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Student maps Cleveland Wi-Fi

By | Academics, Community | No Comments

Katlyn Dickerson, a Delta State graduate student in the Clinical and Mental Health Counseling Program, recently completed her unique community development project as one of the institution’s B.F. Smith scholars.

The highly competitive B.F. Smith graduate assistantship is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement. Participants demonstrate a commitment to the Delta region in pursuit of a degree related to community and economic development.

Dickerson’s project documents Cleveland businesses that offer free Wi-Fi hotspots, which have been mapped for public viewing at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1DLajPtSZ8JmX8kDxFyDX1j1J5Ek&ll=33.74055561963571%2C-90.73450000000003&z=13.

Ideas for the project began to shape when Dickerson was an intern for the Cleveland-Bolivar Chamber of Commerce.

“Initially, my project started by surveying the student body of Delta State to understand their perceptions of Cleveland,” said Dickerson. “After receiving input from students, I came to the glaring conclusion that millennials are most effectively reached through social media and technology. After attending a meeting with Dr. Roberto Gallardo from the MSU Intelligent Community Institute, I realized that this would be a great bridge for connecting millennials with our community.”

“One of my primary tasks was to document local Wi-fi hotspots and create a Google Map to share,” she added. “We felt that by publicizing local businesses that offer free Wi-Fi, students would be more inclined to support those businesses. We are also working to establish free Wi-Fi hotspots downtown and in local parks. We hope that by creating a more tech-savvy community, students will be more inclined to stay in Cleveland.”

After meeting with Gallardo, Dickerson was convinced to pursue the Wi-Fi project.

“Today, technology has allowed people to work from anywhere,” said Dickerson. “We want to provide Cleveland residents with the tools needed to attract a contemporary workforce.”

Dickerson said the project has also motived her to be a stronger advocate for the city of Cleveland. She thanked Gallardo and Lisa Cooley, with the Chamber, for making the project a reality.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research, is thrilled with the opportunities presented by the B.F. Smith scholars program.

“The program provides full tuition and stipends for high academic performers entering their first graduate program,” said Moon. “The students commit to working 20 hours per week under this program, on projects that benefit the Delta region in the broad field of economic development. We look for students who are intent on giving back to their communities, and who envision how their degrees and energy can be applied to help improve conditions in the Delta.”

Learn more about the program at http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/bfsmith.

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GRAMMY Museum® to celebrate Blues legend John Lee Hooker

By | Community, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

The GRAMMY Museum®, in conjunction with the John Lee Hooker Estate, Craft Recordings and the Catalog Division of Concord Music Group, will celebrate the centennial of the legendary GRAMMY®-winning bluesman with the opening of a new exhibit titled “John Lee Hooker: King of the Boogie,” on Aug. 22 at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, Mississippi, Hooker’s home state.

The exhibit will open on what would have been the late blues icon’s 100th birthday and will celebrate Hooker’s lasting legacy through rare recordings, photos and one-of-a-kind artifacts.

The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration of Hooker’s musical legacy that features special releases from Craft Recordings, a conference at Delta State University and special exhibits at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and the Memphis-based Blues Foundation. The exhibit’s official media partners are Oxford American and Living Blues.

“John Lee Hooker was truly a seminal blues artist. Many of his songs are part of America’s blues music treasury,” saidBob Santelli, blues historian and founding executive director of the GRAMMY Museum. “In addition to impacting blues history, Hooker’s music influenced great rock bands like the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Yardbirds and ZZ Top. We’re thrilled to honor the King of the Boogie’s legacy and tell the story of his incredible career in his own home state.”

On display at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi throughout the fall of 2017, the exhibit will feature:

  • Rare and never-before-heard recordings from Hooker
  • Instruments such as Hooker’s Gibson ES-335
  • Hooker’s “Best Traditional Blues Album GRAMMY for 1997’s Don’t Look Back,” which was co-produced by Van Morrison and Mike Kappus
  • Rare photos, performance outfits and more

The exhibit will travel to Los Angeles at GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE following its instillation in Mississippi.

