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President William N. LaForge speaks to representatives of Perm State University at a dinner held in their honor during their weeklong visit to campus.

Perm State returns for international visit

By | Academics, International, President | No Comments

A delegation from Perm State University in Perm, Russia — an international partner university — will be visiting Delta State for the first week of February. The visit marks the third time Perm State has been hosted on campus to develop exchange opportunities.

The group of Perm State faculty and students will spend the week meeting with a variety of department heads to advance international exchange programs between both universities. Visiting students will also attend and observe Delta State classes.

“I’m very pleased that we’re continuing our relationship with Perm State,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “It’s a university near and dear to my heart. We’re looking forward to hosting the PSU delegation, substantively in terms of coursework and programs on campus, but also socially and culturally.

“Their faculty will meet with our counterparts on campus to explore possibilities for future exchange programs that will be beneficial for both their students and ours,” he added. “This is a great next step in our growing relationship with Perm State University.”

LaForge has a long history with Perm State, dating back to 2008 as a visiting professor in their Center for International Legal Studies program. He also returned in 2011 and 2015 as a Fulbright Fellow.

In a groundbreaking international trip for Delta State last spring, a group of Delta Music Institute students and faculty visited Perm State and took part in “Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture,” a two-week exchange project that was part of the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of State.

Learn more about “Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture” and explore the trip blog at www.deltastate.edu/russia.

Perm State faculty member Svetlana Polyakova, also the “Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture” program coordinator from Perm State, will once again be leading her group of colleagues and students.

Joining Polyakova will be four Perm State graduate students and seven faculty members from four different departments.

“The main purpose of the visit is to take our partnership to the next level and develop further collaboration between the departments at Perm State University and Delta State University,” said Polyakova. “We hope to gain new cross-cultural knowledge and experience, understanding of the Mississippi Delta, and establish solid academic contacts for our colleagues from other departments.”

The Perm State delegation will also provide lectures to Delta State students and faculty to discuss the possibilities of mutual research projects in psychology, biology, linguistics, sociology, arts and economics. Grant opportunities for academic exchanges for both students and faculty will also be an area of focus.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing our great DSU friends and meeting new ones,” added Polyakova. “We hope to have a look at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi that will open in March.”

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, will help guide the group on campus as the university’s international partnership liaison.

“Delta State and the Mississippi Delta in general are very localized, so hosting the Perm State group will bring us a lot of diversity in terms of cultural and academic exchange,” said Reza. “We, especially our students and teachers, will gain a lot of new ideas — as well as local community members.”

Follow all news at www.deltastate.edu as developments continue with international partner universities.

Dr. John Hilpert (left), president emeritus of Delta State, and President William N. LaForge at the SACSCOC conference in Houston Dec. 7.

Delta State president emeritus honored with prestigious national award

By | Faculty/Staff, General, President | No Comments

CLEVELAND – Dr. John M. Hilpert, president emeritus of Delta State University, was honored Monday as the 2015 recipient of the James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award given by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting body for more than 800 colleges and universities.

Hilpert, who served as president at Delta State from 2003 until his retirement in 2013, worked more than 30 years in higher education administration, including serving as president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, executive vice president and acting president of the University of South Dakota, and vice president at Thiel College in Pennsylvania.

Delta State President William N. LaForge said Hilpert’s distinction as a leader is one of the primary reasons he nominated Hilpert for the award.

“During Dr. Hilpert’s tenure at Delta State, he exemplified all the characteristics of a distinguished leader involved with, and supporting, the activities, mission and spirit of SACSCOC,” LaForge said. “Not only was he an actively involved member president, but he served the SACSCOC in various roles throughout his presidency at Delta State.

“Respected by his peers throughout the higher education community for his depth of knowledge and exceptional leadership ability, Dr. Hilpert was elected to serve on the 2008 Executive Council of the Commission and chair of the State Delegation Executive Council of the Commission, and the following year he was elected vice chair of the SACSCOC,” he added. “At the December 2009 annual meeting, he was elected for the first of three one-year terms as chairman of the SACSCOC and served as chair in 2010, 2011 and 2012. I am pleased that the committee supported my nomination of Dr. Hilpert for this prestigious award.”

In addition to his leadership roles with SACSCOC, Hilpert served as chairman of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area board; board president for the Delta Health Alliance, a regional non-profit corporation with a $40 million annual budget; and, president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities, an organization of all public and private, two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions in the state.

In October of this year, Hilpert published a book on Theodore Roosevelt and his “Whistle Stop Campaign” which is available through Amazon. Having lived for many years in states visited by Roosevelt prior to the election of 1900, Hilpert sought to fill in a gap in historical biographical information about Roosevelt. He has also authored pieces for scholarly journals, newspapers and periodicals.

