AmeriCorps*VISTA seeking fulltime members

By | Center for Community and Economic Development, Community, General, Students, VISTA | No Comments

In its fight against poverty, the AmeriCorps*VISTA program, under the direction of Linda Stringfellow, is now accepting applications for full-time members.

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members focus on building sustainable programs by strengthening an organization’s infrastructure, expanding community partnerships and securing long-term resources.

In exchange for a 12-month commitment to service, VISTA members will receive a modest living stipend, an end-of-term education award or cash stipend, free health insurance, student loan forbearance or deferment, skills development and much more.

In combatting illiteracy, health concerns and economic despair, some VISTA efforts may include implementing marketing campaigns, coordinating educational workshops, recruiting other volunteers, or organizing fundraising efforts.

Openings in Sunflower, Washington, Coahoma, Tunica, Panola, Leflore, Holmes and Yazoo counties are waiting to be filled.

If you’re at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen, apply to the Mississippi Delta Service Corps/AmeriCorps*VISTA Program at, and select “I’m Ready to Serve.” You may also visit the Center for Community & Economic Development at Delta State, located on 1417 College St. in Cleveland.

For more information, contact Lakisha L. Butler, program associate for marketing and recruiting, at 662-846-4848 or e-mail

Everything old is new again…

By | Archives, Community, General | No Comments

Everything old is new again…
By Emily Jones, university archivist

The new year brings hopes of fulfilling resolutions, mercifully forgiving yourself for having broken every one of them within the first 48 hours, and a reality check that a year has positively flown by! Each one of us has the same number of hours in a day — how we use them is completely up to us. If I could have a few minutes of your time, I hope to encourage you to embrace the moments this year by reflecting a bit on some things that have been given to the archives over the past year and what we have learned from them. We call them donations in this world, except they don’t have anything to do with money but everything to do with connecting our past to our present, often in deeply meaningful ways.

Let’s stop procrastinating and address the clutter of things around us that may be hexing our feng shui. Can’t you just think clearer when drawers are neatly organized and everything is in its place? The Archives thrives when history walks through the door, finds its place among the shelves and connects with a researcher or ties a story together for a student. The orderliness of it is an absolute thrill. The Archives benefited from several organizations and individuals becoming tidier over the past year:

  • 010/M102 – Jack Gunn collection accretion; manuscript materials related to the Hold, Brown & Wafford families.
  • 011/M37 – Pete Walker photograph collection accretion; photographs, proof sheets and negatives taken by Pete Walker; subjects include schools, roads, agriculture, river scenes, rural life, etc. with dates of subject material extending from circa 1970’s – 1990’s. Detailed information on each image is not always available; some identifying information is on most images.
  • 019/M382 – Fong Pang collection; two Webb High School Wildcats football letterman’s jackets
    Drew High School jackets donated to the museum by brothers Fun and Fon Pang.

    Drew High School jackets donated to the museum by brothers Fun and Fon Pang.

