First Lady Walking tour

First lady’s walking tour sheds light on campus history

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As Delta State and the local community are gearing up for the inauguration of President William N. LaForge on Nov. 1, first lady Nancy LaForge will also be paying tribute to the rich architectural and art history on the university’s striking campus — a campus the LaForge’s now call home.

“I walk here everyday. That’s my happy place,” said Nancy. “I especially love walking around the quad and that’s when I began to notice the beauty of Delta State. If you slow down a little you can appreciate the similarity and unification of architectural elements on campus.”

The first lady, along with University Archivist Emily Jones and Art Department Chair Ron Koehler, will be leading the First Lady’s Campus Architectural History and Arts Walking Tour at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30, beginning on the east side of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The trio will be providing details on some of the most unique architectural designs on campus, as well as some intriguing artistic elements like The Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden and old presidential portraits.

“The theme for inauguration is ‘Celebrating Excellence’ and we felt it was appropriate to celebrate the excellent art and architecture we have,” said Nancy. “We want to show it off to every visitor who comes to Delta State.

“Some of these buildings have classic designs that have been around a very long time, and we want them to stay around for a long time too.”

Nancy has been preparing for her tour by researching from two main sources — “Physical Facilities: Delta State University” by Hugh C. Smith and “A Pictorial History of Delta State University” by Jack Winton Gunn and Gladys C. Castle.

All authors are former faculty and staff members at the university, and Smith is credited with establishing the uniform brick color specially designed for Delta State.

Jones said that the first lady’s tour is very timely considering the university will soon be celebrating 90 years.

“Nancy LaForge’s vision for this walking tour is perfect timing,” said Jones. “We are looking to celebrate 90 years on this campus and several of our buildings were constructed in those early, formative years.

“Studying the architecture around us, we can see what was important to generations before us. Education was of utmost importance and that is reflected in the careful construction of our halls and dormitories.

“Blending into that background of architecture is the artwork and statuary that has been incorporated over the years. We have portraits painted by famous artists adorning walls of offices and sculpture by up-and-coming artists. I am looking forward to the blending of the humanities presented in the walk.”

As a fellow tour leader with an expertise in art, Koehler said he’s also looking forward to paying recognition to the university’s distinctive sculptures.

“Delta State has many outstanding bragging points, and one is definitely the outdoor sculptures displayed across campus,” said Koehler. “There are 10 new sculptures by nine artists that were installed in front of BPAC in August as part of the 6th Outdoor Sculpture Biennial.

“We also have 21 other sculpture pieces that are part of the DSU Permanent Collection. I am grateful to the Sanders family for their generous endowment of the sculpture garden.”

There are talks that the tour could eventually be developed into a mobile app interactive experience available for future visitors to campus. The concept could become a potential tourist attraction for visitors beyond Delta State, especially if completed before the 2015 opening of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

“I think it would be a great project if it was done in collaboration with some community groups,” said Nancy. “A lot of this goes back to the town-gown relationship we have. Delta State has a great history significant in and of itself, but also in Cleveland.”

In the short term, the first lady is looking forward to hosting her first tour and joining in the inauguration fun.

“I’m very proud of the architectural beauty of Delta State University and I welcome the opportunity to share the experience with visitors to campus, Cleveland and the state of Mississippi,” she said. “We invite everyone to join all three of us leading the tour as we walk our wonderful campus.”

The event will take place rain or shine and a trolley will be available for those who prefer to ride. For questions about the event, contact the Office of the President at 662-846-4000.

— All inauguration events are funded through private support to the Delta State University Foundation. No university funds are being used during the week of activities.

Driving the need for breast cancer awareness

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The Derrall Foreman Golf Course at Delta State University is sponsoring a breast cancer awareness golf tournament on Oct. 26 beginning at 8:30 a.m. All proceeds from the two person scramble will go to the Breast Education Early-Detection Project (BEEP).

Teams may consist of any combination, man or woman, and the first 12 paid entries include a Delta State golf cart for the tournament. Fees are set at $25 for students and  $35 for men and women. Donations are accepted as well. This is the first year for the tournament, but it is planned to be annual fundraiser. To register, please call the golf course at 662-846-4586.

The Derrall Foreman Golf Course is a public course offering par-36 nine hole play and par-72 18 hole play on Bermuda fairways and greens. A driving range is available, and the pro shop offers cart/club rental among other things. The course is located off U.S. Hwy 8 and will soon be reconfigured to remain a 9 hole course while accommodating the Grammy Museum Mississippi.