“John Lee Hooker is gone but not forgotten. In collaboration with the GRAMMY Museum and our partners, the John Lee Hooker family is pleased and honored to be able to bring to the public the artifacts in this exhibit, donated not just by family but by his very dear friends and associates,” said Diane Roan-Hooker and Zakiya Hooker, daughters of the legendary blues artist. “This centennial is a celebration of John Lee Hooker’s amazing life and his love of the music that he shared with the world.”

To celebrate 100 years of Hooker’s music, Craft Recordings will issue a series of titles throughout 2017, culminating with a centennial CD box set, offering 100 career-spanning hits and rarities, plus previously unreleased material. Concord will also reissue several classic Hooker titles on 180-gram vinyl, as well as digitally, in hi-res and MFiT formats. To kick off the centennial celebrations, the label issued a 16-track collection of songs from the prime of Hooker’s career on its Vee-Jay imprint. “Whiskey & Wimmen: John Lee Hooker’s Finest” was released March 31 on vinyl and CD, offering classic tracks from the ’50s and ’60s, including “Boom Boom” and “Dimples.”

Other organizations celebrating the centennial include the Delta Blues Museum, which will host a special exhibit about Hooker featuring clothing, guitars, recordings and more, opening in July. The celebration will continue through August as the museum celebrates its annual “John Lee Hooker Month.” The Delta Blues Museum Band will perform Hooker’s songs when they open the 30th annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival on Aug. 11. The festival will run through Aug. 13. More information about celebratory activities at the Delta Blues Museum can be found at www.deltabluesmuseum.org.

Hooker’s 1996 album, “Real Folk Blues,” is being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame at a ceremony coordinated by The Blues Foundation on May 10 in Memphis. In addition, The Blues Foundation will be opening a new exhibit, “The Rosebud Agency and Mike Kappus: 45+ Years Sharing the Music,” which will include a special display of Hooker artifacts, curated by Mike Kappus, long-time manager for Hooker. The exhibit will open on May 10, in conjunction with the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and will run through October 2017.

In addition, the fourth annual International Conference on the Blues at Delta State University is scheduled for Oct. 1-3. With an established record of attracting internationally renowned blues scholars and GRAMMY Award-winning talent, the upcoming conference promises to deliver an extra dose of educational and celebratory flair. In partnership with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, the conference will commemorate the John Lee Hooker Centennial this year. To stay abreast of developments with the conference, visit www.deltastate.edu/bluesconference/.

About John Lee Hooker:
With a prolific career that spanned over five decades, legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker remains a foundational figure in the development of modern music, having influenced countless artists around the globe with his simple, yet deeply effective style. Known to music fans around the world as the “King of the Boogie,” Hooker endures as one of the true superstars of the blues — the ultimate beholder of cool. His work is widely recognized for its impact on modern music — his simple, yet deeply effective songs transcend borders and languages around the globe.

Born near Clarksdale, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 1917, to a sharecropping family, Hooker’s earliest musical influence came from his stepfather, William Moore, a blues musician who taught his young stepson to play guitar, and whom Hooker later credited for his unique style on the instrument. By the early ‘40s, Hooker had moved north to Detroit by way of Memphis and Cincinnati.

By day, he was a janitor in the auto factories, but by night, like many other transplants from the rural Delta, he entertained friends and neighbors by playing at house parties. “The Hook” gained fans around town from these shows, including local record store owner Elmer Barbee. Barbee was so impressed by the young musician that he introduced him to Bernard Besman, a producer, record distributor and the owner of Sensation Records.

By 1948, Hooker—now honing his style on an electric guitar, had recorded several songs for Besman, who, in turn, leased the tracks to nationally distributed Modern Records. Among these first recordings was “Boogie Chillun,” (soon after appearing as “Boogie Chillen”) which became a No.1 jukebox hit, selling over one million copies. This success was soon followed by a string of hits, including “I’m in the Mood,” “Crawling Kingsnake” and “Hobo Blues.” Over the next 15 years, Hooker signed to a new label, Vee-Jay Records, and maintained a prolific recording schedule, releasing over 100 songs on the imprint.

