Department of Aviation receives American Airlines grant

By | Academics, Aviation, College of Business and Aviation, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, Students | No Comments
Dr. Gary Bouse (second from left), chief development officer for the Delta State University Foundation, and Sam Washington (center), instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State, attended a ceremony Jan. 19 in Fort Worth, Texas to receive a $25,000 grant as part of the American Airlines Pilot Recruiting and Development Program.

Delta State University’s Department of Commercial Aviation is the recent recipient of a competitive grant from the American Airlines Pilot Recruiting and Development Program.

The $25,000 grant from American Airlines will provide a major boost to the department’s facilities. Delta State was one of 10 organizations in the country to receive the grant.

“This grant will allow Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation to purchase equipment and software to set up two multi-station training labs that will let students practice instrument and commercial level procedures prior to entering the aircraft cockpit,” said Dr. Julie Speakes, chair of the department. “The lab will also be able to be transported to local and regional high schools to provide hands-on experience for students who may have an interest in aviation.”

The instructional lab will also help prepare students to enter actual aircraft cockpits and perform the required maneuvers and mission profiles, thus reducing the amount of time and costs to the students of obtaining initial and subsequent flight certificates.

Speakes said the funding would significantly improve learning opportunities for aviation students.

“We are proud to have been selected to receive this grant, and we are confident that these new labs will make our students’ experiences here in the Department of Commercial Aviation more meaningful and fruitful.”

An added bonus with the lab will be its mobility. The department will be able to pack up and deploy the lab at various sites such as local and regional high schools, air shows, fly-ins and other community events. This will give the department greater visibility as they advertise the unique and affordable programming at Delta State.

Dr. Gary Bouse, chief development officer for the Delta State University Foundation, helped the aviation department apply for the grant. According to Bouse, this is the first grant Delta State has received from American Airlines through the university’s Foundation.

Bouse and Sam Washington, an instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State, attended a ceremony for the grant recipients at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth, Texas on Jan. 19.

“Of the nearly 600 organizations we invited to participate in our program, these 10 stood out with innovative ideas on growing and diversifying the pilot career path and creating opportunities for those who may not otherwise have the chance to learn,” said Captain David Tatum, American’s director of Pilot Recruiting and Development.

American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is the world’s largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passenger-kilometers flown, and number of destinations served. American, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day.

Delta State’s aviation department is Mississippi’s only state university to provide undergraduate and graduate degrees in commercial aviation. Graduates of the program have the necessary skills to perform in flight crews, as well as executives with supervisory and managerial responsibilities at all levels in the aviation sector.

“DSU has one of the lowest overall costs for the student as it relates to tuition, room and board, meal plans and flight costs,” said Speakes. “The Mississippi Delta has great weather for training most months of the year, and the flat land area gives students and instructors many options for executing a safe landing should an in-flight emergency arise.”

Learn more about commercial aviation at Delta State by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.

Winning the Race returns to campus March 26-27

By | Community, Diversity Committee, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University’s award-winning race relations conference Winning the Race returns to campus for a fifth year on March 26-27.

This year’s conference theme, “Intersectionalities in Action: The Quest for Equity, Access, and Justice,” is presented in partnership and with support from Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Conference topics will highlight the various ways in which race and race relations intersect areas of our daily lives — from politics, economics, health and housing, to education, entertainment, art and science.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative, academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

“I am looking forward to Delta State’s fifth annual Winning the Race conference with great anticipation,” said LaForge. “This year’s program will center on the themes of equity, access and justice — key ingredients of the notions of fairness and opportunity that should be equally available to all in our society. Discussions about the intersection of these issues will hopefully lead to ideas and actions that will help improve race relations and understanding across the board in the Delta.”

The 2018 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“In planning this year’s conference activities, planning committee members have worked hard to focus on creating opportunities for attendees to better understand how race intersects and impacts various areas of our collective and individual lives,” said Dr. Temika Simmons, conference co-chair and director of Delta State’s new Local Government Leadership Institute. “Conversations about race are not reserved for people of color only. They are conversations that we must all become comfortable with in order to dismantle the attitudes, systems and inequities that marginalize groups, inoculate stereotypes, separate communities and breed hate.”

