Thompson speaks with Okra Scholars

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Delta State’s group of Okra Scholars students received a special visit Wednesday from U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.

Thompson was on campus for the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series to speak about the 2016 national elections.

Congressman Thompson spoke to students and mentors about how various cultures view politics.

Dr. Jon Westfall, coordinator of Okra Scholars, said it was a great opportunity for the students to interact with a U.S. congressman.

“One of the key areas that Okra Scholars focuses on is culture, and it is vital to understand how our government works to understand how it shapes our cultural viewpoints,” said Westfall. “With the election on everyone’s mind, it is vital our students have access to our leaders, to better understand our country.”

“It is the duty of all citizens and guests of the United States to know how our government operates, and while textbooks and news channels may provide some of this, there is no substitution for hearing it from the source,” he added. “There are only 535 members of Congress — and we cannot miss opportunities to hear their views, as we’re the ones empowering them to act on our behalf.”

Westfall said Okra Scholars embraces a holistic approach to student preparedness, and while academic preparation and career readiness are often stressed, it is culture that will influence the lives of Delta State students far more than grades or job titles.

To learn more about Okra Scholars, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/student-success-center/okra-scholars/.

About Okra Scholars: In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education announced funding to launch the First in the World program. Delta State University was one of only 24 institutions selected and the only institution in Mississippi to receive funding. DSU received a four-year, $1.6 million grant to implement Okra Scholars. By incorporating innovative learning strategies into four-year personalized learning pathways, Okra Scholars works to increase the retention, engagement, on-time graduation and employability of DSU students.

Handel’s “Messiah” to be performed at Delta State

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Zeigel Hall on the campus of Delta State is currently filled with the sounds of one of the most beloved musical works of all time, “Messiah,” by George Frideric Handel.

The Delta Chorale, Delta Singers Okramen and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale are learning the masterwork for a performance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

Across town on Monday nights at First United Methodist Church, the Delta Choral Union is learning the same music in preparation for a grand collaboration that will take shape over the next three weeks, culminating in the concert performance.

Dr. Adam Potter, director of Choral Activities at Delta State and the conductor of the Delta Chorale and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale, is the music director for the performance. He will share the podium with ElizaBeth Beckham, conductor of the Delta Choral Union, and Kevin Tharp, conductor of the Delta Singers Okramen.

“There is no better way to kick off the holiday season than with a gala choral performance like this,” said Potter. “We are so excited to bring ‘Messiah’ to the Delta.”

The Delta Chorale is the premier touring vocal ensemble at Delta State. Comprised of approximately 40 mixed voices, it performs frequently both on and off campus. Its repertoire features high-quality choral music from diverse styles, musical eras, languages and cultures. The chorale has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Delta Singers encompasses two separate choirs, the Okramen men’s choir and Women’s Chorale, which perform together frequently. These non-auditioned choirs provide singers an opportunity to learn many styles of music and also focus on developing vocal and musicianship skills. They also serve as lab choirs for advanced student conductors.

The Delta Choral Union is an adult volunteer community choir based in Cleveland. It has a proud history of excellent singing and highly-anticipated concerts. Beckham serves as its music director.

For this performance, the Delta State University choral program has hired a full roster of professional string players from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra to accompany the choirs. Their concertmaster will be Anne-Gaëlle Ravetto, instructor of violin at Delta State.

Department of Music faculty Josh Armstrong, Shelley Collins, Michael Ellzey, Bret Pimentel and Kumiko Shimizu will complete the orchestra in the wind, percussion and continuo sections.

The performance will also feature professional artists presenting the vocal solos Handel interspersed between the choruses. Laurissa Backlin, soprano, is currently an assistant professor of music at Delta State. Chad Payton, countertenor, is an assistant professor of voice at Capital University in Ohio (former DSU faculty from 2011-16). Jamie Dahman, tenor, joined the DSU voice faculty this fall. Patton Rice, bass-baritone, is the director of vocal music at the Mississippi School of the Arts and a frequent soloist with Mississippi Opera.

Tickets for this event are available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center box office or at choir.deltastate.edu. They are $15 for adults, $10 for DSU faculty and staff, and $5 for students and senior citizens.

This performance has been made possible by a generous donation from Margaret Heard Walker.

Delta State ranks in top 50 for MBA program

By | Academics, College of Business, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

TopManagementDegrees.com recently ranked Delta State University in its annual ranking of the top 50 most affordable MBA programs.

Delta State came in at No. 47 overall, and was the only school in Mississippi to receive recognition.

The ranking is designed to find the best and most affordable on-campus MBA degrees available nationwide. A list of over 1,000 MBA programs was obtained and then vetted based on accreditation and estimated tuition costs.

According to TMD, an MBA is one of the most sought after graduate business degrees in the world. It not only covers the most critical topics in business and management within its curriculum, but it can fast-track professionals into a management career.

To view the full rankings, visit http://www.topmanagementdegrees.com/rankings/most-affordable-mba-programs-2017/.

TopManagementDegrees.com education rankings are designed to help prospective students make a smart choice about where to invest their time and money. They are committed to connecting people to inspiring ideas and high quality educational opportunities.

Learn more about Delta State’s College of Business at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business.

Leflore crowned Miss DSU

By | Student Government Association, Students | No Comments

Miss Delta State University 2017 was crowned Oct. 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus. Hannah Leflore, a junior speech and hearing sciences major from Greenwood will represent Delta State at the Miss Mississippi Pageant in 2017.

Leflore sang “Mississippi” by Daniel Nail for the talent portion of the competition. Her platform is “Using Music to Teach.” In the upcoming months, she will be busy visiting different local and state schools promoting her platform.

Contestants at the pageant competed in five categories: private interview, evening gown, swimsuit, talent and on-stage question.

The Miss Delta State University Pageant is produced by the University Pageant Board and sponsored by the Student Government Association.

AAUW hosts self defense training

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

The American Association of University Women recenlty sponsored a self defense training with the hope of giving college women access to additional safety tips while away from home.

Brandie Hudson of the Bolivar County Sheriff Department conducted the hands-on tactical training emphasizing the need for women to pay attention to their surroundings.

The class included proper usage of mace, tasers and other weapons. Students also received safety apps training from Antoinette Williams, a computer information systems graduate of Delta State. Williams provided instructions on downloading safety apps on personal cellphones, arming students with an additional sense of security during this holiday season.

The number of sexual assaults, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking cases on college campuses are required to be published as a part of the Campus SaVE Act, which addresses campus sexual assault policies within the Higher Education Act of 1965. The act also require schools to have prevention measures in place to include counseling, health services, school disciplinary proceedings and legal options.

“The AAUW sees this self defense training as a way of giving back to Delta State University for giving us an opportunity to promote our efforts of voting rights, domestic violence awareness, more women in STEM fields and pay equity,” said Dr. Glendscene Williams, president of the AAUW Cleveland branch.

Students are welcome to join AAUW for free. For more information, contact Williams at gwillims@deltastate.edu.