  • 021/M385 – Wilson-Fisher collection; approximately 36 reels of 8mm film (home movies) taken by Joe Wilson; rare footage of Delta State, Cleveland and Lake Bolivar as well as family vacations and holiday celebrations; each canister is labeled but does not always mean that that is the only footage on that film; the dates range from 1960’s – 1970’s.
  • 022/M386 – Adelson-Strong collection; memorabilia related to Maurice Benard Adelson given by his daughter, Linda Strong; one certificate of promotion to Merigold, MS high school, 27 May 1921; one Merigold Consolidated High School diploma, 4 June 1925; one pair of track shoes worn while in high school; one photograph of Pauline Fink Adelson at the train depot in Merigold, MS.
  • 025/M389 – Richard Wong collection; one tapestry of General Chiang Kai-shek; on permanent display in the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum.
  • 028/M391 – Fun Pang collection; one Order of the Arrow sash and one badge sash given to Fun Pang who is considered the first Chinese American in Mississippi to have received this special award through the Boy Scouts; two Eagle badges, one earned while at Camp Tallaha (June – July 1948); set of Boy Scout badges; one Webb School Letterman’s jacket; one black and white photograph of the Webb High School football team, 1945 Delta A Champions.
  • 037/M158 – Cleveland Woman’s Club accretion; 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 Cleveland Woman’s Club scrapbooks
  • 038/M393 – Dunn Family collection; manuscript and artifact memorabilia related to the J.W. Dunn family grocery store which had been in Pace, MS before the family moved to Memphis, TN. Some items do relate to the family’s activities and store business conducted in Memphis. Other items in this collection also include a small portion of objects that had belonged to the previous owner of the grocery store, Mr. K.C. Lou.
  • 039/M394 – Tonymon collection; this collection consists of much of the supplies and materials needed to run a fully operational pharmacy; Oscar Tonymon was a pharmacist as a profession; from his obituary: Funeral services for Oscar Tonymon, 82, of Dallas, TX will be at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, June 28, 2014 at Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. He died Monday, June 23, 2014 at Charlton Methodist in Dallas, TX. Burial will be in Greenville Chinese Cemetery under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. Mr. Tonymon was born on August 3, 1931 in Marvell, AR, one of six siblings and the youngest son of the late Robert and Helen Tonymon. He graduated from Marvell High School and then the University of Arkansas School of Pharmacy in 1958, graduating Magna Cum Laude. For many years he owned and operated Tonymon’s Fairfield Pharmacy in Shreveport, LA. In a career move, Oscar became a pharmacist with the Department of Veteran Affairs and moved to Dallas, TX where he was lead pharmacist in the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy. Oscar married Marolyn Pang in 1959 and they were married almost 50 years before she preceded in him death in 2008. He will be buried next to her in Greenville. He is survived by a brother, Daniel Tonymon and sister, Frances Pang. A host of nieces and nephews, Jimmy, Raymond, David and Emerald Jean Dunn of Memphis; Darlene Ming Jang, Hawkins Ming, Dorothy Ming Wood, and Betty Ming Lacasellal of CA and Hawaii; Kenneth and Phyllis Tonymon of AR and TX; Rocky and Rusty Pang of TN and AR; Toni Dame of PA, and Curtis and Steve Fong of OR.
  • 041/M85 – Clark Family collection; campaign buttons, coin and name badges from Dr. Charles Clark’s years of professional career.

Through the power of Facebook, we no longer have to commit important dates to memory. However, what happens when an anniversary of an event that isn’t listed on Facebook or any calendar rolls around and we forget it until the day is half gone? How awful do we feel about letting something that was so important almost slip by? Share the responsibility of remembering important dates by making a donation to the Archives. Gifts made to the Archives this past year that will help us all remember important dates (because they’ll have finding aids on the web site and be on permanent display):

  • 026/M390 – Bramuchi collection; one American flag flown over the United States Capitol on 9 June 2010 at the request of the Honorable Bennie G. Thompson to commemorate Joe and Margie Bramuchi’s 60th wedding anniversary on 20 August 2010; on permanent display in the Veteran’s Atrium in Jobe Hall.
  • 029/M392 – George R. Frisbee collection; one scale model of “The Three Soldiers” commemorating the Vietnam War; on permanent display in the Veteran’s Atrium, Jobe Hall.
  • Gwen Gong signs her WWII book.

    Gwen Gong signs her WWII book.

    047/M398 – Gong-Powers WWII MS Chinese Veterans collection; this collection is in digital format; consisting of a final manuscript as well as the digital files of all of the images included in the final book; this gift has been published and is now available for purchase through the University Archives and other retailers. Contact the University Archives for your copy (

Perhaps the new year ignites the desire to be more community oriented, volunteer time and expertise, or perhaps develop a deeper appreciation for the arts, culture, music, etc. The Archives is made richer in cultural resources by the donations we receive. Sometimes we have to create the purpose for farming out the information from our community. One of our favorite ways to encourage history sharing is through oral history projects. One oral history project was made possible through an extremely generous gift from the American Legion Post #1776, and another project was the result of one young man’s desire to document a piece of Cleveland history because he saw it disappearing. Is there a way you can use your talents to give back to your community? Is there a piece of history inspiring you to dig deeper and learn more? May I encourage you to act on your talents and inspirations? You might never know how you could improve the world around you through them.

