LaForge encourages local youth

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President William N. LaForge will be speaking at Greenville’s Washington School graduation Friday, another stop in his continuous effort to reach out to homegrown potential Delta State students.

The mission of Washington School, a college preparatory institution, is to promote lifelong learning, moral and spiritual values and academic excellence. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and by the Mississippi Private School Association.

LaForge also made a recent visit to Margaret Green Junior High School in Cleveland to celebrate the induction of six students into the National Junior Honor Society. NJHS recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship and character.

Keep up with President LaForge and Delta State University on his blog at or Twitter via @presidentDSU.

Harris-Stewart receives honorary doctorate

By | Academics, Athletics, General | No Comments

While her list of accomplishments is already lengthy, Lady Statesmen basketball legend Lusia “Lucy” Harris-Stewart added another milestone to her résumé at Delta State University’s spring commencement ceremony today.

Harris-Stewart was granted an honorary doctoral degree as part of Delta State’s long-running tradition of recognizing green and white greatness.

Delta State University confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

“I’m very honored to be receiving this degree — very, very honored,” said Harris-Stewart. “I’m looking forward to having the chance now to visit with fans, teammates and all of my family.

“Delta State has certainly been a learning experience for me. It’s given me the chance to do a lot of things and travel to a lot of places. Through basketball, I’ve been able to travel internationally.”

Harris-Stewart, a native of Minter City, Miss., graduated from Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in health, physical education and recreation in 1977 and a master’s degree in education in 1984, both from Delta State.

While Harris-Stewart proved her academic abilities in the classroom, her international distinction comes from her career accomplishments on the court. Considered one of the greatest centers to ever play women’s basketball, she was relentless and dominating in her style of play.

She is also considered one of the pioneers of women’s basketball, winning three consecutive national championships at Delta State under Hall of Fame coach Margaret Wade. She also holds the distinctions of scoring the first ever points in women’s Olympic basketball history, and being the first woman to be officially drafted by a team in the National Basketball Association.

“I have a lot of memories at Delta State,” she said. “One of the highlights was playing in a game at Madison Square Garden. I think it was the first time a Mississippi team played there. It was a very unique opportunity to travel to New York and play in the Big Apple.”

After graduating, Harris-Stewart served as an admissions counselor and assistant basketball coach. She also had a two-year stint as head coach at Texas Southern University in Houston. Upon returning to her native Mississippi, she worked as a high school teacher and coach.

For her achievements and contributions to Delta State University, Harris-Stewart was inducted into Delta State University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1992, she became one of the first two women ever inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She also became the first African-American woman inductee.

In 1998, Harris-Stewart, along with Coach Wade and her teammates on the national team, were named among the 26 inaugural inductees to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. She has also been named to the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Her career has brought her literally around the world, providing opportunities never imagined growing up in small-town Mississippi.

“I encourage the students of Delta State to continue to dream,” she said. “Dreams come true if you work hard. I learned that at Delta State. I want to say a big thank you for this honorary degree. I’m very honored by this prestigious recognition.”

Statesmen assist Louisville tornado victims

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

A number of departments across campus are coming together to assist residents of Louisville, Miss. following devastating storms that ripped through town and much of the South on Monday.

Louisville was one of the hardest-hit spots, with officials reporting at least nine deaths in the area due to a powerful tornado. The storm had a preliminary rating of EF4, just shy of the most treacherous tornadoes on the scale.

Multiple Delta State students and staff were also victims to lost or damaged property.

With a coordinated effort from faculty, staff and students, Delta State will be providing relief items to Louisville. The drop-off site for donations is the Forrest Wyatt Gymnasium from Thursday-Monday, with Todd Davis as the point of contact (662-846-4570).

Greek organizations will also be collecting supplies in a long-term effort for a truck run once Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reopens local roads. This will most likely occur after exams.

In the short-term, coach Jesse Ward will run a small load to Louisville on Thursday, as he has access to his home.

The following items are being sought: Visa Gift Cards, Wal-Mart Gift Cards, Restaurant Gift Cards (KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Sonic, Subway, Taco Bell, Wendy’s), Bottled Water/Gatorade, Snack Foods (Chips, Crackers, Granola Bars), Hand Sanitizer, Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Dental Floss, Towels, Paper Towels, Toilet Tissue, Kleenex, Flashlights, Batteries, Aspirin, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Band-Aids, Eye Drops, Bandages, Peroxide, Brushes/Combs, Toiletry Items (Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Soap, Razors, Lotion), Laundry Detergent, Dish Detergent, and Baby Food, Formula, Nursery Water, Diapers, Wipes, and Socks of various sizes.

The Delta State Staff Council is seeking volunteers to help sort, pack and load items May 6 at 9 a.m. Please contact Suzanne Simpson at 662-846-4051 to sign up.


Bell ‘82 to keynote commencement

By | Academics, Alumni, Community, Faculty/Staff, General, Students | No Comments

Delta State University welcomes a powerhouse alumnus as the keynote speaker for spring commencement May 10 at 10 a.m. in the Walter Sillers Coliseum.

William Bell ‘82, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs, promises words of inspiration as the highlight speaker at this year’s ceremony. A native of Bolivar County, Bell graduated from Delta State with a bachelor’s in biology and behavioral science.

Casey Family Programs, based in Seattle, is the nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system. Founded in 1966, the organization works to provide and improve, and ultimately prevent the need for, foster care in the United States.

“It’s exciting to be coming home and forming a connection to a brand new generation of graduates — a future crew of people who will continue the work that the graduates before them have started,” said Bell. “Delta State has been very significant in my life. It means a great deal to me to be invited as the commencement speaker and it’s an incredible honor.”

Bell, who keynoted last month’s International Business Symposium at Delta State, said he would share personal stories in his speech to encourage the institution’s most recent graduates.

