Category

President

University to celebrate $3 million pledge from Gertrude C. Ford Foundation

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, President | No Comments

Delta State University will host a special grant announcement ceremony in honor of The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, a longtime Delta State supporter that recently provided one of the largest gifts in the university’s history.

University supporters are welcomed to the ceremony March 1 at 2:30 p.m. on the second floor of Ewing Hall.

Gertrude Castellow Ford

The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, based in Jackson, Mississippi, recently pledged $3 million to the university to support the Center for Teaching and Learning at Delta State.

The foundation, founded in 1991 by Gertrude Castellow Ford, gives to educational and philanthropy projects primarily relating to higher education, children and youth services, and also health and human service organizations.

Thanks to the foundation’s commitment, the Center for Teaching and Learning at Delta State will be funded over the next several years. And in Ford’s honor, the center will be named the Gertrude C. Ford Center for Teaching and Learning. The facility provides Delta State with an opportunity to support the faculty in their efforts to improve student success.

John Lewis, a board member for the foundation, said the funding would go a long way in developing quality faculty at Delta State.

“Our investment here is really on the faculty level at Delta State,” said Lewis. “We can build buildings, and we can do a lot of things — but at a school, especially Delta State, the attraction is the faculty. The faculty is what makes the school go. I, along with my fellow board members Cheryle Sims and Gayle Papa, think the individual attention to the faculty makes this a worthwhile investment for us.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge said the foundation’s support would make a significant long-term impact at the university.

“The gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation in support of our Center for Teaching and Learning is a gift that will continue giving,” said LaForge. “It has transformational value because it’s going to help support a very important function at Delta State that will affect our students, potentially forever.”

“This donation is a major statement by a major foundation, of support for and confidence in Delta State,” he added. “We are very grateful for that. They are going to see their good work in action here. The $3 million gift will serve the purpose of making sure we can continue this great program on campus.”

Dr. Gray Kane, director of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for Teaching and Learning, said the center is an essential facility to improve overall learning at Delta State.

“The Gertrude C. Ford Center for Teaching and Learning is a hub for faculty development at Delta State,” said Kane. “It promotes a culture of self-development, collaboration and innovation in support of student success. The center provides faculty and chairs with resources, facilitated conversations, workshops, programs, networking opportunities, and individual consultations centered on topics such as online, hybrid, and face-to-face teaching, advising, mentoring, leadership, curriculum mapping, assessment and scholarship.”

“The faculty are experts in their disciplines, but outside the College of Education, very few have studied teaching, mentoring, course design, curriculum design or other facets of their profession,” added Kane. “This gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation will fund opportunities to interconnect the faculty for knowledge transfers, collaborations, and innovations that can lead to student success both inside and beyond the classroom.”

For more information on the center, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academic-affairs/center-teaching-learning.

To learn more about the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, visit https://www.gertrudecford.com.

The public grant announcement ceremony on March 1 will celebrate one of the most significant pledges in the university’s history. Delta State supporters are welcome to the ceremony and to view The Gertrude C. Ford Center for Teaching and Learning.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State expresses grave concern for concealed carry bill

By | Academics, Community, IHL, President | No Comments

Delta State University and institutions across Mississippi are expressing concern today after House Bill 1083, also called the “weapons bill,” was passed by the Mississippi House of Representatives by a wide margin of 80-29.

The bill proposes legally permitting concealed carry weapons onto all areas of college campuses, including classrooms, offices, residence halls and athletic venues.

In a statement released by Dr. Glenn F. Boyce, IHL commissioner, he stressed that the new legislation prohibits the IHL from establishing any policies, thus giving it no authority to regulate weapons in sensitive areas.

“The safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors on our university campuses is a top priority for the Board of Trustees and University leaders,” Boyce stated. “HB 1083 compromises our ability to protect and ensure the safety of those on our campuses because it nullifies and prohibits any policies and/or authority to designate sensitive areas of campus where weapons should not be allowed.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge said the bill poses a significant threat to Mississippi campuses.

“A university is no place for guns — period,” said LaForge. “And that goes doubly for residence halls, classroom buildings and athletic facilities. To enable the legal carrying of guns on a university campus in today’s society is misdirected and unwise.”

Ronnie Mayers, director of athletics at Delta State, echoed LaForge’s concerns.

“Athletic events are often highly emotional events and there is always potential for something to go horribly wrong,” said Mayers. “Guns should not be allowed at any athletic events.”