  • 001 – 2015.009: Veteran Oral History Project sponsored by the American Legion Post #1776. The oral histories have been collected and deposited in the oral history collections within the DSU Archives.
    1. Joe Bramuchi (OH442)
    2. Cecil Barnett (OH 443)
    3. Nancy Gerard (OH 444)
    4. DiTieshay White (OH 445)
    5. Al Cummins (OH 446)
    6. Davlon Miller (OH 447)
    7. James Bowen, Jr. (OH 448)
    8. James Breland (OH 449)
    9. Kent Wyatt (OH 450)
  • 050 – 2015.053/ Oral Histories of the Cleveland Airport conducted by Eagle Scout candidate Marshall Jones:
    1. Nevin Sledge (OH 455)
    2. Ray Meeks (OH 456)
    3. Andy Jones (OH 457)
    4. Kell Lyons (OH 458)

Perhaps one of the most significant collections received by the Archives this year was that of Professor Emeritus Dorothy Shawhan. Someone who gave daily for dozens of years to students, colleagues, neighbors and her family, Shawhan’s collection is an enduring statement of her volunteerism, strong faith in the goodness of her community, and well-deserved pride in her family, along with a healthy admiration of Elvis.

  • 044/M396 – Dorothy Sample-Shawhan collection; established to honor and remember long-time professor of English at Delta State University, this collection consists primarily of Ms. Shawhan’s personal library, manuscript and photograph materials related to her friends and family, scrapbooks, news clippings on topics of interest to Ms. Shawhan, unpublished manuscript pieces as well as portions of manuscripts which eventually were published, U.S. presidential campaign buttons, memorabilia related to her time as a student and as an alumni of MS University for Women; 2,000 copies of her book, Lizzie.

De-clutter, donate, volunteer, organize, remember and just get going on those resolutions to make a difference, offer a helping hand, wrest yourself from the weight of worry over what to do with great-grandmother’s portrait. Dig deeper into the culture and history that is the Mississippi Delta because though our treasures be old, they are new to every eye that sees, ear that hears, and heart that beats a little bit faster because of them.

Alumni Association Bolivar County Chapter awards $4,600 in scholarships

By | Alumni, General | No Comments

Each year the Bolivar County Alumni Chapter awards scholarships to incoming Delta State freshmen from Bolivar County. The scholarship is named for former Assistant Alumni Director Liza Vaughn (‘95), who passed away in April 2012. The scholarship is funded through participation is the silent auction at the Annual Bolivar County Chapter meeting every April.

This year’s recipients are Emily Adams, Taylor Barr, Ashley Bonner, Braxton Clark, Samuel Cooper, Hannah Crick, Davis Dalton, Joe Garcia, Meagan Griffin, William Hood, Ashley Horton, Destiny McClain, Morgan Ray, Joseph Saia, Shelby Swafford, Mary Vadaley, Candace Vanhorn, Coleman Warrington, LaMonica Williams, William Woo, Layla Young, and Kellie Cummins.

Meet a few of this year’s recipients by watch thing testimonial video at

To make a donation to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship, contact the Alumni Association at (662) 846-4660 or visit

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

Toy Drive gathers more than 400 toys for Bolivar County children

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, General | No Comments

More than 400 toys were donated for children in Bolivar County during the DSU Annual Toy Drive.

Rhonda Loper, special projects committee chair for Delta State Staff Council, said the success of this year’s program is due to the partnership with Delta State Athletics, local churches, and Delta State faculty and staff.

The toys were delivered this past week to the Bolivar County Family and Children’s Services office and will go to children in the county who are receiving services through the Human Services Department.

