Delta State graduate Emma Alford published "Stamped," a collection of poems about losing her best friend.

Alumna publishes chapbook

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Best friends die — and that is really difficult. Delta State alumna and Cleveland native Emma Alford ’12 explores such a loss on her own terms in a new chapbook, “Stamped.” In the book’s poems, she taps into the experience of losing her best friend in a car accident at the age of 20, while they both teetered between adolescence and adulthood.

Alford began writing these poems five years ago in a college poetry workshop class immediately after the death of her friend and completed the collection in 2015. Some of the poems were written in response to actual postcards from her friend, with the book displaying reproductions of the postcards next to their corresponding poems.

“I found these postcards from Cassidy, some I had responded to and some I hadn’t,” said Alford. “I had these things I needed to say to her and about her. Finding the postcards pushed me to start writing these poems.”

Nearly all the poems are constructed as a conversation with her deceased friend, directing each line toward her. They capture the experience of loss, but also the humor and subtleties of a friendship cut short much too early.

“You can’t make new, old friends, and I think that’s what’s most crushing about losing them at a young age,” she said. “Any friends I make as an adult won’t have grown up next door — they’ll never know 14-year-old me. Addressing and exploring that fact through these poems has been very important and therapeutic for me.”

Mike Smith, author of “Byron In Baghdad” and “Multiverse,” said, “Emma Alford’s first book is a beautiful elegy. Expertly rendered through a series of poems that transforms a friend’s postcards into a means of coming to terms with loss, this collection participates in the great tradition of English-language poems that celebrate and mourn best friends lost too soon. This is a deeply moving book and one I will read and reread for years to come.”

“Stamped,” from Finishing Line Press, is Alford’s first published work of poetry. The book is available online at Some of the poems have previously appeared in Delta State University’s literary magazine, Confidante. She hails from the Mississippi Delta, but now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her overweight, orange tabby. She is an editor and contributor for The East Nashvillian magazine.

Simmons Room

Event rental space available at Alumni House

By | Alumni, Community, Foundation | No Comments

The Delta State University Alumni Association, housed in the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni-Foundation House, offers a variety of services to the Cleveland and Delta State community. One such service is rental space in the Simmons Room.

The Simmons Room is available seven days a week as an event rental space. Along with the large conference/event space, facilities includes a full kitchen and an outdoor patio overlooking GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. The Simmons Room has been used for a variety of events such as wedding receptions and rehearsals, board meetings, training sessions and reunions.

“Reserving the Simmons Room is always quick and easy,” said Amanda Whitehead, senior executive assistant at Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland. “Setting up the room is painless because it’s already done for you. The staff at the Alumni House is courteous and always willing to help. Parking is great, and access to the kitchenette is awesome. When looking for a place to host my meeting events, the Simmons Room is always my first option.”

The room may be set up anyway that suits the renter’s needs. Catering is also available through Aramark on campus. The room is handicap accessible.

The rental cost is $200 during the week and $400 for the weekend. For an additional cost, audio and visual services may be provided on request.

To reserve the space, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660 or visit 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).

Statesman and Okra 300dpi

Make your plans for 2016 Pig Pickin’ and Homecoming

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently announced dates for 2016 Pig Pickin’ and Homecoming – two of the largest events held on campus. The 31st annual Pig Pickin’ will be held Sept. 23-24, 2016, when the Statesmen football team hosts Shorter University. For more information, visit Homecoming has been set for Oct. 14-15, 2016, and the Statesmen will face off against the University of West Florida. 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).
To view the 2016 Statesmen Football Schedule, click here.
2015 Bolivar County s#277EB

Alumni Association Bolivar County Chapter awards $4,600 in scholarships

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Each year the Bolivar County Alumni Chapter awards scholarships to incoming Delta State freshmen from Bolivar County. The scholarship is named for former Assistant Alumni Director Liza Vaughn (‘95), who passed away in April 2012. The scholarship is funded through participation is the silent auction at the Annual Bolivar County Chapter meeting every April.

This year’s recipients are Emily Adams, Taylor Barr, Ashley Bonner, Braxton Clark, Samuel Cooper, Hannah Crick, Davis Dalton, Joe Garcia, Meagan Griffin, William Hood, Ashley Horton, Destiny McClain, Morgan Ray, Joseph Saia, Shelby Swafford, Mary Vadaley, Candace Vanhorn, Coleman Warrington, LaMonica Williams, William Woo, Layla Young, and Kellie Cummins.

Meet a few of this year’s recipients by watch thing testimonial video at

To make a donation to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship, contact the Alumni Association at (662) 846-4660 or visit

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 Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was announced Tuesday by Larkin Chapman (front row, third from left), a senior health, physical education and recreation major from Flora, Mississippi. This marks the first scholarship in the history of Delta State established by a current student. The annual scholarship will be awarded to two recipients, one history major and one social science education major. Chapman was joined by Schmidt’s wife, Elizabeth (left of Chapman), Delta State University President William N. LaForge, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. David Breaux, members of Alumni-Foundation, and faculty from the Division of Social Sciences and History.

Student establishes scholarship for Professor Ethan Schmidt

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The legacy of beloved Delta State University professor Ethan Schmidt, who died on campus on Sept. 14, continues to grow. Most recently Schmidt was honored with a scholarship established in his honor by one of his students, Larkin Chapman.

“As a student in Dr. Schmidt’s history classes, I immediately saw the passion he had in teaching and for his students,” said Larkin Chapman, a senior from Flora who is behind the creation of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship. “One of the many things I will always remember about Dr. Schmidt is how his door was always open for any student.”

Schmidt’s widow Elizabeth said the scholarship is an honor that illustrates why her husband was so well-loved by students and faculty.

“Our family is so honored that Ethan’s teaching and relationship with students and colleagues will be remembered through this scholarship,” she said. “We are excited to know that Ethan will be able to touch lives of future students through this money. We are very touched that Larkin had such a personal relationship with Ethan as a teacher and friend and knew Ethan’s passion was to help students aspire and meet their potential. We know that the money will help Delta State students for years to come even though they never got to meet Ethan.”

Delta State President William N. LaForge said the scholarship will be a gift that resonate through the lives of all of the students it assists, and it is fitting that it was created by a student.

“The establishment of the Schmidt Memorial Scholarship fund is a wonderful tribute to our beloved late colleague, Dr. Ethan Schmidt,” LaForge said. “His memory and the legacy of his good work will be perpetuated through the students who receive assistance from the fund in the years ahead. What makes this scholarship unique is that it is the first established by a current student. I salute Mr. Larkin Chapman, a senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major from Belzoni, for his thoughtfulness and generosity in establishing this memorial scholarship for Dr. Schmidt.”

Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history and personal friend of Schmidt’s, added, “Through his infectious enthusiasm and dedication to students, Ethan Schmidt made Delta State a better place. He touched the lives of so many people on campus and Larkin Chapman was obviously one of them.”

Delta State Director of Donor Relations Ann Giger said when Chapman came into the Foundation office, he was certain that a scholarship was needed to honor Schmidt.

“I wanted to establish the scholarship as a way to remember Dr. Schmidt and to give back to other students at Delta State the same enjoyment of learning that I’ve received.  I am not ashamed to say that God helped all of this to come together, and I give Him all the glory in this process,” Chapman said.

“This senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major from Flora, Mississippi spoke numerous times of how Dr. Schmidt always made him and other students feel they mattered and how there was greatness ahead for each of them,” Giger said. “Because of Larkin’s determination, the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was established and will be awarded to a history major and a social science education major.”

Giger added the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is the first scholarship in the history of Delta State to be established by a current student

“When Larkin learned of this historical first, he was surprised as his purpose was never intended to have the focus on himself but on remembrance of Dr. Ethan Schmidt, the professor who loved his students and gave so much,” she said. “Thank you, Larkin Chapman, for your example of leadership in the establishment of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship and in transforming the lives of students.”

Jeffrey Farris, Delta State Director of Alumni, said the National Alumni Association applauds Larkin for his establishment of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship.

“There’s nothing more powerful than a student with a transformational idea for the betterment of the university,” Farris said.

Schmidt’s fellow educators agree.

“One of my favorite quotes regarding education is from the renowned Irish poet William Butler Yeats, who once said that ‘education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,’” said Dr. David Breaux, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “From talking with students that had the privilege of taking courses with Ethan Schmidt, it is clear that he took that quote from Yates to heart. He constantly looked for creative ways to challenge students to think critically and to hone their communication skills. Therefore, I can think of no better way to memorialize Ethan, than by the scholarship established by Larkin Chapman.”

Dr. Paulette Meikel-Yaw, chair of the Division of History and Social Sciences, added, “Dr. Schmidt was an enthusiastic educator and scholar, beloved colleague and committed family man. He touched the lives of countless students, and he was a prolific leader in the Division of Social Sciences and History and in the University at large. He has left an indelible impression on the hearts of his students, colleagues and friends.”

“As Ann Giger, Director of Donor Relations at the Delta State University Foundation, notes this marks the first scholarship in the history of Delta State to be established by a current student, Larkin Chapman,” Meikel-Yaw added. “The thoughtfulness and generosity of Mr. Chapman is heartening as Dr. Schmidt’s legacy as a professor is cherished and his influence will live on in the hearts and souls of the students who will receive these scholarships.”

The Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is one-third of the way toward the Phase I goal of $10,000. Gifts can be made on line by going to  or calling 662-846-4704.