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President William N. LaForge recently hosted his third annual Delta Mayors' Summit on campus.

LaForge hosts third Mayors’ Summit

By | Community, President | No Comments

Mayors from across the Mississippi Delta recently gathered at Delta State University for the third annual Delta Mayors’ Summit hosted by President William N. LaForge.

The university invited the mayors as a way to engage in discussion about campus and community activities, and to continue forging collaborations and partnerships in the Delta.

“It was a pleasure to host the third Delta Mayors’ Summit on our campus,” said LaForge. “I always enjoy the opportunity to visit with our local mayors, hear about their activities, and learn how Delta State can be engaged with them in partnerships. We are collaborating to ensure continued improvement of local government management.”

LaForge was excited to build on the success of previous summits, a conference he instituted after becoming president in 2013.

This year’s meeting focused on campus updates, a summary of university initiatives, topics for Delta State’s annual race relations conference, student recruitment, as well updates from a number of campus leaders.

The mayors in attendance also had an opportunity to discuss common challenges and successful initiatives in their respective communities, and agreed that it is important for them to have open dialogue in order to continue to improve the region’s opportunities and quality of life.

“I look forward to continuing our collaboration with the mayors of the many municipalities in the Delta,” added LaForge.

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

 

Students from La Trobe University in Australia enjoyed a luncheon Wednesday at Delta State with the Fighting Okra and President William N. LaForge.

Australian delegation visits Delta State

By | Delta Center, International, President | No Comments

A group of 47 students and faculty members from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia made a special stop at Delta State’s campus Wednesday during their three-week international study tour between New Orleans and Memphis.

The group is taking part in the trip to focus on critical aspects of the region, including history, culture, society, site visits and more.

Their stop at Delta State included a tour of the Delta Music Institute, a visit from the Fighting Okra, a luncheon with President William N. LaForge and Dr. Christy Riddle with International Student Services, and a visit to GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.

The students, enrolled in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, will eventually complete a region-based research project based on their visit.

For more information on La Trobe University, visit http://www.latrobe.edu.au/about.

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

First Lady Nancy LaForge will serve as vice president of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

Mrs. LaForge elected VP of MIAL

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Delta State University First Lady Nancy LaForge was recently elected to the role of vice president of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL).

Now in its 37th year, MIAL celebrates Mississippi’s artists, musicians and writers.

LaForge, who previously served as a MIAL board member, will serve one year as VP and then as president.

“I am humbled to be elected vice president of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and grateful for the opportunity to serve an organization so dedicated to promoting the arts,” said LaForge. “MIAL sponsors the only juried arts and literature competition and awards ceremony in the state of Mississippi.”

“As vice president, I will oversee the category chairmen responsible for receiving and organizing all nominations for awards,” added LaForge. “I am thrilled to be working with an outstanding group of people in the MIAL, and I am dedicated to supporting the artists, musicians and writers who share our wonderful Mississippi connection.”

JoAnne Prichard Morris of Jackson will serve as president this year, and LaForge will begin her service as president in 2017.

In 1978, MIAL was dreamed up by a few discerning individuals, including former Governor William Winter, Dr. Aubrey Lucas (former president of Delta State), Dr. Cora Norman, Dr. Noel Polk, and Keith McLean of Cleveland. These founding members believed that among Mississippi’s greatest riches are its artists, writers, and musicians, who must be supported, nurtured and recognized.

MIAL strives to recognize outstanding achievement in seven categories: fiction, non-fiction, visual arts, musical composition (concert), musical composition (popular), photography and poetry.

Each year, MIAL hosts an awards gala to recognize and honor the artistic achievements of living Mississippians. The ceremony, which is hosted in different cities across the state, will take place at Delta State in June of 2017.

Learn more about MIAL at http://www.ms-arts-letters.org.

Dr. E.E. "Butch" Caston

University recognizes Caston’s career

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

Delta State University is paying tribute to one of its most dedicated retiring employees — Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston.

Caston, a graduate of Delta State in 1966, retires Friday after serving as interim vice president for Student Affairs since July of 2015. He has come out of retirement multiple times to serve interim roles for the institution.

“I’m looking forward to returning to retirement,” said Caston. “I have a good feeling about our accomplishments this year.”

