Jeffrey Farris (right), director of Alumni Affairs, recently congratulated student Brooks Bishop for winning the H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Association Service Award at the annual Student Hall of Fame Banquet.

Brooks and Aguzzi honored

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The Delta State University Alumni Association recently awarded Student Alumni Association President Brooks Bishop with the H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Association Service Award at the annual Student Hall of Fame Banquet.

The award is named for Henry Lee “H.L.” Nowell Jr., who worked at Delta State from 1948-1987. During his 40-year career, Nowell served in numerous capacities including: dean of men, dean of students, director of student activities, director of public relations, Delta State’s first director of the Student Union and first paid alumni secretary.

The award is given each year to the SAA member who has given tireless effort and generosity throughout the academic school year.

Bishop will complete his degree in business management in December of 2015. He has been a member of SAA since his freshman year. He is a native of Clarksdale.

The National Alumni Association is also in charge of getting a speaker each year for the HOF banquet. This year’s speaker was alumnus Michael Aguzzi. A Cleveland native, Aguzzi is a farmer with his family’s rice and soybean operation in Bolivar County.

Aguzzi graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in computer information systems and marketing. As a student, he held various Student Government Association positions, served as SAA president and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa.

He was also named to the DSU Student Hall of Fame in 1997 and was elected vice president of his graduating class. Aguzzi’s extensive involvement as a young alumnus includes continued service to Delta State as well as the Cleveland community.

Notable achievements also include serving on DSU Green and White Fund Board, three terms on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors serving as Young Alumni representative and Northern MS representative.

Aguzzi currently serves as the board president for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. Professional involvement includes serving on Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher State Committee, as well as the Bolivar County Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors, where he is past president. He has also served Delta Council as a board member and vice president.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. 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).


The Delta State University Alumni Association recently hosted the Southeast MS Alumni Chapter Meeting in Hattiesburg.

Alumni Association visits Hattiesburg

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The Delta State University Alumni Association recently traveled to Hattiesburg for the Southeast MS Alumni Chapter Meeting held at Mack’s West restaurant.

Delta State President William N. LaForge, head football coach Todd Cooley and Alumni Director Jeffrey Farris spoke to the crowd. Assistant Alumni Director Jordan Thomas, admissions recruiter Katelyn Hulett, Chief Development Officer Gary Bouse and Director of Donor Relations Ann Giger were also in attendance.

“It was great to see the Delta State head football coach Todd Cooley in Golden Eagle country,” said Chris Shivers, past president of the chapter. “We really enjoyed hearing about all the wonderful things going on at Delta State.”

Next year’s chapter president is Marks Elder.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. 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).

Delta State University Provost Dr. Charles McAdams (left) and President William N. LaForge (right) present UPS CEO David Abney '76 with an honorary doctorate at today's 89th Commencement ceremonies.

Graduates and Abney honored at commencement

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Delta State University celebrated its 89th Commencement in grand fashion today with a traditional graduation ceremony and a presentation of an honorary doctoral degree.

The institution, friends and family united to recognize the accomplishments of over 400 graduates.

While his list of accomplishments is already lengthy, alumnus David Abney ’76, CEO of UPS, added another milestone to his résumé after being granted an honorary doctoral degree as part of Delta State’s long-running tradition of recognizing green and white greatness.

Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally or other areas of society.

Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

Abney, who became UPS’s CEO in 2014, is also the creator of Delta State’s annual International Business Symposium in the College of Business. The IBS provides a unique look at current trends in the business world. The symposium celebrated its 10-year anniversary this April. Abney and his wife Sherry, both Delta natives, have sponsored the IBS since its inception.

Abney studied marketing at Delta State and was named the 2007 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. He currently serves on the Delta State University Foundation Board of Directors.

The esteemed alumnus offered these words of wisdom in relation to time during his keynote address.

“Take time to fail, take time to believe in yourself, take time to shine a spotlight on others, take time to listen and at the end, of course, take time to dream,” said Abney. “I think you’ll find this will be time well spent.”2015 spring commencement small

Delta State President William N. LaForge provided introductions at the ceremony, while presentations of candidates and degrees were led by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams.

“This spring, we are graduating more than 400 students, and we are happy to have them and their loved ones on campus to celebrate this momentous occasion,” said LaForge. “Thank you to our faculty and staff who have helped make this semester another successful one for Delta State. I also extend congratulations to Dr. David Abney on receiving a honorary doctoral degree. He delivered a powerful and meaningful commencement address, and we thank him for sharing his experiences and advice with all of us.”

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The Delta State University Alumni Association recently hosted the annual Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil.

Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil a success

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The Delta State University Alumni Association held its annual Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil April 27 in front of Walter Sillers Coliseum.

“This year’s crawfish boil was a smashing success. The Alumni Association staff did a fabulous job, and everyone readily got into the spirit of the event,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “The great entertainment, food and large attendance by loyal alumni and friends of Delta State combined with a perfect location and ideal weather to make a fun event for all.”

This year’s event featured crawfish, BBQ and free pizza for children 12 and under thanks to Domino’s. Entertainment for the night was provided by Southern Halo, CE All Stars and Fusion Gymnastics.

