Alumni hosts South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter Meeting

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Dr. Mark Barron ‘02 (left), South Central Mississippi Chapter Alumnus of the Year, and Delta State President William N. LaForge.


The Delta State University National Alumni Association held its annual South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter Meeting Feb. 8 at Mitchell’s Special Events & Catering in Brookhaven.

Ken Dixon ’84 is the owner and has hosted the meeting the past four years.

The night of fun and fellowship featured Delta State President William N. LaForge, head women’s cross country coach Doug Pinkerton, Admissions recruiters for the South Central area Aja Buckhalter and John Mauney, Alumni Association staff members, assistant directot Amanda Robinson and director of Alumni Affairs, Jeffrey Farris.

Alumni and friends of Delta State received a university update, ways to continue to get involved in their alma mater, and new happenings within their university town Cleveland, Mississippi.

LaForge provided the university updates related to construction and academic advancements. Farris and Robinson spoke of behalf of the National Alumni Association on ways to stay involved in the life of the university.

Dr. Mark Barron ‘02 was 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.

Abby Thomas (left to right), Karen Sullivan, Dalton Clay and President William N. LaForge.

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.

The South Central Chapter also established the Doug Sullivan Memorial South Central Scholarship. The scholarship was presented to two incoming freshmen students Abby Thomas (Loyd Star High School) and Dalton Clay (Lawrence County High School). The $500 scholarship is a one-time gift for their first year.

To view photos from the event, visit

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 28), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 22) and Homecoming (Nov. 10).


Michael McDonald Plays the Mississippi Delta

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Michael McDonald will take the stage Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) at Delta State University. The concert is locally sponsored by Cannon Motors.

Tickets start at $30 and are on sale at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone 662-846-4626, or online

One of the world’s most distinctive singing voices, Michael McDonald is often imitated but never duplicated. He’s had enough humility over the years to freely blend that voice with others’, whether as a member of Steely Dan, a Doobie Brother, as a highly successful solo artist and songwriter, a member of the supergroup the Dukes of September or, most recently, reaching the Coachella generation as a celebrated co-star on Thundercat’s indie hit “Show You the Way.” Fans who’ve wanted to hear that 50,000-watt clear channel of a voice all by itself have had to bide their time—not just minute by minute, but year by year—waiting for McDonald to reclaim a solo spotlight.

Enter Wide Open, McDonald’s first new album in nine years, and his first set of all-original material since 2000. McDonald has nonetheless remained relevant through the early 21st century; he received his 13th Grammy nomination for Motown, a platinum-selling tribute to the greatest of all soul labels. He subsequently released a top 10-charting sequel, Motown Two along with a Christmas album, both of which certified as Gold Records. Following came Soul Speak, a collection of classic covers and a handful of original songs. But Wide Open finds him rediscovering his other voice—that is, his songwriting voice— in a big way, penning or co-writing 11 of the album’s 12 tracks. It’s a cogent reminder that he won Record and Song of the Year Grammys for co-writing as well as singing the Doobie Brothers hit “What a Fool Believes.” Wide Open marks a return to that classic’s emotional urgency alongside fiercer and fresher band arrangements than he’s ever created before.

With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes and personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. Hailing from St. Louis, McDonald arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, honing his talents as a studio musician before becoming an integral part of Steely Dan. In the mid-’70s McDonald was invited to join the Doobie Brothers as the band redefined their sound with McDonald serving as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s McDonald’s solo career took off with a string of hits including “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning James Ingram duet “Yah Mo B There,” plus he co-wrote the Van Halen hit “I’ll Wait.” McDonald has performed with a who’s-who of critically acclaimed artists across a number of genres, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and Grizzly Bear.

Tickets to see McDonald start at $30 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone 662-846-4626, or online

Delta State contracts with PepsiCo for campus beverage services

By | IHL | No Comments

Delta State University recently announced PepsiCo as its new beverage vendor of choice for the next five years, pending finalized contracts and approval by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Delta State expects to bring the item to the Board at its March meeting.

PepsisCo is one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies with over $63 billion in net revenue in 2016 and a global portfolio of diverse and beloved brands.

A university committee recommended PepsiCo following a detailed analysis of corporate options. The recommendation letter stated, “We feel that PepsiCo presented a commitment to bring first class service, product and equipment innovation, program support and a strong significant and sustainable financial package.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge said he was looking forward to the numerous opportunities the contract will provide.

“I am pleased with the recommendation of our task force, and the decision of our Executive Committee, to enter into a contract with PepsiCo for our new beverage services on campus,” said LaForge. “PepsiCo will provide a large array of services and benefits, including an extensive line of beverages that students like, a significant increase of revenue from commissions, a special partnership with Gatorade for our athletic programs, card reader machines campus-wide for convenience of purchase, and a number of student engagement events and promotional programs on campus for the next several years.”

Pepsi will provide Delta State the opportunity to move forward in the numerous ways, including:

◦  Varied product selections with a beverage portfolio that comprises 22 brands and includes many healthy lifestyle options and protein beverages
◦  A premier partnership with Gatorade and DSU Athletics that offers support, equipment and educational resources
◦  Student engagement by providing multiple promotional campus events at no cost to the university
◦  Partnership with a company that has extensive experience and a strong national presence in 800+ colleges and universities

Follow all Delta State news at

Seats available for “Petra and the Wolf”

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

Seats are still available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center for two productions of “Petra and the Wolf” on Feb. 20. Performances will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

The new work from Glass Half Full Theatre is inspired by the Prokofiev classic “Peter and Wolf,” and the show is recommended for 1st-8th grade audiences. A free study guide is available for download at

Sponsored locally by Entergy, “Petra and the Wolf” will feature large-scale puppetry and a new instrumental score written and performed live by Mother Falcon, a band NPR describes as “the little orchestra that can seemingly do the impossible.”

Tickets are $6 and can be reserved through the Arts Education office at the BPAC by calling 662-846-4844, or by emailing Cade Holder at Homeschool groups will be able to purchase tickets at the box office on the day of the performance.

The Arts Education office has less than 30 scholarship tickets remaining for the season, priced at $1 each. To inquire about eligibility and reserve scholarship tickets for students, contact Holder to check the availability of remaining scholarship ticket funds.

Dabney appointed to Registrar and Director of Institutional Research and Planning

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, Registrar | No Comments

Effective Feb. 1, Delta State University announced the appointment of Emily Dabney as the Registrar and Director of Institutional Research and Planning.

Previously, Dabney served as the director of Institutional Research and Planning for two and a half years, and she will continue to direct the department in addition to her new Registrar role.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve the university in the position of Registrar,” said Dabney.

“My immediate goal is to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, while still fulfilling my Institutional Research duties,” added Dabney. “My longer-term goals include working with the great staff of the Registrar’s office to leverage my experience in making the registration and graduation experience smoother for students, faculty and staff.”

Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Dabney has demonstrated great technical skill and finesse in increasing the accuracy of a broad array of institutional data for internal and external use.

“She is also adept at identifying best practices and structural improvements that will serve us well as we seek to bring greater capacity and efficiencies to the Registrar’s Office,” said McAdams. “Coupled with her ability to work positively with others, I am confident she will serve Delta State well as both Registrar and Director of Institutional Research and Planning.”

Additionally, Dabney is an attorney and practiced law for several years before moving into the field of litigation technology. In that field, she was the production and project manager and a consultant for a company that designed and produced databases for the management of large, complex litigation cases. Her largest case there exceed 900,000 documents and records.

Dabney received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Mississippi State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Washington and Lee University.

For more information on the Registrar’s Office at Delta State, visit