Caston first made his professional mark at the university by serving as dean of the College of Education from 1989-2002.

“The one thing that I found coming to Delta State initially as a student, was that it’s a close and accepting environment,” said Caston. “Many years later, returning as an employee, I found that quality still existed, and it still does today.”

Caston said he leaves Delta State with nothing but pride for the university that has been a part of his life for decades.

“I’m a product of the university. I came here as a student. Delta State held me up until I could grow up. I’ll always be grateful for that,” he said.

He returned to the university in 2013 at the request of President William N. LaForge to serve as interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. His return in 2015 followed the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett, who served the university for 40 years.

“Butch Caston has evidenced outstanding service to Delta State by coming out of retirement twice, first in 2013 as provost, and in 2015 as vice president for Student Affairs,” said LaForge. “He was incredibly successful in both posts. The Delta State family, and I in particular, will be eternally grateful to him for his dedication and loyalty. He was on outstanding member of Delta State leadership for years. I deeply appreciate him for his commitment of time and effort to the university.

“I’ve joked with him already, but I wish him better luck in his next effort at retiring.”

President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt, who worked with Caston when he was dean, echoed LaForge’s praise.

“Delta State University was fortunate to attract Dr. Butch Caston back to his alma mater when he accepted administrative roles in the College of Education,” said Wyatt. “Through his leadership and innovative ideas, he helped make Delta State University the outstanding regional university it is today. Dr. Caston’s love for Delta State has been continuous and an inspiration to all. After retirement, he stepped forward in top administrative roles when his all alma mater needed him. Personally, I want to thank Butch for his loyalty and never failing friendship.”

Dr. Michelle Roberts, vice president for University Relations and Chief of Staff, said she will greatly miss Caston’s presence on campus.

“I have had the opportunity to watch Dr. Caston excel in many different areas at Delta State, and in every role, he has shined,” said Roberts. “But, in my view, his role as vice president of Student Affairs has been his crowning moment. He was a natural when it came to working with students. It’s like his personal family grew to include the thousands of Delta State students as his children.”

“Dr. Caston did not play the typical interim role,” added Roberts. “He did not view this position as simply keeping a seat warm. He rolled up his sleeves, and was determined to leave Delta State a better place than he found it. His love and passion for Delta State, our students, and this community are admirable, and the service he has provided our university has been extraordinary. Dr. Caston exemplifies the spirit of the Delta State family, and he is indeed a true Statesmen.”

Mikel Sykes, a senior at Delta State, has worked closely with Dr. Caston, most recently during Sykes’s two terms as Student Government Association president.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Dr. Caston the past couple of years, especially seeing how much he cares about the student experience,” said Sykes. “He’s been a leader I’ve looked up to during my time in the SGA. We all wish him the best in retirement.”

Taking over for Caston is Dr. Vernell Bennett. Bennett arrives at Delta State after previously serving in the same role at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. Her extensive experience at KSU enabled her to foster collaborations between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, faculty, staff, students, the administration and community.

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

Fireside Chat: BPAC adds new series in upcoming season

By | Community, General, President, Uncategorized | No Comments
Joining President LaForge is Laura Howell, Executive Director of the Bologna Performing Arts Center, to discuss the 2016-17 season.
Delta State University is proud of the stellar entertainment and cultural options brought to the community by the Bologna Performing Arts Center, a 1,200-seat state-of-the-art theater that features everything from Broadway musicals to GRAMMY-winning musicians. The BPAC recently announced its 2016-2017 Season, which promises to be one of the best seasons in the center’s history and will include concerts, Broadway tours, family programming and school-time matinees.
 
The new schedule will feature four different series: The Main Stage, consisting of evening public performances; the School-Time Matinee Series, which provides educational programs for school groups; and two new series, the Recital Hall and Family Series. For more information, visit www.bolognapac.com.
 
In other news on campus, the BPAC also is hosting a Summer Movie Series for the community. All tickets are $5 for general admission seating, and popcorn and other movie-style concessions will be available. The movie series continues tomorrow, June 14, with “Batman versus Superman”. Other movies set for the summer include “Miracles from Heaven,” “A Hologram for the King” and “The Jungle Book”. For other news, events and activities, visit our web site www.deltastate.edu.