OKRAlert: Classes suspended Friday, Jan. 12

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OKRAlert: Due to icy roads and winter weather, the university will suspend classes on Friday, Jan. 12. Employees will report at 1 p.m., unless otherwise notified.

The Delta State Emergency Response Team is monitoring the situation and is in contact with the National Weather Service, emergency officials and the university’s administration.

Any changes to the university’s schedule will be posted using deltastate.edu, email, text messages, Twitter (@DeltaState) and Facebook.

If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling.

Anyone who has not yet registered his or her cell phone number for emergency text alerts is encouraged to do so now by completing the following steps:     

1.    Login to your “My DSU” account: 

2.    https://banapp2.deltastate.edu:9010/dsu/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage

3.    Choose the “Personal Information” section and the “Enroll in Okra Alert” option.

4.    Add your cell phone number (with area code).

Keown named Employee of the Month

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The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Mallory Keown, library assistant in the serials department, as the December 2017 Employee of the Month.

Keown is in her second year working at the library.

“Thank you to whoever nominated me,” said Keown. “I am truly honored to work with such amazing people.”

In her free time, Keown enjoys movies, comics, table-top games and baking cupcakes. “Books, however, are my true escape,” she said.

Made up of volunteers from the Staff Council, the Incentives & Recognition committee meets monthly to review nominations for the Employee of the Month award. The committee has been celebrating staff performance in this manner for over 15 years.

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 opinions to the president.

Gallery to open new year with Thibodeaux’s photography

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center opens the new year Jan. 18 with an exhibition of Brandon Thibodeaux’s “In That Land of Perfect Day.”

An opening reception will be held Jan. 18 from 5-7 p.m., and Thibodeaux will present a public lecture in the gallery prior to the reception at 4 p.m.

The exhibition is in conjunction with Thibodeaux’s recent book, also titled “In That Land of Perfect Day,” and is a visual document of Thibodeaux’s time living in the northern Mississippi Delta.

It chronicles the lives of the families he befriended in the Delta, marking important milestones such as the birth of a child, as well as capturing their daily routines as they worked, played, attended church and provided for their children.

Seen together, these photographs are a testament to the strength, faith and perseverance of his subjects.

“While this work makes specific reference to the rural African American experience, I am reminded that these themes of faith, identity and perseverance are common to us all. For these are the traits of strong men,” said Thibodeaux.

“In That Land of Perfect Day” has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and other mainstream publications. The Guardian praised the photographs as depicting “the contemporary experience of rural African Americans with grace and dignity.”

Thibodeaux’s career in photography began at a small daily newspaper in southeast Texas while studying photography at Lamar University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in photojournalism from the University of North Texas with a specialization in international development. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, where he works for clients like Shell Oil International, MSNBC.com, TIME.com, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. When he’s not doing that he is likely found running the back roads of the American South with a twin lens over his shoulder.

The exhibit will be on view at Delta State until Feb.22. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Department of Art’s website at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/ or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook or join the email list.

Sound of Music to make Delta premiere at BPAC

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A brand new production of “The Sounds of Music,” produced by NETworks Presentations, is making its Mississippi Delta premiere Jan. 25 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center as part of a North American tour.

Tickets are on sale now at the BPAC Ticket Office, 662-846-4626 and online www.bolongapac.com. The event is locally sponsored by Guaranty Bank and Trust. For more information, visit www.SoundOfMusicOnTour.com.

“The Sounds of Music” features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp.

The beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award®–winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.

The production enjoyed extraordinary success as a live television prrogram when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013 and was seen by over 44 million people. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.

“I waited for a moment when we could rediscover ‘The Sound of Music’ as it was originally create,” said Ted Chapin, president of Rodgers & Hammerstein. “Because of the enormous success of the film, few were aware that it started life as a hit Broadway show — and a very big hit at that. The artists behind this production embraced what the authors wrote, looked at it all through modern eyes and, in so doing, found depth and resonance that has been recognized by critics and audiences across the country. It’s like visiting an old friend but finding yourself surprised as well. It’s also a reminder of why this show is such an evergreen.”

The creative team for this new production includes direction by Matt Lenz, based on the national tour’s original direction by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia). Original choreography by Danny Mefford (Dear Evan Hansen, Fun Home, The Bridges of Madison County, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) has been recreated by Jonathan Warren, with music supervision by Andy Einhorn (Hello, Dolly!, Bullets Over Broadway, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Light in the Piazza).

The design and production team is comprised of Tony Award® nominee Douglas W. Schmidt, set design (The Front Page, 42nd Street, Into the Woods); Tony Award® winner Jane Greenwood, costume design (The Little Foxes, 2014 Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), six-time Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz, lighting design (Long Day’s Journey Into Night, An American in Paris, Once, Aida, The Coast of Utopia, The Glass Menagerie) and Shannon Slaton, sound design (Present Laughter, The Humans). Casting is by Stewart/Whitley.

For more information, including the 2017–2018 touring schedule, please visit:

Gladys Knight to perform at BPAC March 22

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The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University announces a special addition to the 2017-18 lineup — the “Empress of Soul,” Gladys Knight.

Knight, a winner of seven GRAMMY Awards, possesses one of the richest voices in pop music. She will perform live in concert March 22 at 7:30 p.m. on the BPAC’s main stage.

The concert is locally sponsored by the Bolivar Medical Center.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, Knight created a string of memorable hits, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Neither One of US (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye),” “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Rolling Stone magazine listed her among the 100 greatest singers of all time, and she’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Knight has enjoyed No. 1 hits in pop, gospel, R&B and adult contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. She loves to perform, beaming her trademark smile as she connects with audiences on an intimately emotional level.

Tickets to see Knight are on sale now at www.bolognapac.com or by contacting the BPAC Ticket Office at 662-846-4626.