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Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson will provide his Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series address Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.

Congressman Thompson to provide colloquia address following election

By | Community, President, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series continues this semester with U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi on Nov. 9.

Rep. Thompson’s speech, titled “A Look Back at the 2016 National Election,” will begin at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the Jobe Auditorium on campus — just one day after the 2016 national elections. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Delta State President William N. LaForge established the colloquia program when taking office in 2013. The platform is an ongoing series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, was honored as the first speaker in 2013.

“We’re thrilled to bring Congressman Thompson here for our Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series,” said LaForge. “It seemed fitting to invite him to campus the day after the national election to give us a snap-reaction to the election results. It’s an ideal opportunity for our campus to engage him, as our congressman in Washington, and at the same time, allow him to share his knowledge about what’s going to happen at the top of the ticket.”

Rep. Thompson has spent his entire life giving a voice to the voiceless. His lifelong public service record is a testament to his unwavering dedication to fulfill and exceed the expectations of the constituents of the Second Congressional District of Mississippi.

A native of rural Bolton, Thompson has always been aware of the realities that plague the South. Viewing the experiences his family endured firsthand became the catalyst for his passion for those who were often times underserved.

He is a product of the Hinds County School District and later earned a Bachelor of Science from Tougaloo College and a Master of Science from Jackson State University. While pursuing his education, Thompson began to cultivate his passion for grassroots political activism. A product of the Civil Rights movement, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and helped to organize voter registration drives for African Americans in the Mississippi Delta. After graduating from college, he followed in the footsteps of his mother and worked as a schoolteacher. It was during this time that he began to aggressively pursue a career in politics.

Thompson has served the Second Congressional District since 1993. He is the longest-serving African American elected official in the state of Mississippi, and he is also the only Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional delegation. Thompson’s voting record is indicative of his determination to be an activist for reform. In 2000, he authored legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, which subsequently became law. Thompson also received a presidential appointment to serve on the National Council on Health Planning and Development.

In 2006, during the 109th Congress, Thompson’s Washington colleagues expressed their overwhelming confidence in his abilities and selected him to serve as the first Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. As chairman, he introduced and engineered House passage of the most comprehensive homeland security package since Sept. 11, 2001 — H.R. 1, the “9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.”

LaForge said the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series is another commitment to bringing excellence to Delta State.

“The university colloquia program gives our institution a chance to hear from and engage with experts from a wide array of professions and interests,” said LaForge. “It especially allows our students and faculty to rub elbows with professionals and resources we sometimes have the rare opportunity to engage. Great universities have great programs, and this is one.”

Those unable to attend the event can view the live stream speech online through the university’s official LiveStream channel: https://livestream.com/DeltaStateUniversity. Learn more about the series at www.deltastate.edu/president/colloquia.

Left photo - Level 3: (left to right) Ava Cosue, Macie Young, Sara Beth Mullins (back), Emma Grace Putnam, Sarah Grace Beck, Avery Carter Howarth, Maggie Marble-Barrett (back), and Merry Elizabeth Williamson.

Right photo - Xcel gold:  (l to r) Anna Graden Jones, Ladye Scurlark, Kailyn Byas, Taylor Hayes, Yazmin Jackson, Anna Scott Gant and Destiny White.

Fusion Gymnastics opens season with wins

By | Community, Continuing Education | No Comments

Fusion Gymnastics Competition Team, sponsored by Delta State Continuing Education, began the 2016-17 season at the Latin Fest Invitational in Flowood on Oct. 15. The 23 team members, coached by Amanda McCall and assistant Kylie Morton, competed against teams from Ocean Springs, Starkville, Greenwood, Brookhaven and Flowood.

The first-year Xcel Gold squad returned to Cleveland with a first place team finish. The Level 2 squad received second place, and the Level 3 squad received third place.

First place in events went to Addie Jane Reed (Level 2) in beam and floor; Libba Lott (Level 2) in vault with a score of 9.7; Sara Beth Mullins (Level 3) in vault with a score of 9.5, uneven bars and beam; Taylor Hayes (Xcel Gold) in uneven bars, beam and floor with a score of 9.6; Destiny White (Xcel Gold) in vault; and Anna Graden Jones (Xcel Gold) in vault and uneven bars with a score of 9.65.

Taking second, third and fourth place in the events were Emma Grace Mullins (Level 2) second in vault, third in uneven bars, beam and floor; Addie Jane Reed (Level 2) fourth in vault; Morgan Catt (Level 2) fourth in beam; Catherine Sanders (Level 2) second in floor and third in beam; Sarah Grace Beck (Level 3) second place in beam; Ava Cosue (Level 3) second place in uneven bars; Avery Carter Howarth (Level 3) fourth in uneven bars, beam and floor; Macie Young (Level 3) fourth in vault; Taylor Hayes (Xcel Gold) third in vault; Destiny White (Xcel Gold) third in floor and fourth in beam; Yazmin Jackson (Xcel Gold) third in floor; Anna Scott Gant (Xcel Gold) second in floor and fourth in uneven bars; Ladye Scurlark (Xcel Gold) third in uneven bars; Kailyn Byas (Xcel Gold) fourth in vault; Anna Graden Jones (Xcel Gold) fourth in floor.

In the All-Around Champion category, Taylor Hayes was awarded first place all-around in Xcel Gold. Destiny White, Anna Graden Jones and Emma Grace Mullins earned second place all-around in their levels. Yazmin Jackson and Sara Beth Mullins earned third place all-around in their levels. Addie Jane Reed and Catherine Sanders both earned fourth place all-around in their levels.

“We started the season strong and will continue to improve our weak areas,” said McCall. “Focus and hard work are the keys to a successful season. Winning is measured by personal effort and improvement, not by your position on the podium.”

