Fireside Chat – April 2, 2018 – Dr. Ahm Reza

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Joining President LaForge is Dr. Ahm Reza.

Dr. AHM Reza, associate professor of biology and environmental sciences at Delta State University, was recently selected for a highly competitive fellowship spearheaded by the government of Australia.

The program, Australia Awards–Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, is a merit-based fellowship providing opportunities for Australians to undertake study, research, or professional development overseas, and for overseas citizens to do the same in Australia.

The fellowship selection process of the Endeavor program is conducted through a global competition, and is open to all nations.

Dr. Reza’s participation in the program will include working in Australia from mid-May to early August, where he will utilize the fellowship for both research and teaching.

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Fireside Chat – March 26, 2018 – Frederick W. Smith

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Joining President LaForge is Frederick W. Smith, the chairman and CEO of FedEx.

Fred is the most recent speaker in one of our signature programs, the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series. This ongoing series brings to campus high-profile professionals who share career and life stories with our students, employees, and the community, and provide an opportunity to hear from, and engage with, experts from a wide array of professions and interests. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, served as the first Colloquia speaker in 2013.

We’re honored to have Fred with us today, especially because of his Delta ties to Marks, Mississippi. Fred left the South in 1962 to enter Yale University. At Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class outlining an overnight delivery service in a computer information age — and thus began his early ideas for FedEx.

After finishing at Yale, Fred was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for three years as a platoon leader and a forward air controller. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, flying with pilots on more than 200 combat missions. He was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of Captain, having received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.
In 1970, Fred purchased the controlling interest in an aircraft maintenance company, Ark Aviation Sales, and by 1971, turned its focus to trading used jets. On June 18, 1971, Smith founded Federal Express with his inheritance, and he raised $91 million in venture capital. And, if these accomplishments weren’t already enough to write home about, Fred is also a co-owner of the Washington Redskins National Football League team in our nation’s capital.

To keep up with all of our news, events and activities, please visit our website at

Delta State continues overhaul of campus lighting

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Delta State University continues to make cost-effective and safety-boosting improvements to campus lighting.

James Rutledge, vice president for finance and administration at Delta State, said the campus lighting project would take place in two phases — first, all exterior lights, followed by phase two to replace interior lights. The former lights are being replaced with the more efficient LED bulbs.

“The new LED lights improve the amount of illumination around our campus tremendously,” said Rutledge. “This not only helps with safety issues, the new lights use less energy to do a better job. This will lower our utility usage by 60 percent and make our campus more inviting to our students and community.”

Through a rebate program with Entergy, 50 percent of the costs will be refunded. Rutledge said the LED lights will save 60 percent in usage, and the program will fund itself through rebates and energy savings within six months.

Currently, all of the lights around the quadrangle and Foundation Hall have been replaced, and the project is ongoing.

Jeff Barkman, director of Facilities Management, said the new lighting will significantly improve vision across campus at night, particularly around housing units..

“The new lights are three times brighter than the lights they are replacing,” said Barkman. “The new lights reflect more downward light, which minimizes light pollution making nighttime visibility much clearer.”

The next lights to be replaced will be behind the Student Union and both interior and exterior lighting at the Roberts-LaForge Library.

In all, there are around 6,000 lights, and without rebates, it is a $90,000 project.

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GRAMMY Museum Mississippi presents special Michael Jackson display

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GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi presents a Michael Jackson display celebrating the 35th anniversary of Thriller. Located in the “Current Winners” case in the Museum, for a short period beginning on Aug. 29, exclusive Jackson artifacts will be displayed in honor of the “King of Pop” and 13-time GRAMMYÒ winner and his album Thriller that won the GRAMMY® Award for Album of the Year in 1984.

This display will open on Jackson’s birthday, Aug. 29. It will be open for a short time this fall to celebrate the anniversary of the release of Thriller, which was released 35 years ago on Nov. 30. Thriller is the best-selling album of all time with 42.4 million copies sold. Thriller won Jackson eight GRAMMY Awards at the 1984 ceremony, including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year for “Beat It.”

The display will feature two of Jackson’s jackets: one that he wore while performing “Billie Jean” and one from “Beat it” that he signed.

The Museum also has programs planned around this exhibit including a boogie-themed family day with discounted admission for families, live music by Jake and the Pearl Street Jumpers, art activities, a drumming workshop, and food vendors to encourage the public to visit this exhibit and celebrate Jackson’s legacy. Other special events will include an education workshop with Benjamin Wright, a composer from Greenville, who conducted hits for many artists including Jackson, and a screening of Thriller.

To find out more information about this exhibit and the upcoming events and to plan your visit to the Museum, visit


Built and operated by the Cleveland Music Foundation — a non-profit organization developed in 2011 — the 28,000-square-foot GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is housed near the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industry Studies program, which features the most unique audio recording facilities in the South. Similar to its sister Museum — the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE — GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric area that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape.  For more information about GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, visit For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @GRAMMYMuseumMS on Twitter and Instagram, and like “GRAMMY Museum Mississippi” on Facebook.  For behind-the-scenes access, add us on Snapchat at GRAMMYMuseumMS.