Giving options available after Delta Music Institute flood

By | Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, General, President | No Comments

In the aftermath of flood damage to the Delta Music Institute’s Whitfield Building on Nov. 30, President William N. LaForge has taken initiative with a personal lead gift going directly to recovery efforts.

The cause of the flood was a ruptured old chilled water line that serviced an air handler on the east side of Whitfield. This line was on top of a rooftop air handler located directly above DMI offices and classrooms.

Since it ruptured above the air handler, instead of dripping directly down from one floor to the next, the water was somewhat blown through the air ducts throughout most of the area.

While the accident avoided the recording studios, most of the classrooms, offices, furniture, computers, ceiling tiles and teaching equipment were severely damaged on the eastern portion of the facility.

Delta State’s response to the emergency was quick, and the institution continues to pursue all necessary recovery procedures under the leadership of Steven McClellan, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer.

LaForge, a lifelong musician, developed a personal connection with the catastrophe shortly after arriving on scene to assist Facilities Management with cleanup.

“You hate to see such valuable things destroyed and instruments lost. We’re talking about several hundred thousand dollars when all is said and done,” said LaForge. “The DMI is an important component of the university, and as president of Delta State, I think this is one of the many programs that deserve our attention and support at this time.”

“If anyone wants to make a donation — completely on a volunteer basis — it’s not beneath me to ask, particularly in this season of giving,” added LaForge. “If anyone has charitable dollars to donate before the end of the year, it’s going to a very worthy cause.”

Those wishing to contribute to recovery efforts can do so online with ease and convenience through the Delta State Foundation link: Your tax-deductible contribution could go towards rejuvenating offices and classrooms, and purchasing replacement equipment.

Gifts can also be made over the phone by calling 662-846-4704, or through mail to: Delta State University Foundation, DSU Box 3141, Cleveland, MS 38733. A memo should be made indicating DMI flood recovery.

DMI Director Tricia Walker said the Delta State family has always been recognized as a giving community, especially to causes held near and dear to green and white faithful.

“So many people have an affection for the Whitfield Building — some alumni have come back and been devastated to see the damage,” said Walker. “We understand that people are asked to give often, and we are extremely thankful for everyone digging deep in their support.

“Replacing some of the damaged equipment quickly will be needed in order to continue our teaching and providing service to the community. In that regard, the help and support is needed.”

Walker added that a positive attitude from faculty and staff has helped DMI students adapt to a difficult situation, but returning to a sense of normalcy would be nice by the start of the spring 2014 semester.

“We have a very generous community and state, especially in the so-called ‘impoverished Delta,’” said LaForge. “So many folks give charitable support to Delta State, and we are very appreciative of everyone’s consideration.”

To learn more about the difference your gift can make to this fund, please email or call 662-846-4704.

For more information on the DMI, visit




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 or visit

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

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 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.”