Delta State honors long-time supporter, Robert E. Smith

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(L. to R.) Eddie Willis and Dr. Libby Carlson with Robert E. Smith (center) and the two of the nine recipients of the Robert E. Smith Nursing Scholarships, Holly Brassel, of Sumner, and Megan Tubertini, of Greenville.

Robert E. Smith of Cleveland, a long-time supporter of Delta State University, was recently honored for a $55,000 contribution to the University. Smith generously contributed $30,000 towards the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing Scholarships and $25,000 to the Wesley Foundation.

“Mr. Smith has supported the Wesley at Delta State in many ways that have allowed the ministry to reach greater potential and new heights,” Eddie Willis, Director of the Wesley Foundation, offered. “It has been his wish that college students be given the opportunity to grow closer to Christ while at Delta State.”

Smith’s most recent gift assisted in the purchase and removal of the Jacob House that sat on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Court Street adjacent to the Wesley Foundation Student Center. Willis adds, “Mr. Smith did this to help us expand our boundaries and have a presence directly across the street from the campus.

This is not the first gift Smith has given to the Wesley Foundation. “Mr. Smith has been a faithful supporter of the Wesley Foundation for many years, helping United Methodist students with scholarships, setting up an endowment for the organization and serving as a lifetime member of the Wesley Foundation Board of Directors.” Willis continued.

Reed Abraham, Director of Development for the Delta State Foundation Inc., reported, “In addition to his very generous gift to the Wesley Foundation, Mr. Smith has endowed six scholarships benefiting the University’s School of Nursing. Additionally, he has named the University and the Wesley Student Foundation as a beneficiary to a Charitable Remainder Trust.

Dr. Libby Carlson, Dean of the School of Nursing, explained, “Nine students have benefited from Mr. Smith’s generosity. The majority of our students need financial assistance, and his generosity helps them to become nurses, whereas they may not have been able to.

Enrollment in the Delta State University School of Nursing has grown in three years from 60 students to 200 students. “Mr. Smith’s scholarships and his thoughtfulness in naming the School as a beneficiary to his estate will help us address the critical nursing shortage in the Mississippi Delta,” Carlson contended.

In making the gifts, Smith offered, “I hope the Wesley Student Foundation’s endowment and the School of Nursing Scholarships give encouragement and opportunities to worthy young people in preparing themselves for a better life and opportunities to better serve their community and country.”

“I commend Robert for making such a generous gift to support two causes that are dear to his heart. He is truly a kind and giving person,” Dr. John M. Hilpert, Delta State President, lauded.  

Delta State’s Morehead recognized by accountants’ association

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Delta State University Interim Dean of the College of Business Billy Morehead was recently presented three awards from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). 

 Morehead received the Educator Award from the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the AGA at the organization’s 50th Anniversary Gala held recently at the Grand Hyatt Washington at Washington Center. He was presented the award for the numerous training sessions he has conducted for the Alabama Society of CPAs, the Mississippi Society of CPAs, numerous AGA Chapters and Regions and at the first AGA National Internal Audit and Fraud Conference in 2006. His presentations have covered states in the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest.
He reaped two additional awards at the AGA’s 56th Annual Professional Development Conference and Exposition held most recently in Nashville, Tenn. The first of these two national awards was presented for Morehead’s outstanding leadership as chair of the AGA International Development Committee and as chair of the Committee’s task force charged with researching the opportunities for AGA to provide leadership in advancing government accountability around the globe. Morehead also received the National Educator Award for his exceptional contributions to advancing government financial management education and his tremendous support of the AGA.
Morehead graduated with honors in 1984 from Delta State, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. He would later receive his master’s degree in Accountancy from Millsaps College in 1995. He is currently a candidate for his Ph.D. in International Development at the University of Southern Mississippi where his research interest has focused on fraud, corruption and internal controls in non-governmental organizations.
Morehead has taught Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting, Graduate Auditing, and Graduate Accounting Theory at Delta State University since 2000. In addition, from October 2001 to January 2007, he also served as Delta State’s Vice President for Finance. He was appointed Interim Dean of the College of Business in July.
An active member of AGA for over 20 years, Morehead has served as national treasurer and senior vice president, as well as other positions. He is a member of the Jackson, Miss. Chapter. He has been a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) since 1994.

