OKRAlert: Classes suspended Friday, Jan. 12

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OKRAlert: Due to icy roads and winter weather, the university will suspend classes on Friday, Jan. 12. Employees will report at 1 p.m., unless otherwise notified.

The Delta State Emergency Response Team is monitoring the situation and is in contact with the National Weather Service, emergency officials and the university’s administration.

Any changes to the university’s schedule will be posted using, email, text messages, Twitter (@DeltaState) and Facebook.

If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling.

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: 


3.    Choose the “Personal Information” section and the “Enroll in Okra Alert” option.

4.    Add your cell phone number (with area code).

Keown named Employee of the Month

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The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Mallory Keown, library assistant in the serials department, as the December 2017 Employee of the Month.

Keown is in her second year working at the library.

“Thank you to whoever nominated me,” said Keown. “I am truly honored to work with such amazing people.”

In her free time, Keown enjoys movies, comics, table-top games and baking cupcakes. “Books, however, are my true escape,” she said.

Made up of volunteers from the Staff Council, the Incentives & Recognition committee meets monthly to review nominations for the Employee of the Month award. The committee has been celebrating staff performance in this manner for over 15 years.

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and opinions to the president.

Gallery to open new year with Thibodeaux’s photography

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center opens the new year Jan. 18 with an exhibition of Brandon Thibodeaux’s “In That Land of Perfect Day.”

An opening reception will be held Jan. 18 from 5-7 p.m., and Thibodeaux will present a public lecture in the gallery prior to the reception at 4 p.m.

The exhibition is in conjunction with Thibodeaux’s recent book, also titled “In That Land of Perfect Day,” and is a visual document of Thibodeaux’s time living in the northern Mississippi Delta.

It chronicles the lives of the families he befriended in the Delta, marking important milestones such as the birth of a child, as well as capturing their daily routines as they worked, played, attended church and provided for their children.

Seen together, these photographs are a testament to the strength, faith and perseverance of his subjects.

“While this work makes specific reference to the rural African American experience, I am reminded that these themes of faith, identity and perseverance are common to us all. For these are the traits of strong men,” said Thibodeaux.

“In That Land of Perfect Day” has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and other mainstream publications. The Guardian praised the photographs as depicting “the contemporary experience of rural African Americans with grace and dignity.”

Thibodeaux’s career in photography began at a small daily newspaper in southeast Texas while studying photography at Lamar University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in photojournalism from the University of North Texas with a specialization in international development. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, where he works for clients like Shell Oil International,,, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. When he’s not doing that he is likely found running the back roads of the American South with a twin lens over his shoulder.

The exhibit will be on view at Delta State until Feb.22. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Department of Art’s website at or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook or join the email list.

Delta Center represents NEH “Most Southern” at national social studies conference

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Delta Center staff members, Dr. Rolando Herts (far left), and Lee Aylward (far right), gather with NEH “Most Southern” alums in front of Delta State’s Emmett Till traveling exhibit in San Francisco, California.


The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State recently attended the 97th annual Conference of the National Council for the Social Studies. The conference took place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.

Delta Center staff members Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward promoted “The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, Culture, and History of the Mississippi Delta” Institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Herts and Aylward are co-directors for the “Most Southern” Institute, which will be offered to K-12 educators from throughout the country at Delta State University.

The Delta Center teamed with “Most Southern” alumni Mary Heidi Imhof and Kelly Scanlon from Fairbanks, Alaska. Together, they presented on the educational significance of the “Most Southern” institute to K-12 educators, their students and their school communities.

Several other “Most Southern” alumni attended the conference, including educators from New Jersey, Massachusetts and California.

“The Delta Center’s mission is to promote the Mississippi Delta’s culture and history and its significance to the world,” said Herts. “We are pleased NEH has continued to help us fulfill this mission by supporting presentations of the ‘Most Southern’ institute at important educational conferences like the National Council for the Social Studies.”

In addition to a presentation session, The Delta Center displayed Delta State’s renowned Emmett Till traveling exhibit in the main lobby of the Moscone Center.

“The Emmett Till exhibit was a major draw for thousands of educators who attended the conference,” said Aylward. “Teachers from all over the country were reading the panels and taking pictures of them. This event provided excellent visibility for the ‘Most Southern’ institute and for the Mississippi Delta.”

Summer 2018 will be the ninth year that The Delta Center has offered “Most Southern.” Applications are being accepted now through March 1, 2018. The program has produced over 500 alumni nationwide who comprise a network of educational and cultural ambassadors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Applications for the “Most Southern” Institute are being accepted now through March 1, 2018.

For more information, visit

For educators who would like to display the Emmett Till traveling exhibit, contact Delta State University Archives & Museum at 662-846-4780, or visit

The mission of The Delta Center at Delta State is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops. For more information, visit