Shawhan to present keynote address at Delta State’s fall commencement

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Dorothy Shawhan

Delta State University is set to hold its 2006 Fall Commencement, Saturday, Dec. 9, at 10 a.m. inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on the DSU campus, with Dorothy Shawhan to deliver the keynote address.

As has been the practice, the winner of the S.E. Kossman Outstanding Faculty Award delivers the fall commencement keynote address. The 24th overall recipient of the honor this past May, Shawhan will hold true to the tradition, returning to Delta State’s campus, Saturday, to offer wisdom and advice to the graduating class.

Shawhan chaired the Languages and Literature Department at Delta State from 1992 until her recent “retirement” in June 2006. The veteran professor of English refused to call her departure a “retirement,” but rather, a “change in focus.”

That shift has allowed Shawhan more time to write, adding to her growing body of published works. She penned “Lizzie,” a novel released by Longstreet Press in 1995, and most recently released the long-awaited biography of Judge Lucy Somerville Howorth, co-authored with Dr. Martha Swain.

A 1964 graduate of Mississippi University for Women, she returned to her alma mater as its writer-in-residence this semester.

Next spring, Shawhan will return to Cleveland. An instructor at Delta State since 1981, she still retains an office on the upper floor of Ward Hall on campus.  

Delta State is expected to graduate approximately 390 graduates during its fall commencement exercise. Graduation is free; however a ticket is required for entrance.

For more information on Delta State’s upcoming fall graduation, please contact University Relations at (662) 846-4675.


Delta State honors area leaders with 3rd Annual Community Recognition Luncheon, continue to celebrate new theme ‘Health & Wellness in the Delta’

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Calvin Johnson of the Delta Regional Council of the Mississippi Hospital Association, “Delta Region Champion;” Ned Mitchell of SouthGroup Insurance, “College of Business Person of the Year;” Ricki Garrett of the Mississippi Nurses Association, Keynote Speaker; William Ray of The Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg, Inc., “School of Nursing Visionary;” Robert Smith of Cleveland, “Hometown Champion;” and Dr. John M. Hilpert, President of Delta State University.

“Today is a day to recognize those that have made significant contributions to the economic and social well being of our community,” heralded Delta State University President, Dr. John M. Hilpert at the start of the 3rd Annual Community Recognition Luncheon. “We are privileged to work with them; we are privileged to live with them.”

“They” are those men, women and agencies recognized Tuesday inside the State Room of the H.L. Nowell Union on campus, including Ned Mitchell, William Ray, Robert Smith, Dean Spradling and the Delta Regional Council of the Mississippi Hospital Association.

All those that spoke or were recognized “focus on, maintain or carry on in the spirit of advancing” Delta State’s current theme for the year, “Health and Wellness in the Delta.” Ricki Garrett, Executive Director of the Mississippi Nurses Association, returned to the Delta State campus to deliver the day’s keynote address.

As director, Garrett represents nursing at regulatory meetings of the State Health Department, the Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine. Further, she represents nursing interests to legislators and other public officials, while advocating for the best interests of the nursing profession and the health care of Mississippians.

“There is no single, more important issue in this country, right now, than healthcare,” she opened declaratively and emphatically. Citing nursing shortages nation-wide and state-wide, along with instances of declining patient care, Garrett painted a very real picture, but reminded, “we have enormous capacities at our disposal to deal with the problems facing this country.

“To many times, people get caught staring at the door closing when there is a window opening. We cannot make that mistake. We mustn’t stare at the closing door,” Garrett urged. “Now is the time to do something, do anything.”

And, the luncheon’s honorees are “doing something.” Delta State’s College of Business recognized Ned Mitchell as its “Outstanding Business Person of the Year.” A Delta State graduate, Mitchell serves as managing partner of SouthGroup Insurance Services in Cleveland. He has served as President of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, the Bolivar County Industrial Foundation, the Cleveland Arts Council and the Delta State Foundation. Previously awarded as the “Distinguished Statesmen of the Year, 1993” and the “Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, 1998,” Mitchell started his insurance career in 1963, buying his first agency in 1973, The Mitchell Group.

Of the recognition, Dr. Billy C. Moore, Dean of the College of Business, offered, “Ned Mitchell has a made a difference, he has contributed to success of his industry and he is committed to business excellence. That is why we recognize him today.”

Also being recognized was William Ray as the inaugural School of Nursing Visionary. Currently, Ray is President/CEO of The Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg Inc. His healthcare administration career first began in Clarksdale as the President/CEO of Northwest Regional Medical Center from 1964-1977.

It was during that time Ray became instrumental in launching the School of Nursing at Delta State, an institution he attended in 1954 and 1955 as a member of the championship football squad and track program.

Just as Ray did, the day’s third honoree “saw a need and filled it,” according to Hilpert. Robert Smith, retired rice and soybean farmer and philanthropist, saw the need for highly qualified and well trained nurses in Mississippi, and to that end, endowed five scholarships at Delta State’s School of Nursing.

His generosity and genuine concern for his community earned the Cleveland native recognition as this year’s “Hometown Champion.” Tuesday’s praise comes on the heels of his recent selection as the Gladys Castle “Friend of Delta State” Service Award winner.

Smith is a former board member of the Delta State Foundation and currently serves on the Wesley Foundation Board of Directors. An active member of the First United Methodist Church, Smith supports numerous charitable causes and outreach ministries.