“In many cases, without the generosity of those who selflessly gave, these children would receive any presents this holiday season,” Loper said.

She added the importance of the Annual DSU Toy Drive is best summed up in the following statement from one of the partners.

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate with DSU. We have a few people who literally have very little themselves that were so excited to be able to give a toy,” said Cheryl Dean, from the Church of the Latter Day Saints. “Those opportunities to give sometimes bless the giver more than the receiver. I guess that’s part of what makes Christmas such a wonderful time of the year.”

Loper said the success of the toy drive sends a special message going into the holiday season.

“We can all celebrate the fact DSU is extending our family beyond our campus borders into our community, through our outreach and charitable giving,” she said. “Working together for a better DSU!”

For more information on how you can become a part of the DSU family, contact Loper at or at 662-846-4504.

Delta State president emeritus honored with prestigious national award

By | Faculty/Staff, General, President | No Comments

CLEVELAND – Dr. John M. Hilpert, president emeritus of Delta State University, was honored Monday as the 2015 recipient of the James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award given by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting body for more than 800 colleges and universities.

Hilpert, who served as president at Delta State from 2003 until his retirement in 2013, worked more than 30 years in higher education administration, including serving as president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, executive vice president and acting president of the University of South Dakota, and vice president at Thiel College in Pennsylvania.

Delta State President William N. LaForge said Hilpert’s distinction as a leader is one of the primary reasons he nominated Hilpert for the award.

“During Dr. Hilpert’s tenure at Delta State, he exemplified all the characteristics of a distinguished leader involved with, and supporting, the activities, mission and spirit of SACSCOC,” LaForge said. “Not only was he an actively involved member president, but he served the SACSCOC in various roles throughout his presidency at Delta State.

“Respected by his peers throughout the higher education community for his depth of knowledge and exceptional leadership ability, Dr. Hilpert was elected to serve on the 2008 Executive Council of the Commission and chair of the State Delegation Executive Council of the Commission, and the following year he was elected vice chair of the SACSCOC,” he added. “At the December 2009 annual meeting, he was elected for the first of three one-year terms as chairman of the SACSCOC and served as chair in 2010, 2011 and 2012. I am pleased that the committee supported my nomination of Dr. Hilpert for this prestigious award.”

In addition to his leadership roles with SACSCOC, Hilpert served as chairman of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area board; board president for the Delta Health Alliance, a regional non-profit corporation with a $40 million annual budget; and, president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities, an organization of all public and private, two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions in the state.

In October of this year, Hilpert published a book on Theodore Roosevelt and his “Whistle Stop Campaign” which is available through Amazon. Having lived for many years in states visited by Roosevelt prior to the election of 1900, Hilpert sought to fill in a gap in historical biographical information about Roosevelt. He has also authored pieces for scholarly journals, newspapers and periodicals.

Named for a Delta State alumnus who served as executive director of the Commission on Colleges for more than 20 years, the James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award is the highest public recognition given by the commission and is reserved for extraordinarily distinctive and effective leadership. Rogers was a 1955 Delta State graduate who served as president of Brenau College in Georgia for 15 years before taking the position as the executive director for the Commission of Colleges of SACS.

During his tenure, Rogers worked with the membership and the commission’s leadership and staff to institute comprehensive changes in accreditation standards which placed a renewed and deep emphasis on student learning. Rogers was named Delta State’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1995, is a member of the Delta State Alumni Hall of Fame, and received an honorary doctorate from Delta State in 2007.

Jeffrey Farris, Delta State Alumni Affairs Director, said the association is pleased that the award is named after the distinguished alumnus and that it is fitting that Hilpert be honored as a recipient.

“The award being presented to our former university president, Dr. John Hilpert, is a testimony to the leadership qualities that are exhibited by our students, alumni and employees,” Farris said. “I congratulate Dr. Hilpert and Dr. Rogers on behalf of the National Alumni Association for their exemplary leadership of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.”

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission that award associate, baccalaureate, masters or doctoral degrees.