“I will share what I’ve learned from my life and what I would say to my sister or brother were they getting ready to take the same step these students are about to take,” he said. “Hopefully some of what I’ve learned will make a difference for them.”

Bell was honored as the university’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, and has forever remained loyal to his alma mater. Many members of his family have also attended the institution.

“Delta State has been very significant in terms of an educational opportunity for my family,” he said in a previous Delta State press release. “I’m grateful for the opportunity Delta State has given me as I try to not only nurture and support all vulnerable children and families in this country, but also my own family.”

And the concept of family runs deep for Bell both personally and professionally.

“What I hear from the graduates of Delta State is one of the hallmarks is family orientation,” he added. “There is a strong network of support for young people while they are in school and a network of support for young professionals once they leave school.

“It is vitally important that we never forget the connection that exists between us and other people. That’s one of the things that stands out for me at Delta State.”

Bell has over 30 years of experience in the human services field. Some of his positions prior to Casey include: commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS); deputy commissioner of ACS’s Division of Child Protection; deputy commissioner of field services and contract agency case management for the New York City Human Resources Administration; and associate executive director for Miracle Makers, a private sector minority-owned, not-for-profit child and family services organization in New York City.

Bell received his doctorate in social welfare and his masters of social work at Hunter College School of Social Work. He is a trustee for America’s Promise Alliance, chair of the board of directors of the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and a member of the board of Grantmakers for Children, Youth & Families and United Way of King County.

Among his numerous awards, Bell was honored with The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps 2012 Embracing the Legacy Award for his endless work to prevent child abuse and neglect and build communities of hope for America’s vulnerable children.  He was honored in 2010 by New York City’s Court Appointed Special Advocates for his contributions and lifelong commitment to improving the lives of children in foster care.

For more information on Bell’s tireless work at Casey Family Programs, visit



Delta State Green Week to honor Earth

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

Each April, the world unites to honor Earth Day and Arbor Day — both celebratory days acknowledging Mother Earth and the fragility of the environment.

Delta State continues its long tradition of environmental awareness in conjunction with Earth Day and Arbor Day through Green Week, to be held on campus April 21-25.

Under the direction of Steve McClellan, vice president for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer at Delta State, a committee representing a number of campus departments has created the Green Week schedule to highlight methods of reducing waste and consumption, drawing attention to green spaces and Earth-friendly activities on campus, and getting students and faculty involved.

“Instead of celebrating them as individual days, we decided to hold small events throughout the week to help renew awareness of our responsibility to respect the Earth with which we have been blessed,” said McClellan.

“As a whole, the employees at Delta State have a great understanding of the need to take care of our Earth,” added McClellan. “It is our goal to not just celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, but to also further educate people on little things we can do that have a major impact.”

Lacey Fitts, Science Education program coordinator, is looking forward to the featured activities scheduled throughout the week.

“Delta State has a long history of celebrating Earth Day, beginning when President LaForge was student body president,” said Fitts. “We will highlight the Delta State Wiley Community Garden by recruiting volunteers and letting people know how the garden is being used by different groups on campus.

“Delta State Facilities Management will be setting up tire inflation stations, collecting old cell phones, and the university will be donating collected items to the St. Gabriel Mercy Center in Mound Bayou.”

In an effort to remain environmentally conscious, the committee agreed that no paper would be used in preparation of events. The schedule for the week is as follows:

Support all week!

·         Wear green everyday 
·         Save energy by using the stairs instead of the elevator
·         Ride a bike, walk or carpool to campus each day
·         Print only when necessary
·         Turn off computers at the end of each day
·         Use only re-usable containers for beverages and lunch
·         Spread the word! Mystery walkers may give you a prize

Tuesday, April 22

7:30 – 9 a.m. | Walter Sillers Coliseum, Library Rear Parking Lot, Facilities Management

·         Air For Spare 
- air up your tires for better fuel mileage and reduced oil consumption
·         Reuse to Reduce -
 donate gently used items to St. Gabriel’s
·         Cell Support 
- drop off old cell phones to support an Earth Day fund for next year

11 a.m. | Caylor 205

·         Environmental Celebration – 
join us to listen to experts speak about celebrating our Earth and learn more about the community garden

Wednesday, April 23

7:30 – 9 a.m. | Walter Sillers Coliseum, Library Rear Parking Lot, Facilities Management

·         Air For Spare – 
air up your tires for better fuel mileage and reduced oil consumption. 
Extended hours at facility plant (7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
·         Reuse to Reduce -
 donate gently used items to St. Gabriel’s
·         Cell Support
 – drop off old cell phones to support an Earth Day fund for next year

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Roberts-LaForge Library

·         Walk to Lunch
 – take a stroll down Court Street for a discounted lunch to save fuel and enjoy the air

4 p.m. | Garden Work Day at Wiley Community Garden

·         Garden cleanup –  garden maintenance, transplant seedlings from the greenhouse and work on signage

Thursday, April 24

7:30 – 9 a.m. | Walter Sillers Coliseum, Library Rear Parking Lot, Facility Plant

·         Air For Spare
 – air up your tires for better fuel mileage and reduced oil consumption
·         Reuse to Reduce
 – donate gently used items to St. Gabriel’s
·         Cell Support
 – drop off old cell phones to support an Earth Day fund for next year

Friday, April 25

11:30 a.m. | Faculty/Staff Apartments

·         Arbor Day Donation
 – celebrate a tree donation from Delta State retirees at the employee apartments

While Delta State makes an effort to remain environmentally friendly throughout the year, McClellan said April is a special reminder of the obligations the campus and community have.

“We all must commit the time needed to take care of our Earth,” he said. “If we, the managers of Earth don’t, who do we think will?”