Named for a Delta State alumnus who served as executive director of the Commission on Colleges for more than 20 years, the James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award is the highest public recognition given by the commission and is reserved for extraordinarily distinctive and effective leadership. Rogers was a 1955 Delta State graduate who served as president of Brenau College in Georgia for 15 years before taking the position as the executive director for the Commission of Colleges of SACS.

During his tenure, Rogers worked with the membership and the commission’s leadership and staff to institute comprehensive changes in accreditation standards which placed a renewed and deep emphasis on student learning. Rogers was named Delta State’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1995, is a member of the Delta State Alumni Hall of Fame, and received an honorary doctorate from Delta State in 2007.

Jeffrey Farris, Delta State Alumni Affairs Director, said the association is pleased that the award is named after the distinguished alumnus and that it is fitting that Hilpert be honored as a recipient.

“The award being presented to our former university president, Dr. John Hilpert, is a testimony to the leadership qualities that are exhibited by our students, alumni and employees,” Farris said. “I congratulate Dr. Hilpert and Dr. Rogers on behalf of the National Alumni Association for their exemplary leadership of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.”

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission that award associate, baccalaureate, masters or doctoral degrees.

Tornado Watch issued for Bolivar County

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, General, President, Students | No Comments

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the Bolivar County area through 8 p.m. tonight. The area also remains under a Wind Advisory and a Flash Flood watch due to the potential for severe weather.

The Delta State Emergency Response Team is monitoring the situation and will issue alerts throughout the day. The team remains in contact with the National Weather Service, emergency officials and the university’s administration.

Any changes to the university’s schedule this evening including night classes will be posted using deltastate.edu, email, text messages, Twitter (@DeltaState) and Facebook.

This weather system has the potential to affect travel conditions for our area. If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling. If a tornado warning is issued, remain calm. Go to an interior hall or windowless room. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms.

Further updates will be posted using deltastate.edu, email, text messages, Twitter (@DeltaState) and Facebook

Anyone who has not yet registered his or her cell phone number for emergency text alerts is encouraged to do so now by completing the following steps:
1. Login to your “My DSU” account:
2. https://banapp2.deltastate.edu:9010/dsu/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage
3. Choose the “Personal Information” section and the “Enroll in Okra Alert” option.
4. Add your cell phone number (with area code).

Be aware of potential for severe weather today (Tues., Nov. 17)

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, General, President, Students | No Comments

The National Weather Service has predicted the potential for severe weather for the Bolivar County area later today (Tuesday, Nov. 17). It is too soon to determine the exact timing of the weather system, but it is expected to arrive late this afternoon into early evening.

The Delta State Emergency Response Team is monitoring the situation and will issue alerts throughout the day. The team remains in contact with the National Weather Service, emergency officials and the university’s administration.

Any changes to the schedule this evening (Tuesday, Nov. 17) will be posted using deltastate.edu, email, text messages, Twitter (@DeltaState) and Facebook. Any changes to the Tuesday (Nov. 17) night class schedule and events will also be communicated through these outlets.

This weather system has the potential to affect travel conditions for our area. If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling.

Updates and any changes to the university’s operating schedule will be posted at deltastate.edu, email, text messages, twitter (@DeltaState), and Facebook.

Anyone who has not yet registered his or her cell phone number for emergency text alerts is encouraged to do so now by completing the following steps:
1. Login to your “My DSU” account:
https://banapp2.deltastate.edu:9010/dsu/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage
2. Choose the “Personal Information” section and the “Enroll in Okra Alert” option.
3. Add your cell phone number (with area code).

President William N. LaForge

LaForge selected for prestigious NCAA Presidents Council

By | President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge was recently selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Presidents Council, the highest governing body of Division II responsible for implementing policies adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors.

The position, announced recently by the NCAA, will begin in April 2016 and continue through the 2020 NCAA Convention.

According to the NCAA, “LaForge was elected to the Presidents Council because of his background in the public and private sectors and his commitment to higher education and the Division II philosophy.

“President LaForge will represent those active Division II institutions in Region 2, which includes schools in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Tennessee.”

The council is a 16-member body that is based on a weighted regional representation by institutions and includes one president or chancellor per region for every 22 institutions in that region. In addition to setting policies adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors, the Presidents Council establishes and directs the general policy for Division II, with all other Division II committees reporting either directly or indirectly to it.

“President LaForge’s selection to the NCAA Presidents Council exemplifies the long-standing tradition of excellence the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen hold within Division II,” said Ronnie Mayers, Delta State athletic director. “For more than 40 years, Delta State University has been a leader within the division. In the 1970s and early 1980s, President Emeritus Kent Wyatt represented DSU on the council during some of the NCAA’s greatest expansion periods. As we face an ever-changing athletic arena, President LaForge’s vision and leadership ability will serve us, and all of Division II, well at the highest levels of the NCAA.”

LaForge said he looks forward to the opportunity to serve both the university and the division.

“I am honored to be selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Presidents Council,” he said. “I look forward to serving on behalf of Delta State University and the other Division II universities in the region.”