Two from Delta State honored at Jackson luncheon

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Clifton Wingard and Valerie Orcutt.

Seventy-two outstanding students and faculty members from 36 Mississippi public and private universities and colleges, including Delta State University’s honorees, Dr. Clifton Wingard and Valerie Orcutt, received special recognition from the Mississippi Legislature today during the 19th Annual HEADWAE program. 

HEADWAE, Higher Education Appreciation Day/Working for Academic Excellence, was established in 1988 by legislative resolution to honor individual academic achievement and the overall contribution of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.

“The Mississippi Legislature, the corporate community and others involved in higher education are given the opportunity to recognize the academic achievements of outstanding students and faculty at our institutions of higher learning,” said Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck, HEADWAE chair. “These honorees, through their personal and academic achievement, demonstrate that a quality education can be found right here in Mississippi’s colleges and universities.”

Following a visit to the State Capitol, where they were welcomed and recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives, honorees took part in an awards luncheon with Blake Wilson, President of the Mississippi Economic Council, serving as keynote speaker. Also participating in the luncheon program were:  Speaker of the House, Representative Billy McCoy; President Pro-Tem of the Senate, Senator Travis Little; Speaker Pro-Tem of the House of Representatives, Representative J.P. Compretta; Representative Charles Young; and Dr. David L. Beckley, President of Rust College and the Mississippi Association of Colleges.

An associate professor of mathematics at Delta State, Wingard is now in his 10th year of service at the University, having arrived on campus in the fall of 1996. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Belhaven College in 1985. He received his master’s and doctorate degree from the University of Mississippi in 1991 and 1995, respectively. Prior to joining the faculty at Delta State, Wingard had teaching stints at Calhoun City High School in Calhoun and Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla. His professional memberships include the American Mathematical Society, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association of America, for which he is the newsletter editor for the Louisiana/Mississippi section.

A senior nursing major and current SGA president, Orcutt has proven herself an active and positive young leader on the DSU campus. A member of Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, the Catholic Student Association and the Student Nurses Association, she has volunteered to take blood pressures at various Cleveland functions, while also volunteering her time at local nursing homes. In 2005, she was recognized as the Kappa Delta Collegiate Community Service Award recipient. The Lorman native is now in her third year as a retreat team leader for the Mississippi Colleges Catholic Retreat.

Voted on by Delta State’s Academic Council, the HEADWAE award is given to one student and one faculty member annually.



Delta State’s International Business Symposium proves successful

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Delta State University’s International Business Symposium featured four top ranking international business professionals, including (from l. to r.) David Abney, UPS International President; Peter White, Founder and President of The Southern Center for International Studies; Mylle Mangum, Chairman and CEO of International Banking Technologies Enterprises; and Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig, Director of the Global Perspectives Program at Goizueta Business School of Emory University.

With a combined, two-day attendance of over 2,200 participants, Delta State University’s International Business Symposium proved an overwhelming success in its inaugural debut.

Presented through its College of Business and Division of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration, Delta State’s International Business Symposium opened Thursday, March 2 and concluded just before lunch, Friday, March 3 inside the State Room of the H.L. Nowell Union Building on the campus.

The symposium was sponsored by David Abney and wife, Sherry, both Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta. Abney is President of UPS International and a 1976 Delta State alumnus.

He keynoted the symposium’s opening night, detailing what it takes to “Win in a Global World.” As President of UPS International, Abney is responsible for the strategic development and management of UPS’s international package division and as part of UPS’s Management Committee, he is also responsible for overseeing UPS’s international package services within the United States. A well recognized speaker on international topics, his resume includes recent presentations at the Southeast U.S. Trade Conference in Tokyo, the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and the Shanghai Executive Leadership Program.

It was the Abneys’ generous gift that helped initially launch Delta State’s International Business and Development program this fall. Designed to prepare students for the constantly expanding world of business, the International Business and Development program aims at providing students with the necessary skills and understanding to succeed in the international business arena.

To that end, the International Business Symposium focused on providing an introduction to the international aspect of business, including the future of business through the expansion of organizations to an international environment, to both current Delta State students and symposium participants.

The symposium’s Friday morning agenda included presenters Mylle Mangum, Chairman and CEO of International Banking Technologies Enterprises; Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig, Director of the Global Perspectives Program at Goizueta Business School of Emory University; and Peter White, Founder and President of The Southern Center for International Studies.  The three proved their billing as top ranking international business professionals whose knowledge of the field is renowned and experience spans the globe.

