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College of Arts and Sciences

Chris Jurgenson

Jurgenson to be honored with new professorship

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The Department of Chemistry and Physics at Delta State University will hold a program and reception naming Dr. Christopher Jurgenson as the first Sullivan-Outlaw Assistant Professor of Biochemistry on Jan. 27 from 1:30-3 p.m. in Caylor 201, the upstairs auditorium.

The professorship was initiated by a $50,000 gift from Dr. Ken Harden ’70, who prior to his retirement was a professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Mr. I Dean Spradling ’53 also made a six-figure contribution to help establish the professorship.

The professorship honors two men — Dr. Barry Sullivan, a local physician, and Dr. Henry Outlaw, a longtime Delta State professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Physical Sciences.

Sullivan, a native of New Albany, moved to Cleveland in 1983 to practice internal medicine. Outlaw, a Delta State graduate, returned as a chemistry faculty member and soon became department chair. He retired in 2003, although he continued to work at the Delta State Foundation office. Both men are now deceased.

Jurgenson is in his fourth year at Delta State. He received his bachelor’s in biochemistry from Indiana University, a master’s in physical chemistry from Seton Hall University, and a master’s and doctorate in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University. He also did post-doctoral work at Yale University, and previously worked at Merck Pharmaceutical.

Mike Smith 2017

Smith’s new book to be published by WTAW Press

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WTAW Press recently announced the forthcoming publishing of Delta State University professor Mike Smith’s full-length book, “And There Was Evening and There Was Morning.”

The book, to be published this fall, is a collection of essays by Smith, an associate professor of English and interim director of the Delta State Honors Program.

“No project of mine has meant or could mean more to me, and I am so grateful to WTAW Press for giving the book a home,” said Smith. “The essays deal with my first wife’s illness and death, four months after giving birth to our second child and the similar diagnosis and recovery of my stepdaughter three years later. The book begins with the odd coincidence that my first copy of my first wife’s book happened to arrive in the mail on the very day of my stepdaughter’s diagnosis.”

WTAW Press is the publishing arm of a longstanding reading series with locations in major cities across the country, so in addition to the book launch in September in San Francisco, Smith will be invited to read at the other locations over the next year and a half.

Additionally, Smith has published three collections of poetry, including “Multiverse,” a collection of two anagrammatic cycles. His translation of the first part of Goethe’s Faust was published by Shearsman Books in 2012, and he is co-editor of the anthology, “The Mint’s Invitation: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts in Translation,” forthcoming from Columbia University Press in the fall of 2017.

Together with software engineer Brandon Nelson, Smith created and curates The Zombie Poetry Project. The project is an experiment in machine-assisted composition. Smith’s 500-line poem, “Zombie Ride-Along,” which is published on the site, operates as the source text for the project.

“We invite visitors to input any English-language text into the field provided,” said Smith. “Using a set of language tools, this text will be syntactically matched with sections of the 500-line source poem to produce a new ‘zombified’ poem of random lineation.

Users can select sections of the new poem to re-zombify as many times as they like before submitting it. Selected new poems will be added to the growing anthology archived on the site: www.zombiepoetryproject.com.

In recent recognition, Smith was named by Image Journal as their Artist of the Month in January 2017.

A native of Philippi, West Virginia, Smith is a graduate of UNC-G, Hollins College, and the University of Notre Dame.

SONY DSC

Art gallery to host Rick Herzog exhibit

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center kicks off the new year with an opening reception of Rick Herzog’s exhibition “Roots” on Jan. 12 from 5-7 p.m. 

Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center opens the new year with an installation of Rick Herzog’s exhibition “Roots.”

A public opening reception will be held Jan. 12 from 5-7 p.m. Additionally, Herzog will present a public lecture in the gallery prior to the reception at 4 p.m.

Herzog is a sculptor and installation artist creating works inspired by nature that mimic organic patterns and repetitions but are composed of man-made materials to highlight man’s disconnection from the natural environment.

Herzog received his BFA in 3-D design from Bowling Green State University and his MFA in sculpture from the University of Georgia. He has taught sculpture at the New College of Florida, the Herron School of Art and Design, the University of Tulsa, Eastern Oregon University, and the Universidad de Caldas in Colombia.

