Delta State will rename New Men's Residence Hall to Blansett Hall with a public naming dedication Oct. 17 to honor Dr. Wayne Blansett, former vice president of Student Affairs.

Blansett to be honored with building dedication

By | Alumni, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Delta State University and supporters from the community will gather Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. to honor one of the university’s most beloved leaders, Dr. Wayne Blansett, recently retired vice president of Student Affairs.

To recognize Blansett’s 40 years of dedication to the institution, Delta State will hold a naming dedication to rename New Men’s Residence Hall to Blansett Hall. The ceremony will also include a reception in the lobby following the main event.

Over the past four decades, Blansett has remained a fixture as one of the most respected leaders at Delta State. Serving the green and white for nearly half of the institution’s existence, Blansett retired at the end of the academic calendar in June of 2015.

Most recently serving as vice president of Student Affairs — 1993 to 2015 — Blansett has been a role model and mentor for countless students in Delta State’s storied history. As he put it, his job was to improve the total development of students at the university.

“I started working at Delta State when I was 23-years-old,” said Blansett in a previous press release. “I’ve had a long and rewarding career, and I will certainly miss the interactions with students, staff and the entire Delta State family.”

The true leader is also a proud alumnus of Delta State, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1973, Master of Education in Counseling in 1974 and a Doctorate of Education in Professional Studies in 1988.

Shortly after his graduate studies, Blansett began working for his alma mater as the assistant dean of students from 1975-1980. He then progressed as the director of Student Activities (1980-1984), associate dean of Student Affairs (1984-1990) and dean of Student Affairs (1990-1993).

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, who has been Blansett’s longtime friend and colleague, said the building dedication is an appropriate way to pay tribute to Blansett’s outstanding service to the university.

“No one bleeds ‘Green and White’ more than Wayne Blansett,” said LaForge. “It is very difficult to say a professional farewell to someone who has given his entire career to this university and who has had such an enormous and positive impact on thousands of students during his 40 years of service in the student affairs arena.”

Continue to follow Delta State’s daily news feed at for more information on Blansett’s building dedication.

8.25.15 shadows sculpture and students walking-2

Enrollment growth continues at Delta State

By | Academics, Admissions, IHL, President, Students | No Comments

CLEVELAND, Mississippi – Enrollment at Delta State University continues to increase due to growth in distinctive academic programs and an increase in the number of students who transferred to Delta State from community or senior colleges.

While the “official figures” released today by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning showed a slight decrease in enrollment, the report does not take into account a new system at Delta State to remove from its rolls, earlier in the semester, those students who have not paid their tuition.

In the past, students who did not pay their tuition were not removed from the rolls until October. However, this year, Delta State moved that process to the end of August to coincide with the last day of registration.

“We expect enrollment numbers to fluctuate, particularly early in the semester as students complete their institutional and financial aid paperwork,” said Dr. Glenn F. Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Setting an early purge date is a good business practice that will enable the university to operate more efficiently and effectively. Increased enrollment is not the only sign of a strong university. Delta State University provides its students with focused attention and an excellent student experience that prepares them well for the future.”

“The comparison in the business world would be renting a house to a tenant for two months — allowing them to live in your house, use the utilities, and eat your food — without any guarantee that you would receive the rent at the end of those two months,” said Steve McClellan, Delta State Vice President of Finance and Administration.

“This change in our business process is part of an overall effort to constantly evaluate and improve fiscal systems and to provide the best return possible on the money invested in the university by taxpayers and donors,” McClellan said. “We greet students with Delta hospitality, but they are expected to pay for the education and services they receive. We consider that to be part of their educational process which should have them better prepared for the business world.”

Though the change in process affected the way enrollment was reported for this year, the actual enrollment figures are positive.

“When comparing the number of students from the fall 2014 semester who remained on Delta State’s rolls with the number of students remaining on this semester’s rolls, we show an increase of approximately one percent in enrollment,” said Debbie Heslep, Delta State Dean of Enrollment Management.

