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Delta State University outstanding staff and faculty awards announced

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Frances Scarborough (at left), library assistant at Roberts-LaForge Library at Delta State, was presented the H.L. Nowell Outstanding Staff Award, and, Dr. Scott Hutchens, associate professor of psychology at Delta State University, was presented the S.E. Kossman Outstanding Faculty Award during the 80th Spring Commencement at Delta State University, Saturday, May 12, inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on the campus.

 
The Administrative Staff Council of Delta State offers the award to an extraordinary staff member. Scarborough, as the 14th annual H.L. Nowell Outstanding Staff Award winner, will receive a cash award and a plaque. The names of all recipients are displayed in the H.L. Nowell Union.
 
Delta State recognizes exceptional performances by professors through the annual selection of one outstanding faculty member. The S.E. Kossman Outstanding Teacher Award honors the memory of a prominent Cleveland business and civic leader who supported Delta State University. Hutchens, as the 25th winner overall, will receive a cash award, a commemorative medallion and a personal plaque. The names of all Kossman Award recipients are displayed in Kethley Hall.
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Delta State celebrates one of the largest commencement exercises in schools history

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Delta State University’s commencement speaker, Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools delivered an uplifting and inspirational keynote address that drew a standing ovation. Delta State University celebrated its 80th Spring Commencement this morning inside Walter Sillers Coliseum with one of its largest graduating classes in the school’s history.

Dr. Patricia A. Thrash is hooded by Dr. John Hilpert, Delta State University President, after being awarded an honorary degree at Delta State University’s 79th Spring Commencement, Saturday, May 13, inside Walter Sillers Coliseum. Delta State University’s commencement speaker, Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools delivered an uplifting and inspirational keynote address that drew a standing ovation.

It was a historic day inside Walter Sillers Coliseum this morning, as Delta State University celebrated its 80th Spring Commencement with one of its largest graduating classes in the school’s history.

 
Close to 500 degrees were conferred in front of a capacity crowd, as one doctor of education degree and 12 educational specialist degrees were conferred during the commencement exercise. Numerous master’s and bachelor’s degrees were awarded through the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education and the School of Nursing.
 
Commencement speaker, Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools delivered an uplifting and inspirational keynote address that drew a standing ovation. The first African-American and first woman to serve as President of the Commission, Wheelan’s distinguished career spans 32 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president and Secretary of Education. 
 
She opened her address by asking the graduates to put their programs on the floor, to sit up tall on the edge of their seat, and when she said, to stand up and scream “Hallelujah.” Wheelan, then, laughed, “In the years to come, you may not remember your commencement speaker’s name, but you will remember she had you on the edge of your seat, screaming ‘Hallelujah.’”
 
In what she titled, “The Last Lecture,” Wheelan delivered her own Top 10 List of “things to remember now that you are in the top two percent of the world (as college graduates). You have an awesome responsibility ahead of you as future leaders. You will be in charge and I would hope you would remember the following,” she urged.
 
“One, keep dreaming. The minute you stop dreaming, you die, so always keep dreaming,” Wheelan charged. “Two, lighten up. Learn to laugh. Did you know it is biologically impossible to get an ulcer while laughing, so why not laugh? Laugh loud and laugh hard.
 
“Three, live with no regrets. Four, be as kind to the janitor as you are the President of the Board. Five, say thank you. If we lose our civility, we lose the war,” she cautioned. “Six, please continue to ask questions. Just because you are graduating today does not mean you have all the answers. Ask questions.
 
“Seven, give back. Eight, keep learning, as it is a life-long project. Nine, keep playing, and finally, ten, overcome the road blocks. Remember, we are all Americans, and American ends with ‘I can.’ You ‘can’ do it,” she ended.
 
Also, on the day, Delta State bestowed onto two of its alumni the University’s highest honor – an honorary degree. Dr. James (Jim) T. Rogers and Dr. Patricia (Patsy) A. Thrash – two leaders in the field of higher education – were conferred with the fourth- and fifth-ever honorary degrees presented by Delta State. Each received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, for which they were unanimously approved by the Institutions of Higher Learning’s Board of Trustees.

The pair has dedicated nearly their entire lives to the advancement of higher education, having served a combined 96 years. Until their retirements, they sat atop two of the nation’s six accrediting agencies in higher education.

“It is amazing that one institution produced two of the most important higher education leaders in the nation,” Dr. John M. Hilpert, Delta State President noted. “At one time, these two Delta State graduates led regional associations that accredit institutions in 30 of the 50 states.

“We are proud of these two successful alumni and thrilled that we can honor them at our Spring Commencement. Furthermore, we are proud of the history of quality education at Delta State University,” he concluded.
In response, both Rogers and Thrash showed their deep appreciation, as Rogers said, “I appreciate you allowing me to be a part of this important day.”

Thrash seconded, offering, “This is an extraordinary honor from an institution that means the world to me.”
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Delta State to play host to Cellular South Ferriss Trophy presentation, May 21

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Michael Rubenstein, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Executive Director; Dave “Boo” Ferriss, Cellular South Ferriss Trophy namesake; and Hu Meena, President of Cellular South.    

He’s beaming, as he stands in front of the beautifully sculpted trophy bearing his resemblance. “We’re coming home,” Dave “Boo” Ferriss laughs, as the baseball legend again points to the trophy.