Mangum addressed a packed State Room audience to discuss “Building your Global Experience for Tomorrow’s World.” A graduate of Emory University, Mangum, prior to her current position,  held executive management positions in internationally renowned organizations, such as True Marketing Services, MMS Incentives, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Holiday Inn Worldwide, BellSouth Corporation and General Electric Company. She serves on the board of directors for Scientific Atlanta, Payless ShoeSource, Haverty Furniture Companies, The Barnes Group, Respironics, and Emageon.

An energetic and obviously passionate Rosensweig took to the podium next, addressing “Global Trends that will Impact your Future.” An international finance professor, his research, teaching, and consulting focus is business in the global economy. He also specializes in financial, macroeconomic, and business forecasting and is frequently quoted in the national business press on economics, exchange rates, international trade and investment, finance and global investing topics.

Finally, White closed the symposium, discussing “Getting from Here to There.” A graduate from Fordham University, he attended the Academy of International Law at The Hague and the National War College. He has over 30 years of experience in international programming, and also advises a number of governors, university, and state government officials and corporations. He has traveled extensively throughout, Asia, Europe, the former Soviet Union, The Middle East, and Africa. Since its inception, the SCIS has played a leading role in developing the international infrastructure that exists today in the southeastern region of the United States. Through its Peabody Award winning annual conference series, educational materials, workshops, and other programs, SCIS promotes global awareness and understanding by placing important international issues on the national public addenda.

Dr. Cooper Johnson, Chair for the Division of Management, Marketing and Business Administration at Delta State, offered final remarks before the symposium adjourned. “We thank our esteemed speakers for providing valuable insight into the world of international business. We would also like to thank the Delta State University Foundation for their continued and dedicated support.”

For more information on the International Business and Development program at Delta State, please contact Jayme Long at (662) 846-4420 or




Art from the Heart supply drive now underway

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Dr. Luther Brown, Director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, looks over art supplies that have been donated for young children living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Through the Center, volunteers will be collecting art supplies through March 10.  Supplies will be donated to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, an organization that works with schools on the Coast to encourage shared learning experiences and enrich the hearts and minds of children.  Needed items include construction paper, glue sticks, markers, colored foil paper, pipe cleaners, ribbon, and any other arts and crafts materials.  Donations can be dropped off at the Delta Center for Culture and Learning in Ewing Hall, Room. 130. For more information, please contact Tamika Eatmon at (662) 846-4328 or e-mail 


Wildlife Management option now available at Delta State University

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Dr. Jeff Duguay, assistant professor of biology at Delta State University, will teach introduction wildlife courses as part of the University’s newly approved wildlife management concentration in the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences.


The Delta State University Academic Council recently approved a wildlife management concentration within the Environmental Science major. To be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences in its Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, the wildlife management concentration will offer students with career aspirations in natural resources a new option at Delta State.

Upon completion of the coursework designed for this program, students will have taken the necessary curriculum required by The Wildlife Society, the professional society of wildlife biologists and managers, to be eligible for certification as a certified wildlife biologist.

Students who complete the wildlife management concentration will be able to pursue careers with   both state and federal wildlife agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, private consulting firms, private wildlife organizations, such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wildlife Habitat Council and the Audubon society, as well as many others. Likewise, wildlife management undergraduates can choose to further their studies at the graduate level, pursuing an advanced degree in wildlife management.

At the undergraduate level, students in the wildlife management option will gain hands-on experience in wildlife sampling and habitat management techniques, as courses include introduction to wildlife management, wildlife sampling techniques, wildlife habitat management, ornithology, mammalogy, herpetology, as well as other subject topics. 

“I’m really excited to have this wildlife management option available at Delta State University,” offered Dr. Jeff Duguay, assistant professor of biology.  “The Delta provides an excellent setting for students to learn about wildlife and their management and with Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge so close to campus, students can expect to spent class time in a natural setting.” 

For more information on the wildlife management concentration at Delta State University, please contact Duguay at (662) 846-4242 or email

A detailed listing of the required courses for the Environmental Science: Wildlife Management Concentration is available online from the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences website at:

The Division of Biological and Physical Sciences offers bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, and environmental science and biology education. It also provides pre-professional programs for students preparing for health-related fields, such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy, etc. For complete descriptions of all undergraduate programs, visit the Division on the web at



Delta State Alumni Association remembers Abdo-Breeden, makes call for legacy nominations

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Ava Lee Abdo Breeden,
 2005 Alumni Legacy Award honoree.

