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UPS CEO David Abney discusses International Business Symposium – Fireside Chat

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Joining President LaForge is David Abney, CEO and Chairman of the Board for UPS.

Each year, Delta State alumnus David Abney and his wife Sherry generously donate their time and treasure to support and sponsor our annual International Business Symposium on campus. This marks the 12th year for the event, which was held this past week. It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn from, and interact with, top business leaders, and we appreciate everyone who gives their time to make it such a successful event.

David is the CEO and Chairman of UPS. He started his career in 1974 as a part-time package loader at UPS while he was an undergraduate student at Delta State. He has lived the American dream of working his way up from the package loader all the way to the top seat in the company. David held various operational positions at UPS along the way, including president of UPS International, where he led the expansion of the company’s global logistics capabilities. He was named Delta State’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 2007, and received an honorary doctorate from Delta State in May 2015. Dr. Abney has been an active ambassador for the university throughout his career, and he serves as role model for ways an alumnus can give back to his alma mater and provide today’s students with greater opportunities for success.

 

Highlight video from Winning the Race conference

By | Academics, Community, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University hosted its fourth annual Winning the Race conference on March 28-29.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” was presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and focused on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

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.

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference included Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

The soundtrack for the video is an original song written and produced by students in the Delta Music Institute at Delta State. Performing the song is Audrianna Johnson, the 2015-16 Fighting Okra Records artist. The song was written by Johnson, Travis Calvin, Eric Johnson, Justin Boatman and Jessica Wishard, and Calvin served as the producer. It was recorded in Studio C at the DMI building on campus.

Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship established

By | Academics, Foundation, President, Students | No Comments
Billy Cummins (second from right), signed endowment agreements for the Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of his wife Thursday with Delta State Chief Development Officer Gary Bouse (l to r), President William N. LaForge and Keith Fulcher, executive director of Alumni-Foundation.

 

Delta State University welcomed Billy Cummins to campus Thursday to sign endowment agreements for the Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of his wife, Karen L. Cummins, a 1979 graduate of Delta State University who was a trustee of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and an exemplary employee of Atmos Energy Corporation.

The Delta State University Foundation, which will manage the fund, has received over $50,000 in generous donations from family members, Atmos Energy Corporation, friends and colleagues.

The purpose of the fund is to establish a scholarship for a student attending Delta State University.

Delta State President William N. LaForge said he was extremely grateful to the Cummins family.

“Billy Cummins’s generous gift to the Delta State University Foundation is significant for two reasons. First, it honors a very special person — his wife, Karen — who was a Delta State alumna and served on the IHL Board of Trustees. Secondly, the gift supports a major foundation scholarship fund that Delta State has established, with Billy’s guidance, that will honor Karen’s memory in perpetuity, while providing funds for deserving students to attend Delta State far into the future,” LaForge said.

“I am very grateful to Billy Cummins, his and Karen’s companies — Atmos and Entergy — and all donors who have contributed to this fund in Karen’s memory,” he added. “It is so fitting that we pay tribute to Karen Cummins in this meaningful way.”

The current level of the endowment will provide approximately $2,000 annually to a qualified recipient.

Potential recipients will exemplify the following guidelines:
-Recipient shall be the child of a current employee of the Atmos Energy Corporation or Entergy Corporation. First consideration will be given to children of employees of Atmos Energy.
-Recipient shall possess a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
-Recipient shall maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher while attending Delta State.
-Recipient must meet all university scholarship guidelines to maintain the scholarship while enrolled at Delta State.
-Recipient must be in good standing with the university, will uphold the guiding principles and embody the core values of Delta State University.

The fund is open to additional contributions, which will enhance the value of the scholarship’s endowment. Contributions can be made by check made payable to the Delta State University Foundation, Box 3141, Cleveland, MS, 38733, or online at www.deltastategiving.org.

For more information, contact Gary Bouse, Delta State Chief Development Officer, at gbouse@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4704.

Winning the Race returns March 27-28

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments
2017 Winning The Race Committee member include: (front, left to right) Dr. Rolando Herts, Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. Lekeitha Morris, Tricia Walker, Georgene Clarke, Jeanna Wilkes and Dr. Temika Simmons. Back (l to r): Dr. Charles Westmoreland, Dr. David Breaux, Sam Washington, Michelle Johansen and Davlon Miller. Members not pictured: Bryce Anderson, Dr. David Baylis, Dr. George Beals, Travis Calvin, Jondelyn Catlette, Dr. Edwin Craft, Dr. Ellen Green, Dr. Leslie Griffin, Matthew Harris, Dr. Garry Jennings, Elizabeth Joel, Paula Lindsey, Michael Lipford, Don Allan Mitchell, Cleveland Phinisee, Arlene Sanders, Jeremiah Smith, Dr. Myrtis Tabb (ex-officio), Jenn Keathley and Chante Willis.

