Janoush named Alumnus of the Year

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Each year, the Delta State University National Alumni Association recognizes alumni and friends who have brought distinction to the university at the annual Alumni Awards Gala, held during Homecoming weekend. This year’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Lucy Richardson Janoush ‘78, will be honored during a ceremony Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State.

At the event, Janoush will also be inducted into the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame.

Take a look at what used to be the southeast corner of the Delta State golf course, and you’ll notice the latest of Janoush’s many civic contributions. Since 2011, Janoush has served as president of the Cleveland Music Foundation Board of Directors, the group responsible for planning, funding, constructing and operating the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi. The $19 million-dollar facility opens in March of 2016.

The museum, Janoush explained, is a remarkable addition to the Cleveland community, the Delta and the state of Mississippi. It provides limitless cultural opportunities, attracts visitors, encourages business development, and will expand the area’s tax revenue. The museum also promises to enrich the offerings of its neighbor, Delta State University.

“I think the partnership is perfect,” Janoush said, referring to the consociation of Delta State and the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi.

This latest project represents just one of many ways Janoush has given back to the school and community that gave her an academic foundation. She started at Delta State in 1974 and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Janoush’s maternal grandmother was a Cornell University business school graduate, and her mother, Alyce Richardson, finished at Delta State with a 4.0 grade point average in business.

“Mom got the first diploma the day she had her first baby,” she said with a laugh. “She was in the hospital having my sister while my grandfather was at Delta State picking up her diploma.”

Her mother was also named Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1972.

Janoush’s father, Clarence “Rich” Richardson, served in the Marine Corps and then worked as vice president for the family’s John Deere dealership in Cleveland. He failed freshman English at Delta State three times, which generated humor within the family because two of his children – Janoush and her brother, Jimbo – earned their undergraduate degrees in English.

Although she planned to become a teacher, Janoush changed her mind during her senior year at Delta State. Instead, she applied for a Title IX fellowship offered by Mississippi State University, where she was awarded the opportunity to earn a Master’s in Public Administration – all expenses paid. The one-year program required an internship, so Janoush called her friend Bill LaForge, who at the time was a legislative assistant to U.S. Congressman David Bowen. She was invited to Washington, D.C., and that three-month internship turned into a full-time job that lasted five years.

“The first weekend I was there I met Elizabeth Taylor, and I saw the Pope,” Janoush recalled. “I thought, ‘Gee, you know, I think I can do this. This is kind of fun.’ As time went on, I really liked it.”

In 1983, Janoush returned to Cleveland to marry her long-time beau, Paul Janoush. They had two children, Will and Mary Parker. Will, 31, is now a tax attorney in Madison, and he and his wife, Andrea, have two children, Bradford, 3, and Mary Alyce, who is due for a November arrival. Mary Parker, 20, is a junior at the University of Mississippi, majoring in marketing and corporate relations.

Janoush has held multiple professional positions in the Delta, including: 10 years as human resources manager at Baxter Healthcare Corporation; three years as a planner for the South Delta Planning and Development District; and two years as human resources manager for Brandywine Foods, Inc. She also worked for the family’s business, Jantran Inc.

She was executive vice president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Foundation from 1986-1991. Along with having served on the Chamber’s board of directors for 24 years, and still counting, she was president for the 1994-95 term and served on dozens of committees. In 1996 and 2012, Janoush received the prestigious President’s Award. She was also honored with the Kossman Award for outstanding volunteer service in 1997.

Tucked in among her family, professional and civic lives, lies Janoush’s strong commitment to volunteer work. She was a member of the Cleveland-Bolivar County United Way Board of Directors from 1987-2013 and served as that group’s campaign chairman, vice president, and president. Since 1991, she has been a member of the Bolivar County Literacy Council Board of Directors. Additionally, she was on the board of directors for Bolivar Medical Center for five years, was president of the Crosstie Arts Council, and held leadership roles within the Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland.

She was named Junior Auxiliary’s “Charity Ball Queen” in 2010, a distinction that recognizes community leaders for outstanding community service. Janoush has also been a member of the First Presbyterian Church her entire life, and has served as a church elder since 2012.

Janoush is quick to credit Delta State for building a foundation upon which she’s built her life, career and civic record. Not only did she benefit from the academics, but she also got her leadership start by serving as secretary/treasurer in the student government and as president of Kappa Delta Sorority.