When the young bohemian artists of the ‘60s discovered Hooker, among other notable blues originators, he found his career taking on a new direction. With the folk movement in high gear, Hooker returned to his solo, acoustic roots, and was in strong demand to perform at colleges and folk festivals around the country. Across the Atlantic, emerging British bands were idolizing Hooker’s work. Artists like the Rolling Stones, the Animals and the Yardbirds introduced Hooker’s sound to new and eager audiences, whose admiration and influence helped build Hooker up to superstar status. By 1970, Hooker had relocated to California and was busy collaborating on several projects with rock acts. One such collaboration was with rock band Canned Heat, which resulted in 1971’s hit record “Hooker ‘n’ Heat.” The double LP became Hooker’s first charting album.

Throughout the late ‘70s and ‘80s, Hooker toured the United States and Europe steadily. His appearance in the legendary “Blues Brothers” movie resulted in a heightened profile once again. Then, at age 72, Hooker released the biggest album of his career, “The Healer.” The GRAMMY Award-winning 1989 LP featured contemporary artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and George Thorogood. “The Healer” was released to critical acclaim and sold over 1 million copies.

In the 1990s Hooker released five studio albums, including “Mr. Lucky,” which once again teamed Hooker with an array of artists; “Boom Boom,” which aimed to introduce new fans to his classic material; the GRAMMY-winning “Chill Out;” and a collaboration with Van Morrison, “Don’t Look Back,” which also garnered two GRAMMYs. Throughout the decade, Hooker’s great body of work and contributions to modern music were being recognized not only by his peers, but also by a younger generation. He became a familiar face in popular culture, with appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night with David Letterman.”

In 1990, a massive tribute concert took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden, featuring Hooker and an all-star lineup of guest artists. One year later, Hooker was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1997 he was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, shortly before his death, Hooker was recognized with a Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award, and just one week before his passing, ever true to form, the bluesman spent his final Saturday night playing a now-legendary show to a packed house at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California.

The Hook continues to live on. His music can regularly be heard in TV shows, commercials and films, and many of his tracks have also found a second life sampled in new songs — by the likes of R&B star Brandy, hip-hop legend Chuck D and French electronic musician St Germain, among many others. Most recently, in 2016 his iconic recording, the 1962 Vee-Jay Records single “Boom Boom,” was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame.

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Summer Movie Series returning to BPAC

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

For the fifth year, the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University will screen new releases of major motion pictures on its big screen in the Delta & Pine Land Theatre.

All tickets are $5 for general admission seating. Popcorn and candy concessions are available for purchase with cash only.

First up in the series is Disney’s 2017 hit film “Beauty and the Beast” on June 6. There will be two showtimes at 10 a.m. and 7  p.m. The live adaptation of the fairy tale stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, and is rated PG.

The new “Power Rangers” will play at 7 p.m. on June 13. “Power Rangers” tells the story of five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary to save the day. Based on the hit TV series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” the superhero film is rated PG-13.

On June 27, “Smurfs: The Lost Village” will play at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The animated feature film finds the Smurfs in a new adventure through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” stars the voice talents of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Julia Roberts, and many others.

Finally, Disneynature’s “Born in China,” rated PG, will be shown on July 11 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. From the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest, follow the adventures of three animal families in China — the majestic panda, the savvy golden monkey and the elusive snow leopard. Featuring stunning imagery, Disneynature brings the natural world to the big screen as never before, taking moviegoers on a grand journey into the wilds of China.

For more information, to see film trailers or buy tickets, visit www.bolognapac.com, or call the ticket office at 662-846-4626.

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Miller honored for work with Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

By | Alumni, Archives, Community, Faculty/Staff, Uncategorized | No Comments
Pictured (left to right): Gilroy Chow, MDCHM president; Lisa Miller; and Cindi Lofton, MDCHM project coordinator.

