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Dr. Vernell Bennett has been named the new vice president of Student Affairs.

Bennett named VP of Student Affairs

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge recently announced the hiring of Dr. Vernell Bennett for the position of vice president of Student Affairs.

Bennett replaces Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston, who had filled the role on an interim basis following the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett, who served the university for four decades.

Bennett will officially take office July 1, pending IHL Board approval, but will begin the transition process on June 15.

I am honored to join Delta State University as the newest member of the great executive team President LaForge has built,” said Bennett. “To say that I’m eager to work with the students the university educates is an understatement. It is truly exciting to join forces with engaged faculty, staff and community members to help Delta State University continue its long legacy of service and excellence.”

In the role, she will serve as the chief student affairs officer for the university. This position is responsible for providing leadership and administrative direction to a comprehensive Student Affairs Division, which complements and supports the academic mission of Delta State.

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. At KSU, Bennett oversaw a personnel and operating budget of $5 million and a scholarship budget of $2.6 million.

Prior to her VP role at KSU, she served as the university’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, the senior advisor to Academic Affairs, and as a presidential liaison.

She holds a doctorate in instruction and administration from the University of Kentucky, received her master’s from Eastern Michigan University and her bachelor’s degree from Fisk University.

Bennett’s professional memberships include: The Council on Student Affairs; The National Association of Student Affairs Professionals; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated; The Links, Incorporated; and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Additionally, she has a background in teaching music courses, including voice instruction, elements of music, phonetics and dictation, and more.

President LaForge said he was thrilled to bring Bennett’s leadership to campus.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Bennett to Delta State,” said LaForge. “She brings a wealth of talent and experience to the position of vice president for Student Affairs, and I know she will have a terrific impact on our students and our campus culture. I look forward to her contributions to our leadership team.”

A selection committee, chaired by Dr. Temika Simmons, assistant professor of psychology, was formed in order to guide the national search for the position. Finalists recently visited the Delta State campus and spent time meeting with various groups including the President’s Cabinet, Academic Council, division directors and the search committee, along with addressing open forums attended by faculty, staff and students.

Along with Simmons, search committee members included: Michael Lipford, Dr. David Hebert, Marilyn Read, Mike Kinnison, Diana McLemore, Dr. David Breaux, Betsy Elliott, Porter Leftwich, Mikel Sykes (student), Allie Rose Parker (student) and Lisa Giger (ex-officio).

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

delta council exhibit 2016

DSU Fashion Students and Faculty Showcase Work at Delta Council

By | Delta Council, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State fashion merchandising students and faculty showcased some of their original cotton apparel designs at the recent meeting of the Delta Council.

According to Dr. Jan Haynes, Professor of Fashion Merchandising in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, these designs were created from upcycled materials, such as cotton sheets and were eco-dyed with natural dyes at a DSU cotton workshop in September, taught by Pat Brown, MFA. The students’ designs were then presented at the Cotton Summit event held at Mississippi State in November.

This was the culmination of  a grant project, “Delta Cotton, Weaving Futures,” that included three day-long educational events featuring cotton. The grant project was a joint partnership of the three Mississippi universities that offer Fashion Merchandising programs: Delta State, Mississippi State, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Funding was provided by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated.

Bob Santelli, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE, will keynote commencement ceremonies May 7 at 10 a.m. inside Walter Sillers Coliseum. Santelli will also receive the Doctor of Arts and Letters honorary degree.

Delta State to honor Santelli at commencement

By | Academics, GRAMMY, President, Students | No Comments

Delta State University will celebrate the 2016 Spring Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. May 7 inside Walter Sillers Coliseum. The institution, friends and family will unite to recognize the accomplishments of 442 graduates.

The graduates include recipients of bachelors, masters, education specialists and doctoral degrees — all of whom have made their impact on the storied history of Delta State.

The keynote speaker for the commencement address is Bob Santelli, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE. Santelli’s leadership was crucial to making GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi a reality on Delta State University’s campus.

Santelli will also be granted an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts and Letters as part of Delta State’s long-running tradition of recognizing green and white greatness.

Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

Santelli was named executive director of the GRAMMY Museum in 2006. A noted blues and rock historian, he is credited for developing the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival, and has authored three books on the blues: “The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia,” “The Best of the Blues: The 101 Essential Blues Albums” and “Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey.”

Santelli also served as a consultant on Scorsese’s “The Blues” series for PBS, and co-created a 10-part history of the blues series for PBS radio. He was also honored with the Keeping the Blues Alive Award from The Blues Foundation, and taught courses on the blues at Monmouth University in New Jersey and the University of Washington.

Delta State President William N. LaForge will provide introductions at the ceremony, while presentations of candidates and degrees will be led by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams.

Follow all news at Delta State University at http://www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State student Zack Odoms recently completed a semester-long internship for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

Odoms completes Senate internship with Cochran

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U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) recently commended Zack Odoms, a senior at Delta State University, for successfully completing a semester-long internship in his Washington, D.C. office.

“I appreciate the good assistance that Zack provided my office this semester, and hope that his experience on Capitol Hill will serve him well in the future,” said Cochran.

A native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Odoms is a biology major and enlisted in the Mississippi Army National Guard. He served in Washington as the 2016 Congressional Fellow sponsored by Delta State, the Delta Council and the Staple Cotton Cooperative Association. He is the son of Clifford Odoms of Jackson and Janretta Odoms of Crystal Springs. 

During his internship, which began in January, Odoms assisted Cochran’s staff in different capacities, including constituent service, correspondence and tracking veterans’ health and defense issues. 

The Cochran internship program is designed to give young Mississippi students a first-hand opportunity to experience the federal legislative process and the operation of a U.S. Senate office.

 

Alex Mauney (left to right), Paxton Stratton and Marshal Salley were inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society today.

Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society members inducted

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University College of Arts and Sciences inducted 16 members into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society today.

This year’s inductees include: Emilee Boldon, Tristin Crockett, Samantha Few, Jordan Galtelli, Ashley Griffin, Emma Jeffries, Katherine Lott, Alex Mauney, Destiny McClain, Carter McNeer, Marshal Salley, Lllana Schaeder, Sawyer Smith, Paxton Stratton, Syed Mohammed Amanuddin and Mary Waldrop.

Founded in 1923 at the University of Illinois, Phi Eta Sigma is the nation’s oldest and largest honor society for first-year college and university students in all disciplines. Inspired by the past and dedicated to the future, the society’s mission is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning.