Freedom Plaza dedicated at Delta State’s Parker Field

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A new flagpole and brick structure with a plaque honoring Delta State students-athletes who have fallen in service to the nation was dedicated during halftime ceremonies at the first home game at the Travis E. Parker Field. The “Freedom Plaza” is located at the north end of the football field. The Cleveland Knights of Columbus organization has provided immeasurable assistance in the completion of this project.


Pictured are: (kneeling, from left) Ryan Short, Brad Teague, Gary Gainspoletti, Steve Weis (standing, from left) Dan Short, Bill Quinton, Michael Aguzzi, Michael Lott, Kevin Cox, George Nassar, Marty Bray, Cleveland Mayor David Work, Florencia Ybarra, Louis Ybarra, Ronnie Aguzzi, Andy Lee, James Glorioso, Ben Bailey, and Delta State University President Dr. John M. Hilpert.



DSU partners with Sloan Consortium to offer Hurricane Katrina victims free education online

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Delta State University has joined The Sloan Consortium, an international association of colleges and universities committed to quality online education, in offering students whose studies have been interrupted by Hurricane Katrina an opportunity to continue their education tuition-free.

More than 1,000 students have already requested courses by signing up at

“Most of the students are from institutions based in New Orleans who are hoping to bridge during this difficult time and to return to their home institutions,” said Dave Spence, President of the Southern Regional Education Board. “We are also accepting students who are in the National Guard and will miss their regular fall term as a result of being called to active duty in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

In collaboration with the Southern Regional Education Board and with a $1.1 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the special eight-week accelerated semester provides a wide range of courses to serve the learning needs of students at the community college, university and graduate level, regardless of academic discipline. 

“There are now more than 1,000 courses available for students to choose from,” said Frank Mayadas, Program Director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  “There are more than 200 institutions, from marquee name universities to community colleges who are waiving tuition and fees.” 

All courses carry degree credit from regionally accredited colleges and universities. 

Mayadas says that support is also being offered to institutions who are not directly impacted by the hurricane, but that are struggling to meet the needs of students who have relocated to their campuses. “If a student can’t get a full load or if their host doesn’t offer a specific course, Sloan Semester is a great resource.”

Student registration began Sept. 19, with classes set to begin Oct. 15, 2005.

The Southern Regional Education Board ( headquartered in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. The SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Each state is represented by its governor and four gubernatorial appointees.

The Sloan Consortium ( is the nation’s largest association of institutions and organizations committed to quality online education and administered through Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and Babson College.  Its mission is to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines.  


DSU to host one of five volunteer service forums

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The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) has announced today from its Jackson headquarters, five public forums will be held to announce the availability of federal funds to support new Mississippi AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs.   

Delta State University, along with other educational institutions, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations are all eligible to apply for national service funding.  The forums will begin at 1:30 p.m. in each of the following five cities, with the DSU Center for Community and Economic Development playing host to the Oct. 18 forum.  

Natchez will play host to the Oct. 12 forum, with Tupelo on Oct. 19; Meridian on Oct. 25 and Jackson on Nov. 1.  

AmeriCorps, similar to a domestic Peace Corps, is a national service network that provides opportunities for participants, called members, to serve their communities and assist in building the capacity of nonprofit organizations.  AmeriCorps programs provide human and other resources to local and national nonprofit organizations to build their capacity to meet local needs.   

Grants support organizations that use volunteer service as a strategy for addressing needs while also fostering an ethic of civic responsibility in participants.  These grants initiate, improve, or expand the ability of organizations and communities to provide services to address local unmet environmental, educational, public safety (including disaster preparedness and response), or other human needs.   Within these issue areas, programs may submit proposals that address specific problems of local communities.              

In exchange for a year of service, AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance, health care benefits, child care assistance (if income eligible), and extensive training.  Upon successful completion of the year of service, full-time AmeriCorps members receive an education award of $4,725 to further their higher education or to repay qualified past college loans.

The Mississippi State Program Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service will also participate in these forums and will share information about the AmeriCorps*VISTA and Senior Corps programs.            

