Delta Council

Senior Tyler Sullivan will serve as a 2017 Thad Cochran Fellow.

DSU quarterback selected for prestigious Congressional Fellowship

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Delta State University Statesmen quarterback Tyler Sullivan was recently selected as a 2017 Congressional Fellow for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Sullivan, who is a biology premedical science major, will move to Washington D.C. in January and remain there through the spring semester. The program selects one Delta State student each year to serve on Cochran’s staff, with the goal of providing a better understanding of the legislative process.

“I am extremely grateful to be selected for the fellowship,” said Sullivan, a native of Louisville, Mississippi. “It’s hard to actually wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be moving to D.C. in January to work for such a prestigious senator. The fact that Delta State and the Delta Council have chosen and trust me to be their representative for the fellowship is a very high honor.”

Sullivan said he was excited to learn how the legislative process works, having never previously delved into politics.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing what I’m made of,” he added. “This is an opportunity to not only get a solid foundation in politics, but also an opportunity that will benefit me no matter what I do in the future. I want to learn what it takes to be a valuable Mississippian like Sen. Cochran is, and how to make tough decisions that will affect many people.”

Delta State has a long-running tradition of sending fellows to Washington, and Delta State President William N. LaForge served as Cochran’s chief of staff during the 1980s.

“I am thrilled that Tyler Sullivan has been chosen to be our Congressional Fellow,” said LaForge. “He is confident, capable and is the perfect candidate for this opportunity. He will be of great value to Sen. Cochran’s office while representing Delta State in grand fashion.

“It is professionally and personally gratifying to me that we continue this wonderful relationship with the senator’s office in cooperation with Delta Council and Staplcotn because of the affiliation with Sen. Cochran going back to my days as his chief of staff. Tyler will have an excellent experience there, and their office will benefit from his outstanding background at Delta State.”

Sullivan, who will graduate in December, is currently applying to medical school. He was recently named a finalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is presented to the best football scholar-athlete in the country. Sullivan was one of only 12 athletes to make the final list and will travel to New York on Dec. 6 for the awards ceremony.

The fellowship program is funded through Delta State University, the Delta Council and Staplcotn. Additionally, Sullivan will receive a stipend from Cochran’s office.

The Delta Council is an area economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. The organization pioneers efforts to solve common problems and promote the development of the local economy. Founded in 1921, Staplcotn (Staple Cotton Cooperative Association) is the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.

delta council exhibit 2016

DSU Fashion Students and Faculty Showcase Work at Delta Council

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Delta State fashion merchandising students and faculty showcased some of their original cotton apparel designs at the recent meeting of the Delta Council.

According to Dr. Jan Haynes, Professor of Fashion Merchandising in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, these designs were created from upcycled materials, such as cotton sheets and were eco-dyed with natural dyes at a DSU cotton workshop in September, taught by Pat Brown, MFA. The students’ designs were then presented at the Cotton Summit event held at Mississippi State in November.

This was the culmination of  a grant project, “Delta Cotton, Weaving Futures,” that included three day-long educational events featuring cotton. The grant project was a joint partnership of the three Mississippi universities that offer Fashion Merchandising programs: Delta State, Mississippi State, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Funding was provided by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated.

U.S. Sen. Kerry Moran of Kansas will keynote the 81st annual Delta Council meeting at Delta State on May 20 at 10:30 a.m.

Senator Jerry Moran to keynote Delta Council

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Delta Council President Al Rankins, of Greenville, announced today that U.S. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas will be the featured guest and keynote speaker for the 81st annual meeting of Delta Council, to be held on the Delta State University campus at 10:30 a.m, May 20, at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

“We are so pleased that our friend from Kansas, Jerry Moran, will be the featured speaker for this year’s Delta Council Annual Meeting,” said Rankins, a retired businessman and elected official. “Senator Moran has been to the Delta several times to meet with us over the years and has a passion for rural development and job creation issues.”

Moran was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Additionally, he serves as chairman of the Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee. Since joining the Senate, Moran has been a leading advocate for issues related to entrepreneurship, job creation and innovation. 

“We have known Senator Moran since he was a leader in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Agriculture Committee, and after moving to the Senate, he has ascended into an extremely prominent position, chairing the Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee,” said Gibb Steele, chairman of the Delta Council Rice and Small Grains Committee. “Chairman Moran has been to the Delta many times in his capacity as Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, and he has weighed in heavily on our behalf on several matters since passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.”

Prior to his service in the Senate, Moran served Kansas in the “Big First” Congressional District for seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as eight years in the Kansas State Senate, spending the last two as Majority Leader.

Moran attended Fort Hays State University and later, the University of Kansas, where he received both an undergraduate degree and a juris doctorate. 

In addition to the keynote by Moran, 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 Honor Graduates, their families and school officials, to the annual meeting and present them with engraved certificates recognizing them as 2016 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 on the quad will conclude the program.

Sponsors for the meeting 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.

A group from Temple Israel of Minneapolis, Minn. recently visited the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

Temple Israel group visits Delta

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Temple Israel, located in Minneapolis, Minn., recently stopped in Cleveland for an introduction to the Delta at the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University.

The Delta Center’s Lee Aylward spoke with the group and led them to historical sites. The group ended its day at Temple Adath Israel in Cleveland, where members of the congregation spoke on the history of Judaism in the area and treated the group to refreshments.

The Temple Israel group was led by Barbara Glaser and Rabbi, and they began their trip in Memphis. The group will be traveling Highway 61 to New Orleans with stops in Greenwood and Vicksburg.

For more information, visit the Delta Center’s website: The Delta Center is also on Facebook at

Learn more about the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area:

Myrtis Tabb, associate vice president of finance and administration at Delta State, was recently appointed to the board of directors for Delta Council.

Tabb appointed to Delta Council board

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Longtime Delta State leader Myrtis Tabb, associate vice president of finance and administration, was recently appointed to serve on the board of directors for the Delta Council.

The Delta Council Annual Meeting, held at Delta State each May, is a political happening and social event attended by several thousand members and guests each year.

“Delta Council plays an extremely important role in development for the entire Mississippi Delta region, and its influence reaches state and national levels,” said Tabb. “While much of the work is known to the public, much of it also goes on behind the scenes to effectively bring improvement to the region. I hope to contribute to that work as part of the board of directors.”

Each year, those who attend the meeting have the opportunity to hear nationally known speakers, review the results of Delta Council programs, enjoy a top-notch cotton fashion show sponsored by local talent, and enjoy a hot catfish and hush puppy lunch.

“Hosting Delta Council Day on our campus is an important event for Delta State University in late spring each year,” added Tabb. “I work with our Delta State team to ensure that we do our part to have a successful day each year.”

Delta Council President Walton Gresham, who selected Tabb as one of his presidential appointees, recognized her commitment to the proud traditions of Delta Council and the region as a whole.

“It is a great pleasure to have Myrtis Tabb on the board of directors of Delta Council. She is not only a recognized leader in regional higher education circles, but she is a strong proponent of community and economic development, cultural and heritage tourism, and other opportunities that have a big impact on the Delta region which Delta Council focuses its efforts on,” said Gresham. “She makes good things happen, not only for Delta State University but for the entire region.”

Delta Council is an area economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. For more information, visit