Jeffrey Johns, chief of police at Delta State, also warned of the hazards associated with the bill.

“I echo the concerns of President LaForge and Commissioner Boyce about expanding concealed carry on educational property,” said Johns. “While a supporter of Second Amendment rights, I do not think that more concealed carry in sporting events or educational buildings, which is currently prohibited, provides any value or enhancement to safety. Spectator sport security has become a highly-specialized process, and fans can become emotionally charged at the events.”

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum was among institutional leaders to also voice his concern with the bill on Wednesday by issuing a press release.

“We have a fundamental responsibility to protect our students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campus,” Keenum said in the statement. “In recent years (the College Board) adopted policies to allow concealed weapons into ‘public’ venues on campus, but has not allowed firearms into areas determined ‘non-public’ such as classrooms and residence halls. We have great concerns about the prospect of a broad expansion of the existing IHL policies regarding firearms being brought onto campus because of the increased risk it would pose for every member of our campus community.”

HB 1083 was authored by Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton.

Follow all updates at www.deltastate.edu

2018 Statesmen Scholars recognized

By | Admissions, Community, President, Students | No Comments
Delta State President William N. LaForge joined the new class of Statesmen Scholars at the culmination of Statesmen Scholarship Day on Jan. 29.

Delta State University’s Office of Admissions recently announced the distinguished class of 2018 Statesmen Scholars after hosting the second annual Statesmen Scholarship Day Jan. 29 on campus.

Students across the Mississippi and the region were selected to attend this prestigious event based on ACT scores, high school GPA, academic leadership and service demonstration.

Securing one of the four-year “full ride” scholarships is no easy task, as over 100 invitations were sent to prospective DSU students, and the competition was at a high level for a high reward.

Ten worthy students were selected for the Statesmen Scholarship, which covers tuition, room and board, fees, and up to $300 for books.

Participants faced two sets of interviews, one focusing on student life and one focusing on academics. Adding excitement to the event, recipients of the scholarships were announced at a reception at the end of the day.

Admissions recruiter, Rebekah Arant, said this was a unique opportunity for future Delta State Students.

“It’s not hard to recruit high achieving students when they have a chance at a full ride scholarship,” said Arant. “We are thrilled with this year class of scholars, and we’re very excited to welcome them to the Delta State family.”

This year’s scholars are:

For more information on scholarships or the application process at Delta State, visit www.deltastate.edu/admissions, or contact 662-846-4020.

SaveSave

Winning the Race returns to campus March 26-27

By | Community, Diversity Committee, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University’s award-winning race relations conference Winning the Race returns to campus for a fifth year on March 26-27.

This year’s conference theme, “Intersectionalities in Action: The Quest for Equity, Access, and Justice,” is presented in partnership and with support from Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Conference topics will highlight the various ways in which race and race relations intersect areas of our daily lives — from politics, economics, health and housing, to education, entertainment, art and science.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative, academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

“I am looking forward to Delta State’s fifth annual Winning the Race conference with great anticipation,” said LaForge. “This year’s program will center on the themes of equity, access and justice — key ingredients of the notions of fairness and opportunity that should be equally available to all in our society. Discussions about the intersection of these issues will hopefully lead to ideas and actions that will help improve race relations and understanding across the board in the Delta.”

The 2018 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“In planning this year’s conference activities, planning committee members have worked hard to focus on creating opportunities for attendees to better understand how race intersects and impacts various areas of our collective and individual lives,” said Dr. Temika Simmons, conference co-chair and director of Delta State’s new Local Government Leadership Institute. “Conversations about race are not reserved for people of color only. They are conversations that we must all become comfortable with in order to dismantle the attitudes, systems and inequities that marginalize groups, inoculate stereotypes, separate communities and breed hate.”

Simmons said the conversations and points of actions scheduled for presentation at this year’s conference are as relevant now as they have always been.

“We challenge the entire Delta State campus and Mississippi community to join us again in March as we continue this work to improve our campus, the Delta community, and the state of Mississippi,” she added. “With help from the Mississippi Humanities Council, we will again host a high school leadership forum with a unique message and activities for area high school students. In addition, we will provide opportunities for professional development credits for teaching and counseling professionals in our efforts to continue to push the conference initiative beyond dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, conference co-chair and associate professor of history, is looking forward to another conference of meaningful discussions.