“We have been preparing the campus, community, alumni, governing board, and other officials that our enrollment figures were going to ‘appear’ down on paper. But, in reality we have experienced an increase in enrollment, and I am thrilled,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “We have worked very hard to let others know about the great things happening at Delta State. I personally recruited in more than 70 high schools and community colleges around the state the past two years, and I plan to continue recruiting visits this year.”

“Also, we are providing more scholarships than ever to community college transfers who are Phi Theta Kappa honorary society members,” LaForge said. “Those scholarships boost both our enrollment numbers and the academic quality of our student body with the addition of more than 100 students who sport GPAs of 3.5 to 4.0. We are winning the enrollment management battle and increasing our numbers, and we are making a difference.”

It is clear from the growth of certain programs that the university continues to attract and retain students through its offering of unique and specialized programs.

School of Nursing Dean Lizabeth Carlson said they have more applicants for the nursing program than they can accept, and have created a wait list for qualified students who did not get into the program this year.

Delta Music Institute Director Tricia Walker said their program, which trains students on a variety of music industry careers, has seen a measurable increase in their enrollment, going from 76 students this past year to 90 students in 2015-16.

“Per the current trend, we anticipate 20-25 new students enrolling per year over the next three to five years,” Walker said.

In addition to the growth in key areas, one of the exciting milestones achieved by Delta State this year is an international student enrollment of 105 students, up almost 40 percent from just two years ago, said

Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center on campus.

“We’re excited that our international student population is growing,” Riddle said. “International students bring additional perspectives and diversity to campus, and we look forward to continuing to increase our international student population.”

Riddle added that new partnerships with international universities including Perm State University in Russia, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin in Poland and The University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria are exciting because they offer faculty and student exchange and further expand Delta State’s influence and visibility internationally.

La Forge said these strides in key programs are yet another indication of the growth taking place on campus. This growth is also evidenced by the upcoming opening of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi on campus.

“We have entered into a formal educational partnership with the museum,” said LaForge. “We look forward to the many educational opportunities this partnership will afford students interested in entertainment careers, and to the many visitors from across the region and country who will experience the outstanding programs and services Delta State offers.”


Events planned for prospective students and parents

By | Admissions, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

It’s time for fun this fall at Delta State University, and the Office of Enrollment Management invites prospective students and their parents to two events next week.

On Sep. 15, parents and guardians of high school seniors in the Cleveland area are invited to a Preview for Parents from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Kent Wyatt Hall Atrium. Information regarding academics, financial aid, admissions and campus life will be available during the social.

President William N. LaForge will address the crowd at 5:30 p.m., and Delta area recruiter Diana McLemore will be on site to field questions.

“A student’s senior year can be stressful, so we want to offer this event as a resource for parents to gain knowledge on important deadlines and dates,”said McLemore. “Understanding the application process will allow for a smooth transition for their senior to Delta State.”

On Sept. 19, the annual DSU Day will be held in conjunction with the Alumni Association’s Pig Pickin’ festivities and the Statesman football game.

Approximately 175 high school students from across the region will get to experience life as a Fighting Okra during one of the best events of the year. They will take part in an academic fair at 11:30 a.m. followed by an information session and campus tour. Registered visitors are invited to attend the tailgating festivities in Statesmen Park and football game versus Kentucky Wesleyan in McCool Stadium.

The entire campus community works together to make these events enjoyable and successful. Dean of Enrollment Management Deborah Heslep recognizes the importance of hosting these events.

“DSU Day is a great opportunity for upcoming students to connect with current students, faculty and staff,” she said. “All academic departments will be represented, so attendees can talk with professors about their programs of interest.”

Interested students may register for DSU Day at, or find more information on Facebook at For more information, contact or 662-846-4020.

Homepage-Art copy

University to celebrate 90 years

By | Academics, Archives and Museum, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

All friends and supporters of Delta State University are invited to a birthday celebration Tuesday, Sept. 15, as the university marks the 90th anniversary of its opening.

In 1924, two Mississippi senators introduced a bill to create Delta State Teachers College, which was signed by the governor on April 9. Just under a year later, James Wesley Broom was appointed the first president of the college, and the institution was formally opened on Sept. 15, 1925.