This year, for the first time since its inception, the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy presentation will be made in Ferriss’ hometown of Cleveland, inside the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) on the campus of Delta State University, Monday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

 
Traditionally held in Jackson inside the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum each May, this year’s road telecast marks the first time the trophy presentation has been made outside of the State’s capital since its inception in 2004.

“Cellular South encouraged us to make the move and Delta State and the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce were happy to have us, so it made a lot of sense,” Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Executive Director, Michael Rubenstein explained. “We are excited to be taking the show on the road, and know we will be supported well in the Delta area.”
 
Delta State University President, Dr. John M. Hilpert offered of the move, “We are honored to play host to such an exciting event. We look forward to welcoming the top three collegiate baseball players in the state to our campus.
 
“Delta State is so fortunate to have Coach Ferriss as a member of our Delta State family,” Hilpert continued. “The Cellular South Ferriss Trophy is a fitting tribute to his great career in college baseball.”
 
Cleveland Mayor, David Work is equally excited by the move. “We were thrilled to hear we had won the bid to host the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy presentation. Cleveland has long had a tremendous history of baseball and with Coach Ferriss being one of our residents, it seems like a very natural fit. We welcome all involved with this prestigious event to our town and hope you enjoy your time in Cleveland.”

The move also allows baseball enthusiasts the opportunity to tour Delta State’s museum dedicated to the career of its long-time head baseball coach, Dave “Boo” Ferriss. “Inning by Inning: A Life in Baseball” chronicles Ferriss’ illustrious career from his early days at Shaw High School, to a young man at Mississippi State, to the height of his career with the Boston Red Sox, to his days at the helm of his beloved Delta State program. The museum is scheduled to be open Monday, May 21 from 3 – 6 p.m. and Tuesday, May 22 from 9 a.m. – noon.
 
For those purchasing tickets to the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy presentation, they will be entered into a drawing to have a guided tour of the Museum with Coach Ferriss, as well as lunch with the baseball legend.
 
Three winners will be chosen at random and announced during the broadcast. Winners may invite five other people to accompany them for the tour and lunch.
 
“Anyone that has had the pleasure or privilege to spend more than five minutes with Coach Ferriss knows what a wonderful man he is,” offered Judson Thigpen, Executive Director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and former Statesmen player for Ferriss. “He is a charismatic storyteller with a memory for detail that is absolutely awe-inspiring.”
 
Rubenstein concurred, adding, “This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Coach Ferriss is a true jewel for the state and the game.”
 
Presented annually to the top collegiate baseball player in Mississippi, the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy presentation will be televised live statewide from the BPAC by Mississippi Public Broadcasting.  Former ESPN analyst and current Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Jeff Brantley will host the telecast.
 
Finalists for this year’s trophy are set to be announced, Monday, May 14.

A reception will precede the presentation. For ticket information, please contact the Museum at 1-800-280-FAME (3263), 601-982-8264 or generalinfo@msfame.com. Ticket forms are also available at the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce in Cleveland.
 
All proceeds benefit the private non-profit Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum and support is tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.  For more information about the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy, please visit www.cellularsouth.com.
 
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Delta State preps for Saturdays commencement exercise

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Daniel Hawthorne (at left), a graduating senior of Columbus, is fitted for his graduation gown by Hazel Hilley-Carter, Delta State’s Registrar’s transcript clerk.

Delta State University is preparing to graduate one of its largest classes in the history of the University this Saturday, May 12, as over 540 students will collect degrees as part of the 80th Spring Commencement service. Scheduled for 10 a.m. inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on campus, the University will also be awarding honorary degrees to two leaders in the field of higher education – Dr. James (Jim) T. Rogers and Dr. Patricia (Patsy) A. Thrash.

 
Dr. Belle Wheelan, current President of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, will deliver the keynote address.
Every graduate will be issued six tickets for family and friends, and tickets are required for entry. Any audience overflow will be accommodated in the Jacobs Conference Center in Ewing Hall on campus, where family and friends will be able to view the ceremony on a projection screen.
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Delta State commencement exercise set, Regional Accrediting Body President to keynote

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Dr. Belle S. Wheelan

With three either former of current leaders of regional accrediting bodies on the day’s program, accreditation seems to be the central theme of Delta State University’s 80th Spring Commencement service. To be held Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on the campus, Delta State’s graduation will feature Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, as the keynote speaker.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the recognized regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.
The first African-American and first woman to serve as President of the Commission, Wheelan’s distinguished career spans 32 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president and Secretary of Education. 
 
She received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in Texas (1972) with a double major in psychology and sociology; her master’s from Louisiana State University (1974) in Developmental Educational Psychology; and her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin (1984) in Educational Administration with a special concentration in community college leadership. 
 
Over her career, she has received numerous awards and recognition including four honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from Trinity University (2002) and from the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin (1992); “Washingtonian Magazine’s” 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, D.C. (2001); and the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award (2002).
 
Wheelan holds and has held membership in numerous local, state and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc., board of directors; American Association of Community Colleges’ board of directors; and the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs.
Delta State University is expected to graduate over 500 students during its spring commencement ceremony.
The commencement ceremony is not open to the public, as seating is limited and reserved to the graduates’ families and friends only. Each graduate has been allotted six tickets.
 
However, in an effort to accommodate overflow possibilities, Delta State has arranged for extra seating in the Jacobs Conference Center in Ewing Hall on campus. Attendees will be able to view the ceremony through a live-broadcast feed to the auditorium. 

For more information on Delta State’s 80th Commencement exercises, please contact University Relations at (662) 846-4675.