AGA is a national organization of about 14,000 members which supports the careers and professional development of government finance professionals working in federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector and academia.
Commenting on his awards, Morehead said, “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by my peers and colleagues. It was a real honor going to D.C and receiving the award at the 50th Anniversary black tie gala, and it was an equally special honor to be recognized by the national organization in Nashville.”
Asked why he decided to leave his position as Vice President of Finance to return to the classroom, Morehead repeated the answer he said he gave Delta State President John Hilpert, “I enjoy the classroom and working directly with the students; and I’ve been a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for 17 years. It’s now time to influence the next generations of CFOs.”

Marker honoring Capps unveiled on Delta State’s campus

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Retired State Representative Charlie Capps, Jr. (center) is congratulated by Delta State University President John M. Hilpert (at left) on the occasion of a granite marker being placed by the oak tree that was planted on the DSU Quadrangle in 2003. Hugh Long (right) represented the Mississippi Council of Veterans’ Organizations at the event.


A gray granite marker now adorns the Delta State University quadrangle in honor of long-time Mississippi legislator, Charlie Capps, Jr. The marker sits in front of an oak tree originally planted in July 2003 by the Mississippi Council of Veterans’ Organizations.

“Today concludes what we started in 2003,” Hugh Long, Chairman of the Mississippi Council of Veterans’ Organizations explained. “And, today offers us another opportunity to recognize and honor the many contributions of Mr. Charlie Capps. We hope that in 150, 200 years, students and passer-bys will see this marker and wonder who Charlie Capps was and what he did. Perhaps, they’ll go the library and look him up.
“What they’ll find is Mr. Capps served his country honorably, both in military service and public service. They’ll find he is a friend to this state, a true ‘Statesman’ personified and a fellow veteran. We are proud to recognize him today,” Long concluded.
In response Capps humbly offered, “I thank you for today. I am honored to see all of you here.
“I was a soldier and an officer in World War II, and I am proud of my service. I am proud to be a veteran. The Mississippi Council of Veterans’ Organizations is important to me. It has represented a big part of my life, and I am so thankful for this honor,” he continued.
“In closing, I just ask all of you to continue to support all of our veterans and to continue to support our troops out there battling now. They deserve our support,” Capps finished.
Capps served as a legislator from House District 28 for 33 years, after first being elected in 1971. A former sheriff, he served as chairman of the Constitution Committee, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee (1983-2003) and as a member of the Military Affairs committee among others. He retired from the Legislature in 2005.
Delta State President, Dr. John M. Hilpert, commented, “Dr. Capps as he is known to us after receiving an honorary degree – the first honorary degree ever bestowed by Delta State – has always been a friend to us. It is an honor for Delta State to have this tree dedicated to him on our campus.”
Also represented on the day included members of American Legion, National Guard and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Yoga, Ballroom Dancing to highlight Con-Ed offerings at Delta State

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Delta State University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies will offer a trio of new and exciting classes as part of its early fall line-up. A Hatha Yoga class, an instant piano class and a ballroom dancing class will offer participants a diverse selection in August – September.

Under the instruction of Conner Burnham, the Hatha Yoga class is scheduled to meet once a week (Tuesday evenings) for six weeks starting Aug. 7 – Sept. 11 from 6-7:15 p.m. in Room 302B of the H.L. Nowell Union on the campus.

Hatha Yoga provides the means for many people of any age not only to get and stay in shape but also to develop balance, coordination and a sense of centeredness. Unlike conventional forms of exercise, Hatha yoga stresses quality of movement over quantity. Yoga improves strength and flexibility in the mind as well as the body, and aids in relaxation.