Lisa Miller ’03, director of the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum in Cleveland, was recently awarded a distinctive plaque of appreciation for her outstanding work with the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Gilroy Chow, MDCHM president, presented the award to Miller at a recent board meeting.

The city of Cleveland and Delta State University work in partnership with MDCHM, with Miller serving as ex-officio in her work with the museum.

Miller’s creative talent and support have been significant in the development and success of the museum since it opened in 2011. Among many, one major contribution of Miller’s was designing the museum brochures, which uniquely depict Chinese culture. The brochures project was supported by a grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

Emily Jones, university archivist and curator of the museum, said Miller is extremely worthy of the recognition.

“Passionate about preserving and sharing our local Delta history, Lisa Miller was one of the first volunteers to help create the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum,” said Jones. “Through her generosity and careful planning, we were able to host our first book launch at the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum. The book, ‘Journey Stories from the Cleveland Chinese Mission School,’ by co-authors Paul Wong and Doris Ling Lee, has been an amazingly successful fundraiser for the MDCHM programs and projects, and we are proud that we can now offer our newest publication, ‘The MS Chinese Veterans of World War II: A Delta Tribute,’ by Gwendolyn Gong, John H. Powers and Devereux Gong Powers.”

“Her creativity is evident in the museum space on the third floor of the Capps building, and she has consistently encouraged and supported the museum as if it were her primary responsibility,” added Jones. “Over the past seven years, Lisa has attended board meetings as an ex-officio member representing the city of Cleveland, offered guidance for large and small projects, and stepped in to volunteer whenever she is needed — all while directing the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum for Cleveland. She is a constant encouragement for me and I could not ask for a better partner to help collect and preserve our local history.”

The Chinese Museum is located on the third floor of the Capps building and is free and open to the public. Guided tours are available for groups of all ages. For more information, contact Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu or Cindi Q. Lofton at clofton@deltastate.edu or call 662-846-4780.

For information about the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum, contact Miller at trainmuseum@cableone.net or 662-843-3377.

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Alumni Association seeking nominations for 2017 awards

By | Alumni, Community, General | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2017 Alumni Service Awards, Alumni Hall of Fame and Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. The deadline for nominations is May 31. The award recipients will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Awards Gala on November 10 during Homecoming weekend.

The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award was established to give recognition to an alumnus of Delta State who has made significant contributions to human or institutional programs in which a situation, an institution or a movement has been materially changed for the better because of that individual’s personal participation.

Induction into the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the Alumni Association. Established in 2007, the Alumni Hall of Fame is extended to alumni and friends who have achieved professional distinction and made significant community service contributions at the local, national and/or international level, and who have thus brought honor and distinction to the university.

The Gladys Castle “Friend of Delta State” Service Award was named for Gladys Castle, a 46-year employee of Delta State who served as the first alumni secretary, and it is presented to recognize outstanding service and contributions to the university by a non-alumnus.

The Kent Wyatt “Young Alumnus” Service Award is named for Dr. Forest Kent Wyatt, president emeritus of 24 years, and recognizes outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by a young alumnus 36 years of age or younger.

The Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award is named for Hugh Ellis Walker, a 24-year director of the Delta State University Alumni/Foundation, and recognizes outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by an alumnus.

The Legacy Award is presented to someone who has made an institutional change upon the university. The Alumni Chapter of the Year is presented to an alumni chapter that is dedicated to raising scholarship dollars for Delta State students in their area.

The Dr. Henry Outlaw Faculty and Staff Service Award was established in 2014 as a way to recognize former faculty or staff members who have made a significant influence in the life of the university and/or the National Alumni Association.

To nominate a person or a group for an award, and to view past recipients, visit http://www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/alumniawardwinners. Nomination forms can be submitted online or mailed to DSU Box 3104 Cleveland, MS 38733, or emailed to alumni@deltastate.edu.

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. 6 & 7) and Homecoming (Nov. 10 & 11).