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Erin Newman '17

Newman honored for campus and community contributions

By | Academics, Archives, Athletics, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments
Erin Newman ’17

First attracted to Delta State’s swim program, recent graduate Erin Newman began her college career as a quiet freshman, but quickly found her voice through her passion for history.

Her professors are most impressed by her spirited discussions with both upperclassmen and instructors.

“She uses evidence to support logical arguments, proves her point in a quiet but effective manner, and often persuades others to embrace her perspective,” said Dr. Charles Westmoreland, assistant professor of history.

Given her stellar performance in the classroom, Erin has amassed a variety of academic honors at Delta State. Most recently, she was the recipient of the 2017 Jack Winton Gunn Award at this year’s College of Arts and Sciences awards program.

The Gunn Award is given for overall academic excellence in honor of the former dean of the university, and it is among the highest awards presented at Delta State.

Outside the classroom, Newman has also played an important role in preserving the history of Delta State and the surrounding region.

In the summer of 2015, she interned with University Archives and Museum, an experience which allowed her to assist in the development of the DSU 90th Anniversary Exhibit. Additionally, she has been a key contributor to two exhibits on sports history and culture, one of which was a Smithsonian traveling exhibit on display on campus in the fall of 2016.

In 2016, Newman took on extensive responsibilities in historical interpretation and preservation by serving as the program director at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center, a Cleveland historic site that interprets the life and legacy of civil rights leader Amzie Moore. Her work with the museum involved leading group tours and engaging in community outreach programs.

Newman, right, works with James McBride, president of the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors, and Will Hooker, Bolivar County administrator.

Newman, right, works with James McBride, president of the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors, and Will Hooker, Bolivar County administrator.

“Erin has made significant contributions to our mission to expand the legacy of Amzie Moore and the work of the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta,” said Will Hooker, Bolivar County administrator.

Emily Jones, university archivist, is grateful for Newman’s contributions to campus and community.

“From the beginning, Erin demonstrated initiative and a desire to learn more about the field of archive and museum studies,” said Jones. ”She has soaked up every opportunity, and now that hard work and drive is taking her down an amazing career path.”

Recently, Newman was accepted into the Museum Studies program at the University of Leicester in England, where she has been awarded a President’s Post-Graduate Scholarship for International Students.

To complement her formidable academic talents and community service, she has been a valued member of the Delta State swim team. She has served in a leadership capacity as the vice-chair of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for the Gulf South Conference.

“Both inside and beyond the classroom, she has helped peers and younger colleagues as they seek to balance the challenges of academics and athletic competition,” added Jones. “Despite practicing several hours a day for the past four years, Erin has been one of the most accomplished students on this campus. She is a model scholar and campus citizen who has taken a vested interested in serving Cleveland and the entire region.”

Follow news of student success at Delta State at www.deltastate.edu.

Perdue and Cochran

Secretary Perdue to keynote 82nd Delta Council

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (right) meets with U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi before his confirmation.

 

Delta Council President Harry Simmons, of Yazoo City, announced today that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue will be the featured guest and keynote speaker for the 82nd annual meeting of Delta Council, to be held on the Delta State University campus at 10:30 a.m on June 9 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

“We are so pleased that agriculture’s friend from Georgia, Sonny Perdue, will be the featured speaker for this year’s Delta Council annual meeting,” said Simmons, an aquaculture and row crop farmer and catfish processor. “Secretary Perdue has an impressive background as an agribusiness man and two-term successful governor of Georgia, and we look forward to the opportunity to meet with him and hear his thoughts on the future of America’s agricultural industry.”

Perdue, a native of Perry, Georgia, earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. While still in school, Perdue volunteered to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1974 with the rank of captain. Following a brief tenure as a practicing veterinarian, Perdue started two businesses from the ground up, concentrating in agribusiness and transportation.

His public service began in the 1980s when he served on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board. He then successfully ran for the state senate, becoming majority leader in just four years, followed by his election as president pro tempore.

In January 2003, Perdue was elected to serve as Georgia’s governor and he won reelection by an overwhelming margin in November 2006. As governor, Perdue focused on improving education, providing better access to health care, creating quality jobs for Georgians, and increasing resources for stronger, safer communities. He was appointed by President Trump to be the 31st Secretary of Agriculture and was confirmed in late May by the United States Senate.

In addition to the keynote address by Perdue, Delta Council will honor more than 140 high school seniors as Delta Honor Graduates with the ceremony beginning at 9 a.m., located under the tent next to the BPAC. Dignitaries will welcome the graduates, their families and school officials to main event and present them with engraved certificates recognizing them as 2017 Honor Graduates. The top Honor Graduate will be selected by higher education officials and be presented a $2,500 scholarship during the 10:30 a.m. business session.