Simmons said the conversations and points of actions scheduled for presentation at this year’s conference are as relevant now as they have always been.

“We challenge the entire Delta State campus and Mississippi community to join us again in March as we continue this work to improve our campus, the Delta community, and the state of Mississippi,” she added. “With help from the Mississippi Humanities Council, we will again host a high school leadership forum with a unique message and activities for area high school students. In addition, we will provide opportunities for professional development credits for teaching and counseling professionals in our efforts to continue to push the conference initiative beyond dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, conference co-chair and associate professor of history, is looking forward to another conference of meaningful discussions.

“By fostering dialogue on race relations and providing a platform to discuss solutions to the challenges we face, Winning the Race performs a valuable service not only to the Delta State campus and the broader Mississippi Delta, but to our state and beyond,” said Westmoreland. “Sessions will feature distinguished activists and scholars who will explore the myriad of ways race intersects with other identities such as gender, class, region, nationality and sexuality.”

“Above all, we want conference attendees to know that they have a vital role to play in the many pressing issues and conversations of our time,” added Westmoreland. “Each year, I am most excited to take part in and observe the Q&A following each session and the overall interactions between conference attendees. These moments are where we take the ideas explored in the various sessions and apply them in our ongoing work to build more equitable and inclusive communities.”

A highlight speaker for the 2018 conference is Kevin Powell, a political activist, poet, writer and entrepreneur. Powell, one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today, is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Raised by a single mother in extreme poverty, he managed to study at Rutgers University thanks to New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund. Powell has gone on to author 12 books, including his newest title, “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.”

His writings have also appeared in CNN.com, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ESPN.com and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer, interviewing diverse public figures such as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.

Powell has lectured extensively, both domestically and abroad, on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with notable and well-regarded national appearances, including on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Later this year, he will publish a biography of Shakur, the late rapper and controversial American icon.

Conference organizers are also proud to welcome civil rights activist David “Dave” Dennis. A participant in the first Freedom Bus ride from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961 and 1964’s Freedom Summer, Dennis served as co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations in Mississippi. Raised in Louisiana by sharecropper grandparents, Dennis worked closely with Bob Moses and Medgar Evers in Mississippi in the 1960s.

While conducting voter registration workshops throughout the South, a bout with bronchitis prevented Dennis from riding in the car with the three civil rights workers he was training — James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman — the night they were killed by Ku Klux Klan members on a back road in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Dennis would go on to speak at Chaney’s funeral. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, whose vision is that “young people will become active, engaged citizens who ensure a peaceful, just and sustainable future.”

Also speaking is novelist Nick White, a native Mississippian, Delta State alumnus, and author of the novel “How to Survive a Summer.” White is an assistant professor of English at Ohio State University’s MFA program in creative writing. His short stories, poems and essays have appeared in a variety of places, including The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Hopkins Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. His short story collection, “Sweet & Low,” will be published later this year.

In addition to stellar speakers, leaders from around the state and nation will facilitate breakout sessions covering intersections across various topics related to social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community.

Additional activities include a poster competition for college students, a special presentation by Memphis hip-hop artist Marco Pave, and artistic and academic presentations by campus faculty, staff, students and members of the community.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house and press conference on March 25 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 S. Chrisman Ave. in Cleveland, where local civil rights leaders and veterans will be recognized and honored.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 26 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State. Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

“We are especially thankful for the generous support of Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council,” said Westmoreland. “Their kind contributions enable us to make this conference a forum where many voices are heard and all are welcome.”

Registration for the event opens Feb. 1 at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race.

For questions, or more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.

