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Delta State University Foundation Executive Director Keith Fulcher (right) thanks HPER chair Tim Colbert for his contribution to the Delta State University Foundation utilizing the Delta Regional Foundation Faculty/Staff matching grant.

Matching grant for Delta State faculty and staff

By | Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, General | No Comments

The Delta Regional Foundation, a charitable organization founded to support Delta State University, recently provided a $5,000 matching grant for monetary gifts made from Delta State faculty and staff.

The matching funds will be on a dollar-to-dollar basis, up to $500 per employee, and will be applied to first-time donors or increased levels of giving from current donors.

Several faculty and staff have already taken advantage of the program since the announcement on Friday. This opportunity is available until the $5,000 mark is reached.

Chief Development Officer of the Delta State University Foundation Gary Bouse expressed, “The Delta State University Foundation is very appreciative of the support of the Delta Regional Foundation. The establishment of this matching grant program serves as motivation for our faculty and staff to increase their level of support to the university, and an opportunity to double the impact of their giving to their areas of personal interest.”

Grants from the Delta Regional Foundation support such university priorities as scholarships for deserving students, faculty development and academic enrichment. Employees participating in the matching grant program have the option to designate their gifts to the Delta State University Annual Fund or to one of over 400 funds at the Foundation.

HPER department chair Tim Colbert said he was thrilled to take part in the opportunity.

“We’re using our Athletic Training Education Foundation account to help send our athletic training students to a conference in February,” said Colbert. “It will make a big difference to have matching funds on top of what we can give already.”

The board members of the Delta Regional Foundation include Charlie McGuffee, James Donald Cooper and Woodie Bounds. All three are alumni of Delta State University.

“Charlie and I have been lifelong friends,” said Cooper. “I finished Drew High School in 1959 and he finished in 1960. Both of us enrolled at Delta State and our close friendship continued through Delta State College.”

 “James Donald and I had a great experience as students at Delta State,” said McGuffee. “Several years ago we decided to establish a charitable foundation as a way to financially support Delta State and that is the reason the Delta Regional Foundation was created.”

This grant follows a similar grant that was established and successfully met by retired faculty and staff.

For more information about the Foundation or the matching grant, contact Gary Bouse at 662-846-4709 or gbouse@deltastate.edu or visit www.deltastategiving.org/giving/waystogive/giftmatchingprograms.

Delta State’s sculpture professor Michael Stanley leads the way with a new youth welding program.

Community and campus bond through welding

By | College of Arts and Sciences, General | No Comments

Teaching youth a valuable skillset is the goal of Delta State’s new sculpture professor, Michael Stanley.

Stanley, who began working for the university in August, recently completed his inaugural six-week introduction to welding course offered to local high school students. Well versed in metal fabrication, Stanley felt it was imperative to provide a meaningful and alternative after-school opportunity for area students.

Impressively, he has agreed to maintain and grow the program completely on a volunteer basis — an undertaking he was not asked or pressured to take on. Thanks to support from the Delta Arts Alliance and anonymous donors providing materials, the class operates on a very minimal budget.

The initial group was composed of six students from the Cleveland School District who met once a week for a two-hour session. And despite volunteering his time outside of his university workload, Stanley wants to see the program expand and begin offering lessons multiple times throughout the week.

Working for Delta State, he is able to teach the course in the back of Holcombe-Norwood Hall, where students utilize some of the machinery already on campus.

“They are developing a skill that is really needed in America today. A person working with their hands is a skill getting lost in our culture now,” said Stanley. “We ship so many things overseas that we don’t make much anymore — and specifically through welding and metal fabrication.

“I always felt if I ever had the opportunity to do a program like this it would be successful in the community. There’s a lot of need for welders in the area and across the country.”

Partnering with the DAA and making use of the art department’s workspace, the program has already gotten off to a thriving start. The six initial students have been very responsive and have all shown interest in taking the class again when it restarts in late January.

“It gives them something to do one day a week after school and it’s keeping them occupied and engaged,” he said. “They’re meeting people outside their normal cliques and learning about teamwork, craft and the linear thinking that happens when you’re working in a trade. They’re learning to make a product that is sellable and usable.”

Along with the mental and physical challenges of welding, they also learn about its related science and history. By the end of the program, students are skilled in various cutting, grinding and welding techniques.

Projects are collectively created as pairs of students rotate to different stations, each playing a hand in the final product. The first session ended with functioning tables, which even drew interest from a potential buyer at a recent DAA event.

While the students don’t receive a formal welding certificate at the end of the course, it does provide them the needed practice and opportunity to pursue welding as a career. “They’ll have the knowledge already and pass the certification on the first try,” said Stanley.

Another bonus with the program is the community partnerships it has already started to form.

“This shows that Delta State is part of the community and not an autonomous unit outside of it,” said Stanley. “I think it’s really important to invest in Cleveland and the Delta. Doing so gives kids a glimpse at higher education and lets them know it’s obtainable and feasible for them to go to college.

“We have to be invested in our community because without students a school won’t survive. Everybody thrives because of these relationships and the stronger the Delta becomes.”

If the platform continues to grow, as Stanley anticipates, additional support will be needed. Assistance can come through equipment and material donations, a larger working space, or even picking up and dropping off students on class days.