The BEEP program at Delta State strives to eliminate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease through innovative and creative approaches in teaching awareness and prevention to women within the Bolivar, Sunflower and Washington counties who have limited access to preventive care. The program began in 2007 and has hosted over 200 workshops, health fairs and events year-round. Some signature events include Paint the Stadium Pink, Miss Pink Diva Pageant, Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, Saving Our Sisters and Wear Pink Day. Free mammogram screenings are available to eligible individuals.

For more information on the tournament, please call Johnny Glorioso at 662-846-4586. To find out more about the BEEP program at Delta State, visit or call 662-846-4863.

Braxton kisses a dolphin on his cruise.

Fear the Okra fun run for a wish

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Delta State’s Student Athletic Advisory Council is partnering with Make-A-Wish Mississippi to host the first Fear the Okra Fun Run and 5K on Oct. 26 at Delta State’s Fitness Trail on the intersection of Canal and Maple Street.

The Fun Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K will kick off at 10 a.m. The goal is to raise $5,000, the average cost of a child’s wish.

Cleveland’s very own wish kid, Braxton Grant, will be leading the start of each race. Grant and his family recently returned from his wish, a trip on a Disney Cruise. The Grants spent four nights traveling in the Bahamas aboard the Disney Dream.

There will be a Halloween costume contest held on Saturday and participants are encouraged to dress in their best costume. Grant and his family will be judges for the contest. There will also be face painting, door prizes and much more.

Event information and interested participants may register at the Make-A-Wish website.

Sponsors are still needed for the event. For a $200 sponsorship, individuals or businesses will be named on signage at the walk, in all Make-A-Wish advertisements and press releases, and on the Make-A-Wish website. To make a donation, please call (601) 366-9474 ext. 1-303, or email

The organizers would like to thank Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi for being the presenting sponsor of this event. A thanks also goes out to local sponsors: The Image Specialist, Sanders, Inc., Planters Bank, Pentecost Brothers Catfish, Brown Brothers Scrap Metal Inc., Lampard’s Wholesale Meat, H Squared, Heidi’s, Cleveland Lumber & Supply Co., Mosco Land & Realty, and Jackson, Braswell, Mullins, & Bailey, CPA.

For more information, contact Swayze Pentecost at or (601) 366-9474 ext. 1-303, Kristi Harrison at or Delta State Graduate Assistant for Student-Athlete Services Michael Vinson at

The Madison Center at Delta State to host political leader and author

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Rebecca Sive, author of Every Day Is Election Day:  A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office: From the PTA to the White House, will be speaking in Jobe Auditorium on Oct. 3 at 12:00 p.m. The event will be hosted by The Madison Center at Delta State and will be co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women and the Gender Studies Group.

Sive is a public affairs strategist with experience as a public official, organizational leader, business executive, and philanthropist. She speaks and writes about women’s public leadership, political power and influence. She specifically speaks to women on building and maintaining an influential public presence, making a positive difference in life, and advancing personal and professional opportunities by becoming a public leader.

The author provided a preview of her speech on campus.

“At Delta State, I will discuss the fact that this new era in American history presents a unique opportunity for women who seek public leadership roles to successfully achieve them.  In the speech, I will discuss the personal traits needed for such success, highlighting the advice and inspirational stories of women “from Mississippi to Manhattan,” featured in my book,” said Sive.

As a founding member of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, Sive began her professional career at the American Jewish Committee and then founded one of the nation’s first women’s centers. Later, she launched The Sive Group, Inc., a public affairs consulting practice that develops and leads programs to increase women’s visibility and influence. She currently teaches a course on women and public leadership at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies.

Director of The Madison Center Dr. Garry Jennings said, “Rebecca Sive’s advocacy is not merely informational.  Her advocacy for women in politics is necessary for those who want to engage the public forum but do not have the necessary practical wisdom to get out and win.  Her book is both a guide to involvement and a testament to the fact that women’s issues touch every issue in our society.”

Sive has received many awards including distinguished achievement awards from her undergraduate alma mater, Carleton College, and the University of Illinois, the United Negro College Fund and the YWCA. She is also listed in Feminists Who Changed America, University of Illinois Press.

The Madison Center, under the direction of Dr. Garry Jennings, is Delta State’s center for the study of democracy, human rights and the Constitution. This event is open to the public.

bookcover for Rebecca Sives' Every Day is Election Day

The Madison Center will host Rebecca Sive, author of Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office: From the PTA to the White House.