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.

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

Wicker lectures as part of Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

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U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker presented at the Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series Tuesday night in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall.

Wicker, who has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007, discussed numerous topics, including getting things done in a time of divided government. The senator then fielded questions from a panel of Delta State State students and faculty, followed by a Q&A with audience members.

Those on the panel included Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; students Allie Rose Parker and Chelsey Rhodes; and Delta State University President William N. LaForge.

During his time in the Senate, Wicker has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs and has worked to reduce spending, limit federal overreach and maintain a strong national defense. He is a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, serving as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wicker also chairs the Subcommittee on Seapower.

Learn more about Delta State’s ongoing lecture series at

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker to present at Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

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The Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series continues this semester with U.S. Sen. Roger F. Wicker.

Wicker will speak on campus March 22 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall at a free and public event. There will be a reception in Wicker’s honor immediately following the speech.

“On behalf of the university, I am thrilled to welcome Senator Roger Wicker as our next lecturer in the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series — The Delta State University Colloquia,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge, who established the lecture series in September of 2013. “Senator Wicker is a prominent figure in Mississippi politics and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in state and federal government. The Delta State family is honored to host him on campus.”

Wicker has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007. During his time in the Senate, he has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs and has worked to reduce spending, limit federal overreach and maintain a strong national defense.

He is a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, serving as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he chairs the Subcommittee on Seapower.

Additionally, Wicker has actively supported cancer survivorship programs and efforts to fight heart disease with the American Heart Association, diabetes and childhood obesity. He has been recognized as a champion of polio eradication for his work to wipe out polio worldwide. He is also the co-founder of the Senate Malaria Caucus and has worked to eliminate the preventable disease.

Prior to his service in the Senate, Wicker was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, he served in the state Senate on behalf of Lee and Pontotoc counties.

Wicker is also a veteran, having served active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

LaForge encouraged Delta State professors to alert their students of this rare opportunity to hear Wicker speak.

“This is a university-wide program that continues to bring a unique and diverse array of speakers — from judges, government officials, lawyers, artists, and business professionals — to our campus to address and interact with our students, faculty and staff,” LaForge said. “I encourage the campus and Cleveland communities to join us for this special event.”

Each Colloquia lecture is streamed live online through the official Delta State University uStream channel. Learn more at

LaForge displays Beatles memorabilia at museum

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge has made it no secret that he qualifies as a fan of the legendary band The Beatles.

“They’ve been a big influence in my life,” said LaForge. “In fact, ‘In My Life’ was a song played at my inauguration. The tribute band, 1964: The Tribute, was also at my inauguration. The Beatles had a big influence on those of us who grew up in the ‘60s. They have the best music on the planet, and there will never be another group like them.”

LaForge, who’s been known to play his guitar with Delta Music Institute students and faculty, credits The Beatles as his major musical influence.

“I remember being 14 in the summer of 1964 when they first came to the United States,” he said. “Everything on the radio was The Beatles. Since then, I’ve listened to them, and I love playing their music. They were a window into music for me. I’ve learned a lot of music, and a lot about music, through their songs.”

And his love for The Beatles was on full display this weekend — literally — as GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi opened its doors on Delta State’s campus March 5.

Just the second GRAMMY Museum in the world, the new facility honors Mississippi for being the birthplace of American music. Fittingly, The Beatles were a major part of the opening with an entire exhibit, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!,” which celebrates the Fab Four landing in America and changing pop culture forever.

Stop by the museum, and one of the first things to catch your eye is a case full of LaForge’s unique items. LaForge, being the major Beatles fan that his is, has a large memorabilia collection.

“I offered a few things for the display to be supportive of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi’s opening and The Beatles exhibit,” he said. “One thing lead to another, and Emily Jones, our university archivist, helped assemble it. She found a showcase for everything and put it all together in great style.”

According to LaForge, the signature piece of the display is the ticket stub he saved after attending the band’s final paid live concert on Aug. 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The only other saved ticket LaForge has seen from this show is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Other items in the showcase include Beatles bobbleheads, records, vinyl 45s, DVDs, a complete library of sheet music, pictures, chord books and many other collectibles.

“Really, I’m just an amateur collector, nowhere near the level of the guys who put together ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles! I’m happy to share the collection I have as long as the museum wants,” said LaForge.

Just days after the grand opening, LaForge said both the campus and community remain in awe of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

“It’s incredible that we have a Grammy Museum here on this campus, and that we’re connected with it through our educational collaborations and partnerships,” he said. “The grand opening was a superb event and we look forward to endless opportunities.”

One such opportunity is the upcoming Beatles conference, “Beatles Symposium 2016: From the Cavern to Candlestick,” a two-day event being presented jointly by Delta State and the museum on April 1-2.

The symposium will celebrate the lasting influence and impact of The Beatles with a weekend full of activities, headlined by distinguished Beatles authors Ivor Davis and Jude Southerland Kessler.

Other activities will explore The Beatles’ musical and cultural impact, including discussions with noted Beatles historians, live music, recipe classes and film screenings, including a special screening of “Good Ol’ Freda,” which documents Freda Kelly, former head of The Beatles Fan Club.

“Beatlemania” is certainly in the air at Delta State University and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

Visit to follow schedule updates as the conference date approaches.