LaForge appoints Fosheim to Cleveland Music Foundation

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

Dr. Karen Fosheim, chair of Delta State University’s Department of Music, was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Cleveland Music Foundation.

The CMF, a non-profit organization developed in 2011, owns and operates GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi housed on Delta State’s campus.

Fosheim will serve on the board in an ex officio role.

“I am honored and delighted to be appointed to the Cleveland Music Foundation board,” said Fosheim. “The Cleveland Music Foundation and the DSU Department of Music share a similar mission and vision, and I look forward to being a part of the discussion as we work to enhance the educational and cultural opportunities for the people of the Delta — and to create a positive face of Mississippi for the world at large.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, who also serves on the board in an ex officio role, said he was thrilled to appoint Fosheim to the position.

“I’m very pleased that Dr. Fosheim has agreed to serve as one of my ex officio appointees to the Cleveland Music Foundation Board of Directors,” said LaForge. “She is an ideal representative of the university from her position of chair of our outstanding music department. I know she will bring great expertise and perspectives to board deliberations.”

LaForge will continue to serve in the other university ex officio slot on the board. Additionally, Tricia Walker, director of Delta State’s Delta Music Institute, rounds out Delta State’s representation on the board as a full voting member.

Emily Havens, executive director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, said she’s looking forward to having Fosheim on board.

“We are excited that President LaForge has selected Dr. Karen Fosheim as the university’s appointee to serve as an ex officio member to the Cleveland Music Foundation,” said Havens. “I look forward to working with Karen and expanding and strengthening the educational opportunities with DSU.”

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LaForge volunteers for afternoon at St. Gabriel Mercy Center

By | Community, President, volunteering | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge recently put on his volunteer cap to assist efforts at the St. Gabriel Mercy Center in Mound Bayou.

LaForge visited St. Gabriel’s to help move boxes of clothing and books, along with other tasks, during his afternoon of volunteerism.

The center is a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to working with organizations, programs and schools in the community, with a focus of equipping and developing self-supporting, productive and successful individuals for the world.

Delta State has partnered with St. Gabriel on a number of volunteer campaigns through the years.

“It was a pleasure to spend some volunteer time with the good folks at St. Gabriel Mercy Center,” said LaForge “They do an incredible amount of good for the people of Mound Bayou and the surrounding community. I encourage others to volunteer their time, talents and treasure as well.”

Sister Monica Mary DeQuardo, executive director at St. Gabriel, was thrilled to have the president lend a helping hand.

“Accolades to President William LaForge for his generosity and support in volunteering his services and for his financial assistance to St. Gabriel Mercy Center,” said DeQuardo. “President LaForge believes in, is present to, and acts on his values, his responsibility, and what is important to the civic communities of Bolivar County, and to Delta State University, his primary focus — along with his family. Thank you, President LaForge.”

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Ferriss honored with state resolution

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Senator Buck Clarke presented the official resolution in honor of Coach David “Boo” Ferriss to his wife, Miriam Ferriss, on Nov. 13.


Delta State University’s baseball legend Coach David “Boo” Ferriss was recently honored by the Mississippi legislature through an official senate resolution.

On Nov. 13, Senator Buck Clarke and Delta State President William N. LaForge presented the resolution to his wife, Miriam Ferriss.

“This was a really special moment, and I am very humbled by the resolution,” said Miriam. “I appreciate Sen. Clarke and President LaForge taking the time to honor him in this way.”

Boo was a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and legendary coach of the Delta State Statesmen. He retired from Delta State after the 1988 season, but he spent the rest of his life as a Statesmen supporter before he passed away in November of 2016.

Ferriss was so revered in the state, that some called him the “Dean of Mississippi Baseball.”

“As much as he loved playing in the MLB, he was even happier coaching,” added Miriam. “That’s where his heart was. He loved the players he coached, and they loved him back. It was his greatest joy. He lived his dream, and I supported him in everything he wanted to do.”

Sen. Clarke said Boo was more than deserving of the recognition.

“One of the legislature’s ways of honoring those who have contributed so much to our state is by passing a resolution, which is much like a bill, that tells of their life and what sets them apart,” said Clarke. “This resolution is then entered into the Senate journal and thus is a permanent record for all time.”

“Personally delivering the resolution to Mrs. Ferriss was a special treat for me,” added Clarke. “Resolutions are usually handed to someone in the Capitol, maybe in a ceremony, and the legislature is then done with it. Mrs. Ferriss is such a gracious person, and it was an honor for President LaForge and me to visit her in her home. Coach Ferriss was truly a remarkable person, and a legendary Mississippian. If you ever met him, you would never forget him — just as he never forgot you.”

LaForge said he was honored to present the resolution directly to Miriam.

“In his resolution, passed by the state legislature, Sen. Buck Clarke captured the spirit of Coach Ferriss’s life and character,” said LaForge. “It is a very fitting tribute to a great man, and one of Delta State’s legends. What a pleasure it was to be there with Sen. Clarke when he delivered the resolution to Mrs. Ferriss.”