Recognized as this year’s “Delta Region Champion,” Dean Spradling of Clarksdale, is the founder and president of InfoLab, Inc. The business involves the sale and distribution of laboratory equipment and supplies, while employing over 220 people in 20 different states.

Hilpert acknowledged, “His success is a testament to his hard work, and he has never overlooked, nor forgotten his earliest roots at Delta State University.”

A native of Itawamba County, Spradling earned his bachelor’s of science degree from Delta State in 1953. To this day, he still cites the impact the Biology and Physical Sciences department has had on his career.

The day’s agenda closed with the final recipient being recognized, as the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Delta Regional Council earned “Delta Region Champion” honors.

In Mississippi, there are over 100 hospitals with approximately 50,000 employees serving the healthcare needs across the state. The Mississippi Hospital Association is the statewide trade organization that represents and serves hospitals, their employees, patients and communities. Founded in 1931 MHA provides education for state healthcare leaders and is a source of data and information on healthcare issues and trends. The association is a strong voice advocating healthcare legislative and regulatory issues at a state and national level.

Within the hospital association, the Mississippi Delta has a regional council of hospital chief executives that meets quarterly to address key issues facing hospitals in the Delta. Members of the MHA Delta Regional Council work together to address challenges related to the financial viability of hospitals in the region, the adequacy of the healthcare workforce, the importance of collaboration across sectors of the healthcare industry and the role of hospitals in assuring access to quality health care.

The 3rd Annual Community Recognition Luncheon was an official “Health & Wellness in the Delta” event.



Smart and Flippo elected Mr. and Miss Delta State University

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Delta State University seniors Brittany Flippo (left), a nursing major of Enid; and Robert Smart, an elementary education major of Lexington, were recently elected Mr. and Miss DSU by the student body of Delta State in elections sponsored by the Student Government Association.

Flippo is a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority where she serves on the continuing education committee, Student Alumni Association and Order of Omega. She is vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa and a delegate to the state convention for Student Nurse’s Association. Flippo has been an Orientation Leader and was elected Junior Class Favorite. She is the daughter of James and Shelia Flippo of Enid.

Smart is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He is also president of the Pan-Hellenic Council, president of African-American Student Council, president of Mississippi Early Childhood Association and a member of Delta Diplomats. He is the son of Bonita P. Smart and the late Robert Smart, Sr.



Delta State’s BPAC announces 25th anniversary tour of ‘Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?’

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William Faulkner

John Maxwell

John Maxell will perform his critically acclaimed one-man show, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?,” Monday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. inside the Delta & Pine Land Theater of the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University.

Maxwell conceived of and co-wrote the play, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner Do You Write?” first performing the role of William Faulkner in 1981 at Jackson’s New Stage Theater. Since then, the Mississippi native has delivered hundreds of performances of “Oh, Mr. Faulkner” to colleges, universities, arts councils and theaters across the United States, including New York’s The Bottom Line and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Now in his 25th year of performances, Maxwell has circled the globe, traveling with the show to 12 different countries. Through the miles, his veneration for the part remains committed, offering, “Every time I step out on the stage, I have a renewed reverence for the man. What most people don’t know about him is his wonderfully dry and dark sense of humor. He loved to tell stories, and was terrific at it.”

Maxwell spoke at the May 1, 2005 rededication of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home. Operated as a museum by the University of Mississippi, Maxwell’s alma mater, Rowan Oak is located in Oxford. 

Set in the 1950s, soon after Faulkner won the Nobel Prize, the play uses the writer’s own words, flashing back as far as the 1920s, to “give us William Faulkner – the man – in a rewarding evening of theater,” as Eudora Welty, Faulkner’s friend — and one of the first people to read a draft of the play — put it.

In the play, Faulkner tells stories about his Hollywood days, writing screenplays for Howard Hawkes, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable; about his family in Oxford; and his opinions on race, writing and Communism.

The title refers to a famous exchange Faulkner had with Gable during the 1930s when Faulkner was a screenwriter in Hollywood. While on a hunting trip with Gable and Hawks, Gable asked Faulkner who he thought were the best writers then living. When Faulkner included himself in his reply, Gable reportedly said, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner, do you write?”

“Yes, Mr. Gable,” Faulkner said. “What do you do?”

For more information on this performance, please call the Bologna Performing Arts Center at (662) 846-4625 .


Delta State partners with Team Cleveland merchants to host fashion show

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Delta State sophomore fashion merchandising major, Katie Tatum of Madison; fashion merchandising professor, Dr. Jan Haynes; and Reagan Smith, show coordinator and senior fashion merchandising major of Rolling Fork, continue preparation for the upcoming fashion show, “Utopia: Where Fashion meets Fantasy.”


The Delta State University Fashion Promotion Class, Student Government Association and Team Cleveland merchants are pleased to announce their upcoming fashion show, “Utopia: Where Fashion meets Fantasy.”

Scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. inside the Jacob Conference Center of Ewing Hall on campus, the show will feature exciting, new daytime, evening and holiday fashions for today’s college students. Great contemporary styles and the latest trends will be spotlighted from Team Cleveland and other Delta merchants. The show will be highlighted by many original designs created by Delta State Fashion Merchandising students and faculty.

The event is free and open to public. Great door prizes will be given away by area merchants.

For more information please call show coordinator, Reagan Smith at (662) 846-4155 or chair of the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences at Delta State, Dr. Jan Haynes at (662) 846-4322.