LaForge, head football coach Todd Cooley and Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs, spoke to the crowd of over 400. Bolivar County chapter president Will Bradham presented Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Wayne Blansett with a service award in honor of his upcoming retirement. Kappa Delta Sorority also recognized Elsie Lynn Ervin, who is retiring this June.

The chapter also held a silent auction with all proceeds going to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was named for former assistant alumni director Liza Vaughn ’95 who passed away in April of 2012. It was established for incoming Delta State students from Bolivar County.

The event would not have been possible without the help of the volunteers and sponsors. This year’s Bolivar County officers are Will Bradham, president; Gary Crews, vice president; and Rob Shipp, secretary/treasurer. The Student Alumni Association also helped serve food and RC products, worked registration and monitored the kids area.

Prior to the event, the Alumni Association held a contest on social media for the chance to win a Yeti Hopper from Planters Equipment. Over 400 people pre-purchased tickets or liked and shared a status on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page, Statesmen Graduates, for a chance to win.

This year’s event sponsors were: National Alumni Association Corporate Sponsors: Air Evac Lifeteam, Bolivar Medical Center, Patrick Davis State Farm, Polk’s Meats; Okra Level: Bradham Enterprises, Domino’s , Needle Specialty, Nehi Bottling Co., The Image Specialist, Delta State Foundation; Green Level: Eddie S. Wilson, Kossman’s Inc., McNeer Mini Storage, OK Auto Sales and Lawn Equipment, The Cleveland Current, Planters Bank, Renasant Bank, Vowell’s Market Place; White Level: Backdraft, Bolivar Commercial, Byrd Service Station, Cleveland State Bank, Denton’s Dairy, Griffith Real Estate, H Squared Boutique, Meador & Crump, Mississippi Grounds, Partnership Properties, Security Services Inc. and Shelby Air Services.

To make a donation to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship, visit or call 662-846-4660.

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 next year’s Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 19, 2015) and Homecoming (Nov. 7, 2015).

Sammy Britt (left), former professor of painting and drawing at Delta State, and alumnus Brandon Moon ‘03, will both receive awards from The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters June 6 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.

Artists Britt and Moon recognized by state

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The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) has announced its award winners for works first published, performed or shown in the year 2014. The award recipients, chosen by out-of-state judges prominent in their respective fields, will be honored at the annual awards banquet to be held at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg on June 6.

Two artists with ties to Delta State University’s highly-praised Department of Art will be recognized for their artistic excellence.

The Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award winner is painter Sammy Britt, a native of Ruleville who resides in Cleveland after a long career as professor of painting and drawing at Delta State.

Britt received his B.F.A. in painting from the Memphis Academy of Arts and his M.F.A. in painting from the University of Mississippi. In 1963, Britt began studying with Henry Hensche at the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Mass. He continued studying with this master of painting for 25 more years.

After learning from Hensche, Britt was inspired to teach thousands of students over his legendary 35-year career at Delta State. After retiring from the university in 2002, Britt received the Kossman Outstanding Teacher Award and was also named professor emeritus of art.

“I cannot tell you how surprised and honored I felt when I was nominated for the 2015 Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Britt. “I am very pleased and proud to be recognized by members of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters as the recipient of this award.”

Britt reflected fondly on his interactions with students and faculty over his lengthy Delta State career.

“Delta State was the beginning of my career as a teacher of art. I was blessed with a great chairman, Malcolm Norwood, and a talented, diverse art faculty,” he said. “We grew together into a well-respected art department. I was also entrusted with very talented, hardworking students during my 35 years at Delta State. I am thankful God enabled me to learn and then to share with students during my years at Delta State and beyond.

“God, my family and Delta State are the foundation for my receiving the Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Britt has won many awards in competitive shows throughout his long career and has served as a juror for shows in several states. In 1999, Britt was featured at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Miss. in a show entitled “A Painter’s Painter: Charles Webster Hawthorne; The Influence of Provincetown and Henry Hensche on Sammy Britt, Gerald DeLoach, Richard Kelso, and George T. Thurmond Exhibition.”

He was also featured on Mississippi Educational Television, is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary Leadership Fraternity, was chosen as one of the Outstanding Educators in America and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art.

Britt continues to paint and teach workshops in the tradition of Hensche.

Brandon Moon is this year’s MIAL winner of the Visual Arts Award for “10 Works by Brandon Moon.”

A native of Jackson, Moon received his B.F.A. in painting from Delta State in 2003 and continued his studies in the graduate painting program at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga. He continues to create art in Jersey City, N.J. and New York City.

His work has been featured in shows in New York, Mississippi and Ohio.

“It is extremely difficult to express the surprise and elation upon hearing of the honor,” said Moon. “I work and create because I must — and to have such personal output not only recognized but lauded as well, is quite extraordinary.”

Moon added that his time as a student at Delta State prepared him for his career as an artist today.

“My time at DSU was really my stepping stone into the exploration of techniques and color,” he said. “I owe so much to the faculty at DSU from 2000-2003, from the encouragement to find myself, to the challenges my professors put forth. I can’t think of a more compacted influential period before or after.”

While Moon now resides outside Mississippi, he said the Magnolia State would always be home. He is humbled to be included with this year’s award winners and is thankful to MIAL for promoting the arts in Mississippi.

Moon is the son of Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies & Research at Delta State.

For information on the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, visit