Minority vendor workshops planned

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Delta State University will host a series of minority vendor workshops throughout the region on Nov. 25 in an effort to strengthen its ties to the minority business community.

The workshops will focus on the needs of the university and how minority vendors may be able to partner with the institution to meet those needs. Each event is free to all minority vendors who preregister, however space is limited to the first 25 preregistered vendors at each event.

The time and location for each workshop is: Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale, Lewis Annex, Room 301, 9:30 a.m.; Delta State University, Janice Wyatt Conference Room in Kent Wyatt Hall, noon; and Greenville Higher Education Center, Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.

“Our primary goal behind this is to reach out to minority business in the Delta and see how we can work with them — help them get involved with the university spin,” said Sam Washington, workshop facilitator.

“Hopefully we can work out some agreements as we see this as another way for Delta State to be a good steward of public trust.”

For more information or for those wishing to attend, contact Washington at 662-719-3911 or e-mail at Please provide your business name, business type, mailing address, phone number and the name of the person(s) who will attend.

LaForge to speak at United Family Life Center

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As a center for local involvement and outreach, the United Family Life Center in Cleveland hosts events year-round that are community oriented. Some of these events include sporting activities, youth programs, summer feeding platforms and theatrical events.

On Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., the UFLC will host a distinguished banquet in celebration of a few community members who have shown outstanding responsibility and leadership. Delta State University President William N. LaForge will be a guest speaker at the affair.

The event, appropriately themed “Working with the Power to Change Lives: Pitch In and Serve,” will serve as a fundraiser for the center and awards will be presented for ministry, education, humanitarian, business, public service, health care and Angel Among Angels.

“I am looking forward to visiting with the United Family Life Center congregation to speak with them about exciting things that are going on at Delta State and how we can work together as community partners,” LaForge said.

The banquet is an annual event for the UFLC, and it serves as both a way to recognize outstanding individuals and raise funds for the center’s wide range of activities and programs.

The awards are given to those who have stood out in their field and who have proven themselves valuable in contributing to the community.

This year, the ministry award will be presented to Rev. Larry King, the educational award to Dr. Billy Moore, the humanitarian award to Ola Kirk, the business award to Sadie’s Alterations, the health care award to Dr. Degail Hadley and the Angel Among Angels award to Mary Williams.

The event will be held at the center and admission includes a meal at the ceremony. A social hour will take place from 6-7 p.m. with the banquet immediately following. For more information, contact 662-843-3097.

Staff Council participates in statewide meetings

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Four members of Delta State’s Administrative Staff Council’s Executive Committee traveled to Hattiesburg to participate in MASCO Day on Oct. 30.

The Mississippi Association of Staff Council Organizations (MASCO) is a statewide group representing staff from the eight institutions in the Institutions of Higher Learning system.

Held at the University of Southern Mississippi, the meeting was attended by 25 staff members representing seven of the eight universities; Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Representing Delta State University’s Staff Council was Robin Boyles, chair; Marilyn Read, chair-elect; Vickie Williams, secretary/treasurer; and Suzanne Simpson, public relations coordinator. The trip was made possible through a Bryce Griffis grant.

“Meeting with other Staff Council officers affirmed for me that our Staff Council here at Delta State is an active and integral part of our campus,” said Boyles. “We clearly have the most structured and comprehensive Employee of the Month program in Mississippi and that is primarily due to the contributions of Dr. James Robinson and the dedication of Bert Herbison and the Incentives and Recognition committee.

“Our community outreach that is led by our Projects Committee is second to none.”

The event began with a dinner at the home of President and Mrs. Rodney Bennett on Tuesday evening. Wednesday’s schedule consisted of sharing activities that each council engages in, a discussion of challenges and issues facing university staff, and an open forum with Toby Barker, State Representative and State Senator Billy Hudson.

The mission of Delta State University’s Staff Council is to serve as a liaison between the administration and the staff of Delta State University to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving University policies and procedures and to present ideas, recommendations, and opinions to the President; to institute programs to provide individual and university-wide staff development; to promote increased communication among departments and employees; to enhance job satisfaction and motivation; and to recognize outstanding achievement and work performance by members of Delta State University.

Delta State’s Staff Council is dedicated to excellence in service and the continued growth and development of the university.

Staff Council feeding okra

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The Staff Council at Delta State University is doing its part again this holiday season to bring a little cheer to those in need of a helping hand.

The council has adapted its annual food drive, previously called Feed-A-Family, to the Feed Our Okra Family project.

“The Administrative Staff Council has sponsored the Feed-A-Family food drive around Thanksgiving for the past few years,” said Justin Chandler, project coordinator. “Last year we filled over 88 bags that were donated to families in the Cleveland community.”

This year, Staff Council Chair Robin Boyles challenged the Projects Subcommittee to consider donating the collected food items to staff members in the Delta State family.

“As chair of the Projects Subcommittee, I agreed that we should take care of our own ‘Okra family’ during the holiday season,” added Chandler. “We have dispersed 100 bags across campus to be filled with food items.”

If you and your family are in need of a Thanksgiving food bag, which includes a turkey, contact Julie Jackson by Nov. 13. at 662-846-4151 or Names will be kept confidential.

If you are aware of someone that works in your area that is in need of a bag, contact Jackson and she will be sure that they receive one.

Other items in the bag include canned ham, boxed stuffing, vegetable, boxed potatoes, corn bread mix, cake mix, tea bags and baby food.

If anyone would like to donate items, please contact Chandler at 662-846-4052 or An anonymous donor has agreed to provide the turkeys to each staff member that receives a Thanksgiving bag this year.


William N. LaForge inaugurated as Delta State's eighth president.

LaForge inaugurated as eighth Delta State president

By | Academics, Bologna Performing Arts Center, General, President | No Comments

The campus of Delta State University shined brightly Friday at the inauguration of the institution’s eighth president, William N. LaForge.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, Gov. Phil Bryant, national, state and local political leaders, members of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, former Delta State presidents, fellow institutional chief executives, honored platform guests, distinguished delegates from universities and learned societies, faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends of Delta State all gathered to honor the university’s new leader.

The Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus hosted a packed house as thousands congregated to witness LaForge’s official investiture ceremony, which was themed “Celebrating Excellence.”

“I am honored and humbled by the trust and faith placed in me by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning,” said LaForge. “Last spring I accepted the charge to serve Delta State, and today I renew my commitment to give this position and this university my very best efforts.

“It is my distinct honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve my alma mater.”

LaForge, a Cleveland native, has repeatedly said it was an easy decision to return home after a lengthy and distinguished career in Washington, D.C.

“Delta State has been near and dear to me since my early childhood,” he added. “I grew up on this campus. My dad was a professor and dean. I had four outstanding years as an undergraduate and came of age here. I met many of my best friends on this campus, and they are still my best friends today.”

Keynoting the inaugural address was Senator Cochran. LaForge and Cochran have maintained a personal and professional relationship spanning more than 30 years. LaForge worked for Cochran from 1983-1990, serving as chief of staff and chief legislative counsel during that time.

Dr. Hank Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education, spoke high praise for the new president before placing the Chain of Office medallion over the head of LaForge, marking the official investiture.

“It is obvious that his dedication to Delta State University transcends both time and distance,” said Bounds. “He understands the mission of the university on a very personal level and I am certain he will utilize his extensive talents to help today’s students have every opportunity for success.

“Mr. LaForge understands the rich culture and history of both the institution and the region. He has lived and breathed it. It is part of him and he is part of it.”

LaForge addressed the crowd with high emotion and promised his full commitment to bettering Delta State.

“When I arrived on campus six months ago, I made a pledge to seek and build excellence in all we do at this university. Today I reaffirm that pledge.

“While we face many challenges at Delta State, I see many more opportunities and a bright future for our university. I will devote my best energies to making excellence a hallmark of this university — one in which we can all be proud.

“Today I ask the Delta State family and all the friends of this university to embrace this vision for our future. I am convinced that, together, we can build a tradition of excellence as a truly outstanding public regional university, and one of national distinction.”

Following the ceremony, attendees gathered along the campus quadrangle for a communal inaugural luncheon. Perfect autumn weather provided a textbook ending to the significant day in Delta State history.

For more information on the proud presidential tradition of Delta State, and more detailed coverage on the week of inaugural activities, visit