Category

Community

LaForge outlines bright future at convocation

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge delivered his State of the University address Thursday during opening convocation ceremonies at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The address was titled “With Gratitude” and began with a thank you to faculty and staff for their continued efforts at the start of Delta State’s 93rd academic year.

“I am pleased to report that the current state of the university is positive, stable and advancing, and I am optimistic about a bright future,” said LaForge.

President LaForge said the university remains positive thanks to Delta State’s stellar people and programs.

“We embrace and promote core values such as individual worth, a healthy life style, hospitality, a strong work ethic, cultural enrichment, civility and respect for all, loyalty, ethical conduct, and accountability in all we do — for which I am profoundly grateful,” he said.

“We certainly have serious challenges, especially budget related, but we can rightfully commence our new academic year with the confidence that the ship is upright and moving in the right direction — combined with a dose of caution about the budget situation.”

LaForge was referencing major state budget cuts that have trimmed institutional funds by approximately $2.2 million in the last fiscal year. Despite these cuts, the president said the university is stable thanks to a recent recovery from years of eroding enrollment and financial woes.

According to LaForge, Delta State is advancing in response to a slate of new and bigger opportunities available on campus. Among those, he cited the remodeled Wiley Planetarium, the creation of the Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Lab, a major increase in the international student body, a long list of athletic achievements, a number of facility remodeling and renovation projects, major campus conferences, and a boost to recruitment and marketing efforts.

Despite the optimism, the president asked faculty and staff to remain extra cautious of the state budget cuts.

“A sad and disappointing statistic to report is that, for the first time in history, state funding is no longer Delta State’s largest source of operating revenue,” said LaForge. “This year, we will derive less revenue from the state than from tuition. Arguably, we have crossed over from being a state-supported university to a state-assisted university.”

“I am truly grateful to everyone on campus for joining our efforts to manage our way through this challenging budget time,” he added. “We will hope for, and work toward, a better budget climate for next year — but, that outcome is largely dependent on the fiscal health of the state.”

The president and his cabinet have enacted a responsible budget process, one that remains visionary and transparent, and guides the university according to strict business and ethical principles.

Like the university community as a whole, LaForge’s optimism will guide the institutional vision in the face of challenges. Delta State will remain committed to its 10 visioning principles, which LaForge outlined at last year’s convocation.

“Why shouldn’t we engage in a sense of idealism about who and what we are at Delta State?” asked LaForge. “After all, our ideas and actions make this university what it is every day. There’s no reason why we cannot apply even better ideas and actions to remaking the reality and condition of Delta State. But we must be intentional about it. It won’t just happen. I firmly believe that there is no limit to the creativity of the human mind.”

Visit www.deltastate.edu to stay updated on university news and event coverage.

NEH funds Delta Center’s “Most Southern” workshops for ninth year

By | Community, Delta Center, Faculty/Staff | No Comments
June 2017 NEH “Most Southern Place on Earth” scholars and Delta Center staff members Lee Aylward and Dr. Rolando Herts visit the 1927 Flood Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Scott, Mississippi.

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced $39.3 million in grants for 245 humanities projects across the country. Among the projects funded is The Delta Center for Culture and Learning’s “Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, Culture, and History of the Mississippi Delta.” These week-long professional development workshops attract K-12 educators from across the U.S. to Delta State University and the broader region.

NEH will award nearly $190,000 to Delta State to support the summer 2018 “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops. Since 2009, NEH has awarded approximately $1.5 million to Delta State to fund the workshops.

“NEH grants ensure that Americans around the country have the opportunity to engage with our shared cultural heritage,” said Jon Parrish Peede, NEH acting chairman. “From traveling exhibitions and teacher workshops to efforts to preserve local history, these projects demonstrate the power of the humanities to build connections, stimulate discovery and contribute to vibrant communities.”

Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center, said he was thrilled to receive additional NEH support.

“We are honored and grateful to receive funding from NEH for our ‘Most Southern’ workshops,” said Herts. “The workshops have developed national ambassadors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, which The Delta Center manages. Our workshop participants take what they learn about the Delta’s culture and history back to their school communities. Many of them return to the Delta as educational and cultural heritage tourists, bringing family members, friends, students and colleagues with them.”

The summer of 2018 will be the ninth year that the workshops have been offered to K-12 educators, and Herts said they are in high demand among K-12 educators nationally. The workshops have produced an active alumni network boasting over 500 members.

“Our workshops yield hundreds of applications annually for just 72 slots,” said Lee Aylward, workshop co-director. “We are so very pleased that NEH continues to support these workshops. Once again, we can provide a unique professional development opportunity for master teachers who will educate students all over the country using Mississippi Delta music, culture and history. Through these workshops, we all are making a difference in the lives of these teachers and their students.”

Herts said this was an especially competitive funding year for the workshops. The NEH suspended the Landmarks of American History funding category for the summer of 2018, and all existing Landmarks workshops, if they chose to do so, had to apply under NEH’s Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers funding category. This meant more programs across the country were competing for the same grant funds.

This round of funding, NEH’s third and last for fiscal year 2017, will support vital research, education and public programs in the humanities. These peer-reviewed grants were awarded in addition to $46.1 million in annual operating support provided to the national network of state and local humanities councils during fiscal year 2017, including the Mississippi Humanities Council.

“The Mississippi Humanities Council congratulates The Delta Center and Delta State University on this achievement,” said executive director Stuart Rockoff. “The ‘Most Southern Place on Earth’ workshops help to raise the national profile not only of the Delta region but of the entire state of Mississippi.”

