Archives and Museum

University to celebrate 90 years

By | Academics, Archives and Museum, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

All friends and supporters of Delta State University are invited to a birthday celebration Tuesday, Sept. 15, as the university marks the 90th anniversary of its opening.

In 1924, two Mississippi senators introduced a bill to create Delta State Teachers College, which was signed by the governor on April 9. Just under a year later, James Wesley Broom was appointed the first president of the college, and the institution was formally opened on Sept. 15, 1925.

“Starting with just 11 faculty members and a fall enrollment of 97 students, the university has grown into a noted four-year institution that continues to educate some of the brightest students in the state,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “In addition, the university has developed into a center of excellence in areas such as business, aviation, nursing, music, entertainment industries, culture and more.”

LaForge, joined by members of the Dedicated Statesmen Association, invites everyone to attend the celebration which will get started at noon with the dedication of the newly-restored clock and Alumni Brick Plaza in front of Ward Hall.

The project is the first of 10 projects to be identified by the DSA committee, which includes both retired and current Delta State faculty and staff who have put many hours into planning the 90th celebration events.

The dedication will be followed by lunch on the quadrangle and then a program looking back at Delta State’s 90 years scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. in the Jobe Hall Auditorium. Student and campus groups will pitch in on a number of campus beautification projects beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday, including a project to repaint the footsteps marking the “Green Mile” on campus.

Other opportunities to reflect and celebrate the university’s history include a main gallery exhibition at the Charlie W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum on 90 years of Delta State students. The exhibit, under the direction of University Archivist Emily Jones, will explore how the student body grew from under 100 students as well as nine decades of academic achievements. 

“We’re really driving home that this anniversary is about 90 years of celebrating students at Delta State,” said Jones. “We’ve had 90 years of people putting lots of energy and dedication into the university. We want to make sure that in another 90 years we have done as well as those who came before us. Collecting our history and knowing our foundations are essential.” 

Leading up to the anniversary date, Jones has also been publishing “History Days,” a series of informative posters focusing on all things related to the student experience over the years. View the series at

James Robinson, president of the DSA committee, said he encourages everyone to take the time to join in the events on Sept. 15.

“We thank all those individuals and businesses who have helped organize the day’s events and who have provided gifts and prizes,” he said. “We want the day to be full of excitement and joy as we express our love for our alma mater.”

Stay up to date on all anniversary events and activities at The public is encouraged to join the university as it continues to celebrate 90 years of excellence.

University to honor Coach Ferriss with statue

By | Alumni, Archives and Museum, Athletics, Community, Faculty/Staff, Foundation | No Comments

Delta State University and the Department of Athletics are erecting a statue in honor of legendary baseball Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss in recognition of his decades of commitment to the Green and White.

The life-size statue, created by renowned Mississippi artist Kim Sessums, will feature Ferriss in his Delta State uniform and will be placed behind the grandstand this fall after renovations are complete at the baseball complex named in his honor. The statue dedication is scheduled for Oct. 3.

Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers said the statue is an appropriate way to pay tribute to a coach who had an illustrious career at Delta State.

“As a friend of Delta State University Athletics, you already know the impact that Coach Ferriss has had on the Delta State baseball program, and also for the game on the state, regional and national levels,” said Mayers. “What truly makes this man worthy of having a statue erected on the Delta State campus is reflected in the time he has always taken to know his players and fans so well — something he has continued to do in the years since he last hung up his uniform.”

Ferriss retired from Delta State following the 1988 season, but he continues to be a tireless supporter at all levels of baseball throughout the state and especially for his beloved Statesmen.

While he is known locally as the legendary Statesmen baseball, Ferriss also became a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer.

The Shaw, Miss. native spent 46 years in baseball on the collegiate and professional levels, including 26 seasons at Delta State. A legend in national collegiate baseball coaching circles, Ferriss was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988 in Atlanta, Ga.

He compiled a 639-387-8 record at Delta State, and his coaching record ranks him among all-time national coaching leaders at the NCAA Division II level. His 1988 team was ranked 9th nationally in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

When Ferriss took over the DSU baseball program in 1960, he started it from the ground level. The Statesmen played many of their games off campus and Ferriss coached without the benefit of an assistant. He directed teams to the NCAA Division II Playoffs in eight of his last 12 years, including three trips to the NCAA Division II championships where the Statesmen finished third, second and third respectively in 1977, 1978 and 1982.

Gulf South Conference championships came in 1978, 1979, 1985 and 1988, with the Statesmen finishing second in 1981 and third in 1982. Forty-nine of his players earned All-Gulf South Conference honors.

Ferriss also earned several honors for his coaching accomplishments. In 1988, he received the United States Baseball Federation Service Award for his contributions to the game. He was named NCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times while also earning Gulf South Conference coaching honors three times.

In 1978 and 1982 he was selected as College Baseball Coach of the Year in Mississippi and was runner-up in that category in 1985.

In 2007, University Archivist Emily Jones helped pay tribute to Ferriss’s remarkable career by establishing The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum, which is housed inside the Robert L. Crawford Center adjacent to the baseball field.