Those interested in taking part, either as a student or supporter, contact DAA Executive Director Rori Herbison at 662-843-3344 or Stanley at mstanley@deltastate.edu.

2013 Fall Commencement scheduled for Saturday at the Walter Sillers Coliseum.

Fall Commencement celebrated Saturday

By | Academics, General | No Comments

Delta State University will celebrate the 2013 Fall Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday inside Walter Sillers Coliseum. The institution, friends and family will come together to recognize the accomplishments of over 370 graduates.

The Office of the Registrar released preliminary graduation totals at: one doctoral degree, 15 educational specialist degrees, 180 master’s degrees and 177 bachelor’s degrees. The degrees are awarded through the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education and Human Sciences and the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing.

The keynote speaker for the event is Debra Allen, currently in her 19th year as a faculty member in the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing. Along with serving in the faculty senate and various other committees, Allen is an advisor to the Delta State University Student Nurses Association. She is the vice president of Mississippi Nurses Association, has served as the past chair of the MNA nominations committee, delegate to the American Nurses Association and various other MNA and Mississippi Nurses Foundation committees throughout her career.

Delta State President William N. LaForge will provide introductions while presentations of candidates and degrees will be lead by new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams.

McAdams new provost

McAdams strums new note as Provost

By | Academics, General, President | No Comments

Delta State University’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams, is ready to get everyone on the same sheet of music.
 
The former music professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University is adrenalized to be at Delta State, a position he officially began this week.
 
“It’s been great so far — everyone is so nice and welcoming,” said McAdams. “The people are very gracious here and I knew that would be the case based on the proud traditions at Delta State.”
 
McAdams previously served as dean at NMSU since 2004 and chair of the Department of Music at the University of Central Missouri. He also held leadership roles at various professional organizations, including vice president of the Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music, 2002-2004; vice president of the College-University Division of the Missouri Music Educators Association, 1998-2000; and state chair for the Missouri Chapter of the Society for Music Teacher Education.
 
Beyond music, McAdams said he understands the significance of the Provost position and the accountability he will hold with his new title.
 
“The Provost position is a critical academic office and a great responsibility,” he said. “In essence, academics are the central focus of the university and I take that very seriously. I recognize and respect the important role faculty and staff play in providing education for the students.
 
“Delta State has such fine traditions and I look forward to working with the people here to help bring the university to the next level of academic excellence.”
 
President William N. LaForge is also thrilled to be working alongside a new administrator with an extensive education background.
 
“Dr. McAdams will bring to Delta State a wealth of experience in higher education, a strong commitment to academics and our faculty, and a vision of excellence that will fit perfectly with this university’s mission for the next several years,” said LaForge in a previous article.
 
While McAdams is not originally from Mississippi, he said it would be an easy transition because his childhood was spent in Tennessee. His mother is a native of the state, growing up in Water Valley and Drew.
 
“The location was a big draw in coming here since I’m from the South. I think I’ll be very comfortable because in many ways Delta State is very similar to the previous two universities I worked at — small regional public campuses.”
 
He and his wife Carol also look forward to exploring the area and getting involved with the community. Carol is semi-retired and has a strong passion for quilting. Along with music, McAdams enjoys traveling and photography.
 
Above all else, McAdams said striving for academic excellence would take a team effort — commitment from faculty, staff, administration and students.
 
“We will look at the things needed to improve Delta State and what it will take to bring more students here. We hold a serious responsibly to create an environment where the students feel supported and encouraged to learn.”

Virginia Thompson Collection

Virginia Thompson collection highlighted by Mississippi Digital Library

By | Archives and Museum, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Documenting letters from American war heroes with ties to Delta State is just one of the many things University Archivist Emily Jones has been up to lately.

Jones and graduate assistant Jessica Tubbs spent over 300 hours uploading the entire collection of letters sent to campus during World War II from former student-soldiers.

The compilation is titled the Virginia Thompson collection because most of the letters were addressed to Thompson, who served as the secretary to Delta State President William Kethley.

The assortment was recently featured on the website of the Mississippi Digital Library, www.msdiglib.org, and in its email newsletter. The site is dedicated to the state’s rich abundance of cultural and historical resources held by institutions and repositories.

“We have finally finished digitizing and have uploaded the entire Virginia Thompson collection,” said Jones. “Jessica created the metadata to make this collection searchable online.”

Throughout the process, Tubbs found numerous side stories that remind readers these letters are just moments in the lives of former student-soldiers. An example of Tubbs’ archiving is available at: http://deltastatearchives.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/one-man-one-name-one-book/

For the past three years on Veterans Day, volunteers have lent their voices to these letters at a public reading at the Capps Archives & Museum building on campus. Only a mere handful of letters from the enormous collection are read.

Jones said selecting which letters to read is akin to choosing a favorite friend to invite to lunch.

“It’s a hard decision. I’m just thrilled that the entire collection of letters are available for family members, alumni and all of our other friends to review at their leisure,” said Jones. “As we look to celebrate 90 years at Delta State, remembering and celebrating the gift of freedom secured by those who fought and served in the war effort will be made that much easier now that this collection is online.”

Jones added that she hopes the increased public access to the Virginia Thompson collection will encourage others in the Mississippi Delta to deposit their materials with the Delta State University Archives.

For more information, visit www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum.