s recipients are Alexis Harrington from Desoto Central High School and Maggie Evans from Southaven High School.

All students interested in attending Delta State University are urged to contact admissions recruiter Katie Shoemaker at 662-846-4020.

Sponsors for the event include:State Farm agents Ryan T. England and Stephanie Morrison; BankPlus; BancorpSouth; Renasant Bank; Northcentral Electric Power; First Security Bank; Cory Uselton; Grapevine Liquor & Wine; and A&B Distributors.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

Alumni Association welcomes back Delta State “Ole” grads

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The Delta State University Alumni Association will host the 16th annual “Ole” Grad Reunion August 5-6 on the campus of Delta State University.

This year’s event will provide an active schedule, which will feature Delta State Night with guests from campus, a tour of the “Boo” Ferriss Museum, a tour of the Capps Archives & Museum, and a tour of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.

Each year, alumni come from all over the state to attend the reunion. “Ole” grads are alumni of Delta State University who are in the Golden Circle, a prestigious group of graduates who have been alumni for 50 years or more.

“Several ‘Ole’ Delta State grads met at Homecoming in 2000 at the Country Platter in Cleveland and the ‘Ole’ Grad Reunion was born,” said Wayne Lee ’57. “Meeting ‘Ole’ Delta State graduates and friends each year at our reunion keeps the die-hard supporters in touch with each other and creates a special bond that cements a relationship beyond description. The Delta State grads attending our annual reunions dearly love Delta State University for many reasons – not the least being Delta State gave each ‘Ole’ grad a feeling of belonging to a special group and a real and competitive chance in life. We urge all ‘Ole’ Delta State graduates, far and wide, to make plans to attend the 16th annual ‘Ole’ Grad Reunion on the campus of Delta State University.”

The event begins Friday with registration at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni-Foundation House from 5-5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. A silent auction will be open from 5-9 p.m. on Friday and 8 am. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The cost per person is $25 per night. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Anniversary Scholarship. To view the invitation and full schedule of events, visit the website

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

Alumni to host Greenwood/Leflore County Chapter meeting

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The Delta State University Alumni Association will host the Greenwood/Leflore County Chapter meeting at the Museum of the Mississippi Delta on Tuesday. Registration and a social will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m. Abe’s BBQ will provide catering for the event.

“The Alumni and Foundation staff looks forward to visiting our Leflore County alums,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs. “We hope to ignite the Delta State family in the area so they will make plans to visit campus this fall.”

Featured guests from campus will include: Todd Cooley, head football coach; Matt Jones, senior associate athletic director of communications and marketing; Emily Jones, university archivist; Rebekah Arant, admissions recruiter; and the Delta State Alumni-Foundation staff.

The cost for the meeting is $10 per person. Prospective students are invited to attend as guests of the Alumni Association. To RSVP, contact the association at 662-846-4660 or visit Supporters are asked to consider contributing to the Greenwood/Leflore County Alumni Scholarship Fund and the Delta State University Marketing Dollars Campaign. Donations can be made on the event page.

The mission of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta (formerly Cottonlandia Museum) is to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit tangible artifacts which enable the museum to educate the public about the art, history and natural history of the Mississippi Delta. The collection consists of historical items related to agriculture with particular emphasis on the cotton industry; military history emphasizing the Civil War; a regional art collection; the largest collection of Spanish Colonial trade beads in the Southeast; and an extensive collection of Pre-Columbian pottery.

The museum is home to the remains of a 12,000-year-old mastodon skeleton and skeletal remains of various land and aquatic mammals dating back 53,000 million years. For more information, visit the museum’s website at

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).