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Campus and community will unite Sept. 15 at noon to celebrate the 91st anniversary of Delta State's founding.

Campus to celebrate 91st anniversary

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

All campus members, friends and supporters of Delta State University are invited to a birthday celebration Sept. 15, as the university marks the 91st anniversary of its opening.

The public is encouraged to join the university as it kicks off its celebration of 91 years of excellence.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, joined by members of the Dedicated Statesmen Association, will start the ceremony at noon at the Alumni Brick Plaza in front of Ward Hall. The event will conclude with a luncheon of sandwiches and pizza.

The program will begin with words from President LaForge, and a few DSA members will reenact some of the old campus rules that were established in the university’s rulebooks known as the Green Books. Members of the Delta State Wind Ensemble will also perform musical numbers at the affair.

Dr. James Robinson, president of the DSA committee, is exited to once again celebrate the university’s founding.

“We should celebrate each year with growing excitement as the 100th birthday approaches,” said Robinson. “A yearly celebration allows more of our students to be on campus to learn about the school’s history and its exciting future. The Founders’ Day activities help our spirits and bring us closer as students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends.”

Emily Jones, university archivist, has been working closely with the DSA to bring the event together.

“We celebrate our anniversary not for our own benefit, but for those before us and those who will come after us,” said Jones. “I enjoy spotlighting our history, and I’m thankful that we have the platform of our anniversary to do that each year.”

Stay up to date on all university events and activities at http://www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge delivered his State of the University address today during convocation ceremonies.

President outlines vision for university’s future

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

Delta State University President William N. LaForge delivered his annual State of the University address during opening convocation today at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus.

The address was titled “A Vision of Excellence” and began with a welcome to faculty and staff at the start of Delta State’s academic calendar.

LaForge characterized the state of the university as “strong and stable.”

“We have made solid advances in several key areas of endeavor,” he said. “As the saying goes, we are trending in the right direction — onward and upward.”

The president highlighted Delta State’s continued efforts to improve and stabilize its budget situation, a second consecutive year with an enrollment increase, the first pay raises for faculty and staff in four years, and the implementation of a visioning process that will lay the groundwork for the university’s future.

A major area of focus in his speech was the budgeting challenges the institution has faced in recent years, including two unexpected mid-year budget cuts by the state in 2015-16.

“Because we have put our financial house in order through prudent budgeting and spending, we are able to absorb the recent $435,000 reduction in state support, as well as a three percent cut equating to an additional $725,000 less in state funding in our new budget, all without any reductions to programs or personnel on campus,” said LaForge.

With savings the university is realizing from outsourcing campus health services, previous program reductions, and other efficiencies, Delta State is continuing to make headway in another focus area for LaForge — pay raises for faculty and staff. Efforts will continue to bring salaries to at least minimum levels of compensation based on regional market comparisons.

In this year’s facilities and equipment budget — completely separate from Delta State’s general operational budget — the university is providing funding in the following areas:

– science building furniture and equipment
– renovation and furniture replacement in the Union
– a new power generator for Bailey Hall to back up technology services
– temperature control upgrades in Broom, Gibson-Gunn and the Union
– pre-planning and design for a new president’s home
– security camera equipment for residence halls
– a chiller upgrade
– roofing repairs on a number of buildings.

Grander scale projects that will commence this year include major renovation of the dining hall and Zeigel Hall, razing of the old president’s home, and the building of Statesmen Boulevard connecting Highway 8 to the athletic complex.

Beyond this year, LaForge also outlined the detailed visioning process that will guide Delta State to a better and brighter future.

“Our mission has been to look forward and help determine where and what Delta State should be three, five, 10 and 25 years down the road,” he said.

LaForge explained the 10 elements of priority in the visioning process:
– academic excellence and student success
– providing a student-centric focus
– establishing a solid business and financial platform
– increasing efforts in the areas of marketing and student recruitment
– pursuing new revenue and funding streams
– providing programs that encourage a lifelong Delta State experience for graduates
– complementing the academic mission with first-class intercollegiate athletic experiences
– embracing and enhancing the distinguishing factors that define Delta State
– promoting and embracing traditional core values
– embracing community engagement and programs.