Fusion Gymnastics team members invlude: Level 2 – Hailey Wilburn, Catherine Sanders, Emma Grace Mullins, Libba Lott, Jaide Lillian Brown, Ashlin Hill, Morgan Catt and Addie Jane Reed. Level 3 – Maggie Marble Barrett, Macie Young, Sara Beth Mullins, Ava Cosue, Avery Carter Howarth, Merry Elizabeth Williamson, Emma Grace Putnam and Sara Grace Beck. Excel Gold – Yazmin Jackson, Destiny White, Ladye Scurlark, Anna Scott Gant, Anna Graden Jones, Kailyn Byas and Taylor Hayes.

The competition team will head to Starkville this weekend, Oct. 21-23, for their second meet of the season.

Fusion Gymnastics is organized through Delta State Continuing Education. Multiple level classes are offered for ages three and up. If you are interested in your child taking gymnastics classes, contact coordinator Elizabeth Joel at 662-846-4700.

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DSU fashion show scheduled for Nov. 2

By | Academics, Bologna Performing Arts Center, College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Students | No Comments

This year’s Delta State fashion show, “Behind the Seams,” will take place at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

The event is made possible by a partnership between the Delta State fashion promotion course and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.

Designs from fashion merchandising students will be showcased on stage, as well as clothing for the whole family from area merchants.

A silent auction featuring products from local artists, artisans and businesses kicks off before the event from from 5-6:30 p.m. Cleveland’s own musical group, Southern Halo, will open the affair. Exciting door prizes from Chamber merchants will be given away during the show.

This year’s event is dedicated to Pat Kerr Tigrett, a well known Memphis fashion designer and longtime Delta State supporter.

Admission is free for all Delta State Okra Card holders, $15 for general admission, and free for children ages five and under.

All proceeds will benefit the DSU Fashion Merchandising program.

The American Association of University Women recently joined Our House, Inc. to help spread awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic Violence Awareness: It’s On Us

By | Community | No Comments

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the American Association of University Women joined forces with Our House, Inc. during Delta State University Homecoming Week to raise awareness.

Our House, Inc. is dedicated to getting the word out about healthy relationships through preventing and assisting victims of interpersonal violence and assisting court ordered domestic violence abusers with changes and options.

Stephanie Williams, victim service advocate at Our House, distributed materials on safe dates, men against spousal harm, sexual assault healing and behavior modification.

“One of our goals is to promote healthy and safe relationships on campus, in our homes and at work. To do this, the AAUW has joined the ‘It’s On Us Campaign’ to help break the silence,” said AAUW President Dr. Glendscene Williams.

Over 500 purple ribbons were distributed to students, faculty, staff and law enforcement officers to promote safe relationships on campus, in homes and at work.

For more information about services provided by Our House, Inc., call 1-888-884-LOVE.

William Bell acknowledges the audience for their standing ovation following his performance at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi on Oct. 12.

International Delta Blues Project, GRAMMY partner for free public film and music event

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, GRAMMY, International Delta Blues Project | No Comments

The Delta Center’s International Delta Blues Project at Delta State University recently partnered with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi to present a free, public event of educational film and live music on Oct. 12.

The “Take Me to the River” community film screening is one of several Blues Leadership Incubator events that have been offered by the International Delta Blues Project. The incubator events focus on economic opportunity related to blues education and tourism in the Mississippi Delta. The events are free and open to the public through a generous grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.

Martin Shore introduces his film "Take Me to the River."

Martin Shore introduces his film “Take Me to the River.”

Nearly 150 guests from throughout the Delta gathered at the museum to see a 45-minute version of the critically-acclaimed documentary “Take Me to the River,” produced by Martin Shore and created at historic Royal Studios in Memphis. The film brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album. “Take Me To The River” features Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dog, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi Allstars and many more.

After viewing the film, the crowd enjoyed live performances from The Hi Rhythm section (featuring Charles and Leroy Hodges), Stax Music Academy Alumni Band, William Bell, Frayser Boy, Al Kapone, and GRAMMY winner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, owner of Royal Studios. Mitchell recently served as keynote speaker for Delta State’s International Conference on the Blues during a Blues Brunch held at the museum.

According to Frayser Boy, an Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, these performances are as much about education as they are entertainment.

“I come from a hip-hop background. I never really used live music in performances before I was invited to be a part of this project,” he said. “But these guys have taught me more in a couple of years than the 15 or so previous years I was working in this business. All these old guys — these guys that have spent their lives making music — they taught me to better understand where music comes from, and how important it is to our communities. Just as importantly, they are teaching me how to make a career out of this, not just a single record. To do that, I need to know where my music comes from and why it was made the way it was made.”

To underscore the educational emphasis of the event, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was invited to open the program with oral history documentaries created by students from Delta Hands for Hope of Shaw, Mississippi, and the Rosedale Freedom Project of Rosedale, Mississippi. The students attended after-school workshops learning film and oral history skills through a grant from the MDNHA. The students interviewed and photographed Mississippi Delta residents to learn how music has influenced their lives.

Attendees linger in the lobby of the museum and visit with the musicians following the performance.

Attendees linger in the lobby of the museum and visit with the musicians following the performance.

“The ‘Take Me To The River’ program was one of the best nights of music we’ve had at the museum,” said Jane Marie Dawkins, education and public programs manager for the museum. “The artists, film and student projects all provided a very entertaining and educational experience. It meant a lot to us to showcase this music from our region, and it was an unforgettable night at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.”

For more information about the International Delta Blues Project, visit http://www.internationaldeltabluesproject.com/.

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 Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area 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/.