LaForge volunteers for afternoon at St. Gabriel Mercy Center

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge recently put on his volunteer cap to assist efforts at the St. Gabriel Mercy Center in Mound Bayou.

LaForge visited St. Gabriel’s to help move boxes of clothing and books, along with other tasks, during his afternoon of volunteerism.

The center is a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to working with organizations, programs and schools in the community, with a focus of equipping and developing self-supporting, productive and successful individuals for the world.

Delta State has partnered with St. Gabriel on a number of volunteer campaigns through the years.

“It was a pleasure to spend some volunteer time with the good folks at St. Gabriel Mercy Center,” said LaForge “They do an incredible amount of good for the people of Mound Bayou and the surrounding community. I encourage others to volunteer their time, talents and treasure as well.”

Sister Monica Mary DeQuardo, executive director at St. Gabriel, was thrilled to have the president lend a helping hand.

“Accolades to President William LaForge for his generosity and support in volunteering his services and for his financial assistance to St. Gabriel Mercy Center,” said DeQuardo. “President LaForge believes in, is present to, and acts on his values, his responsibility, and what is important to the civic communities of Bolivar County, and to Delta State University, his primary focus — along with his family. Thank you, President LaForge.”

Learn more about St. Gabriel’s ongoing humanitarian efforts at

Campus unites for Hurricane Harvey victims

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A massive donation drive came to a close Thursday after students, faculty and staff across campus donated items to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Spearheaded by the Administrative Staff Council at Delta State, the donation drive service project was in partnership with two local relief initiatives led by the town of Boyle, Catfish Cabin and Sen. Willie Simmons at The Senator’s Place.

“The service project received an enormous response, and thousands of relief items were collected on the Delta State campus,” said Caitlyn Thompson, president of the ASC. “Items included bottled water, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, baby needs, personal hygiene items, paper towels, toilet paper, linens, pet food and much more.”

The items were collected and packed into vehicles Thursday and then delivered to Texas by local initiative leaders.

“The mission of the project was to provide support to those in need after the natural disaster,” added Thompson. “The project aligned with one of Staff Council’s stated purposes, which is to give back to the community through service projects and volunteer work. The demonstrated support for this project is just one example of how the DSU family gives back beyond the educational sector.”

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 options to the president.

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Volunteers pack over 101,000 meals

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The campus community came together Tuesday with a strong volunteer presence at an event hosted by Chick-Fil-A and Feeding Children Everywhere at the Wyatt Gym.

For over two hours on Tuesday, more than 150 volunteers made up of Delta State faculty, staff, students and alumni packed over 101,000 non-perishable meals to be delivered to children across the United States. Additionally, Chick-Fil-A and several Delta State volunteers delivered 2,700 hot sandwiches to community businesses, after-school programs, law enforcement and campus offices.

“I want to thank each of you for your hard work on pulling everything together for the Chick-Fil-A event and Feeding Children Everywhere meal packing,” said Elizabeth Joel, Delta State’s coordinator of Continuing Education. “Many of you started several weeks ago making sure your staff were where they needed to be and had the proper set up available for the large event. Others stepped in later to pull volunteers together and inform the media of the events to come. I understand that for some of you, what you did was ‘your job,’ however I want to make sure you know that you went over and beyond, and we greatly appreciate you.”

Joel will also help coordinate another event through the Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy Kickoff, with more than 500 high school students coming to campus within the next few weeks to commence their year-long leadership program.