“This visioning process has given us a good jump-start on our future,” said LaForge. “But to elevate our game and support our vision for the future, we will certainly need significantly more revenue than provided by the State and generated by tuition. It is very clear that we will need substantial private resources to pursue our dreams. The plans for a major fundraising campaign are already underway through the good work of the Delta State Foundation.”

“With our vision to guide us, let us continue to think and act boldly and wisely, while marshaling all the resources we can to move Delta State toward excellence,” he added. “We are off to a great start. Terrific opportunities lie ahead for us. It is now time to create the path that will guide us to our vision.”

Visit www.deltastate.edu to stay updated on university news and event coverage.

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Live Streaming Available for Convocation

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

Delta State University President William N. LaForge will deliver his State of the University convocation address today at 10:30 a.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The event will be live streamed at: www.livestream.com/DeltaStateUniversity

The address will serve as a welcome to faculty, staff and the community at the start of Delta State’s academic year. Leading the event with LaForge will be Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Heather Robinson, president-elect of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, will provide a community welcome.

Dr. Chris Jurgenson, president of the Faculty Senate, will provide an introduction of new faculty, followed by an introduction of new staff by Christie Rocconi, chair of the Administrative Staff Council.

As is the tradition at each Delta State convocation address, new Student Government Association officers will also be recognized.

LaForge will conclude the ceremony with his address, highlighting university achievements over the last year, along with goals and visions for Delta State’s future.

Visit www.deltastate.edu to stay updated on university news and event coverage. Track the president’s efforts on his blog at http://president.deltastate.edu and Twitter via @presidentDSU.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge will deliver the State of the University address Aug. 19 at 10:30 a.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Convocation scheduled for Aug. 19

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge will deliver his State of the University convocation address on Aug. 19 at 10:30 a.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The address will serve as a welcome to faculty, staff and the community at the start of Delta State’s academic year. Leading the event with LaForge will be Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Heather Robinson, president-elect of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, will provide a community welcome.

Dr. Chris Jurgenson, president of the Faculty Senate, will provide an introduction of new faculty, followed by an introduction of new staff by Christie Rocconi, chair of the Administrative Staff Council.

As is the tradition at each Delta State convocation address, new Student Government Association officers will also be recognized.

LaForge will conclude the ceremony with his address, highlighting university achievements over the last year, along with goals and visions for Delta State’s future.

Tune into the address remotely through live stream. The link for the live stream will be available on the Delta State home page and social media platforms Friday.

Visit www.deltastate.edu to stay updated on university news and event coverage.

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$18 million renovations near completion at Delta State science and math facilities

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

With just a few finishing touches remaining, Delta State University’s mathematics and science facility, Caylor-White-Walters Hall, now represents one of the most state-of-the-art higher education facilities in the state.

Thanks to $18 million in capital improvement over the past few years, the building now houses top-notch equipment and laboratories for the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Physics, and the Department of Mathematics within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Funding for the project came from the State of Mississippi Bureau of Buildings.

The building features laboratories for all areas of sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, DNA technology and anatomy, as well as computer labs and classrooms for mathematics curriculum. It also features a planetarium, making Delta State the only university in the state to host such a facility, and a herbarium, which is home to over 17,000 plant specimens and serves as a scientific and educational resource for researchers around the world.

Other highlights include new SMART Podium interactive displays and projectors, renovated auditoriums, a new Scanning Electron Microscope that can magnify objects 300,000 times their actual size, specialized temperature and humidity controlled rooms for animal care, new instrumentation like the 300MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrophotometer, and much more.

Overall, the changes allow for additional teaching and research space. Additionally, new classroom furniture and faculty offices have drastically improved the overall learning environment.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge is thrilled with the endless opportunities the new facilities will provide.

“This is a top quality feature of Delta Sate, and it represents part of what we do best,” said LaForge. “I am so pleased that we are finally nearing completion on this massive long-term renovation project. And we now, very clearly, have a state-of-the-art set of facilities, labs and equipment to serve our students and faculty. With these tools in place, our faculty will now have an enhanced ability to provide top-tier math and science education for our students — which will prepare them for graduate and professional schools, as well as exciting careers.”

Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, echoed LaForge’s excitement.

“We look forward to having this important building renovated and updated. It is especially important in the sciences to have a facility that offers the latest laboratory facilities and equipment,” said McAdams. “Our graduates will leave here to go on to medical school, veterinary school, or dental school, or become a science teacher. To be successful in those professions, we owe it to them to provide the most robust and relevant academic experience possible. The renovation and upgrades to the facility will help us make significant strides in achieving this unending goal. I believe it is essential for a university to provide a physical learning environment that is supportive and conducive for teaching and for learning. Caylor-White-Walters is now a place where faculty and students look forward to come and discover the wonders of math and science.”

According to Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, everyone is relieved to see work wrapping up in a building where students and teachers have had to adapt to the construction going on around them.

“With the end of the renovation process clearly in sight, faculty and students are overwhelmed with joy,” said Breaux. “And, as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I am proud that we are able to offer our students courses in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. No longer do students have to worry about dealing with broken or outdated furnishings and equipment, but can instead concentrate fully on mastering the material they are being taught.”

Katie Penton, a graduate student majoring in chemistry, appreciates the opportunity to work and study within the updated facility.

“I’ve been here since undergrad, so I’ve been around to see how far everything has come along,” said Penton. “It’s been really neat to see all the new labs, classrooms and equipment. The computer lab will be great with all the new software, and I really like the lab spaces. As a master’s student, I’ll be doing a lot of lab work and using a lot of equipment. Going into my thesis, it’s really good to know I’ll have access to these features and make my project the best it can be.”

One feature that is receiving extra attention is the planetarium, which will provide the perfect setting for astronomy courses, but will also set the stage for learning opportunities across campus and the community.

In addition to the new seats, carpet and other amenities, the renovation also included the installation of the dual projector Digistar 5 planetarium system from Evans and Sutherland, and the professional quality 5.1 surround-sound system from Bowen Technovation. The system not only allows users to move their view of the stars back and forth through time, but it also lets users fly through the solar system to the other planets. As a bonus, it also turns the planetarium into a 3-D digital theater.

“The astronomy classes will of course use the planetarium, but one long-term goal is to use the planetarium as an instructional tool for other subjects,” said Dr. James Gerald, assistant professor of physics. “Dr. Adam Johanson helped a student with a project this summer to build 3-D models of molecules and display them on the dome. The priority of the planetarium will be teaching astronomy, but we will also have public outreach through shows. We look forward to collaborating with other departments across campus to create new content, and watch for us to start having shows for the public this fall. This will help us broaden the educational mission of the planetarium.”

In April of 2016, the COAS established a two-year campaign to build a program called Integral Funding for Science Education, or InFuSE. The goal of InFuSE is to raise funds to support science education and research for Delta State students of all ages, and to increase the involvement of alumni and the community in science education.

“Science education, especially hands-on, is quite costly. In order to keep up with industry standards, we need to have current equipment to prepare our students to go into the workforce or to continue their educational careers through graduate education,” said Darlene Breux, Academic Affairs development officer. “Funding will also help the departments in their outreach efforts to support the community. It is necessary to be able to support summer STEM camps for K-12 students. In increasing STEM students, especially here in the Delta, it will help our community grow.”

Dr. Rose Strahan, who served as a mathematics faculty member at Delta State for over 40 years, has also kick started an effort to support mathematics students. She initiated the Rose Strahan Scholarship for Mathematics, which is used to support one deserving student in mathematics. She is also a donor to the Mathematics Fund, which provides funding to assist the department in its teaching, research and faculty development needs.

For more information on giving to InFuSE or one of the mathematics funds, visit the Delta State Foundation website at http://www.deltastategiving.org, and search for Instrumental Funding in Science Education, the Rose Strahan Scholarship for Mathematics, or the Mathematics Fund. You may also contact Darlene Breaux for assistance at dhbreaux@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4013.