Statesman Emerald Awards of Excellence winners

By | Academics, Community, Student Life, Students | No Comments

The Office of Student Affairs at Delta State recently hosted the second annual Lady Statesman Emerald Awards of Excellence at the the 2018 Women’s Conference.

The conference, along with the annual Men’s Conference, was instituted by Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs.

This year’s Lady Statesman Emerald Award of Excellence winners, which recognized female students, faculty and staff, included:

  • Top Student Leader – Michaella Wheatley
  • Top International Student – Marwa Cherraf
  • Most Spirited – Kaitlyn Bryant
  • Top Resident Assistant – Katherine White
  • Most Talented – Elizabeth Wickliffe
  • Top Residence Hall Manager – Candace Ball
  • Top Student Organization President – Porsche Chambers
  • Top Fan – Rachel Stephens
  • Community Service Award – Taylor Johnson
  • Top Panhellenic Council Sorority – Delta Delta Delta Sorority
  • Top National Pan-Hellenic Council Sorority – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • College of Educations & Human Sciences Undergraduate Scholar – Etta Kathryn Jennings
  • College of Education & Human Sciences Graduate Scholar – Elizabetta Zengaro
  • College of Education & Human Sciences Doctoral Scholar – Barbara Boschert
  • College of Business & Aviation Scholar – Mara Clara Belisario
  • College of Arts & Sciences Scholar – Rebecca Hamilton
  • Robert E. Smith School of Nursing Scholar – Skylar Kuehn


  • Top Women’s Basketball Scholar – Aspriona Gilbert
  • Top Cheer Scholar – Porsha Gatson
  • Top Women’s Cross Country Scholar – Sarah Mumme
  • Top Women’s Soccer Scholar – Cath Thomson
  • Top Softball Scholar – Taylor Johnson
  • Top Swim/Dive Scholar – Hailey Leonard
  • Top Women’s Tennis Scholar – Charlotte le Flohic

* Top Administrator – Dr. Vernell Bennett
* Top Director Award – Julie Jackson
* Top Faculty Award – Dr. Tomeka Harbin
* Top Female Staff – Tarnisha Smith

The Women’s Conference is hosted each spring and the Men’s Conference is held each fall. The Emerald Awards of Excellence are held for both conferences. Students submit nominations in person and online. Each conference features keynote speakers, plenary sessions, workshops, a luncheon, a community service project and social events.



Jazz Ensemble to present concert April 17

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments

The Delta State University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of associate professor of music Dr. Bret Pimentel, will present a concert April 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jobe Hall Auditorium.

The DSU Jazz Ensemble is a 17-piece “big band” made up of music majors and non-music majors selected by competitive audition. The band is known in the community for its annual Big Band Bash fundraiser, an evening of dining, dancing and classic Swing Era music.

Big band jazz is characterized by tightly-coordinated, high-energy playing from a large horn section made up of trumpets, trombones and saxophones, working in partnership with a powerful, driving rhythm section of keyboards, bass and drums. Individual group members often perform solos that are improvised — composed spontaneously in live performance.

The DSU Jazz Ensemble’s repertoire includes favorites from the Swing Era of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as more contemporary jazz styles from the 1950s to the present.

This concert’s lineup includes new and classic jazz music by great composers and arrangers like Hoagy Carmichael, Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Neal Hefti.

The concert is free and open to the public.

Civil Rides bikes through campus for awareness

By | Community, Delta Center, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University hosted Civil Rides on campus April 5-6 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil Rides was a three-day group bicycle ride from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi. The trek followed the civil rights footsteps of King.

The purpose of the ride was to raise awareness around persistent rural poverty in America, just as King did with the Poor People’s Campaign. Additionally, the event advocated for racial justice and healing, and created a space for racial discourse and dialogue.

Civil Rides was organized and sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Together for Hope, and Out Hunger. Participants in the ride came from Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi.

Delta State also sponsored the campus visit as a post-conference activity linked to Delta State’s annual Winning the Race race relations conference, which took place March 26-27. Along with WTR, other campus sponsors included the DSU Quality Enhancement Plan, DSU Diversity Committee and Delta Center for Culture and Learning .