Learn more about Boo’s unparalleled career at

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Stratton named Cochran Congressional Fellow

By | College of Arts and Sciences, President, Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

Delta State University student Paxton Stratton was recently selected as a 2018 Congressional Fellow for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Stratton, a junior HPER (health, physical education and recreation) major, with a minor in coaching and mathematics, will move to Washington D.C. in January and remain there through the spring semester. The program selects one Delta State student each year to serve on Cochran’s staff, with the goal of providing a better understanding of the legislative process.

“I’m absolutely elated to be accepted as a Cochran Fellow,” said Stratton, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s a big-time opportunity, and I think it will be a great learning experience for me.”

Stratton said he is excited to learn how the legislative process works, having never previously delved into politics.

“I’ve never really been into politics, but this will be a great way for me to learn the ins and outs of politics,” he said. “I think it will also help my get my foot in the door with people who are changemakers in our country.”

Stratton is driven to design prosthetics after graduating from Delta State, and he said understanding the political environment would be helpful for making prosthetics more affordable to people in the future.

Stratton is also a member of the Delta State men’s soccer team.

Delta State has a long-running tradition of sending fellows to Washington, and Delta State President William N. LaForge served as Cochran’s chief of staff during the 1980s.

“It is professionally and personally gratifying to me that we continue this wonderful relationship with the senator’s office in cooperation with Delta Council and Staplcotn because of the affiliation with Sen. Cochran going back to my days as his chief of staff,” said LaForge. “Paxton will have an excellent experience there, and their office will benefit from his outstanding background at Delta State.”

The fellowship program is funded through Delta State University, the Delta Council and Staplcotn. Additionally, Stratton will receive a stipend from Cochran’s office.

The Delta Council is an area economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. The organization pioneers efforts to solve common problems and promote the development of the local economy. Founded in 1921, Staplcotn (Staple Cotton Cooperative Association) is the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.

LaForge surpasses 75,000 lifetime running miles

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Delta State President William N. LaForge (in white jacket) leads an early morning run during his inauguration ceremonies in 2013.


Off the heels of Health and Wellness Week at Delta State University, President William N. LaForge reached a major fitness milestone — surpassing 75,000 lifetime running miles.

The total eclipses a little more than three trips around the Earth’s circumference. And the president shows no signs of hanging up his shoes soon. He can still be spotted early mornings on campus racking up the miles.

“At first glance, running the equivalent of three times around the globe sounds daunting, even bizarre,” said LaForge. “But when you break it down over 41 years of running, it’s a bit more comprehensible — a little more than 1,800 miles a year. I hit the 75,000 mark this fall.”

LaForge began running seriously in the mid-1970s, but it was not with the intention of accumulating such high mileage. The running started when he moved to the Washington, D.C. area for his political career.

The so-called “running boom” was underway after elite runners like Bill Rogers and Frank Shorter captured the attention of Americans with their stellar performances in the Olympics and Boston Marathon. LaForge said he just got caught up in the running movement.

“The miles just accumulated as I trained and raced,” he said. “I’ve kept a log since 1978, so I know where and how much I ran each day for four decades. Recently, my daughter Caroline and I were trying to recall what year our family took a certain trip. All I had to do was to consult my running log for the answer.”

In his peak racing years, LaForge sometimes ran more than 3,000 miles annually, with the highest total of 3,300. Occasionally, he would put in 80-100 mile weeks in training leading up to a marathon. His marathon personal best of 2 hours and 40 minutes was set at the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans in 1982.

And his commitment to running has allowed LaForge to test his physical fitness around the globe. A few of his favorite runs include the Great Wall and the Forbidden City in China, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Marrakesh, Bermuda, Moscow, Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak, Berlin, the Golden Gate Bridge, Baghdad, along the Seine in Paris, and all around the trails and parks of Washington, D.C.

“At 67, I don’t race any longer, but I still run everyday, wherever I happen to be — just not as fast or far,” said LaForge. “The exceptions have been times when I was ill or under doctor’s orders to refrain. I had a couple of streaks when I went eight years without missing a day. Since the late 1970s, I’ve missed only 159 days running.”

Remaining physically active has always been at LaForge’s forefront.

“Early on, I bought into the idea of a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “Running is convenient, efficient and rewarding in many ways. It’s a great physical activity, and it also serves to clear your mind and make your day more productive. It’s good for the body and the mind, and provides both energy and relaxation.”

And LaForge believes it’s important for everyone, including college students, to include these health and wellness factors in their daily lives.

“College is a great time to establish healthy life-long interests and habits,” said LaForge. “Whether it’s intercollegiate sports, intramurals, occasional gym or pool workouts, or casual walks around campus and town — I encourage all students to make time for an activity of their liking.

“Running happens to be one activity I enjoy. It’s not for everyone, but there is a healthy lifestyle fitness or recreational activity to suit everyone’s interest and need. Staying active, including frequent aerobic activity, is a key to a healthy life, especially as one ages. And it is a priority that can and should start early in life. College is a great time to make the commitment. Even a small investment of time and effort to exercise can yield great dividends over a lifetime.”

LaForge continues to show his dedication as a runner and as the tireless leader of Delta State University.

“Friends have sometimes joked that I’ll go the distance or the extra mile,” he said. “Perhaps I owe that to running.”