To register for any of these forums, including Jackson, or to receive additional information on national service and program eligibility, call or email Judy Stein at (601) 432-6224 or 1-888-353-1793,, or visit the website at   

For more information on a local level, please contact Delta State Center for Community and Economic Development Director, Deborah Moore at (662) 846-4339.    


Delta State alumnus LaForge elected national president-elect of Federal Bar Association

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Add yet another accomplishment in the list of many to Delta State University alumnus William N. (Bill) LaForge’s resume. A shareholder at Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C. specializing in government relations/public policy, LaForge was recently named president-elect of the Federal Bar Association.  He assumed his leadership role at the organization’s annual conference this month in Ft. Lauderdale.  In 2006, he will become national president at the annual convention to be held in Las Vegas in August.

For more than 30 years, LaForge has been involved with the public policy arena at local, state and federal levels and has extensive experience in the processes of government.  On Capitol Hill, LaForge was chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and culminated his government career as Chief Legislative Counsel and Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.  Previously he served as congressional liaison for the Peace Corps and as a legislative assistant to Mississippi Rep. David Bowen.

LaForge is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and State Bar of Mississippi, and he is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court (No.Dist., MS) and the U.S. Supreme Court.  He is also a member of the American League of Lobbyists, and a CLE faculty member for the DC Bar.

LaForge has served the Federal Bar Association as national vice president, treasurer, secretary, deputy secretary, section coordinator, membership committee chair and  government relations committee chair.  He has served as a trustee of the Delta State University and the Pi Kappa Alpha educational foundations, and he is past national president of both the Delta State University Alumni Association and the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He is past president of the Association of Former Senate Aides, and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University.

LaForge graduated with honors with a B.A. in history from Delta State University, and today still cites his DSU education as the foundation to his success. “The terrific, well-rounded education and overall experience I had at Delta State prepared me well for my further studies and career pursuits. Without question, lessons I learned as a Delta State undergraduate have continued to serve me well throughout my career,” he explained. “For me, Delta State is extended family. It’s not like coming home, it is home.”

He would go on to receive his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law, received an LL.M. in international law from Georgetown University, and studied international law at Cambridge University.  He received fellowships to study government and public policy in the European Union and at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  An avid runner and a triathlete, he has completed 60 marathons, including 24 Boston Marathons, and he has logged more than 60,000 miles of running.

Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C. is among the largest business law firms in Texas.  With more than 300 attorneys, the Firm provides regional, national and international clients access to a broad range of business legal services representing more than 30 practice areas.  Winstead has office in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and The Woodlands, Texas; and Washington D.C.  For detailed information about Winstead, visit


Born to Read makes return to Delta State campus

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Born to Read, a program for babies and toddlers up to age three that debuted last year at Delta State University, is scheduled to make its return to campus next week. The program, scheduled to run each Wednesday from Oct. 5 through Nov. 30, will be held at 10 a.m. in the Instructional Resources Center (IRC), located on the first floor of the Roberts-LaForge Library.

Born to Read is armed with a mission to promote literacy, the love of language and to spotlight for parents and caregivers the value and necessity of singing, speaking and reading to babies.  Students from the DSU College of Education will provide the programs each week.  

Emergent or early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually read or write.  Listening to language lays the ground work for reading.  During the enjoyable experience of listening, the child is immersed in language, which is how babies learn to understand words and then to speak them.  Sharing books with young children starts them on the path to language, reading, and writing well before they can understand the printed word.  

Additionally, a child’s brain develops at an incredible rate during the first three years of life.  A child’s early experiences with language contribute to healthy brain development and lay the foundation for learning to read.  Researchers agree that children are more likely to become good readers if they start school with these accomplishments: comprehend and express themselves with a wide range of words; name the letters of the alphabet; and exposure to a wide variety of literary experiences and appreciate books and stories.  

Parents and caregivers are invited to bring their child to participate in the Born to Read program.  Space is limited, so please call the Delta State Library/IRC at (662) 846-4347 or 846-4345 by Oct. 4 to reserve your place in the program.  Each child must be accompanied by a parent or an adult.