“This statue is really going to tie everything together,” said Jones. “It will let everyone know right where they are — at the field named in his honor, the museum to the side and now the statue. Everyone is going to feel welcomed.”

Mayers encouraged fans and Delta State supporters to take part in the community effort to raise money for the statue fund.

“We invite you to be a part of this momentous occasion by contributing to the Ferriss Statue Fund,” said Mayers. “Along with your donation, we encourage you to jot down a fond memory to be shared with coach and Mrs. Ferriss.

“Coach Ferriss has given us more than 55 years of service and memories here at Delta State. Don’t miss this opportunity to support this overdue tribute and to share in honoring this legendary coach and man.”

To donate to the Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss Statue Fund, visit For more information, contact The Delta State University Foundation 662-846-4704.


90th anniversary of Delta State Teachers College

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Delta State Teachers College welcomed its first students to campus for a summer institute 90 years ago today. The students at the institute were teachers taking review work for certification purposes.

Delta State Teachers College was not officially in operation, but members of the institute faculty included some who would be on the regular college staff in September, with President James W. Broom as the director.

The faculty for the institute included James W. Broom, director; J.C Windham, local director and algebra instructor; William Marion Kethley, education and history instructor; Callie Maffett, primary methods and supervisor of play instuctor; Annie Caulfeild, English instructor; Albert Leon Young, social sciences and general sciences instructor; B.P. Brooks, plane and solid geometry and hygiene instructor; G.B. Sanders, review work instructor; and Jane Figg, history and physical education instructor.

The summer normal was not part of the regular school and provided no credit toward a degree at Delta State. Delta State Teachers College opened its doors officially on Sept. 15, 1925.

“With another class of Teach For America students visiting campus, it seems timely to celebrate this anniversary,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “Since before the doors officially opened as an educational institution, Delta State teachers were reaching out to the community to ensure students had the best possible education accessible.”

Residence hall dedication

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Delta State held a commemorative dedication of Bond-Carpenter Hall and Whittington-Williams Hall this week in the Foundation Hall lobby. A plaque was installed to recognize the namesakes of those buildings that were razed to prepare for the new hall.

The individuals whose names were on the buildings are: William Faroe Bond, member of the first Board of Trustees of Delta State; Harry Gordon Carpenter, member of the constitutional Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning for the State of Mississippi; William Madison Whittington, State Senator and Congressman; and Wirt Alfred Williams, professor of History and head of the Department of Social Sciences at Delta State.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Wayne Blansett welcomed the campus and community. University Archivist Emily Jones provided a history of the halls, and Director of Career Services Davlon Miller shared memories of his experience as resident director in the buildings.

President William N. LaForge delivered the dedication of the plaque and shared memories with the family in attendance.

“Delta State strives to foster a strong family atmosphere and therefore it is important to the history and culture of our university to create a lasting memory for Bond-Carpenter Hall and Whittington-Williams Hall,” said LaForge.

Bond-Carpenter Hall was constructed in 1966, and Whittington-Williams Hall was built in 1960. Residents first lived in Foundation Hall in fall 2010.

For more information on University Archives, visit or email or call 662-846-4780.

Traveling exhibit adds to Emmett Till Interpretive Center

By | Archives, Archives and Museum, Community, Delta Center, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

This March, national media gathered in small-town Sumner, Miss. to document the opening of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

The museum opened nearly six decades after the brutal slaying of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy visiting the Delta who was murdered after being accused of whistling at a white woman in Money, Miss.

In Sumner, two white men were acquitted of his murder, which some credit with helping spark the U.S. civil rights movement.

The museum’s exhibits cover the 1955 murder and crucial moments in the trial, which also attracted news media at the time.

Delta State University and the University Archives & Museum are doing their part to help recognize one of Mississippi’s most significant cases by collaborating with the Interpretive Center. University archivist Emily Jones has partnered with the center’s director, Patrick Weems, to share the university’s Emmett Till Traveling Exhibit.

The late Dr. Henry Outlaw, former employee with Delta State’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning, obtained grant support through the Mississippi Humanities Council to collect a series of oral histories in 2005, 50 years after murder. In the process, he set in motion a series of events that brought Till and his story back to the centerstage for a new generation to discover.

In 2007, Jones used the interviews and documents uncovered through Outlaw’s research to create the traveling exhibit, which debuted in Tupelo, Miss. The exhibit was also funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Since 2007, the exhibit has visited countless cities and towns across the nation and been viewed by thousands of school children and community members. 

“We were thrilled to work with the Patrick Weems of the center to create a brand new introductory video element to complement the permanent exhibit the enter now displays,” said Jones. “The Archives & Museum received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, which allowed us to work with Laeitta Wade, a student in the Delta Music Institute program, to create an entirely new and complimentary video component for the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

“Since its first travels in 2007, the Emmett Till Traveling Exhibit has been all over the United States providing a platform for discussion, introspection and understanding of what has been referred to by historians as the moment the civil rights movement began in 1955.”

To schedule the exhibit in your town, contact Jones at or 662-846-4780. For more information on the exhibit, visit