BPAC turns Red and Green with new holiday show

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Rhythmic Circus will present a brand new holiday experience with their show Red and Green at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

A performance for all ages, Red and Green will leave audiences excited with the joy of the holidays. The four world-renowned tap dancers and a swinging, seven-piece band fuse their signature style into holiday classics with a groovy twist. Red and Green is a song and dance celebration of the holiday season the entire family can enjoy.

Combining Rhythmic Circus’s signature style of rapid-fire tap with well-known music, Red and Green is a holiday spectacular packed full with memorable, genre-hopping holiday melodies to set the festive mood of the season. Red and Green captures the spirit of the holidays with a wildly imaginative beatboxing rendition of “The Grinch,” a full-cast performance of “Linus and Lucy” (A Charlie Brown Christmas), five new originals and a bright mash-up medley entitled “Toy Soldier March” in which the dancers and musicians are adorned in colorful soldier attire, performing a syncopated percussive dance sequence at eye-popping speeds.

Imaginations will be inspired to rediscover everything they love about the holiday season in this new holiday spectacular. Prior to the performance, kids can enjoy cookies with Santa in the Bologna Performing Arts Center lobby.

Don’t miss what the New York Times says is “Fast, furious footwork!”

Tickets to see Red and Green are $25-35, and discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are on sale now at www.bolognapac.com or at the BPAC Ticket Office at (662) 846-4626.

Delta State University Herbarium pays tribute to Dr. Henry J. Jacob

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Delta State University has announced a new display that honors the scientific contributions of Dr. Henry J. Jacob, former dean of education, who collected more than 2,000 plant specimens for the Delta State University Herbarium during the late 1940s to mid 1970s.

The specimens he collected are from many parts of Mississippi including Bolivar, Harrison, Oktibbeha and Tishomingo counties. Beyond state lines, Jacobs also collected plants from Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and more. Plant specimens include basal angiosperms; monocots (orchids, grasses, sedges), ferns; eudicots (legumes, mints, yarrows, hickories, and hawthornes) and lichens.

Many of the specimens he collected remained in the newspapers he used on upon collecting; often these newspapers only contained the date and location. The majority of Jacob’s specimens were ignored until Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding and some Delta State students discovered their importance and started work on them.

Countless numbers of laboratory hours have been dedicated to mounting them on herbarium paper, identifying them, and updating information so that they could be digitized and incorporated  into herbarium databases including SERNEC – Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (http://sernecportal.org/portal/) as well as the Delta State University Herbarium website (http://ntweb.deltastate.edu/jtift/dsuherbarium/).

Dr. Mac Alford, botanist at the University of Southern Mississippi, has helped Baghai-Riding identify many of Jacob’s specimens. Many of Jacob’s specimens are being used in constructing a Plant Atlas on Mississippi Plants that will possess more than 8,000 species. According to Alford, some of the species that Dr. Jacob collected from the Mississippi Gulf Coast are rare or endangered.

The display, designed by University Archivist Emily Jones, honors Jacob’s scientific contribution to the Delta State University Herbarium.  The display is located by the Jacob Conference Center in Ewing. The display will be up through Dec. 15. Contact Baghai-Riding at nbaghai@deltastate.edu for more information about the Delta State University Herbarium and environmental science program.

Entrepreneurs turn to Mississippi public universities for assistance

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Small businesses are an important economic driver in Mississippi. The Mississippi Small Business Profile, 2017, published by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, reports that Mississippi small businesses employed 432,231 people, or 47.7 percent of the private workforce, in 2014 and that small businesses created 5,423 net jobs in 2014.

The report also noted that 1,371 establishments started up in the second quarter of 2015, generating 6,454 new jobs in Mississippi.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Mississippi, but taking the first step to turn an idea into a business can be daunting. Mississippi Public Universities are here to help the next generation of entrepreneurs take that first step and support them along their journey.

The University of Mississippi’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship works to inspire and assist students in creating new businesses by providing the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to becoming successful entrepreneurs. The center’s activities including coordinating scholarships and internships for students, providing guest speakers to inspire and mentor students, and sponsoring the annual Gillespie Business Plan Competition, which earns startup funds for winning entrepreneurs.

The Trent Lott National Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Mississippi works with public entities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals to plan and implement activities designed to generate jobs and income. Special consideration is given to rural, impoverished areas of Mississippi. The center provides client-requested assistance and offers expertise in strategic planning and leadership development; education and training; community analysis and research; and other technical support.

At Mississippi State University, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach in the College of Business provides a world-class launch pad for startup ventures. The 12,000 square foot facility provides expansive collaboration space, offices, meeting areas and workstations. Built through $6 million in endowments and private donations, the E-Center and business incubator has helped students from 40 different majors start their own businesses.

Cross-discipline faculty serves a vital role in preparing entrepreneurs to tackle evolving technology and understand economic demands. They help refine ideas through a standardized track resulting in step-by-step game plans for implementation.

Programming includes the opportunity to network and possibly connect with future business co-founders, while alumni offer guidance from the business world. Through an executive-in-residence program, regional senior business leaders and entrepreneurs keep in-person and remote office hours for entrepreneurs seeking advice and encouragement. Other offerings include quick-start workshops help move projects through the development pipeline, assistance developing prototypes and the opportunity to participate in state and national competitions that provide valuable market testing.

In January, Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center received a $300,000 grant from the NoVo Foundationto work with young women of color throughout the South in conjunction with Natalie Collier and the Lighthouse project. Founded by a gift from businessman Warren Buffett, the NoVo Foundation – “Novo” the latin word that can mean to make anew, refresh, revive, change, alter, invent – states that its mission is to foster a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership, according to the foundation’s website.

