Delta State welcomes Pulitzer Prize Winner Trethewey to campus

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 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Natasha Trethewey visited Delta State University’s campus Wednesday. She will receive an honorary degree from the institution later this December.

Delta State University welcomed Natasha Trethewey, the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry, to it campus today, while also announcing its intent to honor the Mississippi native with an honorary degree at the University’s winter commencement ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 8.

“Ms. Trethewey is an accomplished poet who has achieved international recognition. Her Mississippi heritage makes all of us proud. We’re pleased that she will accept an honorary doctoral degree from Delta State at our December commencement,” Delta State President, Dr. John M. Hilpert offered in a press conference held earlier this morning on campus. “Her success is a wonderful story for our students and graduates to hear.”

While on the Cleveland campus, Trethewey presented a reading from her collection of works. She also while met with faculty, staff and students and signed copies of her books. The visit marked her first appearance on an institution of higher learning’s campus in her native state since winning the Pulitzer Prize.

Her most recent collection of poems, “Native Guard,” (Houghton Mifflin 2006) earned her the prestigious Pulitzer, as well as the 2007 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize.
“Today has been a wonderful day – to be welcomed back as a native daughter, it is a dream come true,” Trethewey explained.
Of the honorary degree she will receive in December from Delta State, she added, “It is an absolute honor, and I am so happy it is Delta State University that is doing this. I am very appreciative and look forward to returning to campus later this semester.”
This will be the first honorary degree of her career.

has a bachelor’s in English from the University of Georgia, a master’s in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University and a master’s degree in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
She has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University where she was the 2005-2006 Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies. Trethewey is currently the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair of Poetry at Emory University in Atlanta.
Her first poetry collection, “Domestic Work” (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.
Her follow-up collection, “Bellocq’s Ophelia” (Graywolf, 2002) received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.

Delta State to present College of Business Lecture Series, Greenville native, US Ambassador to keynote

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Ambassador Michael L. Retzer is shown with two children of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast. The islands are a part of Tanzania.

Delta State University’s College of Business will present its annual lecture series"Celebrating Academic Excellence" on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 10:30-noon inside Jobe Hall Auditorium on campus.

The Honorable Michael L. Retzer, United States Ambassador to Tanzania, will be the keynote speaker for the event. 
Ambassador Retzer was sworn in by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as United States Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania in 2005, and presented his credentials to President Benjamin Mkapa in Dar Es Salaam on Sept. 1, 2005.

Ambassador Retzer’s career reflects considerable experience in several fields. He has served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. He developed a thriving restaurant chain in 20 locations in Mississippi and Arkansas, which employs over 1,100 people, and he has also served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Planters Bank of Mississippi.

Ambassador Retzer has enjoyed an active political career. Since 1978, he has been elected multiple times as Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party. In 2004, he was elected Treasurer of the Republican National Convention in New York City. He was elected Republican National Committeeman for Mississippi in 2001 and Treasurer of the National Republican Party in 2002.

In his hometown of Greenville, Miss., Ambassador Retzer has contributed to community growth by serving in several civic organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Industrial Foundation, and the South Delta Planning Council. He was a founding member of Delta Wildlife Foundation and the Mississippi Wildlife Foundation. He has also served as a trustee of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Retzer received his bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at the University of Oregon with a major in Finance and Marketing.

The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, please call the College of Business at (662) 846-4200.

Delta State’s Biological and Physical Sciences ready for Elliott-Nowell-White Science Symposium

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Delta State members of the Elliott-Nowell-White Science Symposium Committee prepare for the upcoming annual event. Members of the committee include (from left) Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Chuck Smithhart; Interim chair of Biological and Physical Sciences and Associate Professor of Biology Barry G. Campbell; Secretary of Division of Biological and Physical Sciences Barbara Knight; Professor of Biology John Tiftickjian; and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Rie Somlai.