“By fostering dialogue on race relations and providing a platform to discuss solutions to the challenges we face, Winning the Race performs a valuable service not only to the Delta State campus and the broader Mississippi Delta, but to our state and beyond,” said Westmoreland. “Sessions will feature distinguished activists and scholars who will explore the myriad of ways race intersects with other identities such as gender, class, region, nationality and sexuality.”

“Above all, we want conference attendees to know that they have a vital role to play in the many pressing issues and conversations of our time,” added Westmoreland. “Each year, I am most excited to take part in and observe the Q&A following each session and the overall interactions between conference attendees. These moments are where we take the ideas explored in the various sessions and apply them in our ongoing work to build more equitable and inclusive communities.”

A highlight speaker for the 2018 conference is Kevin Powell, a political activist, poet, writer and entrepreneur. Powell, one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today, is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Raised by a single mother in extreme poverty, he managed to study at Rutgers University thanks to New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund. Powell has gone on to author 12 books, including his newest title, “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.”

His writings have also appeared in CNN.com, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ESPN.com and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer, interviewing diverse public figures such as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.

Powell has lectured extensively, both domestically and abroad, on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with notable and well-regarded national appearances, including on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Later this year, he will publish a biography of Shakur, the late rapper and controversial American icon.

Conference organizers are also proud to welcome civil rights activist David “Dave” Dennis. A participant in the first Freedom Bus ride from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961 and 1964’s Freedom Summer, Dennis served as co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations in Mississippi. Raised in Louisiana by sharecropper grandparents, Dennis worked closely with Bob Moses and Medgar Evers in Mississippi in the 1960s.

While conducting voter registration workshops throughout the South, a bout with bronchitis prevented Dennis from riding in the car with the three civil rights workers he was training — James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman — the night they were killed by Ku Klux Klan members on a back road in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Dennis would go on to speak at Chaney’s funeral. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, whose vision is that “young people will become active, engaged citizens who ensure a peaceful, just and sustainable future.”

Also speaking is novelist Nick White, a native Mississippian, Delta State alumnus, and author of the novel “How to Survive a Summer.” White is an assistant professor of English at Ohio State University’s MFA program in creative writing. His short stories, poems and essays have appeared in a variety of places, including The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Hopkins Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. His short story collection, “Sweet & Low,” will be published later this year.

In addition to stellar speakers, leaders from around the state and nation will facilitate breakout sessions covering intersections across various topics related to social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community.

Additional activities include a poster competition for college students, a special presentation by Memphis hip-hop artist Marco Pave, and artistic and academic presentations by campus faculty, staff, students and members of the community.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house and press conference on March 25 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 S. Chrisman Ave. in Cleveland, where local civil rights leaders and veterans will be recognized and honored.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 26 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State. Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

“We are especially thankful for the generous support of Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council,” said Westmoreland. “Their kind contributions enable us to make this conference a forum where many voices are heard and all are welcome.”

Registration for the event opens Feb. 1 at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race.

For questions, or more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.

LaForge appointed to NCAA Division II Planning and Finance Committee

By | President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge was recently appointed to the prestigious NCAA Division II Planning and Finance Committee.

In the role, LaForge will take part in the division’s central planning, as well as the financial matters of how dollars will be used.

“I am pleased to serve on this important NCAA committee,” said LaForge. “Its work is central to the mission of NCAA’s support of collegiate athletics and our student-athletes, here at Delta State and around the country.”

LaForge is one of the representatives on the committee who is also a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council. He said he was proud to represent Delta State and the Gulf South Conference.

“If there is something I can do to help Delta State, and our students, I’m all for it,” he added.

Terri Steeb, vice president of Division II, said LaForge’s leadership experience would help the committee significantly.

“President LaForge is a senior member of the Division II Presidents Council,” said Steeb, “His leadership and his understanding of the issues impacting Division II and the association will be a benefit to the work of the Division II Planning and Finance Committee. The committee is responsible for making recommendations regarding the Division II budget and monitoring the implementation of the Division II strategic plan. President LaForge’s ability to think strategically, combined with his work in policy, government and higher education, will be an asset to the committee.”

Ronnie Mayers, Delta State’s director of athletics, said LaForge is a perfect candidate for the role.

“President LaForge is a great fit for the committee because he has had extensive experience in strategic planning leading strategic plans for Delta State and the Gulf South Conference,” said Mayers. “He understands first-hand the budgetary needs of a Division II athletic program as he works closely with our program on a daily basis. All these experiences will help him make solid recommendations to this committee. Delta State Athletics and the NCAA are very fortunate to have him serve on this committee.”

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.