Principals of Gresham Petroleum and Double Quick (left to right), Bill McPherson, Tom Gresham and Walton Gresham, recently supported Delta State University and the Delta State University with record-breaking scholarships to the Delta State University College of Business.

Gresham Petroleum and Double Quick make record-breaking donation

By | Academics, Alumni, College of Business, Community, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, President, Students | No Comments

Thanks to the principals of the Indianola-based sister companies Gresham Petroleum and Double Quick, Delta State University and the Delta State University Foundation are pleased to announce the groundbreaking Gresham-McPherson Endowed Scholarships in the College of Business.

This Gresham Petroleum/Double Quick gift is the largest unrestricted scholarship gift in the history of Delta State University’s College of Business. Contributors include: Thomas & Louise Gresham Endowed Scholarship Fund, $75,000; Walton & Laura Gresham Endowed Scholarship Fund, $75,000; and the Bill & Draughon McPherson Endowed Scholarship Fund.

These monumental gifts total $225,000. Additionally, Gresham Petroleum/Double Quick is donating $10,000 each for the next five years to contribute $50,000 toward marketing.

Discussion of the scholarships began when William N. LaForge, president of Delta State University, and Keith Fulcher, executive director of the Delta State University Foundation, approached Gresham Petroleum/Double Quick — companies with long histories of supporting students through internships and hiring Delta State graduates.

“When President LaForge and Keith approached us about helping Delta State, we decided we wanted to help the College of Business,” said Tom. “We realized the importance Delta State has for the Delta, and we’ve hired so many Delta State graduates.

“We’ve had for several years an accounting internship program through Delta State. Many of those interns have gone on to be our employees, and we realized that Delta State has a great product. The students are ready for the working world and very prepared to join our team as soon as they graduate.”

McPherson added that the quality of students coming out of the College of Business played a major role in designating the funds to the business program.

“They come in able to learn our business, join our accounting team and some even move on to other areas of the company,” said McPherson. “Some came through the accounting internship and some came on right after college. There are Delta State graduates in all facets of our business.”

Giving back to a university that has consistently given them a great product seemed like a no-brainer to Walton and Laura.

“It’s important we give back to the area, and we felt like this was the way we could impact the Delta,” said Walton. “If the Delta is going to continue to grow and prosper, we need to make sure young students can depend on Delta State to further their education.”

LaForge said the contributions would greatly enhance to the quality of students who continue to graduate from Delta State.

“This is a perfect connection between academics at Delta State and business in the Delta. It provides the ideal loop,” said LaForge. “Students benefit from the scholarship support being provided to pursue their studies in accounting, excellent accounting students graduate from our program, and Double Quick/Gresham Petroleum is able to recruit newly-minted accountants to work in their headquarters.

“Delta State is immensely appreciative to Bill McPherson and Tom and Walton Gresham for their contributions and generosity. Their investment in our students is an investment in the Delta, as well as in their own businesses.”

Gresham Petroleum has been around since the late 1920s and is a wholesale fuel distributor throughout Northwest Mississippi and Southeastern Arkansas.

Double Quick has over 50 convenience stores primarily in the same regions. Learn more about both companies at and

Fulcher could not be happier with the generous support to the university.

“The gift amount demonstrates to others that Delta State University graduates are a vital part of the economic engine of the Mississippi Delta,” said Fulcher. “These graduates often comprise a significant percentage of the workforce of successful businesses like Gresham Petroleum and Double Quick.”

Learn more about giving opportunities through the Delta State University Foundation at

Dr. Henry Outlaw

University mourns loss of Dr. Henry Outlaw

By | Academics, Alumni, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Foundation | No Comments

The collective Delta State University community is mourning the loss of Dr. Henry Outlaw, chair emeritus of the Department of Physical Sciences and professor emeritus of chemistry, who passed away in the early morning hours today at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, Miss. He was 77 years old.

Outlaw was a 1961 graduate of Delta State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry and biology. He obtained a Master’s of Science and a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Mississippi Medical School.