Delta State hosted the riders for a meet-and-greet opportunity on April 4, along with a reception and information session in the Baioni Conference Center. Dr. Jason Coker with Civil Rides shared a summary of their efforts, and participants were shown student videos created at the Lens Collective workshop, housed on campus by the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

On April 5, the university provided the riders with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a press conference at the Student Union as a sendoff for the bikers as they continued their 200-mile journey.

Following the press conference, Civil Rides bikers, Delta State riders, and President William N. LaForge got on their bikes for a ceremonial exit from campus. Participants took off from the Student Union and traveled down Court Street into downtown Cleveland.

The group finished at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with a celebratory festival.

Dr. Temika Simmons, co-chair of this year’s Winning the Race conference, said the event was a fitting followup to the race relations conference.

“It was an honor to partner with Dr. Jason Coker, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Out Hunger in support of Civil Rides,” said Simmons. “Many of our students come from the communities the rides are intended to support. The Winning the Race conference is committed to continuing its work within and beyond Delta-area communities by partnering and supporting area initiatives that seek to combat racial inequities, fight for social justice, and to improve the condition of our communities. It was a privilege to host Civil Rides in commemoration of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the fight against rural poverty.”

For more information on Civil Rides, visit

To learn more about Winning the Race, visit

New York-based quartet The Westerlies to perform at BPAC

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

The Westerlies are a New York-based brass quartet comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, Washington — Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone. The Westerlies will be performing on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University. The event is part of the Recital Hall Series, featuring a more intimate audience setting in the BPAC’s 145-seat Recital Hall. Tickets are on sale now.

Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids — music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.

Their latest concert program, “Songs We Sang: American Vocal Music of the 20th Century,” traces the sound of the 20th century through a variety of American vocal traditions. From the songs of Charles Ives .to the spirituals of the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, The Westerlies draw a line through jazz, classical and folk languages.

In addition to their public performance, The Westerlies will perform a mini-concert for a local assisted living community, as well as conduct a masterclass for Delta State University students.

Tickets to see The Westerlies are $35, and discounts are available for students and groups of 10 or more. Tickets are on sale now at or at the BPAC Ticket Office at 662-846-4626.

University offers numerous summer school options

By | Academics, Community, Continuing Education, Student Success Center, Students | No Comments

Summer at Delta State University offers a number of opportunities for students to stay on track on their path to graduation.

“Summer school is a great to stay ahead of coursework at Delta State, catch up on credits, improve your GPA and get pre-requisites out of the way,” said Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center at Delta State. “Taking a couple classes each summer can set you up to graduate sooner and start your career earlier — which leads to earning a salary instead of paying college tuition.”

A full list of courses offered during Summer I and Summer II sessions is available online. View the large selection of summer classes at:

Instead of taking a course for four months during the fall or spring semesters, summer school courses are condensed to five weeks. The university offers online and on-campus courses in a variety of subjects that count towards general education requirements or for specific majors.

“Moving home for the summer? No problem,” said Riddle. “Delta State’s online courses let you take classes from anywhere on the planet.”

Students are encouraged to and register for summer courses during Pre-Registration Week from April 2-6. By meeting with academic advisors, students can register for both summer and fall classes.

Additionally, there are financial aid options available for summer school. Options range from federal aid, to state-based assistance, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which helps students complete their degree and find employment.

Financial aid applications for the summer are due during fall pre-registration, with the priority deadline of April 6, and the final deadline of June 12. For information on financial aid, contact 662-846-4670, or visit

Students should also be aware of the general deadlines to enroll in summer course work. The deadline for the Summer I session is May 29, and the Summer II deadline is July 2.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research at Delta State, added that summer coursework provides many opportunities for high school students and community members alike.

“So many courses we offer appeal to the wide community,” said Moon. “Those include HPER courses such as swimming, art courses, the blues curriculum, and many others such as personal finance, the history of rock ‘n’ roll, astronomy, karate, or even a computer course.”

Another benefit is that those signing up for courses don’t necessarily need to be degree-seeking students.

“Many students take a course or two for continuing education credits, or as a requirement for a job,” added Moon. “Some sign up for credit towards a degree somewhere else, to try a new subject, or just for self-gratification.”