Delta State hails new student chief

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Delta State University Student Government Association outgoing President Valerie Orcutt (at left), a junior nursing major of Lorman, presents the president’s gavel to recently elected Student Government President, Emily Jennings, a junior political science major of Clinton. The presentation of the gavel and the inauguration of elected Student Government Association officers was held this past week at the Lena Roberts Sillers Chapel on the Delta State campus.




Top scholars to be recognized at Delta State

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Dr. Susan M. Glisson

Delta State University’s top scholars will be recognized, Thursday, April 27 at 10:15 a.m., as part of the university’s annual Academic Honors Day, in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus. 

Dr. Susan M. Glisson, Director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, will keynote the event.

She received a bachelor’s degree in religion in 1989, a bachelor’s degree in history in 1992 from Mercer University, a master’s degree in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi in 1994, and a doctorate in American Studies from the College of William and Mary in 2000.  She specializes in the history race and religion in the United State, especially in the black struggle for freedom.

Glisson served as the assistant director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi from 1998 to 2002.  In 1998, she coordinated the only deep-South public forum for One America: the President’s Initiative on Race at the University of Mississippi, which led to the creation of the Institute for Racial Reconciliation. 

In November, 2002, Glisson was appointed to direct the renamed William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.  She has been serving communities throughout the state since the institute’s inception.  She directs the civil rights memorial project at UM as well as the University’s Open Doors Oral History project.  She helped coordinate the Open Doors integration observance at Ole Miss in 2002-2003.  She is the faculty advisor to the Student Leadership Council (SLC), a student advisory group for the WWIRR.

Most recently, Glisson helped a broad-based, multiracial task force in Neshoba County commemorate the sacrifices of three civil rights workers murdered there forty years ago during Freedom Summer and to call for justice in their case.  That call helped prod the first state murder trial and resulted in a conviction this past June.  She is now supporting an educational reform initiative across the state, using civil rights education to improve academic excellence as well as to promote positive civic engagement.  She successfully spearheaded the recent passage of SB 2718, which directs Mississippi schools to teach civil rights history.

 A Salzburg Fellow, Glisson has been quoted widely in the media including in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, USA Today, the New York Times, and on CNN and NBC.  She has two books forthcoming: “The Human Tradition in Civil Rights” and “First Freedoms: A Documentary History of the First Amendment Rights in America,” co-written with Sam Chaltain and Charles Haynes. 

The event is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow. For more information, please contact Delta State’s Office of University Relations at (662) 846-4675.




Delta State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss choirs partner to present choral masterworks

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 Dr. Richard Waters, director of choral activities at Delta State UniversityDr. Donald Trott, director of choral activities at the University of MississippiDr. Gregory Fuller, director of choral activities at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

As a culminating event to its month-long festival celebrating students’ artistic talent, “Arts in April,” Delta State University, through its music department and Special Programs Committee, will present “Three by Three: Three Choral Masterworks by Three Choirs,” on Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus.

Sponsored in part by Cellular South and the BPAC, the concert will feature the Delta State University Chorale, the University of Mississippi Concert Singers, and the University of Southern Mississippi Chorale, with the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

The 150-voice choir and 50-member orchestra will perform “Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “Schicksalslied” (“Song of Destiny”) by Johannes Brahms, and “Choral Fantasy” by Ludwig van Beethoven. 

In addition, the USM Symphony Orchestra will present Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture.”  The choirs and orchestra will be led by Dr. Richard Waters, director of choral activities at Delta State University; Dr. Donald Trott, director of choral activities at the University of Mississippi; and Dr. Gregory Fuller, director of choral activities at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

“The large performing forces, combined with the variety of repertoire, ranging from serene to triumphant, will make this one of the musical highlights of the year,” promised Waters.

The choirs and orchestra will present the same program at all three campuses during the last week of April.  “We thought this would be a special and unique way to collaborate and showcase our talented students at different locations across the state,” Waters continued.  “We have been planning for this event since the fall of 2004.  To be able to finally present the finished product for an audience is quite exciting.”

Tickets are on sale at the Bologna Performing Arts Center Box Office and will also be available at the door.  Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 18 and under, and free for all Delta State faculty, staff and students with proper identification.

The concert will be followed by a gala reception in the BPAC lobby sponsored by the Delta State Special Programs Committee.

For more information, please contact the BPAC ticket office at (662) 846-4626 or the Delta State music department at (662) 846-4615. 





Delta State ‘Mudbug Celebration’ set, all invited

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The Bolivar County Alumni Association’s Crawfish Boil Planning Committee met recently to discuss the annual “Mudbug Celebration,” scheduled for Thursday, May 4. Pictured (l. to r., front row) Ryan Short; Bill Quinton, chapter president; Callie Towles; (l. to r., back row) Paul Mancini; Jim Avery; Rileyann Smith; and Michael Aguzzi. Not pictured Johnny Arnold.


