Delta State Provost resigns to accept position in North Carolina

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Delta State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. John Thornell officially announced his resignation this morning after 32 years of service to the university.


Thornell has accepted an offer to become the chief academic officer at North Carolina Wesleyan University. He is set to begin his new post July 1.  


“Dr. Thornell has given Delta State many years of strong leadership and we are deeply grateful for his service and commitment,” Delta State President, Dr. John Hilpert said. “We are obviously disappointed to be losing him and wish him and his family the best in their move.”

Of his decision to resign, Thornell offered, “Delta State University has been a very important part of my life and my family’s life for the past 32 years, so it is with mixed emotions that I made this decision. I will be saddened to leave the colleagues I have grown so close with over the years, but am excited by the great opportunity that awaits me in North Carolina.”

State, through its Office of University Relations, will release details of its intended search process as the details become available in the near weeks.

Willy Wonka: Enter A World of Pure Imagination

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Tuesday, March 27th @ 7:30 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center the search for a Golden Ticket is on!  In this fun-filled, musical based on Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s novel, a sweet-natured boy named Charlie Bucket and four other Golden Ticket winners get the tour of a lifetime in a mysterious candy-maker’s fantastical factory! Willy Wonka and his band of Oompa Loompas lead Charlie, the spoiled-rotten Veruca Salt, gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, and television junkie Mike Teavee through a labyrinth of lemon drops, life lessons, and giggles galore.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is the title of the Dahl novel that began the movie; in film and book, Charlie is the poor but deserving boy who wins one of five golden tickets to visit Wonka’s closely guarded factory. This stage adaptation by Leslie Bricusse (who wrote the songs with Anthony Newley) and Tim McDonald sticks to the basic story but injects an odd note of pluck. “Think positive” becomes the Bucket family mantra, and in a ballad sung when Charlie gets implausibly low, he’s advised, “Just be glad you’re you.”

Featuring live actors, puppets, plenty of surprises, and many memorable songs—including “The Candy Man,” “I Want It Now!”, and “Pure Imagination”—Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka is a scrumptious musical theater treat for the entire family. Do you have your golden ticket?

Tickets are $10.00 for all ages.  Contact the Box office @ 662-846-4626 or purchase your tickets online by visiting and clicking on Tickets. 


Hearin Foundation continues funding for Graduate Fellowships in Community Development at Delta State

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Front Row: Mary Kathryn Wooten, Michelle Wallace, and Chandra Hines, Hearin Fellows; Back Row: Dr. Albert B. Nylander III, Chair Division of Social Sciences; Dr. Alan Barton, Assistant Professor of Sociology & Community Development; Dr. Paulette Meikle-Yaw, Assistant Professor of Sociology & Community Development; Dr. John Green, Graduate Coordinator of Community Development; Dr. Jerry W. Robinson, Distinguished Professor of Rural Sociology; and Eric Atchison, Hearin Fellow.

Today was a good day for Delta State University’s community development program, as the curriculum’s financial future for the next three years was secured in the form of a $300,000 grant through the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation of Jackson.

First established in 1995, Delta State’s Master of Science in Community Development (MSCD) was created by the Division of Social Sciences, in collaboration with Delta State’s Center for Community and Economic Development.

The goals of these two units are to address critical social, community and economic development issues in the Mississippi Delta by graduating students who can integrate theory with practice in the region. The MSCD curriculum prepares graduates for successful careers as professional practitioners in private and public sector organizations.

Having already graduated 66 students, Delta State’s MSCD program is quickly gaining respect and recognition as one of the premier programs in the country. To its credit, Delta State was selected as the first site in the nation for a “Graduate Student Honor Society in Community Development.”

Of the recent grant and its role in the success of MSCD, Dr. Albert Nylander, Chair of the Division of Social Sciences at Delta State, explained, “This generous grant provides Delta State with $80,000 per year for Hearin Fellowships for at least five outstanding graduate students, who will undertake full-time study in the MSCD program.

“The remaining funds will be used to: (1) develop a marketing and recruitment program that targets outstanding graduate students; (2) support the work of Hearin Fellows in field placement internships; (3) provide partial support for expenses Fellows occur in applied thesis research; (4) support the participation of Hearin Fellows in professional meetings which will enrich their educational experiences; and (5) help support marketing efforts to place MSCD graduates in Mississippi,” Nylander continued.