Outlaw was a professor of chemistry at Delta State University from 1966-2002 and served as chair of the Department of Physical Sciences from 1970-2002. After retiring from his position as chair, he began working as a program associate at the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State. He also worked as a development officer at the Delta State University Alumni-Foundation Office. He was a member of the Delta State University National Alumni Association and a charter member of the Dedicated Statesmen Association comprised of retired employees of the university.

Among his countless contributions to the university, Outlaw worked tirelessly to recruit students to Delta State.

He was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Florida Medical School from 1965-66, and had been a visiting professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina Medical School, a Fellow-in-Residence in the School of Theology at the University of the South, and was a Templeton Fellow in Science and Religion at Oxford University.

With the aid of grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council, he collected oral histories, artifacts and documents related to the Emmett Till murder and developed an travel exhibit that has won national attention. He also received the Chairs Award for Special Achievements in the Humanities.

Additionally, he was a member of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences and the American Chemical Society. In 1995, Outlaw was awarded the Outstanding Chemist Award in by the Mississippi Section of the American Chemical Society. He received the Delta State University Student Government Association Outstanding Teacher Award in 1998 and the Dr. Travis Richardson Outstanding Science Teacher Award in 2000. In 2006, he received the Chairs Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council.

In November of 2014, the National Alumni Association created the Dr. Henry Outlaw Faculty/Staff Service Award as a way to recognize former Delta State faculty or staff members who have had a significant influence in the life of the university. Outlaw was the inaugural recipient.

Arrangements are being made for funeral services. Dr. Outlaw will be greatly missed by his Delta State University family.

Delta State University’s Foundation, Delta State University, the city of Cleveland, Delta Arts Alliance and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce recently gathered to officially acknowledge the Levitt AMP Grant award. Those in attendance were: (sitting, l to r) Farae Wolfe, Robin Boyles, (standing, l to r) Jeffrey Farris, Gary Bouse, Hilda Povall, Lisa Cooley, Rori Herbison, Tricia Walker and Keith Fulcher.

Levitt grant officially acknowledged

By | Community, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s Foundation, Delta State University, the city of Cleveland, Delta Arts Alliance and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce recently gathered to officially acknowledge the Levitt AMP Grant award, which was selected by a public vote in November of 2014.

The grant provides a $25,000 matching fund to provide a free outdoor concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians. In conjunction with the Delta State Foundation, the city of Cleveland provided a letter of support for the project, and Delta State’s Delta Music Institute will take lead on the unique opportunity.

“We are grateful to Levitt Pavilions for selecting Cleveland to be one of the 10 small cities to hold a Levitt AMP Music Series,” said Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State. “While being led by Delta State’s Delta Music Institute, the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series will be a collaborative effort with the city of Cleveland, the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and the Delta Arts Alliance, and there will be opportunities for other groups and businesses to participate.

“Because it is a $25,000 matching grant, there are partnership opportunities for sponsorships which will go towards the required match. We are already busy planning the 10-week concert series, set to begin in late August and continue through October.”

Thanks to online public voting, Cleveland became one of the 10 winning cities. Levitt Pavilions aims to serve small to mid-sized towns and cities up to 400,000 people through the program. Ten nonprofits, or municipalities partnering with a nonprofit, will receive the matching funds to produce their own Levitt AMP Music Series.

Lisa Cooley, Team Cleveland Main Street manager for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, said the grant will be huge for Cleveland, especially the downtown area.

“Events that bring people to our community can provide a huge economic impact for Cleveland,” said Cooley. “These concerts will not only allow us to bring visitors to the area, but they also help improve upon the quality of place for our residents by providing more artistic programming opportunities.”

The concert series will reflect three goals defined by Levitt Pavilions — to amplify community pride and the city’s unique character; enrich lives through the power of free live music; and illustrate the importance of vibrant public places.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50+ free concerts every year. Within this region is the Levitt Shell ( in Memphis, Tenn. with concerts taking place this May, June, July, September and October. Learn more about locations and impact:



Bouse selected to participate Leadership Mississippi 2015

Bouse to participate in Leadership Mississippi

By | Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, Leadership Mississippi | No Comments

Chief Development Officer Gary Bouse of the Delta State University Foundation was recently selected to take part in Leadership Mississippi, an annual program of the Mississippi Economic Council.

