Restoring the Green Mile – Fireside Chat – April 11, 2016

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Joining President LaForge is Dr. Gary Bouse, Delta State Chief Development Officer and liaison to the Dedicated Statesmen Association.

This past fall, Delta State celebrated its 90th birthday with a series of programs looking at its history. As part of the continued celebration, a number of student groups will come together on April 19 to repaint Delta State’s Green Mile fitness trail that works its way across campus. The project is being led by members of the Dedicated Statesmen Association, which oversaw the restoration of the Alumni Plaza clock as part of our 90th anniversary and will continue to identify and spearhead projects on campus in the coming years.

The repainting of the Green Mile will kick off at the Alumni clock next to the Student Union at 1:30 p.m. on April 19, with members of several different student groups, athletic teams and Greek organizations competing in teams. The goal is to give new life to the Green Mile, which was created in 2010 to promote overall health and wellness at the institution. The one-mile trail enables walkers and joggers to start at any set of green footprints on campus and to follow the trail of footprints until they are back at their starting point, thus completing one mile of exercise. The work of the student teams will be judged on neatness and completion, and the winners will receive trophies and prizes for their efforts. Fitness and health are important components of education at Delta State, and the university is proud that the Green Mile is available to anyone from the campus or community.

In other news on campus, the Delta State University Jazz Ensemble will present its spring concert tonight at 7:30, and the Delta State University Choirs will present “Carmina Burana,” a cantata at 7:30 tomorrow night. And rounding out three nights of music will be a free concert featuring the U.S. Air Force Concert Band. That performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday night. All three performances will take place in our Bologna Performing Arts Center.

President William N. LaForge

Campus Update: Civility and Respect on Campus

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Dear Campus Colleagues and Students,

Last Tuesday, in the aftermath of Governor Phil Bryant’s signing House Bill 1523 (known as the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act”), I issued a statement to the media that incorporated information I am sharing with you below.

Over the last few days, conversations about civility and respect have ensued across the Delta State University campus.  Most recently, in meetings with students and faculty, I reinforced Delta State’s longstanding commitment to an open and inclusive university campus community—a theme I included in comments I made during the 2015 State of the University Address at the university’s annual convocation.

The signing of this legislation into law, coupled with some recent expressions of opinions on campus, present the university with yet another opportunity to restate our commitment to inclusiveness, fairness, and a safe and welcoming campus for all.

As stated in the guiding principles for the university, Delta State promotes mutual respect, teamwork, fairness, and integrity among all of our employees and students, and the university works diligently to create a climate in which students, employees, and constituents are valued and nurtured. Delta State strives to be a safe environment for all of our students, faculty, and staff, and we celebrate the many differences that make this university great. Those goals and principles are central to our mission and will not change.

Over the past few years, Delta State has hosted Safe Space training programs in which I, along with numerous faculty and staff members, have participated.  The goals of the national Safe Space program are to create campus spaces where LGBTQ students and employees feel safe, supported, and valued as members of the university community, and to reduce fear of reprisal and discrimination within the university community.  The university will continue to support that program and the work it does.

This week, Delta State is hosting a professional development webinar that is open to any faculty or staff member who wants to support the LGBTQ community on campus.  The program, “Beyond LGBTQ: Supporting the Spectrum of Sexual & Gender Identities of Your Students,” is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 at 1:00 pm in the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall.

I ask for your continuing efforts to ensure Delta State remains a campus that embraces and demonstrates civility and respect.

Very best regards,

Bill LaForge

Students nominated for Who’s Who honors

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The following students have been nominated to receive Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges honors:

Jenna James Allen, Nursing
Emily Brennan Barham, Entertainment Industry Studies
Cathryn Beck, Art
Justin Boatman, Entertainment Industry Studies
Gregory Braggs, Entertainment Industry Studies
Katie Busby, Nursing
Tyler Comans, Nursing
Hanna Core, Art
Trey Densford, Nursing
Alice Koech, Nursing
Bethany Leininger, Nursing
Lauren Mansour, Nursing
Tavelle Marion, Nursing
Brittany McGree, Entertainment Industry Studies
Lisa McLaughlin, Nursing
Christopher Pecou, Art
Carrie Lynn Stanford, Entertainment Industry Studies
Joshua Stubbs, Entertainment Industry Studies
Cody Unchurch, Entertainment Industry Studies
Jessica Faith, Entertainment Industry Studies
Sarah Catherine Yawn, Nursing

According to the website, Who’s Who awards are conferred by more than 1,000 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is symbolized by the presentation of an award certificate. Selections to Who’s Who Among Students are made each fall by individual schools.


