Inductees honored at DSU Student Hall of Fame banquet

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The Class of 2017 DSU Student Hall of Fame (front row, left to right): Aja Buckhalter, Alandria Ramsey, Cailon Steward, Allie Rose Parker, (back row, l to r): Tyler Sullivan, Undra Richardson, Hunter Webb and Cody Hawkins.

The Office of Student Affairs recognized student achievement May 5 at the annual DSU Student Hall of Fame banquet.

The DSU Hall of Fame began in 1972 as a way to recognize outstanding students. It is the single highest honor bestowed upon any Delta State student based on outstanding accomplishments in all phases of college life.

This years inductees include: Aja Buckhalter, business administration (Madison); Cody Hawkins, HPER (Olive Branch); Allie Rose Parker, biology/political science (Olive Branch); Alandria Ramsey, HPER (Hernando); Cailon Steward, nursing (Senatobia); Tyler Sullivan, chemistry (Louisville); Hunter Webb, political science (Southaven); and Undra Richardson, child development (Hollandale).

“The Student Hall of Fame is a wonderful way to recognize students who have been scholars and have exhibited a civic and social conscience throughout their matriculation at DSU,” said Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs. “This honor affords students an opportunity to leave a legacy at DSU that will be recognized  forevermore. This year’s inductees have distinguished themselves in the classroom, in student organizations, in athletics, and in the local community. We’re proud of, and grateful for their many contributions to DSU and its community.”

Also recognized at the banquet were Madison Nash, a speech pathology from Tupelo, as the winner of the Wayne Blasnett Award, and Hannah Goudy, a nursing major from Southaven, recipient of the H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Award.

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Wayne Blasnett Award recipient Madison Nash (left to right), Dr. Wayne Blansett, H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Award winner Hannah Goudy and Jeffrey Farris.

 

Spring graduates receive degrees – Fireside Chat

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Joining President LaForge are three students who graduated this past Saturday.

This spring, Delta State awarded degrees to more than 430 students. The university also awarded honorary degrees to Lucy and Paul Janoush. Lucy, who was named Delta State’s Alumnus of the Year in 2015, has been a dedicated supporter of the university and was instrumental in the completion of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. Paul, also an alumnus, has not only supported Delta State, but has been deeply involved in youth and scouting activities in the Bolivar County community.

In other news on campus, it is time again for Delta State’s summer camps, and there are a wide variety of opportunities ranging from athletics to music to art. For more information and to register, visit www.deltastate.edu/summercamps. And, summer school classes begin May 30, and it’s not too late to register. To see a full list of courses available, visit www.deltastate.edu/summerschool.

 

 

President LaForge speaks to city and county boards

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge gave a campus update to the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and the Cleveland Board of Aldermen this past week.

The update included topics such as the strong relationship between the university and the city and county, as well as information on enrollment, the university budget, a tuition increase, university programs and initiatives, and measures being put in place to offset more than $2 million in state budget cuts.

LaForge said he is proud of the cooperative nature of the university’s “town-gown relations.”

“We depend on each other,” LaForge said. “Cleveland provides a home for the DSU family, and the university offers Cleveland the benefits of an educational, cultural, intellectual, musical, athletic, and artistic center.”

He added Delta State helps drive the economy of Cleveland and the area.

“Most of our 545 faculty and staff live in Cleveland, pay taxes, buy groceries, clothes, and gasoline, and enjoy the public services, dining, and entertainment Cleveland offers,” he said.

In addition, Delta State students spend as much as $10,000 a year per student for off-campus purchases, including rental housing.

As part of the update, LaForge also explained the status of the university budget and several measures the university has put in place as a result of state budget cuts over the past fiscal year.

One change to offset the narrowing budget is a seven percent tuition increase, amounting to a $441 increase in yearly tuition for students. Even with the increase, Delta State remains a bargain with a tuition total that is higher than only Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi Valley State University among the state’s public universities.

In April, Delta State announced it will be closing the Derrall Foreman Golf Course on June 30, which will amount to an annual savings of nearly $250,000. The course will remain unused until decisions are made regarding the repurposing of the property.

“In these tight budget times, we can no longer afford to operate a woefully underutilized enterprise that really is not in line with our academic mission,” LaForge said. “Unfortunately, the cost is just too much to justify … I would encourage you to withhold judgment and premature concern until we actually focus on a project; for example, issues such as taxation, flooding and drainage, and zoning will all be addressed at the appropriate time.”