The Delta State University Bolivar County Alumni Chapter will host its annual “Mudbug Celebration,” Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House.

As part of this year’s Cajun festivities, crawfish races will return after a successful debut last year. Ten crawfish, provided by Dr. Jim Avery of Stoneville, will compete in three heats. The crawfish, each bearing the name of a different Delta State head coach, will be let go in the middle of a circle and the first to make it to the edge will be victorious. Races are slated to begin at 6:45 p.m.

On the menu for the evening will be crawfish, fried chicken, corn, potatoes and beverages. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person, all you can eat. Casual dress is recommended.

The night’s program also includes special recognition of all Delta State head coaches.

All alumni, friends and community members are invited to attend. For more information on the 2006 Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil, please contact Vicki Fioranelli, Director of Alumni, at (662) 846 – 4660. Attendees are encouraged to stop by the Alumni House, Highway 8, to purchase advance tickets.


Delta State to award Hollywood icon Morgan Freeman honorary degree

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His list of accomplishments is long; his list of accolades even longer. And on Saturday, May 13, as part of Delta State University’s 79th Spring Commencement services, Hollywood icon, Morgan Freeman, will add an honorary degree from Delta State to his already impressive résumé.

“It will be an honor to have Morgan Freeman on campus to accept his degree, and it is an honor for Delta State University to recognize such a quality humanitarian with this degree,” Delta State President, Dr. John Hilpert offered. “Mr. Freeman’s commitment to the Delta has been steadfast and solid. He has never forgotten his native roots and we applaud him for that.”

Delta State University will be awarding its third-ever honorary degree to Freeman Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on the Delta State campus. He will be receiving the honorary doctorate of Arts and Letters, for which he was unanimously approved by the Institutions of Higher Learning’s Board of Trustees.

It was specified, during the call for nominations, that persons nominated for an honorary degree should be only individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally, or other areas of society. Expected areas of achievement included, but were not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments, or exceptional philanthropic support.

Freeman’s qualifications far exceeded the requirements, as with his authoritative voice and trademark cool, calm and collected demeanor, the ever popular Mississippi native has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern American cinema.

He first appeared on television as several characters including Easy Reader, Mel Mounds and Count Dracula on the Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) show, “The Electric Company.” It wouldn’t take long for Freeman to move from the small screen to the silver screen, and after small but still quality roles in different film titles, he earned his first, real distinction in 1987. That year, he garnered what would be one of four Oscar nominations for his portrayal of a merciless hoodlum in “Street Smart.”

Freeman continued to dazzle, both, audiences and critics in one of the most endearing and memorable characters of his career, Hoke Colburn, the patient and dignified chauffeur opposite a moody pensioner, played by the late Jessica Tandy, in “Driving Miss Daisy.” He would garner a second Oscar nomination for the role.

That same year, 1989, Freeman teamed with Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington in the epic Civil War drama, “Glory.” His star continued to rise in the early 1990s, highlighted most notably by his role in the Clint Eastwood directed, “Unforgiven.” The film garnered three Oscars, including best picture and a directing award for Eastwood.

Freeman’s dependably delivered work did not go unnoticed, as strong scripts with challenging roles continued to find the veteran actor. In 1994, he depicted a knowledgeable inmate who befriends the falsely accused banker, Tim Robbins, in the uplifting “The Shawshank Redemption.” His performance yielded yet another Oscar bid, but it wasn’t until 2005 that Freeman finally accepted a golden statuette from the Academy.

He again teamed up with good friend, Eastwood, to appear in the heart-wrenching drama, “Million Dollar Baby.” Freeman’s on-screen performance as ex-prize fighter Eddie “Scrap Iron” Dupris, was critically acclaimed and impressed the Academy’s voters enough to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

In addition to his film work, his commanding yet mellifluous voice has also led Freeman to be cast to narrate or host dozens of first-rate television specials covering topics from the American Civil War, the American Film Institute, the White House and most special to him – the blues.

Freeman’s restaurant, Madidi, which he co-owns with local attorney, Bill Luckett, is located in Clarksdale, the heart of the Mississippi Delta and most proclaimed for its rich blues history. In addition, the tandem opened Ground Zero Blues Club in 2001.

Freeman and his wife, Myrna Colley-Lee, currently reside in Charleston (Miss.).

Delta State’s commencement ceremony is not open to the public, as seating is limited and reserved to the graduates’ families and friends only. Each graduate has been allotted eight tickets.

However, in an effort to accommodate overflow possibilities, Delta State has arranged for extra seating in the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Attendees will be able to view the ceremony through a live-broadcast feed to the theater.  

For more information on Delta State’s 79th Commencement exercises, please contact University Relations at (662) 846-4675.