Nursing School ranks third in national list

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Delta State’s online graduate program in Nursing ranked third in the nation in a recent list from

“In this ranking of the 50 best graduate nursing programs, we set out to uncover precisely what advanced nursing students want (and need) from a master’s degree,” according to

The website said it selected graduate schools based on program flexibility, faculty involvement in the healthcare field, and tuition cost.

Vicki Bingham, chair and associate professor of nursing, said, “The Master of Science in Nursing program of study has been offered online since 2000. This program of study in an online format provides flexibility to schedules and accessibility to an advanced education for working nurses in different geographical locations.”

The graduate enrollment has increased from 32 in 2000 to 78 in 2016.

“Faculty in the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing are committed to offering quality degree programs and providing students with the knowledge, skills,confidence, and attitudes to practice as a professional nurse providing quality healthcare,” said Shelby Polk, associate professor of nursing.

Polk said being ranked third “speaks to the dedication of our faculty in delivering a quality online program with high standards and student expectations.”

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can be earned either as a degree or there is a certificate option which provides study in a role concentration (i.e. Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, or Nurse Educator) beyond the Baccalaureate in Nursing (BSN).

Bingham said, “We have been ranked twice by the U.S. & World News report for the Best Online Graduate Nursing Program in 2016 ranked at 42 and in 2014 at 41. In addition to this ranking by the TopMastersInHealthcare, we received notification that we were ranked eighth as the 2016 Most Affordable Online College by OnlineU.”

Bingham said they feel very “honored and delighted” to be ranked third among all of the other universities.

“The expertise of our faculty members, availability to the students, and affordability of the program put us as one of the best schools to obtain an education and advance in the nursing profession,” Bingham said.

COB IBS Postcard

International Business Symposium Celebrates 11 Years

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Delta State University’s College of Business will hold the 11th annual International Business Symposium on Wednesday, March 30 at 2 p.m. in the Baioni Conference Center, and Thursday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to noon in the auditorium of Jobe Hall on the campus of Delta State University.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Business Communication: Here, There, & Everywhere!” Business professionals will share their knowledge and expertise to provide a unique look at communication trends in the business world.

The symposium is sponsored by David and Sherry Abney, Mississippi Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta. Abney, a 1976 graduate of DSU, began his career as a part-time United Parcel Service (UPS) package loader while in college, now serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. Abney is the eleventh CEO in the 107-year-history of UPS. Through UPS, he has traveled the world on business, but his Mississippi Delta roots are forever ingrained.

“Sherry and I wanted to do something meaningful for the Delta. By bringing global leaders onto campus and sharing their experiences with students, I believe we’ll be able to expand Delta State students’ horizons in how they see and prepare for their futures,” Abney said in a previous Delta State interview.

Assisting Abney and the Division of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration in planning and presenting the symposium is Laird Hamberlin, who is also a graduate of Delta State where he received a BBA in Business Administration. Hamberlin is the Vice President of Sales and Commercial for Terminix (a division of ServiceMaster).

The symposium will feature three distinquished speakers. Charles Pleas, who has served as Senior Vice President, Controller, and Customer Satisfaction for AutoZone, Inc. since 2007. Pleas joined AutoZone in 1996 and has served in key leadership positions including vice president, accounting, and director of general accounting.  Pleas earned his BBA in Business Administration from Delta State majoring in accounting.

Stephen Cesler worked 36 years for Procter & Gamble, the largest consumer products company in the world.  Cesler retired in 2014 as the Sales Vice President for the Global Health & Grooming business, the global Electro channel, and the global Braun business. During his career he worked on virtually all of the P&G brands, both in the United States and abroad.

Jordan Abidor, the Social Media Marketing Manager for ServiceMaster Corporation and the Social Media Marketing Manager for Terminix, will also join the slate of speakers. Abidor began working for American Home Shield, a subsidiary of ServiceMaster global holdings, as a Social Media Marketing Manager in 2014 and has increased the social footprint of the American Home Shield pages by over 5,000% and began driving eComm sales through social media.

The 2016 International Business Symposium is free and open to public. For more information, contact Rebecca Hochradel at 662-846-4190 or email