In addition, Delta State will cease operating the Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale, effective June 30. Coahoma Community College, which utilizes the facility in partnership with Delta State, is working to determine if they can continue to operate the CCHEC for an interim period.

The university has also enacted a hiring and spending freeze, is using some reserve funds, will be shutting down some buildings over the summer to save on utilities, and is moving to a four-day work week over the summer.

Additionally, the university is instituting a five percent fee on designated funds, a subset of the general fund. The fee will be assessed in January each year based on the 12-month average balance of the fund.

Other items include a reduction in the Athletics operation budget, re-budgeting of Capital Projects expenditures, a reduction in the E&G Contingency Budget, and an increase in Foundation support.

LaForge announced Delta State will also boost its efforts for a private funding campaign to secure new resources for student success and enrichment, academic excellence, and cultural and social heritage.

In closing, LaForge pointed to Delta State alumni who hold positions of leadership not only locally but nationally.

“Delta State alumni lead and manage the likes of UPS, Charles Schwab, the Casey Family Foundation, our local schools, our Chamber of Commerce, local churches, numerous local businesses, this university, our county, and this city – and that should be a great source of pride for us all,” he said.

Zengaro receives Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Grant

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Italian Americans have a long-rooted tradition in the Mississippi Delta, and their stories will be told in a documentary film by Matteo Zengaro, a sophomore psychology major and history minor at Delta State University.

Zengaro, of Cleveland, is filming a documentary about Italian Americans living in the Delta and was named a grant recipient of the 2017 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum on May 1 for his film depicting the Italian tradition in the Mississippi Delta.

Anthony and Joe Russo are Italian American film and television directors known for directing the popular Marvel franchise movies “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The grant provides $7,500 to fund film projects documenting the Italian American experience to maintain its preservation for future generations.

“It feels really great to be able to receive this grant,” said Zengaro. “It is an honor to me and to my family to represent both Delta State University and the Italian American community of the Delta on a national scale by being selected for this grant. As an Italian American myself, it is important to me to help share and preserve our history for others to learn about.”

Zengaro’s film highlights a culture that has been ingrained within the Delta community, but largely ignored in overall Italian American history. He seeks to tell the story of the sons and daughters of Italians who immigrated to the Delta and how present day Italian Americans keep their ancestors’ culture flowing within their community.

“Very little is known about the Italian American history in the Mississippi Delta,” he added. “Through my documentary, I want to share the Italian American experience of the Mississippi Delta and what keeps the Italian heritage alive in members of the community today. It is important to me to share the stories of those before me, so their history can be preserved. I hope it will bring more attention to the rich Italian culture of the Delta and share their stories with a national audience.”

Applicants from around the United States and Italy submitted proposals. Zengaro was one of seven applicants chosen for 2017. The honor is the first for Delta State University, and Zengaro will submit a copy of the completed film to the Delta State University Archives to preserve the oral stories of Italian history in the Delta.

The other applicants chosen were: Roberto Angotti, a film studies major at Claremont McKenna; David Joseph Higgins, a high school teacher in Staten Island, New York; Kirsten Keppel, a videographer of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society in Washington D.C.; Dylan Maccarone, a documentary film major at Hampshire College; Cristoforo Magliozzi, a master of fine arts candidate in film production at the University of Texas in Austin; and Margaret Sclafani, an anthropology major at Bryn Mawr College/Haverford College.

Three of the seven applicants will be chosen to attend the National Italian American Foundation Gala on Nov. 4, 2017, where the winning film will be announced.

Criminology program ranked in national poll

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Delta State University was recently ranked in SR Education Group’s 2017 Top Online Colleges for Criminology.

Delta State came in at No. 4 in the national poll.

“Our fully online program recognizes the various life commitments that graduate students face and allows them the opportunity to obtain an affordable advanced degree no matter their geographical location,” said Dr. Lauren Norman, assistant professor of criminology and sociology. “By remaining affordable, our program allows individuals to strengthen their understanding of the criminal justice system all while giving back to the community at large.”

The ranking is based on value of online criminology programs at accredited online schools across the nation, taking into consideration academic strength factors along with annual tuition rates in order to provide a list of colleges offering the best value to students.

Making it on this list shows high academic standards and a commitment to affordability, two key factors important to prospective students.

View the full ranking at http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/degrees/criminology#best-value.

SR Education Group created Guide to Online Schools to help students choose the best school for their career aspirations and budget. The organization’s mission is to be the most authoritative online resource for students, dedicated to making objective information about education, careers and college financing easily accessible.