When asked about the Delta State professor who most influenced her, Janoush named Dr. Mariah Butler.

“She was the teacher everyone dreaded because she was very hard,” she said. “She was a great teacher, and she taught me how to study. She gave pop quizzes all the time, and some of those questions came from the footnotes. Dr. Butler made sure you got the whole picture.”

Looking back, Janoush cites the small class size and close-knit atmosphere of Delta State as major positives.

“PhD’s were teaching us freshman and sophomore English,” she said. “My freshman composition class was taught by the chairman of the English department, Dr. O.F. White. We weren’t being taught by teacher assistants who had their own class loads to worry about.”

Currently, Janoush converses and works with business people, politicians, entertainers and civic leaders from across the nation and world. In all of her dealings, she’s thankful for her solid academic foundation.

“Is Delta State small? Yes. Is it ranked the highest, academically, in the country? No. But there has always been a very good faculty and a good structure of learning,” said Janoush. “Students who go to Delta State and are serious about their studies can graduate and then go wherever they want to go and be whatever they want to be. They’re just as capable and competitive as students who went to bigger and more prestigious schools.”

National Alumni Association announces Hall of Fame inductees

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Four Delta State University alumni will be honored for their contributions to the university by being inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame during this year’s Homecoming festivities.

Induction into the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the Delta State University Alumni Association. Established in 2007, the honor is extended to alumni and friends who have achieved professional distinction, made significant community service contributions at the local, national and/or international level and brought honor and distinction to the university.

This year’s award winners will be recognized at the 2015 Homecoming Alumni Awards Gala at the Bologna Performing Arts Center Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.

Set to be honored this year are Colonel Gentry Boswell, John Cox and Dwight Herlong. Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Lucy Janoush, will also be inducted to the Hall of Fame.



Col. Gentry Boswell

Boswell, a graduate of Bayou Academy, received a Bachelor of Science in aviation management in 1991. He attended Squadron Officer School in 1998 and received a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2001 and a Master of Military Operational Science from Air University in 2005. In 2007, he attended Joint Forces Command Advanced Warfighting School in Norfolk, Virginia, and received a Master of Strategic Studies at Air War College in 2011.

The son of Mickey and Cookie Boswell of Cleveland, Boswell took command of the largest B-1 combat wing in the U.S. Air Force during a change of command ceremony on June 4, 2015, at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.

Boswell said his education at Delta State equipped him for his stellar military career.

“DSU prepared me for a challenging future in the military, which demands the best in intellect, leadership and team skills,” he said. “My teachers and advisors challenged me and taught me, first and foremost, the value of critical thinking — to have the discipline to research facts and learn the full picture before developing opinions or a position on an issue. They also taught me very well how valuable a person’s work ethic is, stressing the points of showing up every day ready to go and prepared for class, understanding that to have an opportunity to continue my education was a privilege. The point hit home that how well I did in my education would determine the options I would have ahead in life.”

While Boswell was a serious student, he made the most of his time in college.

“I had four incredible years at Delta State, the highlights of which were being around a great group of students and faculty that made the time memorable,” he said. “From my Pike (Pi Kappa Alpha) brothers to teammates in athletics, students and the faculty, there was always someone with a smile and positive attitude that made a profound influence on me and made for great times and great memories.

“I remember being the first generation of the men’s swimming and diving team where we were setting new school records at every meet and watching the program grow from its infancy. I vividly remember the stiff competition and fun in intramural sports where the Pikes prided ourselves on being perennial champs, and I have fond memories of the great wilderness trips with Dave Heflin and the late Dr. Henry Outlaw — those were great times indeed. I had a full scholarship from the Air Force that allowed me to attend any university in the nation with an Air Force ROTC program. I had to choose from something like 75 schools, and I ultimately chose to go to DSU because of the people there and the character of the school.”

Among his many honors are: Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device and seven oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with four oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with two oak leaf clusters and a NATO Medal.

He is married to Cindi Chandler Boswell, who also graduated from Delta State and was inducted in to the Student Hall of Fame. The couple has two children, Kaitlyn and Jerod.