The 16th Annual Elliott-Nowell-White Science Symposium is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 11, and the morning of Friday, Oct. 12. The event will start at 2 p.m. with an “Armchair Session” in Room 205 of Caylor Hall on campus, where Richard S. Myers Jr. will conduct the meeting. The Johnny Ouzts Memorial Lectures will begin at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, in Jobe Auditorium.
The Roy Lee Wiley Lectures will start at 9:15 a.m. Friday morning in Room 205 of Caylor Hall with guest lecturers scheduled to speak about their respective areas of expertise.

Delta State sophomore creates design for Chamber’s Octoberfest

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Delta State sophomore Caleb Sexton shows off his t-shirt design for Octoberfest. The design features a colorful pig with Chinese influence, derived from the Chinese calendar which heralds 2007 as “The Year of the Pig.” 

Delta State University sophomore Caleb Sexton shows off the design he created for the upcoming Octoberfest events.

His concept will be transferred to commemorative t-shirts and aprons, both of which will be on sale at the two-day event. Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12 – Saturday, Oct. 13 in downtown Cleveland, the 25th Annual Octoberfest Arts & Crafts Show is being sponsored by Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.

A work-study student in the Office of University Relations, Sexton is a graphic design/photography double major. Of his original concept, the Tuscaloosa, Ala., native offered, “I was excited to have the opportunity to work with Chamber on another of its design. I am especially proud of this design.”
For more information on the downtown festival featuring live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, concessions and a barbecue contest, please call (662) 843-2712.

Delta State to dedicate sculpture garden on campus, Sunday, Oct. 7

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Delta State University is set to dedicate The Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden outside the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) on campus, Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.
The sculpture garden is the third phase of a project begun by Pam Matthews, a painter and wife of former Delta State President Dr. David Potter, in 2000.
“It was her dream that there might one day be a sculpture garden in front of the BPAC, and that idea surfaced in 2000,” explained Nan Sanders, who has been the facilitator of Mathews’ vision for the garden project for the Sanders’ family.
In 2000, the University held a national sculpture contest; seven pieces were entered in it and displayed in front of the BPAC for 18 months. At the end of the display period, a committee of five to seven independent artists voted on the winner, which was purchased by the University.

“Wind Harp,” created by North Carolina artist Wayne Trapp, received the purchase award for the first competition.
In 2002, a second competition was held. This time, eight pieces were submitted and displayed, with Glenn Zweigart’s piece “Haiku Man” winning the purchase award.
However, in 2004, the project was put on hold after Matthews passed away. Five sculptures from the second competition were donated to the University in her memory.
“The sculpture garden went by the wayside for awhile after that,” Sanders recalled. “Eventually, I approached my mother-in-law Hazel Sanders, who generously offered a donation in seeing that it got done.”
Although it took several years and several variations of design, the sculpture garden will now include room for pieces acquired in earlier competitions, future competitions, and a memorial to Matthews.
The sculptures across campus provide Delta State with a unique, artistic influence, while also providing valuable, hands-on education for students studying sculpture.
“I can take the sculpture students out and we can see and talk about those actual pieces instead of looking at a photograph or slide,” explained Ron Koehler, professor of art at Delta State. “I can break it down and see exactly how they are constructed and the materials they use.”
The placement of the sculptures across the University fulfills another of Matthews’ desires—to have an art-covered campus.
“We are very proud to have been a part in seeing Pam’s dream fulfilled. We think this is unique and will have a very positive long-range impact on Delta State and the region. I am not aware of another University in the state where public art is given such emphasis,” Sander concluded. “We are honored to play our part and encourage others to join our efforts. It’s for everyone, and a wonderful tribute to the spirit and vision of our beloved friend, Pam.”
The dedication ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., with current Delta State President, Dr. John M. Hilpert; former Delta State President, Dr. David Potter; BPAC Executive Director, David Dallas; and Sanders, all, offering brief comments.
Following the ceremony, the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America will be in concert at 2 p.m.
Sponsored by “The Bolivar Commercial,” the concert is free and open to the public.