“Starting with just 11 faculty members and a fall enrollment of 97 students, the university has grown into a noted four-year institution that continues to educate some of the brightest students in the state,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “In addition, the university has developed into a center of excellence in areas such as business, aviation, nursing, music, entertainment industries, culture and more.”

LaForge, joined by members of the Dedicated Statesmen Association, invites everyone to attend the celebration which will get started at noon with the dedication of the newly-restored clock and Alumni Brick Plaza in front of Ward Hall.

The project is the first of 10 projects to be identified by the DSA committee, which includes both retired and current Delta State faculty and staff who have put many hours into planning the 90th celebration events.

The dedication will be followed by lunch on the quadrangle and then a program looking back at Delta State’s 90 years scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. in the Jobe Hall Auditorium. Student and campus groups will pitch in on a number of campus beautification projects beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday, including a project to repaint the footsteps marking the “Green Mile” on campus.

Other opportunities to reflect and celebrate the university’s history include a main gallery exhibition at the Charlie W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum on 90 years of Delta State students. The exhibit, under the direction of University Archivist Emily Jones, will explore how the student body grew from under 100 students as well as nine decades of academic achievements. 

“We’re really driving home that this anniversary is about 90 years of celebrating students at Delta State,” said Jones. “We’ve had 90 years of people putting lots of energy and dedication into the university. We want to make sure that in another 90 years we have done as well as those who came before us. Collecting our history and knowing our foundations are essential.” 

Leading up to the anniversary date, Jones has also been publishing “History Days,” a series of informative posters focusing on all things related to the student experience over the years. View the series at

James Robinson, president of the DSA committee, said he encourages everyone to take the time to join in the events on Sept. 15.

“We thank all those individuals and businesses who have helped organize the day’s events and who have provided gifts and prizes,” he said. “We want the day to be full of excitement and joy as we express our love for our alma mater.”

Stay up to date on all anniversary events and activities at The public is encouraged to join the university as it continues to celebrate 90 years of excellence.

Joseph Jackson Turner Jr., spoke Tuesday as the first speaker of the semester for the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series.

Turner draws large crowd for colloquia address

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Joseph Jackson Turner Jr., CEO at First Sun Management Corporation, which owns 50 Wendy’s franchises in the Southeast, drew a packed house Tuesday as the first speaker of the semester for the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series.

Faculty, staff, students and the community filled Jobe Hall Auditorium to capacity to take advice from one of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs.

During his speech, titled “Just the Right Amount of Ketchup…Life Lessons from an Entrepreneur,” Turner provided life tips he has utilized in becoming the leader of one of the world’s largest Wendy’s franchise businesses. In addition to serving as the First Sun Management CEO, Turner is co-founder and chairman of the company and has been with the business since its inception in 1985. Prior to that, Turner worked in fundraising for Clemson University and was one of the people behind the still popular IPTAY (I Pay Ten a Year) campaign for Clemson alumni and supporters.

Turner gave Delta State students a number of tips he’s learned throughout his career, both in fundraising and as an entrepreneur. One of the most important tips, he said, is to learn how to listen.

“Learn to communicate well, and then learn to listen even better,” Turner said. 

In addition, Turner said students must be willing to be aware of themselves, to invest in their communities and to want to help the people around them.Tuner 2015 Colloquia-27

“If you help enough people get what they want, you will have everything you need,” he said, cautioning that doesn’t necessarily mean money, but does mean fulfillment and purpose.

After his lecture, which drew a standing ovation from those in attendance, Turner took questions from a panel of campus leaders and the audience.

Delta State President William N. LaForge established the colloquia program when taking office in 2013 and said he was thrilled so many students were in attendance for Turner’s address.

Join Delta State Oct. 22 for the next distinguished speaker in the series, United States Poet Laureate and Mississippi Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. In 2012, Trethewey, born in Gulfport, Miss., became the first Southerner to hold the U.S. Poet Laureate post since Robert Penn Warren of Tennessee and Kentucky in 1986, and the first African American since Rita Dove in 1993.

Learn more about the series at