Wallace to perform “Martin Luther King Jr. — From the Heart of a King”

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Phil Darius Wallace will perform his one-man play “Martin Luther King Jr. — From the Heart of a King” on the life of the late civil rights leader Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Jobe Hall Auditorium. The show is free and open to the public.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — From The Heart of A King” takes the audience on a journey with Dr. King. Wallace shares moments from King’s life through song, dance, speeches and poetry. The performance helps to convey the power of the spoken word as well as the power of nonviolence to promote positive change.

Wallace is a native of Flint, Michigan. He began his acting career with the Michigan Shakespeare festival as Caliban in “The Tempest.” He has traveled around the country performing as a solo performer as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Langston Hughes. He is currently with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. His television credits include ABC’s “Nashville.” His film credits include “Nothing But The Truth.” Additionally, Wallace is the voice of the documentary “The Invaders.”

The performance is sponsored by the DSU Diversity Committee. For more information contact Arlene Sanders, chair of the DSU Diversity Committee and instructor of political science at Delta State, at 662-846-4095 or asanders@deltastate.edu.

MDNHA offers $200,000 in grant money

By | Community, Delta Center | No Comments
BB King Day representatives from Mississippi Valley State University with MDNHA board member Meg Cooper (far left) and executive director Dr. Rolando Herts (far right). Mississippi Valley is one of several organizations that received MDNHA grants in 2017.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is making up to $200,000 available for grants in 2018.

MDNHA will hold a series of workshops across the Delta to present information about available grants that support local projects and activities that further MDNHA’s mission of fostering preservation, perpetuation and celebration of the Delta’s heritage through a climate of collaboration and sustainable economic development.

The deadline for applications is March 26. Nonprofits, educational institutions, schools, units of local government and others are eligible for the grants and encouraged to attend one of the three workshops. Grants up to $24,500 are available.

At each workshop, MDNHA will present the guidelines for the program, and review application and reporting requirements. Other resources available to support heritage and cultural programs will also be discussed. Complete program regulations and application forms will be available on MDNHA’s website at www.msdeltaheritage.com.

The workshops are scheduled for:

Jan. 30 – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Capps Center, Room 101 (Seminar Room)
920 US Highway 82 West, Indianola

Feb. 1 – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Haraway Center, Northwest Mississippi Community College
4975 Highway 51 North, Senatobia
(campus map available at http://www.northwestms.edu)

Feb. 8, 2017 – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation
1302 Adams Street, Vicksburg

The MDNHA is a cultural heritage partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. Led by Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, the MDNHA includes 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo.

The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com. Information about the grants program is also available on the website.

For more information, contact The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at 662-846-4311, or email swinters@deltastate.edu or grants@msdeltaheritage.com.

The mission of The Delta Center 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 MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

Barron to be recognized by South Central Alumni chapter

By | Alumni | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association will host the annual South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter Meeting in Brookhaven Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at Mitchell’s Special Events and Catering.

Registration and a social will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m.

The event will feature Delta State University President William N. LaForge. Other special guests will include representatives from the Office of Admissions and Athletics.

Dr. Mark Barron ’04, from Brookhaven, will be recognized as the South Central Mississippi Chapter Alumnus of the Year.

Barron is a board-eligible orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacements and care for the spine at Kings Daughter Medical Center Sports Medicine Orthopaedic & Spine Clinic. He was born and raised in Laurel and returned to Mississippi to practice after completing his medical training out of state.

Barron enjoys being close to family and living in a place where he can practice both orthopedic surgery and specialty spine care. He became interested in sports and orthopedic medicine after being injured playing high school sports. He received his bachelor’s from Delta State in 2004. Additionally, he was a four- year letterman for the Delta State football team. He returns to campus multiple times each year to cheer on his alma mater and tailgate at Statesmen Park for the annual Pig Pickin’ festivities.

To view photos from the 2017 South Central Chapter meeting, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/dsualumni/albums/72157675947386944.

The cost for the meeting is $15 per person. Prospective students are invited to attend as guests of the Alumni Association. To RSVP, call 662-846-4660 or visit www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/southcentralevent.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Go Green Weekend (April 27-28), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 21-22) and Homecoming (Nov. 10).