The 1931 Lady Statesmen Rabbit Foot Squad (Front row, l. to r.) Sarah Evans, Margaret Wade, Mary Ellen Chapman, Erline Holly, Elizabeth Caldwell (Back row, l. to r.) Dimple Bryan, Wenonah Montgomery, Quinn Gorton, Ava Lee Abdo, Anne Rue Gorton, Evelyn Ezelle, Lorene Jumper

As the Delta State University women’s basketball team continues its bid through NCAA postseason play, it seems only fitting and appropriate to pay homage to the trailblazers of the program.

Delta State recently recognized Ava Lee Abdo Breeden, of Fairborn, Ohio, with the first-ever Alumni Legacy Award. The award, presented by the Alumni Association, is given to an alumnus deserving of the honor for their outstanding and long-lasting contributions to the life and legacy of Delta State University.  Breeden is recognized for the legacy she leaves, as she accomplished many “firsts” at Delta State Teachers College (DSTC).

A native of Leland, she came to DSTC in 1929.  Short on money to attend the college, Breeden made a personal visit to then president, Dr. William Kethley. Kethley was made aware of her outstanding basketball abilities by Dean William H. Ziegel, the then head coach of the Lady Statesman squad, and she was offered a basketball scholarship that would pay room and board, which at that time was $22 per month. 

Recognized as the first women’s basketball player to earn four letters, Breeden proved to be a versatile athlete at DSTC, earning spots on one of the first cheerleading, field hockey and tennis teams. She won the state doubles tennis championship with her partner Wenonah Montgomery, which again, is recognized as one of the first state championships won by a Delta State athletic team.

Despite her versatility and abundant talent, it was women’s basketball that truly remained Breeden’s passion. A teammate to the legendary Margaret Wade, their team earned fame as the “Rabbit Foot Squad.”

As the legend goes, a spectator merely mentioned that the team was on such a winning streak that they must have their lucky “rabbit’s foot” with them. The moniker stuck and the squad would capture the Mississippi Valley Championship in 1930 and 1931 and the state of Mississippi Championship in 1929, 1930 and 1931. 

And even though those early enthusiastic crowds overwhelmed the newly constructed gymnasium, the team and the catchy new title lasted only until 1932. That year, DSU officials discontinued the program, citing, “Intercollegiate basketball for women could not be defended on sound ground.”

It would take almost 40 years for Lady Statesmen basketball to return to the hardwood, as it was Wade, Breeden’s teammate, who initiated Delta State’s resurrection in 1972. The seasons that followed under Wade’s watchful eye, 1973-1979, brought the Lady Statesmen and Delta State into the national spotlight.  The mother of modern women’s basketball, as she would later be known, led Delta State to three consecutive A.I.A.W. National Championships in 1975, 1976 and 1977.

It is that legacy of women’s basketball that Breeden helped perpetuate and a significant factor in her receiving the inaugural Alumni Legacy Award – but not the only reason.

In 1931, Breeden was invited by Ziegel to teach second year French, making her the first DSTC student to be offered a teaching position at her alma mater. Breeden also received the second diploma in 1932 for her outstanding academic achievement, earning the salutatorian distinction. The achievement marked the first Delta State employee to earn that honor.

Following her years at DSTC, Breeden went on to distinguish herself, both, personally and professionally. She retired in 1989 as a GS-12 Contract Specialist/Negotiator at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio where she received numerous honors ranging from the Pentagon to the Dayton Intergovernmental EEO Council to the Hispanic Heritage Committee.

 In 1972, she entered the world of modeling, becoming a runway and tearoom model, while also appearing in various print campaigns. She began playing golf in 1978 and co-chaired golf tournaments that raised scholarship money for deserving students.  Breeden also served as President of the Fairborn (Ohio) Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), where she helped raise money for scholarships for women. She has twice been named ABWA Women of the Year in 1977 and 1998.

The Alumni Association, which is comprised of 21,000 living alumni, is currently accepting nominations for the 2006 Alumni Legacy Award. Nominations can be mailed to the Delta State University Alumni Association, Box 3104, Cleveland, MS 38733 or emailed  Please include your name, address, and phone number.

For more information, please contact the Delta State Alumni Association at (662) 846-4660.