Delta State University’s award-winning conference Winning the Race returns to campus for the fourth year on March 27-28.

Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” is presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and will focus on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

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.

“I am very much looking forward to another outstanding race relations conference, with a program I’m advised will be top flight,” said LaForge. “From the special speakers, breakout sessions and general discussion topics, this conference promises to be another great success.”

“While our conference is not conducted in reaction to anything in the current political climate, it certainly comes at an appropriate time to contribute to the national, regional and local dialogue on how we get along in society,” added LaForge.

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.

The 2017 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.

“This year’s conference will provide attendees with the tools to engage in not only the dialogue, but the work of strengthening the educational community and infrastructure in and around the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Temika M. Simmons, assistant professor of psychology and conference chair. “Unique to the 2017 platform are opportunities for professional development credits for teachers and counselors, in addition to a special workshop track for high school students — further evidence of the university’s commitment to moving the conference initiative beyond the current dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference include Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

Toldson is a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Toldson’s previous appointments include executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and contributing education editor for The Root.

With more than 60 publications, four books, and over 150 research presentations in 36 states and numerous countries, Toldson’s work and research have focused on dismantling some of the most pervasive myths about African Americans. Instead, he highlights the talent and potential of students of color. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, The New York Times, various radio stations, and has been dubbed one of “30 leaders in the fight for Black men,” by Newsweek Magazine. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he is “a prolific young scholar and myth buster.”

William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs, is returning for another highly anticipated speech. With more than 35 years of experience in the field of human services, Bell chairs the executive team for CFP and is responsible for the vision, mission, strategies and objectives of the foundation.

Bell’s awards include Special Contribution to the Judiciary Award from the King County Washington Women Lawyers (2016), the Orgullo de la Comunidad (Pride of our Community) Award from the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (2015), and the 2014 James A. Joseph Lecturer for The Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Additionally, he was named Delta State’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and was inducted into the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.

Bell is nationally renowned for his contributions and lifelong commitment to improving the lives of children and families, his tireless work to prevent child abuse and neglect, his fight to make the judicial system more accessible to all, and his battle to improve the lives of children in foster care.

In addition to stellar speakers, conference breakout sessions will feature topics covering social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community. These sessions will be guided by leaders from around the state and nation.

Other featured activities include poster competitions for high school and college students, and performances by the ROOTS of Sunflower County and the Delta Blues Museum Band.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house on March 26 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 South Chrisman Avenue in Cleveland. A press conference honoring the work of Mississippi civil rights veterans will take place at the house at 3 p.m.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State.

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

BPAC’s Highest Honor Given to Gresham, McPherson Families

By | Alumni, Bologna Performing Arts Center, General, President, Uncategorized | No Comments

The Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) proudly announces that the Gresham and McPherson families of Indianola are the latest recipients of the President’s Award.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge presented the award Tuesday, Feb. 7 at a special event on the theater’s stage. The President’s Award is given in recognition of outstanding service to the BPAC.

“Since the Bologna Performing Art Center’s beginnings, the Gresham and McPherson families have been ardent supporters, as they are of so many aspects of the arts and Delta culture,” remarked LaForge. “They are shining examples of community support and engagement.”

This award is given by Delta State’s president to those who have contributed their expertise, insights and energy to promote the arts for the enrichment of the Delta in special ways. The award is the BPAC’s highest honor. Acknowledgement is made through a unique award modeled after architectural details of the BPAC façade, which are covered in gold leaf.

The Gresham and McPherson families were original supporters of the BPAC when it was first built in 1994 through state funding through the Mississippi legislature. Gresham Petroleum Company and Double Quick, Inc. provided the lead gift for the BPAC’s Recital Hall stage. Over the last 20 years, the Gresham and McPherson families have provided scholarship ticket programs for school-age students to attend matinee performances and youth scholarships for children to the Mississippi Summer Arts Institute, in addition to annual support for the facility’s programs.

A multidisciplinary facility, the BPAC presents an annual season of national and international touring productions in addition to its university commitments. To learn more about the BPAC or to get tickets to an upcoming performance, visit www.bolognapac.com or stop by the center.