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

By | Community, Delta Center, Emmett Till, Uncategorized | No Comments
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

Mississippi public universities contribute 60K jobs to Mississippi employment

By | Academics, IHL | No Comments

By Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of Higher Education

In 2015, Mississippi Public Universities’ contribution to Mississippi employment was 59,258, or approximately 3.74 percent, jobs in Mississippi. The university system contributed $3.78 billion, or approximately 3.5 percent, to total personal income in Mississippi.

On the Mississippi Business Journal’s Book of Lists 2017, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, with 9,000 employees, is listed as #3, behind Huntington Ingalls Industries and Keesler Air Force Base, with 11,000 employees each. Other universities on the list include:

  • #9 Mississippi State University: 4,740 employees, including extension service employees serving the citizens in every county of the state
  • #11 University of Mississippi: 4,200 employees
  • #27 The University of Southern Mississippi: 2,212 employees

In addition to the professors who support the university’s core mission of teaching and learning, many other employees are essential for student success. For example, Delta State University has placed an emphasis on improved retention and has invested in human resources to support these efforts.

This investment has paid off. Between the fall of 2015 and the fall of 2016, Delta State experienced significant increases in retention rates for first-time, full-time, degree-seeking freshmen—5.2 percent; first time, full-time, degree-seeking transfer students—7.8 percent; and, all full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students—3.7 percent. Simply put, this means more students stayed in school and on the path to graduation—and on the path to being more productive, employable citizens of our state.

Similar efforts on all campuses have resulted in an 80 percent one-year retention rate for entering full-time freshmen, based on the Fall 2014 cohort.

Universities also employ scientists who conduct research that solves problems and helps Mississippians lead better, healthier lives. This past year, the university system received $420.7 million in research funding from federal, state and private/corporate sources, supporting 2,407 projects.

Our campuses are like small cities, requiring the support staff to run them. This includes the campus police force, the crews that maintain the buildings and grounds, the staff that run the physical plant and he employees who manage the residence halls.

Universities also support indirect jobs, including those supported by the renovation and construction projects on campus and those working in transportation that connects the campus and the community. Universities outsource some functions, such as food service and bookstores, supporting additional indirect jobs.

Additional jobs are supported through student spending on off-campus housing, in restaurants and other entertainment venues, in local retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, clothing stores and book stores.

Mississippi Public Universities serve more than 95,000 students during the academic year. This requires a lot of hands on deck to meet their needs both inside and outside the classroom, which, in turn, supports the Mississippi economy.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Malone to receive honorary doctorate

By | Alumni | No Comments

Delta State University will continue its tradition of recognizing green and white greatness by conferring an honorary doctoral degree at fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 9.

Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

Receiving the honor will be Percy Malone, who attended Delta State in 1960 and was named the university’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for 2017.

“Senator Percy Malone is a most-deserving honorary degree recipient,” said Delta State University President William N. LaForge. “It is customary for universities to bestow honorary degrees, and they are intended to do just that — honor the recipient for distinguished service, accomplishments, successes and contributions to society. Sen. Malone is the ideal candidate for this honor. His record of community service and leadership is enviable. And he credits Delta State with providing him the basic science education to launch his professional school, and later, his business, successes. He is a leader who cares about people and who has demonstrated, time and time again, his commitment to human and civic causes.”

Malone, who was raised in a humble upbringing in Rosedale, Mississippi, credits his time in the classroom at Delta State as paving his way to pharmacy school, and then to eventually becoming a representative and senator in Arkansas.

Long before he sat in his senate and representative seats in the Arkansas legislature, long before he established a chain of pharmacies across Arkansas, and long before he traveled to Oxford to learn his vocation, he sat in classes at Delta State soaking up the knowledge and wisdom from several teachers that would influence him the rest of his life.

“I had a professor in physics – Dr. Wiley – he took a special interest in his students,” Malone said. “It was an affordable school, and when I got out, I was prepared for pharmacy school at Ole Miss.”

“This is a great honor from a school that helped me get out of poverty,” Malone said in a previous press release about being named Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. “I have fond memories of being able to go to Delta State. It was a hand out and not a hand up.”

After receiving his pharmacy degree in 1965, Malone began working with I.B. Fuller in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Fuller became a mentor for Malone’s community involvement, which has ranged from serving on the board of directors of the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce, to serving as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention in 1980. He was also a member of the state Board of Pharmacy.

His political career began in 1995 when he was elected to represent District 36, which he did until 1999. In this capacity, he served as co-chairman of the joint budget committee and as a member of the insurance and commerce committee, the public health and welfare committee, and other important committees and subcommittees. Malone’s stint in the state senate ran from 2001-2012.

President LaForge said Delta State has bestowed fewer than 20 honorary degree’s in the institution’s history, acknowledging the significance and prestige of Malone’s degree.

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Delta State welcomes Global UGRAD-Pakistan students

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2017 Global UGRAD-Pakistan students (left to right): Husinah, Ayesha and Hadia.


Delta State University is pleased to welcome three new international students this semester as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan).

Joining the Delta State community and international family are Husinah, Ayesha and Hadia. The Global UGRAD-Pakistan program is coordinated through the Delta State International Student Services, a division of the Student Success Center.

The program, which places participants at U.S. colleges and universities, is part of broader U.S. Department of State’s efforts to promote a better understanding of the United States abroad, particularly among future world leaders.

“The program allows talented, highly-motivated undergraduate students from underserved populations across Pakistan to spend one semester at a U.S. college or university,” said Elise Mallette, coordinator of International Student Services.

Through academic study, exploration of U.S. culture, participation in community service projects, and interactions with Americans in their host communities and campuses, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students develop a broad and nuanced understanding of American culture and values, and go on to share this understanding of the U.S. with friends, family, fellow students and others upon their return to Pakistan.

“This has been an awesome experience beyond my expectations,” said Hadia. “This is my first time out of my home country, so being here has allowed me to learn about people from different backgrounds. Coming to Delta State and learning about American culture has been such a special opportunity.”

Husinah, Ayesha and Hadia.

Amir said she has enjoyed learning in a new environment.

“The best thing about studying here is being able to learn in a different culture,” said Husinah. “I have learned that the methodology for teaching is very different in America, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I find that things are taught more practically, and I like that methodology.”

Global UGRAD-Pakistan students also enrich the learning experience for American students by sharing their unique perspectives and backgrounds. The program is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is implemented by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX).

Since 1968, IREX has embraced a people-centered approach that maximizes human potential and helps people promote positive lasting change. With an annual portfolio of $80 million, IREX maintains presence in over 100 countries with innovative programs that empower youth, women and girls; cultivate leaders; strengthen institutions; and extend access to quality education and information.

“I’ve really been impacted by all the Southern hospitality we’ve received,” said Ayesha. “I heard about Southern hospitality before we came, but being in Mississippi, I’ve really experienced it. We’ve felt that from our classmates, but even from people in the community too. Everyone is so welcoming and makes us feel like family.”

For more information, contact DSU International Student Services at