The Lighthouse project targets southern girls with a goal to create a more balanced, equitable world by changing social attitudes, relationships and institutions that perpetuate injustice for girls and young women of color in the South.

An outreach of The University of Southern Mississippi Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education, the Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) youth series is a statewide event designed to provide students with an introduction to the entrepreneurial mindset, as well as the wealth of opportunities that exist in Mississippi.

Advancing innovation and entrepreneurship education in Mississippi, the SEP has provided interactive training sessions for more than 4,000 high school students, with topics including opportunity recognition, business planning, and market validation, in its decade of existence.

Following a brief Q&A with guest entrepreneurs, student teams are presented with a unique Innovation Challenge, yet to be disclosed. Some challenges required student teams to identify a business opportunity within their individual high schools and develop strategies for launching new school-based enterprises.

The 10 highest scoring teams during the live event advance to an online round of voting, where the top three ideas receive seed funding, provided through the generous support of Georgia-Pacific Leaf River Cellulose, to help make their ideas a reality.

Delta State University hosts an annual Summer Youth Entrepreneurship Program. The program, in partnership with the Indianola Promise Community, is sponsored by Delta State University’s College of Business and Aviation. Targeting male students ages 15-19, the camp provides instruction in business vocabulary and practical work experience to enhance entrepreneurial skills and develop work ethics. The IPC is funded by the Delta Health Alliance.

University leaders receive Seven Seals Award

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Leaders of Mississippi’s public universities received The Seven Seals Award at the Board of Trustees meeting held today in Jackson. The Award was presented by the Mississippi Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (MSESGR) in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission. Major General Janson D. Boyles, Adjutant General of Mississippi, presented the awards.

MSESGR is a Department of Defense office that is led and operated by dedicated volunteers and staff. Its mission is to gain and maintain employer support for the Guard and Reserve. The organization has more than 70 volunteers across the state and reaches out to employers and service members in areas such as employer outreach, military outreach, public affairs, mediation, training, and employment initiative programs.

General Janson D. Boyles, Adjutant General of Mississippi, presents the Seven Seals Award to university leaders. Pictured left to right are:

  • President Al Rankins, Alcorn State University
  • President Bill LaForge, Delta State University
  • President Will Bynum, Jackson State University
  • President Mark Keenum, Mississippi State University
  • Major General Janson D. Boyles, Adjutant General of Mississippi
  • Dr. Tim Lea, Director of Veteran Services, Copiah-Lincoln Community College
  • President Jim Borsig, Mississippi University for Women
  • President Jerryl Briggs, Mississippi Valley State University
  • Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter, University of Mississippi
  • President Rodney Bennett, The University of Southern Mississippi

TFA Graduate Fellows Program hosts Ballot & Brunch

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The Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State University hosted “Ballot & Brunch” Nov. 11 at the Delta Meat Market in Cleveland.

Guests were invited to become active participants in re-imagining Mississippi with the TFA Graduate Fellows.

The program is a collaboration between Delta State and TFA. The fellowship’s role is to retain TFA alumni in Mississippi by offering the opportunity to continue their education in graduate school at DSU and to nurture their passion for enhancing the state.

The fellowship is a two-year program that currently has two cohorts for a total of 19 TFA alumni. Each fellow is pursuing their individualized social entrepreneurship project (SE) that addresses local issues.

“These folks are actively using their unique skills and passion, and applying it to the betterment of Mississippi through their social entrepreneurship projects,” said Harrison Wood, program coordinator for the fellowship.

Each fellow had the opportunity to invite individuals to the Ballot & Brunch who they consider to be mentors, collaborators or stakeholders in their SE project. TFA staff, DSU coordinators and potential future TFA fellows were also in attendance.

“It was a powerful event to experience,” Wood said. “Everyone in the space was invited because our fellowship believes that they are actively using their passions and work to better our wonderful Mississippi. In the room, we had people who were responsible for the creation of this opportunity. There were many folks representing TFA and DSU, and many were considered to be mentors and stakeholders to our TFA Fellows.”

The brunch was a brainstorming opportunity for attendees to propose ideas for advancing Mississippi followed by a pitch/networking competition among the fellows and their projects.

After brunch, each fellow presented a powerful one-minute pitch about their SE project. During the pitch, they addressed the Mississippi community that is being served, the need the project is meeting, and how they plan to execute their project. Participants then provided visuals of their projects set up in the space.

Once guests were able to network with the fellows, everyone had the opportunity to vote on the SE project they would support and like to see come to fruition.

The top-three presenters received a scholarship stipend to bring their projects to reality:

1st Place ($500)– Jeremiah Smith, Rosedale with Rosedale Freedom Project
2nd Place ($400) – Charlotte Arrowsmith, Greenwood with Open Minds
3rd Place ($300) – Lucas Rapisarda, Rosedale with Rosedale Freedom Project Outdoor Program

In addition to the Ballot & Brunch winners, the program able to award nine fellows with the Supply Stipend Award. The fellows were given the opportunity to apply for up to $3,000 of awards that will be dedicated to the advancement of their project.

“The TFA Graduate Fellows Program is thrilled to be able to support the TFA Fellows social entrepreneurship projects outside of providing university resources, formal mentorship, cohort collaboration, and community service opportunities,” said Wood. “Supporting them financially with the Supply Stipend Award is evidence that the fellowship actively supports the changemaking efforts they are working towards in a real tangible way.”

The project is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.

For more information on the program, visit www.tfafellows.com.