Student Life

Statesman Emerald Award of Excellence winners

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The Office of Student Affairs recently released its inaugural list of Statesman Emerald Award of Excellence winners.

The awards were part of the 2017 Men’s Conference at Delta State University. The conference, along with the 2017 Women’s Conference in March, were instituted by Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs.

“These awards do a great job of recognizing green and white excellence because they reflect the students’ voice,” said Bennett. “The students are the reason we’re here, so their opinion is paramount. The fact that students identify the winners makes the faculty, staff and administrative nominations and winners that much more special. That sort of recognition speaks to how much the students value and appreciate them.”

Bennett said the men’s and women’s conferences educate, uplift and train students to become strong leaders and stewards of the institution and its local community.

“The tutelage, professional development and collaborations that the conferences provide cultivate and improves our students’ skill sets and prepare them for their professional lives beyond DSU,” she said.

This year’s Statesman Emerald Award of Excellence winners, which recognized male students, faculty and staff, included:

Top Student Leader
Samuel Cooper

Top International Student
Abulfaz Hajizada

Most Spirited
Charlie King

Top Resident Assistant
Thomas Kemp

Most Talented
Long Time Coming

Top Housing Staff
Josh Stevens

Top Organization President
Chandler Ector

Top Fan
Cuong V. Truong

Community Service Award
Undra Richardson

Statesman Advocate Award
Anthony Wilson

Top Interfraternity Council Fraternity
Phi Kappa Alpha

Top National Panhellenic Council Fraternity
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated

Top Football Athlete – Tyler Sullivan
Top Basketball Athlete – Devin Schmidt
Top Baseball Athlete – Zack Shannon
Top Golf Athlete – Zack Hammons
Top Swimmer Athlete – Matteo Fraschi
Top Tennis Athlete – Mason Vice
Top Soccer Athlete – Ashley Walker

Top Administrator
Dr. Billy Moore

Top Director Award
Michael Lipford

Top Faculty Award
Dr. Don Alan Mitchell

Top Male Staff
Matt Jones

College of Education Human Sciences Top Scholar
Paxton Stratton

College of Business and Aviation Top Scholar
John A. Hamilton

College of Arts and Sciences Top Scholar
Zachary Johnson

Robert E. Smith School of Nursing Top Scholar
Morris “Tad” Barrington

The Women’s Conference is held each spring and the Men’s Conference is held each fall. The Emerald Awards of Excellence are held for both conferences. Students submit nominations in person and online. Each conference features keynote speakers, plenary sessions, workshops, a luncheon, a community service project and social events.

The 2018 Women’s Conference is scheduled for March 20-21.

Oakley crowned Miss DSU once again

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Miss Delta State University 2018 was crowned Nov. 9 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus.

Gillian Oakley, a junior music education major from Southaven, Mississippi, will represent Delta State at the Miss Mississippi Pageant in 2018.

Her victory marks only the second time in the university’s history that a contestant has claimed the crown twice. She was previously crowned Miss DSU in 2016. Mary Ann Collins is the only other repeat winner when she won the crown in 1959 and 1961.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be Miss DSU once again,” said Oakley. “Now that I’m two years older, and I’ve seen all that goes into this competition, I think I have an even greater appreciation. I talked myself into thinking I didn’t have a chance because I had won once, so it was such a relief to hear my name called again.”

Oakley said she was unaware that only one other person was a repeat winner, and she would work hard throughout the year to honor the crown.

Oakley sang “My Way” by Frank Sinatra for the talent portion of the competition. Her platform is suicide awareness and prevention. In the upcoming months, she will be busy visiting different local and state schools promoting her platform.

Contestants at the pageant competed in five categories: private interview, evening gown, swimsuit, talent and on-stage question.

This year’s first alternate was Chesney Mardis, a health, physical education and recreation major from Mount Dora, Florida, and the second alternate was Antoinque McGee, a social work major from Pace, Mississippi.

The Miss Delta State University Pageant is produced by the University Pageant Board and sponsored by the Student Government Association.