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Civil Rides bikes through campus for awareness

By | Community, Delta Center, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University hosted Civil Rides on campus April 5-6 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil Rides was a three-day group bicycle ride from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi. The trek followed the civil rights footsteps of King.

The purpose of the ride was to raise awareness around persistent rural poverty in America, just as King did with the Poor People’s Campaign. Additionally, the event advocated for racial justice and healing, and created a space for racial discourse and dialogue.

Civil Rides was organized and sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Together for Hope, and Out Hunger. Participants in the ride came from Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi.

Delta State also sponsored the campus visit as a post-conference activity linked to Delta State’s annual Winning the Race race relations conference, which took place March 26-27. Along with WTR, other campus sponsors included the DSU Quality Enhancement Plan, DSU Diversity Committee and Delta Center for Culture and Learning .

Delta State hosted the riders for a meet-and-greet opportunity on April 4, along with a reception and information session in the Baioni Conference Center. Dr. Jason Coker with Civil Rides shared a summary of their efforts, and participants were shown student videos created at the Lens Collective workshop, housed on campus by the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

On April 5, the university provided the riders with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a press conference at the Student Union as a sendoff for the bikers as they continued their 200-mile journey.

Following the press conference, Civil Rides bikers, Delta State riders, and President William N. LaForge got on their bikes for a ceremonial exit from campus. Participants took off from the Student Union and traveled down Court Street into downtown Cleveland.

The group finished at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with a celebratory festival.

Dr. Temika Simmons, co-chair of this year’s Winning the Race conference, said the event was a fitting followup to the race relations conference.

“It was an honor to partner with Dr. Jason Coker, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Out Hunger in support of Civil Rides,” said Simmons. “Many of our students come from the communities the rides are intended to support. The Winning the Race conference is committed to continuing its work within and beyond Delta-area communities by partnering and supporting area initiatives that seek to combat racial inequities, fight for social justice, and to improve the condition of our communities. It was a privilege to host Civil Rides in commemoration of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the fight against rural poverty.”

For more information on Civil Rides, visit https://www.civilrides.com.

To learn more about Winning the Race, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race.

Fireside Chat – April 2, 2018 – Dr. Ahm Reza

By | General, President | No Comments

Joining President LaForge is Dr. Ahm Reza.

Dr. AHM Reza, associate professor of biology and environmental sciences at Delta State University, was recently selected for a highly competitive fellowship spearheaded by the government of Australia.

The program, Australia Awards–Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, is a merit-based fellowship providing opportunities for Australians to undertake study, research, or professional development overseas, and for overseas citizens to do the same in Australia.

The fellowship selection process of the Endeavor program is conducted through a global competition, and is open to all nations.

Dr. Reza’s participation in the program will include working in Australia from mid-May to early August, where he will utilize the fellowship for both research and teaching.

To keep up with all of our news, events and activities, please visit our website at deltastate.edu.

Fireside Chat – March 26, 2018 – Frederick W. Smith

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Joining President LaForge is Frederick W. Smith, the chairman and CEO of FedEx.

Fred is the most recent speaker in one of our signature programs, the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series. This ongoing series brings to campus high-profile professionals who share career and life stories with our students, employees, and the community, and provide an opportunity to hear from, and engage with, experts from a wide array of professions and interests. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, served as the first Colloquia speaker in 2013.

We’re honored to have Fred with us today, especially because of his Delta ties to Marks, Mississippi. Fred left the South in 1962 to enter Yale University. At Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class outlining an overnight delivery service in a computer information age — and thus began his early ideas for FedEx.

After finishing at Yale, Fred was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for three years as a platoon leader and a forward air controller. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, flying with pilots on more than 200 combat missions. He was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of Captain, having received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.
In 1970, Fred purchased the controlling interest in an aircraft maintenance company, Ark Aviation Sales, and by 1971, turned its focus to trading used jets. On June 18, 1971, Smith founded Federal Express with his inheritance, and he raised $91 million in venture capital. And, if these accomplishments weren’t already enough to write home about, Fred is also a co-owner of the Washington Redskins National Football League team in our nation’s capital.

To keep up with all of our news, events and activities, please visit our website at deltastate.edu.

Campus Update from President LaForge

By | Academics, Athletics, President | No Comments

By: Delta State President William N. LaForge

.
Greetings Colleagues and Students!

Welcome back from Spring Break, and happy “soon-to-be” spring this week!

Thanks to our hard-working colleagues in Facilities Management and good progress with major projects, the campus is looking great.  The Quad is DSU green, flowers are popping up around campus, and we are anticipating the reopening of Zeigel Hall soon, as well as the dining hall and Statesmen Boulevard later in the year.

We are in the midst of a very good year and productive semester, with spring-to-spring enrollment numbers up eight percent, and a six percent increase in the retention of first-time, full-time freshmen.  We received the coveted designation as a “military-friendly” school, and, in the area of community outreach, we rolled out the Local Government Leadership Institute that will assist Delta municipal and county leaders in building skill sets that will enable them to run their communities more effectively.