“The Delta Honor Graduate event is designed to raise the level of awareness of parents, teachers and our local communities of the importance of bringing these bright young minds back to the Delta after they have completed their formal and advanced education,” said Cass Pennington of Indianola, who serves as chairman of the Delta Council Education and Health Policy Committee.

The tradition of a fried catfish luncheon will conclude the program for the 82nd annual event on the grounds of the quadrangle on the Delta State campus.

Sponsors for event include: BankPlus; Catfish Farmers of Mississippi; Cotton, Inc.; Sanders, Inc.; Mississippi Corn Promotion Board; Mississippi Rice Promotion Board; Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board; and Southern Ag Credit/Mississippi Land Bank.

Sanderson Farms aviation scholarship 2017

Crockett wins scholarship from Sanderson Farms aviation department

By | Academics, Aviation, College of Business, Community, Students | No Comments
Tristan Shemar Crockett, left, is presented a scholarship from the flight department of Sanderson Farms. Presenting the award was Brett Oleis, instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State.

 

Delta State University Commercial Aviation is pleased to announce the inaugural recipient of a scholarship provided by members of the flight department of Sanderson Farms.

The scholarship came out of a fundraiser held by the corporation’s flight department and was spearheaded by Kevin Blair and Ryan McBride. Both serve as pilots for Sanderson Farms, and McBride is a Delta State flight operations graduate.

Receiving the scholarship was aviation major Tristan Shemar Crockett of Grenada.

“I am extremely grateful to receive this scholarship,” said Crockett, a junior working on his instrument rating. “I would like to thank the Sanderson Farms aviation department for providing the scholarship and Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation for choosing me. These funds will help me continue my flight training into the summer.”

Brett Oleis, instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State, said he was thankful for the longstanding support from organizations in the aviation industry.

“Our graduates go on to make big impacts in the aviation field, both locally and globally,” said Oleis. “We are always appreciative of companies in the industry that give back to our students.”

Learn more about commercial aviation at Delta State at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.

LaForge

President LaForge speaks to city and county boards

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge gave a campus update to the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and the Cleveland Board of Aldermen this past week.

The update included topics such as the strong relationship between the university and the city and county, as well as information on enrollment, the university budget, a tuition increase, university programs and initiatives, and measures being put in place to offset more than $2 million in state budget cuts.

LaForge said he is proud of the cooperative nature of the university’s “town-gown relations.”

“We depend on each other,” LaForge said. “Cleveland provides a home for the DSU family, and the university offers Cleveland the benefits of an educational, cultural, intellectual, musical, athletic, and artistic center.”

He added Delta State helps drive the economy of Cleveland and the area.

“Most of our 545 faculty and staff live in Cleveland, pay taxes, buy groceries, clothes, and gasoline, and enjoy the public services, dining, and entertainment Cleveland offers,” he said.

In addition, Delta State students spend as much as $10,000 a year per student for off-campus purchases, including rental housing.

As part of the update, LaForge also explained the status of the university budget and several measures the university has put in place as a result of state budget cuts over the past fiscal year.

One change to offset the narrowing budget is a seven percent tuition increase, amounting to a $441 increase in yearly tuition for students. Even with the increase, Delta State remains a bargain with a tuition total that is higher than only Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi Valley State University among the state’s public universities.

In April, Delta State announced it will be closing the Derrall Foreman Golf Course on June 30, which will amount to an annual savings of nearly $250,000. The course will remain unused until decisions are made regarding the repurposing of the property.

“In these tight budget times, we can no longer afford to operate a woefully underutilized enterprise that really is not in line with our academic mission,” LaForge said. “Unfortunately, the cost is just too much to justify … I would encourage you to withhold judgment and premature concern until we actually focus on a project; for example, issues such as taxation, flooding and drainage, and zoning will all be addressed at the appropriate time.”

In addition, Delta State will cease operating the Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale, effective June 30. Coahoma Community College, which utilizes the facility in partnership with Delta State, is working to determine if they can continue to operate the CCHEC for an interim period.

The university has also enacted a hiring and spending freeze, is using some reserve funds, will be shutting down some buildings over the summer to save on utilities, and is moving to a four-day work week over the summer.

Additionally, the university is instituting a five percent fee on designated funds, a subset of the general fund. The fee will be assessed in January each year based on the 12-month average balance of the fund.

Other items include a reduction in the Athletics operation budget, re-budgeting of Capital Projects expenditures, a reduction in the E&G Contingency Budget, and an increase in Foundation support.

LaForge announced Delta State will also boost its efforts for a private funding campaign to secure new resources for student success and enrichment, academic excellence, and cultural and social heritage.

In closing, LaForge pointed to Delta State alumni who hold positions of leadership not only locally but nationally.

“Delta State alumni lead and manage the likes of UPS, Charles Schwab, the Casey Family Foundation, our local schools, our Chamber of Commerce, local churches, numerous local businesses, this university, our county, and this city – and that should be a great source of pride for us all,” he said.

Headshot

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.