Registration fee is $80 which includes all six sessions. Deadline to register is Friday, Aug. 3.

Participants must bring a yoga mat to class.

Also slated for August is an instant piano class under the instruction of David Haynes.

Participants will cover fundamentals so that they will be able to play virtually any pop tune with both hands. Participants will also take home a specially prepared CD and workbook to continue the learning process at their own pace.

This class will meet on Tuesday, Aug. 28 from 6-9 p.m. in the Henry J. Jacob Conference Center of James M. Ewing Hall on the Campus.

Registration fee is $45 and materials fee is $25. Deadline to register is Friday, Aug. 24.

The last offering in this series is a ballroom dancing class under the instruction of Leslie Shive.

Experiencing a tremendous rebirth and spike in popularity, this ballroom dancing class will allow participants to master the basic techniques of dance. This introductory class will include elements of dance, leading and following techniques, dance positions, dance etiquette and four dance patterns – the waltz, tango, cha-cha and fox trot. 

The class will meet Tuesday evenings for six weeks starting Sept. 18 – Oct. 23 from 6-7 p.m. in the State Room of the H.L. Nowell Union on the campus.

Registration fee is $60 per person or $110 per couple, which includes all six sessions.

Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 5.

To register for one or more of these classes or for more information, please contact Graduate & Continuing Studies at (662) 846-4871 or email

Students Gear Up for College at Delta State

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DSU Professor of Art Pat Brown looks on as Fred Aldridge, John Frieson, and Robert Brenson, all of Drew, make mojos during a recent Gear Up camp held on the campus of Delta State University.

This summer students from all over Mississippi stayed on the campus of Delta State University during a weeklong residential camps entitled “The Mississippi Delta Arts & Heritage Summer Experience.” 

The students, all who will be entering their senior year of high school in August, focused on college preparatory workshops, art and a heritage issue relating to the Mississippi Delta.  The first camp studied on the geography of the Delta, the second camp learned about the Blues, and the last camp looked at the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of the Delta.  The camps, which are in their fourth year at Delta State, were made possible by a generous grant from Gear Up Mississippi.  They were run by Delta State University’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

The college preparatory exercises included essay writing workshops, an ACT prep workshop, meetings with financial aid officers and admissions officers, and a career assessment with the Director of Career Services.  The students also had the opportunity to stay on campus and interact with current college students, better preparing them for their own college careers.

The art component was led by Pat Brown, a Delta State art professor with more than 15 years of teaching experience.  Students had several hours each day of the camp to work on art projects.  Art projects included basket making, the creation of African dance costumes using different textiles and dyes, journals, handmade paper, diddley bows (a type of one-string guitar) and mojos. 

The Geography session focused on both the physical and human aspects of Delta geography.  The students learned about the Mississippi River, rode the Tunica Queen River Boat, saw where the levee broke in 1927 and learned about the consequences of the resulting flood.  The students also learned about the many immigrant groups which have peopled the Delta and contribute to its unique heritage.

The Blues session gave the students many opportunities to learn about the Blues in its birthplace, the Delta.  They heard a performance by Bluesman Terry “Big T” Williams.  A dinner and harmonica workshop was held at Dockery Farms, an important site in the development of the Blues and home to, among others, Charley Patton, the father of the Delta Blues.  They toured the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale and the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland.  Don Mitchell and Dr. Shelley Collins, both professors at Delta State, talked to the students about how the Blues developed and how it influenced and was influenced by other genres of music.  Tricia Walker, a veteran of the music industry who has returned to Delta State to head the Delta Music Institute, gave a song writing workshop.  The students then had the opportunity to record their songs.

 The Civil Rights session included trips to Ruleville to visit the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Gravesite, to Memphis, where the students toured the National Civil Rights Museum, and to Mound Bayou, where the students were given a tour and told the history of the town.  Charles McLaurin, a Civil Rights activist, spoke to the students about his memories and experiences with the Civil Rights Movement, in particular his work with Fannie Lou Hamer.

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