He further contended, “Since 1998, total funding from the Hearin Foundation and other sources for MSCD fellowships has totaled over a million dollars. Dr. Jerry Robinson, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Rural Sociology, has led the effort to help receive this outside funding. Our students and faculty are grateful for these resources.”

Each Hearin Fellow receives a monthly stipend. Tuition, books, fees and medical insurance are also covered under the program. Interested students must have a bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to community development and a minimum grade point average of 3.25.

Priority in the selection process will be given to those students in need, as well as those students who will live and work in Mississippi after earning the MSCD.

Currently, more than 80 percent of MSCD graduates remain in Mississippi, most specifically the Mississippi Delta Region. Examples of places in Mississippi where Hearin Fellows are employed include: Mississippi Health Policy Research Center at Mississippi State University; Director of Injury and Violence Prevention in the Office of Preventive Health, Mississippi Department of Health and the North Mississippi Regional and Planning and Development District; Rural Development, USDA. Four more recent Fellows have been employed as Program Associates in Delta State’s Center for Community and Economic Development, while several are employed in the private sector.

Three recent Hearin Fellows are enrolled in doctoral programs in sociology: one at the University of Missouri, one at Mississippi State University, and a third at Brigham Young University.

For more information about the Hearin Fellowships, please contact Dr. Albert Nylander, Chair, Social Sciences, at P.O. Box 3264, Delta State University, Cleveland, MS 38733; or (662) 846-4065, or e-mail

Delta State sponsoring trip to Turkey as part of summer semester

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Pope Benedict XVI just visited-why not you?

The Delta State University art department will be sponsoring an over month-long trip to Turkey, June 15-July 22.  

A nation of two continents, where Asia and Europe meet, Turkey is one of the most fascinating places in the world. During this trip, Istanbul, a 3,000 year old city, will be the primary focus. Western and central parts of Turkey will also be toured over the last two weeks.

Participants will see the house of Virgin Mary, the ancient city of Ephesus where disciple Paul once preached, and the Hagia Sophia, which is currently being considered as one of the next Seven Wonders of the World.

Students will be taught drawing, painting, photography, history or art history. All students who want to visit one of the most ancient and beautiful cities in the world are encouraged to consider this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Not only will it be the most memorable trip you take, but you will also earn college credit. Community members are also invited to participate.

Registration deadline for classes is March 30, 2007.

For more information, please contact Cetin Oguz in the art department at (662) 846-4733 or or Duncan Baird at (662) 846-4724 or  

Born to Read returns to Delta State campus

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Frieda Quon (left), IRC Librarian, Born to Read leader shares a book with Kathleen Tarver, age three and her mother Amy Tarver.

Born to Read, an early literacy story time for babies and toddlers up to age four, will make its return to the Delta State University campus, Wednesday, March 7. Scheduled for every Wednesday at 10 a.m., March 7 – April 25, the program will be held in the Instructional Resources Center (IRC) on the first floor of the Roberts-LaForge Library.  

Born to Read is designed to promote literacy, the love of language and to spotlight for parents and caregivers the value and necessity of singing, speaking and reading to babies. Students from the Delta State College of Education will provide the programs each week.

Emergent or early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually read or write. Listening to language lays the ground work for reading. During the enjoyable experience of listening, the child is immersed in language, which is how babies learn to understand words and then to speak them. Sharing books with young children starts them on the path to language, reading and writing well before they can understand the printed word.

Additionally, a child’s brain develops at an incredible rate during the first three years of life.  A child’s early experiences with language contribute to healthy brain development and lay the foundation for learning to read. Researchers agree that children are more likely to become good readers if they start school with these accomplishments: comprehend and express themselves with a wide range of words; name the letters of the alphabet; and exposure to a wide variety of literary experiences and appreciate books and stories.

Parents and caregivers are invited to bring their child to participate in the Born to Read program.  Space is limited, so please call the Delta State Library/IRC at (662) 846-4347 or 846-4345 to reserve your place in the program. Parking is available in the back of the library or in the new parking lot located on the south side of the Aquatic Center swimming pool. Participants will be issued parking passes. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or an adult.