“Selection as a member of the 2015 Class of Leadership Mississippi by members of the MEC’s Leadership Mississippi is truly a great professional and personal honor,” Bouse said.

Bouse will work with other participants in the training program that combines individual study, group sessions and project experience in using leadership skills.

Leadership Mississippi is conducted by the M.B. Swayze Foundation and is the second oldest statewide leadership program in the nation. Since its inception in 1974, the program has graduated more than 1,000 alumni active in Mississippi business and politics.  Leadership Mississippi is endowed through a generous contribution by the late J.C. and Annie Redd.

Mississippi’s top business executives have participated in Leadership Mississippi as a way to expand their networks. Many elected leaders, including a former governor, are graduates and recognize the value of the Leadership Mississippi experience.

“I consider it a tremendous privilege to be a part of a small group of leaders from around the state,” said Bouse.

“I am looking forward to spending the next 12 months engaging with my Leadership Mississippi colleagues, as well as other leaders throughout the state, in an effort not only to expand on my own leaderships skills, but also to learn more about other communities around the state and how we can continue to move Delta State, the City of Cleveland, Bolivar County and the Mississippi Delta forward in a positive direction.”

Bouse has been employed at the Delta State Foundation since August 2011. The purpose of the Foundation is to foster private financial support for Delta State University. For more information, please visit



President William N. LaForge recently provided a campus update with aspirations for continued progress in 2015.

Delta State energized for new year

By | Academics, Admissions, Community, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge recently provided an energetic welcome back to campus, citing last year’s institutional progress and indicating that 2015 promises to be a banner year for the green and white.

LaForge provided high praise for improved student performance in the classroom, giving credit to student effort and guidance from faculty members and administrative support staff.

A total of 241 students were recognized for the President’s List/Delta Scholars (3.8 GPA or higher) and 275 students received Dean’s List recognition (3.5–3.79 GPA).

The president recently participated in Jackson Academy’s faculty development day, which focused on the future of higher education. In his remarks, LaForge defended traditional higher education while also advocating for a balance with new pedagogies and online learning.

“However, I believe there is a need for students to have the opportunity for valuable ‘face-time’ and engagement with faculty who provide so much in the way of mentoring, advising and guidance,” said LaForge. “I recognize the extra time and effort that faculty must give for this model of education, and I appreciate all you do to give our students the requisite attention needed. That is a vital feature of the ‘Delta State way’ for which we are well known.”

LaForge also indicated student success initiatives through the Student Success Center and the First Year Seminar program seem to be paying off.

“We are launching the Okra Scholars Seminar that implements the program dollars we have been awarded through the First in the World grant from the U.S. Department of Education in support of university retention efforts,” he said. “Kickoff of the intense and rigorous one-hour class is this month, and Christy Riddle and her team in the Student Success Center are off to a great start.”

The mantra is “A Commitment to Completion,” and eligible students include those who are first generation, Pell Grant eligible, or Delta area residents and have 17-21 ACT scores. The initial pool for consideration is the First Year Seminar group from last semester.

In one unique category, LaForge saluted Delta State’s football program for boasting 50 players with a 3.0 GPA or higher and a team average of 2.71 this past semester.  Recognition was given to coach Todd Cooley and his staff for their strong stance on academics as a priority.

Other highlight notes from the president’s welcome included: reaffirmation of the university’s accreditation; remaining on track to realize the projected million dollar savings in overall budget; Foundation reports an all-time, mid-year high in private gifts to the annual fund; Winning the Race conference on race relations returns for its second year March 30-31; and a continued dedication to recruitment effort after the university’s first uptick in enrollment in eight years.

To track exciting progress at Delta State, follow the university’s news feed at Keep up with the president’s efforts at