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

Ownby, Westmoreland and Jones to discuss “The Mississippi Encyclopedia”

By | Academics, Archives, Community, Faculty/Staff, QEP | No Comments

The DSU Quality Enhancement Plan, the Division of Social Sciences and History, and the DSU Archives Department will present a public presentation on “The Mississippi Encyclopedia” on Aug. 31 at noon in the seminar room of the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum.

The presentation will provide a concise compilation of people, places and events from prehistoric times through today.

Featured speakers include: Dr. Ted Ownby, professor of history and southern studies at the University of Mississippi and director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture; Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, associate professor of history at Delta State; and Emily Jones, Delta State archivist.

The trio will discuss Ownby’s most recent publication, “The Mississippi Encyclopedia,” a large collaboration that includes over 1,600 entries, 1,451 pages, and features more than 700 scholars who wrote entries on every state county, every governor and numerous musicians, writers, artists and activists.

The work is the first encyclopedia treatment of the state since 1907.

“I was excited when Dr. Ownby reached out to me in the spring about DSU hosting this event,” said Michelle Johansen, QEP coordinator. “Our campus and community will be amazed by the breadth of this book. I’m proud of the number of current and former DSU scholars who made valuable contributions to the encyclopedia.”

The volume will appeal to anyone wanting to know more about Mississippi and the people who call it home. It will be especially helpful to students, teachers and researching scholars.

The event will be followed by a book signing and reception.

McAnally to perform album release and benefit concert at BPAC

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

On Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m., the statewide non-profit organization Extra Table will host country music star Mac McAnally along with the Mississippi Bicentennial Orchestra and members of the Coral Reefer Band in a benefit concert at the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State.

Now, in his fifth benefit concert to help fight hunger, McAnally joins Extra Table to help get healthy food to the hungry across the Mississippi Delta. All profits from the show will be used to purchase healthy food for area feeding agencies.

Extra Table, founded by chef, author and restaurateur Robert St. John, is a non-profit organization committed to ending hunger in Mississippi by providing food pantries and soup kitchens with the nutritious food they need to feed Mississippi’s hungry.

Through a partnership with Sysco, the nation’s largest food distributor, Extra Table uses 100 percent of donations given for food to purchase healthy food bundles from Sysco, which are delivered free of charge on a monthly basis to 27 food pantries and soup kitchens that Extra Table is partnered with throughout the state.

In addition to the profits from the concert, McAnally is also announcing a special album release of biggest hits and favorite songs set to orchestration, with a portion of proceeds also benefitting Extra Table.

McAnally’s peers have voted him County Music Association Musician of the Year for an unprecedented eight years in a row. He’s a member of the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer band. He has been releasing albums since he was 20, and he’s written several No. 1 hits, beginning with Alabama’s “Old Flame.”

Scheduled to release Aug. 25 on Mailboat Records, “Southbound” is the first of his 14 albums to present all original material in McAnally’s newly arranged orchestral context. The album features 16 tunes from his catalog, each one spotlighting members of Hattiesburg, Mississippi’s FestivalSouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jay Dean, accompanying McAnally’s performances.

To purchase tickets to the Sept. 7 performance, visit http://bolognapac.com or www.extratable.org.

Alumni to host Greenwood/Leflore County chapter meeting

By | Alumni, Community | No Comments
Pictured are the Leflore Alumni Event planning committee members (left to right): Danielle Morgan ’01, Forrest Hodge ’12, Rebecca Arant ’09, Miller Arant’ 03, and Alumni staff Melissa Love ’04 and Jeffrey Farris ’04.

 

The Delta State University Alumni Association will host the Greenwood/Leflore County chapter meeting at the Museum of the Mississippi Delta on Tuesday. Registration and a social will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m. Abe’s BBQ will provide catering for the event.

“The Alumni and Foundation Office is excited to bring guests from campus to Greenwood,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs. “We look forward to visiting with our alumni, friends of the university and future Delta State students.”

Featured guests will include: President William N. LaForge; Todd Cooley, head football coach; Craig Roden, head women’s basketball coach; Matt Jones, senior associate athletic director of communications and marketing; Rebekah Arant, admissions recruiter; and the Delta State Alumni-Foundation staff.

The cost for the meeting is $10 per person. Prospective students are invited to attend as guests of the Alumni Association. To RSVP, contact the association at 662-846-4660 or visit https://www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/greenwoodalumnievent.

Supporters are asked to consider contributing to the Greenwood/Leflore County Alumni Scholarship Fund and the Delta State University Marketing Dollars Campaign. Donations can be made on the event page.

“This event always promises to be a great time,” said Miller Arant, president of the chapter. “Greenwood and Leflore County DSU alumni are proud of our university and take great pride in promoting current and future endeavors. In addition to the sendoff of our newest Statesmen, we are extremely excited about the opportunity to award scholarships.”

The mission of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta (formerly Cottonlandia Museum) is to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit tangible artifacts which enable the museum to educate the public about the art, history and natural history of the Mississippi Delta. The collection consists of historical items related to agriculture with particular emphasis on the cotton industry; military history emphasizing the Civil War; a regional art collection; the largest collection of Spanish Colonial trade beads in the Southeast; and an extensive collection of Pre-Columbian pottery.

The museum is currently hosting a vibrant exhibit featuring all new artwork by two Greenwood artists, Angie Crick Cole and Shawn Hodges. “Local Color” will include 20 pieces by Hodges and 28 by Cole. The artwork will range in sizes and will also be available to purchase. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.museumofthemississippidelta.com.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Oct. 7) and Homecoming (Nov. 11).