His work has been exhibited across the globe in almost 100 group and solo exhibitions, including most recently in the Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Other recent exhibitions include: The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida; The Observatory, Brooklyn, New York; United States Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis.

Herzog’s exhibitions have been reviewed in Sculpture Magazine which called his work “electrified” and The Chicago Sun Times which described him as “representing the grit and grace of the contemporary South.”

“Roots” will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 23.

Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Delta State Department of Art website at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook, or join the email list.

Senior Tyler Sullivan will serve as a 2017 Thad Cochran Fellow.

DSU quarterback selected for prestigious Congressional Fellowship

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Delta State University Statesmen quarterback Tyler Sullivan was recently selected as a 2017 Congressional Fellow for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Sullivan, who is a biology premedical science major, will move to Washington D.C. in January and remain there through the spring semester. The program selects one Delta State student each year to serve on Cochran’s staff, with the goal of providing a better understanding of the legislative process.

“I am extremely grateful to be selected for the fellowship,” said Sullivan, a native of Louisville, Mississippi. “It’s hard to actually wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be moving to D.C. in January to work for such a prestigious senator. The fact that Delta State and the Delta Council have chosen and trust me to be their representative for the fellowship is a very high honor.”

Sullivan said he was excited to learn how the legislative process works, having never previously delved into politics.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing what I’m made of,” he added. “This is an opportunity to not only get a solid foundation in politics, but also an opportunity that will benefit me no matter what I do in the future. I want to learn what it takes to be a valuable Mississippian like Sen. Cochran is, and how to make tough decisions that will affect many people.”

Delta State has a long-running tradition of sending fellows to Washington, and Delta State President William N. LaForge served as Cochran’s chief of staff during the 1980s.

“I am thrilled that Tyler Sullivan has been chosen to be our Congressional Fellow,” said LaForge. “He is confident, capable and is the perfect candidate for this opportunity. He will be of great value to Sen. Cochran’s office while representing Delta State in grand fashion.

“It is professionally and personally gratifying to me that we continue this wonderful relationship with the senator’s office in cooperation with Delta Council and Staplcotn because of the affiliation with Sen. Cochran going back to my days as his chief of staff. Tyler will have an excellent experience there, and their office will benefit from his outstanding background at Delta State.”

Sullivan, who will graduate in December, is currently applying to medical school. He was recently named a finalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is presented to the best football scholar-athlete in the country. Sullivan was one of only 12 athletes to make the final list and will travel to New York on Dec. 6 for the awards ceremony.

The fellowship program is funded through Delta State University, the Delta Council and Staplcotn. Additionally, Sullivan will receive a stipend from Cochran’s office.

The Delta Council is an area economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. The organization pioneers efforts to solve common problems and promote the development of the local economy. Founded in 1921, Staplcotn (Staple Cotton Cooperative Association) is the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.

Music major Michael Sparks will compete in the Young Artist Performance Competition of the Music Teachers National Association in January 2017.

Music student wins state recital competition

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Music major Michael Sparks will compete in the Young Artist Performance Competition of the Music Teachers National Association in January 2017.

The Delta State University Department of Music is pleased to announce that music performance major and euphoniumist Michael Sparks will travel to Columbia, South Carolina to compete as the Southern Division Finalist in the Young Artist Performance Competition of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) on the campus of the University of South Carolina from Jan. 13-16, 2017.

Sparks earned the opportunity to represent Mississippi after winning the Young Artist Division of the MTNA State Competition held at Delta State in early November. The winner of the Southern Division Competition will compete in the national finals during the MTNA National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in March.

Sparks, a native of Cleveland, is currently a senior in the low brass studio of Dr. Douglas L. Mark.

The three-tiered MTNA competitions begin at the state level. Winners of each state competition advance to the division competition, and division winners then proceed to the finals.

MTNA is a nonprofit organization comprised of 22,000 independent and collegiate music teachers committed to advancing the value of music study and music making to society, and to supporting the professionalism of music teachers. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest professional music association in the country.

For more information, contact the Department of Music at 662-846-4615.