The academy has implemented our two new requirements for all graduates — participation in upper-division courses that provide enhanced writing experiences, and the completion of a capstone project as a requirement for graduation.  This boost in academic requirements should make our graduates more prepared and competitive as they move on to jobs and/or graduate or professional schools, as well as ratchet up Delta State’s academic reputation in the eyes of the public and student prospects.  Additionally, our Student Success programs are providing superb services to our students, and making a difference in the academic progress of students across the spectrum of disciplines.

We started the month of March with the announcement of the Gertrude Ford Foundation’s $3 million pledge in support of our Center for Teaching and Learning, our internal professional development program for faculty.  Be on the lookout for more major gift announcements in the near future that will support scholarships and other vital programs on campus.

The next two weeks promise to be Delta State’s version of non-basketball “March Madness!”

On Wednesday of this week, FedEx founder and CEO, Frederick W. Smith, will be our distinguished lecturer at the spring Colloquium in Jobe Hall at 6pm.  There will be a reception for him — and you — immediately following.  He will also meet with student leaders the next morning.

On Thursday evening, the BPAC hosts the legendary Gladys Knight.  At this point, tickets may only be available from scalpers! J

Next week features the 5th annual Winning the Race Conference, and the 13th annual International Business Symposium.  I hope you will make every effort to attend both programs.

Our baseball, softball, golf, and tennis teams are all in full action, so come out to support them when you can.  And, a shout-out is due to Statesmen basketball for going to the conference championship finals, and to men’s and women’s swim-dive for their outstanding showing at the NCAA national meet last week.

We are pleased to report that we have a record number of international students enrolled — 134 — from 48 countries.  Efforts are underway to bolster our international programs abroad for students and faculty.  We have formal relationships now with universities in Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, and Korea, and a DSU delegation is in China now working with seven universities on student exchange and recruiting opportunities.

In April, look for specifics about this spring’s campus forums we will host for students, faculty, and staff, respectively.  These forums will be live opportunities to hear about and discuss current campus activities and plans for the future.  Our annual Go Green Weekend for student recruitment is slated for April 27th and 28th, and will provide an opportunity for us to welcome prospective students to campus.

In early April, we should be able to report to you the results of the current state legislative session.  We are hopeful that we will be able to secure increased operational dollars for the university, as well as bond authority to fund campus infrastructure improvements.

As we approach spring graduation on May 5th, I am pleased to announce that our commencement speaker will be Dr. Glen Jones, President of Henderson State University (Arkansas) and President of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council.  And, we will bestow an honorary doctorate on music legend Mavis Staples.

Finally, I continue to enjoy the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff through my departmental visits and periodic luncheons.  It is refreshing to learn about all of the good things our professionals on campus are doing for our students and the university.

Thanks to all of you in the Delta State family for making this university a great place to live, work, and learn.

Onward and Upward!

Very best regards,

Bill LaForge

Smith, founder of FedEx, to provide Colloquia address March 21

By | Community, President | No Comments

The Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series continues this semester featuring Frederick W. Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of FedEx, originally known as Federal Express.

Smith’s speech, titled “Airplanes, Robots, and Digging with Spoons: Innovation at FedEx,” will begin at 6 p.m. on March 21 in the Jobe Auditorium on campus.

Smith, a native of Marks, Mississippi, left the South in 1962 to enter the prestigious Yale University. At Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age — and thus began his early ideas for FedEx.

After graduation, Smith was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for three years (1966-1969) as a platoon leader and a forward air controller. As a Marine, Smith had the opportunity to observe the military’s logistics system firsthand. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, flying with pilots on over 200 combat missions. He was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of Captain, having received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

In 1970, Smith purchased the controlling interest in an aircraft maintenance company, Ark Aviation Sales, and by 1971, turned its focus to trading used jets. On June 18, 1971, Smith founded Federal Express with his $4 million inheritance and raised $91 million in venture capital.

With the creation of Federal Express, Smith not only offered an alternative to the mail, and more traditional and slower delivery services, but he also created an industry that almost single-handedly changed the way business was conducted. In the process, Smith’s company became the first American business to earn $10 billion in profits.

Along with his endless guidance at FedEx, Smith has served on the boards of several large public companies, as well as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Mayo Foundation boards. He was formerly chairman of the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association and the U.S. Air Transport Association.

In addition, Smith is also a co-owner of the Washington Redskins National Football League team.

Delta State President William N. LaForge established the Colloquia program when taking office in 2013. The platform is an ongoing series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, was honored as the first speaker in 2013.

LaForge said the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series is another commitment to bringing excellence to Delta State.

“The university colloquia program gives our institution a chance to hear from and engage with experts from a wide array of professions and interests,” said LaForge. “It especially allows our students and faculty to rub elbows with professionals and resources we sometimes have the rare opportunity to engage. Great universities have great programs, and this is one.”

Those unable to attend the event can view the live stream speech online through the university’s official LiveStream channel: https://livestream.com/DeltaStateUniversity.

Learn more about the series at www.deltastate.edu/president/colloquia.