Donor’s legacy lives on at Delta State

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CLEVELAND, Miss. – Building one’s legacy is an inexact science. It begins with the people who shape our childhood and extends through the life experiences that determine our ultimate path. For Pershing Wong, one of America’s preeminent master architects, it all began in the Chinese Mission School here in Cleveland. Wong, who passed away on July 2 at the age of 90, was born in Rosedale in 1926.

His educational pursuits proved to be as varied as his professional experiences. Educated as a youth in the Chinese Mission School, he would study in New York, Nanjing (China), and Tennessee. He served his country in the United States Army as a drill sergeant, and used the G.I. Bill to earn bachelor’s degrees in architecture and engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Receiving an appointment at Fountainebleau (France), Wong’s intellect led to his receiving the Premier Prix Architecture and ultimately his long-lasting relationship with renowned architect I.M. Pei. His career flourished at Pei & Partners, where he collaborated on some of the world’s most distinguished buildings.

His stunning architectural designs light up the skylines of major cities in America, Canada and Asia. His design credits include the National Bank/Mile High Center (Denver, CO), Royal Bank of Canada/Place Ville Marie (Montreal, CN), One and Two Dallas Centre (Dallas, TX), One Galleria Tower (Oklahoma City, OK), ARCO Tower (Dallas, TX), Texas Commerce Tower (Houston, TX), The Gateway (Singapore), Bank of China (Hong Kong) and 499 Park Tower (New York, NY).

Wong was committed to teaching, serving as a visiting instructor at Georgia Tech and mentoring young architects in the field. After his remarkable career, Wong returned to those childhood days at the Chinese Mission School of playing baseball, kick the can, and swimming in the lily pond. Taking those experiences and using them to mold the lives of young people as he coached swimming and diving for many years in Westchester County, New York.

With all of his experiences, Wong never forgot his beginnings here in Cleveland. He and his brother, Kellogg, donated family photographs and memorabilia to the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum at Delta State University, ensuring that their legacy would be preserved. Visit their collection here.(

“Pershing Wong’s life is a brilliant illustration of what is possible,” said Gilroy Chow, President of MDCHM Board. “His desire to learn and his drive to succeed led to some of the world’s most beautiful architecture. Despite all of his travels, awards and prestige, Pershing never forgot his roots – roots cultivated and nourished by the caring teachers at the Chinese Mission School in Cleveland.”

Fireside Chat: BPAC adds new series in upcoming season

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Joining President LaForge is Laura Howell, Executive Director of the Bologna Performing Arts Center, to discuss the 2016-17 season.
Delta State University is proud of the stellar entertainment and cultural options brought to the community by the Bologna Performing Arts Center, a 1,200-seat state-of-the-art theater that features everything from Broadway musicals to GRAMMY-winning musicians. The BPAC recently announced its 2016-2017 Season, which promises to be one of the best seasons in the center’s history and will include concerts, Broadway tours, family programming and school-time matinees.
The new schedule will feature four different series: The Main Stage, consisting of evening public performances; the School-Time Matinee Series, which provides educational programs for school groups; and two new series, the Recital Hall and Family Series. For more information, visit
In other news on campus, the BPAC also is hosting a Summer Movie Series for the community. All tickets are $5 for general admission seating, and popcorn and other movie-style concessions will be available. The movie series continues tomorrow, June 14, with “Batman versus Superman”. Other movies set for the summer include “Miracles from Heaven,” “A Hologram for the King” and “The Jungle Book”. For other news, events and activities, visit our web site

Fireside Chat: Orientation sessions begin on campus

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Joining President LaForge are Jeanna Wilkes, who is the Delta State Director of Student Life, and students Ashley Blackburn and Madison Ennis, who are both student orientation leaders.

This past week marked the beginning of Orientation sessions on campus as the university welcomes new Delta State students to campus. The university offers an extensive orientation program each summer for new students enrolling for the fall semester, and sessions are broken out for incoming freshmen and transfer students. Delta State also has a number of opportunities for parents of first-time students. The two-day programs feature informational sessions on housing, academics, student life and many other topics.

Parents are encouraged to attend the same session as their student, and the sessions include meals, housing for students and entertainment activities to enable new students to meet current Delta State students and spend time with other new students. Upcoming sessions for freshmen are set for June 2nd and 3rd, June 27th and 28th, and July 7th and 8th. There is a transfer student session today, and upcoming sessions set for June 23rd and July 1st. You can sign up on the Orientation web site, and there is a direct link on our home page

In other news on campus, today marked the beginning of our first summer school term, and we are pleased to welcome students back to campus. And, in late June, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi will unveil a new exhibit centered on the life of blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughn. We hope that you will make plans to come check it out. For other news, events and activities, visit our web site at

Jeffrey Farris ‘04, ’05, director of alumni affairs, Jake Van Namen ‘09, Kate Kinnison Van Namen ‘09, Joel Mosby ‘00, Sarah Brumfield Cobb ‘09, Mahi Chambers ‘86, Johnny Arnold, Jr. Friend), Ned Franks ’77, Charles Fioranelli ‘72, and Vicki Fioranelli ’68, director of alumni affairs emeritus.

Memphis alumni event planned

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Plans have been made for the annual Memphis Area Alumni Chapter Event to be held on Thursday, April 14 at Central BBQ downtown. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a social followed by dinner and a short program. DSU President William LaForge will be the featured speaker, and he will be joined by other faculty and staff members from campus.

This year, the chapter is recognizing Tim ‘80 and Nancy Harvey ‘80 as the Outstanding Chapter Alumni of the Year. Tim and Nancy were instrumental in making the renovations to the baseball stadium a reality. The stadium was named for them in October.  To read more about Tim and Nancy Harvey Stadium, visit

There will also be a silent auction with all proceeds benefiting the Memphis Area Alumni Chapter Scholarship. Prospective students of Delta State are welcome to attend and will be guests of the Alumni Association. Alumni and friends from DeSoto County are also welcome to attend. To register for the event, visit or call 662-846-4660.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Go Green Weekend (April 2), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).