John C. Cox head shot 2015

John C. Cox

John Cox is the definition of a man about campus. A native of Cleveland, Cox graduated in 1996 from with a Bachelor of Arts in English. While at Delta State, Cox made the most of his four years by joining Kappa Alpha Order, Lambda Iota Tau literature honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, and being inducted into the Student Hall of Fame. He served the student body as SGA vice president, Student Senate president, Student Senator, and was Editor in Chief of the Delta Statement for a year and a half. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Institute on Political Journalism.

“I chose DSU for the obvious reason — it’s where my father told me he would pay for me to go to school,” said Cox. “It’s no secret, and it’s a bit ironic that as a Cleveland kid, I wanted to go anywhere but Delta State. I really wanted to go to Millsaps. But my father sent me to DSU, and I had plans of just being a faceless college student back and forth to class and home. I was never a bad student, as you know, but I can honestly say that I was unmotivated. I wouldn’t call myself a leader at that time in my life by any stretch of the imagination. But when I came to Delta State, I was immediately surrounded by people who pushed me to look within myself and find something greater.

“I met men like George Bassi and Dr. Wayne Blansett, and I was inspired and motivated for the first time in my life to push myself to my highest potential. I cannot repay them enough. My life was forever changed by a decision that, ironically, I vehemently opposed.”

Cox then went on to the University of Mississippi School of Law where he graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1999, and received a public interest scholarship from the Public Interest Law Clinic to work at the Hinds County Public Defender’s Office during law school. He later served an externship with the district attorney in Desoto County, Mississippi. He moved back to Cleveland in 1999 and began work at Cox & Moore, PLLC. He is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association and is licensed to practice before all state courts in Mississippi, all federal courts in Mississippi, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

He served two terms as president of the Bolivar County Delta State alumni chapter. He also has served as director of the DSU Foundation Board and served 10 years on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors, serving as chair of the Governmental Relations Committee, the New Initiatives Committee, secretary-treasurer, president elect, and finally, president of the board. He was President of the National Alumni Association from 2008-2010. As chair of the New Initiatives Committee, he co-wrote the guidelines for the Alumni Hall of Fame, thereby creating the Alumni Hall of Fame.

For six years, Cox served as one of Delta State’s delegates to the Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) Inter-Alumni Council and was elected by his peers as chair of the Bolivar County group of Inter-Alumni delegates among the eight universities in 2003. He became a Sustaining Life Member of the Delta State University Alumni Association in 2014 and was the recipient of the Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Service Award at Delta State in 2004. In 2014, he created the John Ford Award through the Delta State Foundation to honor his former English professor of Shakespeare at Delta State and, in addition to personally funding the award, he has led the fundraising efforts for the award with the former students of Mr. Ford.

He served as a color analyst for the Delta State Sports Radio Network for seven years and has appeared on ESPN3 and CSS as a sideline reporter for televised football broadcasts. He has served on 11 search committees for the Delta State Athletic Department since 1996.

He attributes all of his accomplishments he attributes to his time at Delta State and says it is why he continues to give back to the university that has given him so much.

“My time at Delta State was a transformative period in my life,” Cox said. “I learned to use talents and skills that I never knew I had in me, and I cannot repay her enough. To this day, when I walk on the campus of Delta State, I have a sense of calmness and comfort that can only be likened to coming ‘home.’ I owe Delta State, and I owe the people who pushed me so hard to do my best to keep her strong and to continue to preach the Delta State story to anyone who will listen. I am not worthy to walk in the shoes of the great men and women who have come before me, and I am just a small part of Delta State’s great history. But I think it is my moral responsibility to give back to the university who made me who I am today.

Cox is the proud father of two boys, John Christopher, 10, and Walker, 7.


A native of Meridian, Miss., Dwight Herlong earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Delta State. While enrolled, he was inducted into the Student Hall of Fame, was a four-year starter on the varsity football team, was named All Gulf South Conference for three years, and received the Charles S. Kerg Senior Athlete of the Year and Mississippi Sportswriters Athlete of the year awards. He also finished his undergraduate athletic career ranked Top 10 in tackles for the football team.

Dwight Herlong

Dwight Herlong

Herlong said his years spent at Delta State are some of the best of his life.

“Delta State played a large part of shaping the adult that I have modeled my value system and life after, as well as I continue to strive to become,” he said. “Delta State was a catalyst, or better yet a platform, for me to emerge. Great professors like Dr. Allen Dennis, Dr. Roy Moore and Dr. Billy C. Moore challenged and supported me. However, Dr. Wayne Blansett, Ms. Linda Ross, Dean Wyatt and other administrators always ensured that others and I had a great student life with extra-curricular activities and programs.

“Coach Don A. Skelton is like a father figure to me, and Coach Robert Dortch an older brother that wouldn’t allow me to get any less out of my abilities on the football field. Delta State prepared me for life at Delta State, but most assuredly for life after Delta State. Finally, the thing that made it ‘fit’ for me was the personal and intimate feel that each relationship I had with professors, administrators, coaches and staff alike. I love and treasure them as well as the countless lifetime friends to this very day.”

Herlong is a true Delta State success story and has spent nearly 25 years in retail supply chain and operations. He currently serves as vice president of supply chain at iCracked — an OnDemand startup that provides repair, trade-in and warranty services across the globe for consumers.

Before joining iCracked, he served as head of Global Logistics, Innovations and Next Generation Supply Chain Initiatives at Google, Inc. During his tenure, Herlong led the global build out of the Logistics and Store Operations capabilities (expansion).

Prior to Google, Herlong launched a successful strategy consulting company, Value Chain Services, which focuses on retail, wireless and value chain transformation initiatives. In addition, he served as vice president of supply chain for T-Mobile USA, as well as group vice president at Macy’s, where he oversaw the modernization and upgrades to their physical supply chains and systems infrastructure.

He began his supply chain career at Roadway Freight at the break-bulk terminal in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving on to serve as regional director for Best Buy’s Home Delivery Division.

In addition to his business responsibilities, Herlong recently became a licensed and ordained minister. He has a passion for helping underprivileged and underserved communities, particularly younger generations. Currently, he is channeling that passion into Ladders, an organization that will guide and enable youth from all circumstances to aspire, achieve and assist others in realizing the most out of life.

Herlong attributes all of these accomplishments to his education and experience at Delta State. It is why he has continued to be a champion for the university.

He has been an industry speaker for Gartner Supply Chain Executive retreat, Richmond Events Supply Chain Forum, as well as a host of other sponsored events. However, his most precious engagement was returning to his beloved Delta State to speak at the 2014 International Business Symposium.

Simply stated, I will always support Delta State because it’s my family, it’s where my roots grew deepest,” he said. “My kids and my friends will tell you that I have always said, ‘I am Delta State and Delta State is me.’ Or my favorite, ‘DSU means Dwight’s State University!’ So much of my identity and who I have become is synonymous to Delta State.”

Herlong said he is extremely honored for the recognition.

“To know that of all of the students and now adults that passed through these halls, that hung out in the quad and the Green Onion or played on these fields of competition that I am ranked as one of the greatest or most accomplished, is significant,” he said. “Although small in enrollment size, I always tell everyone that our graduates need not take a second seat or status to anyone. Amongst our ranks are CEOs, presidents, board members, officers, elected officials, and heads of education at places like UPS, Charles Schwab, Xerox and Macy’s, as well as some of the largest school districts around the country. In that company, anyone would be as humbled as I am.”

Herlong has three children, Dwight II, Griffin Paige and Gabriel Fulton.

The award recipients will be recognized during Homecoming festivities 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.

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

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).

Alumni Association releases Fall 2015 magazine

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The Fall 2015 edition of Delta State’s Alumni and Foundation Magazine is complete and is currently on its way to the homes of Delta State alumni. This edition features the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing on the cover.

The magazine also contains articles on the GRAMMY Museum Mississipp, the recent trip of Delta State students, faculty and staff to Perm, Russia, the baseball stadium renovations, including the Dave “Boo” Ferriss statue, and much more. Alumni and friends are also able to keep up with fellow classmates in the “with the classes” section.

“Because the Delta State Alumni and Foundation Magazine is the only publication that gets sent out to alumni, donors, and students, we work hard to ensure that we encompass all areas and interests of campus,” said Jordan Thomas, editor. “I am so excited for this issue to hit homes. It’s one of our best issues to date.”

The Delta State Magazine is mailed to over 32,000 homes of alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff nationally twice a year.

To view the Magazine online, go to  To update your information, visit

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

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).

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.


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.  


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.


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.


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

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

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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