The Delta State University Alumni Association will travel to Southaven for its annual DeSoto County Alumni Event on Aug. 13. at 6 p.m. at the BankPlus Training Center.

Alumni to gather in Desoto County

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The Delta State University Alumni Association will travel to Southaven for its annual DeSoto County Alumni Event on Aug. 13. This year’s event will be held at the BankPlus Training Center and will begin at 6 p.m.

An update from campus will begin at 6:45 p.m., and the Desoto County Scholarship Silent Auction will be open from 6-8 p.m. The cost will be $15 for individuals and $25 for couples. Children are welcome, and kids under 12 eat free.

President William N. LaForge will be the featured guest from campus. Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Vernell Bennett, the Alumni-Foundation staff, as well as other Delta State faculty and staff, will also be in attendance.

Each year, the event has a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the DeSoto County Scholarships, which are awarded to incoming Delta State freshmen from the area. This year’s recipients are Alexis Harrington from Desoto Central High School and Maggie Evans from Southaven High School.

All students interested in attending Delta State University are urged to contact admissions recruiter Katie Shoemaker at 662-846-4020.

Sponsors for the event include:State Farm agents Ryan T. England and Stephanie Morrison; BankPlus; BancorpSouth; Renasant Bank; Northcentral Electric Power; First Security Bank; Cory Uselton; Grapevine Liquor & Wine; and A&B Distributors.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

Dr. Nina L. Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science, recently represented Delta State at the annual Botanical Society of America Conference held in Savannah, Georgia.

Delta State presents at Botanical Society of America Conference

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Delta State University students recently presented at the annual Botanical Society of America Conference held in Savannah, Georgia from July 30 to Aug. 3.

The Botanical Society of America is one of the world’s largest scientific societies dedicated to the study of plants and serves as an umbrella organization that covers all plant specialties including conservation and ecology, historical botany, microbiological interactions, paleobotany, physiology, teaching plant science and more.

This year, more than 1,100 scientists and educators attended the event. Dr. Nina L. Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science at Delta State, represented the university by  presenting three posters that were given at different sections. Two of the posters emphasized research accomplished by students majoring in environmental science at Delta State.

One poster, given at the paleobotany section, was titled “Paleoclimate and Taphonomic Implications of a Palynological Sample from the Bucatunna Formation.” The poster focused on palynomorphs (fossil pollen, spores and algae) from a geological unit that extends from southeastern Mississippi into Florida. The presentation was co-authored by Dr. Brian Axsmith at the University of Southern Alabama in Mobile, Alabama and Kendal Davis, a 2015 Delta State graduate in environmental science.

The second poster, given at the teaching section, was titled “Comparing tree diversity of the main campus to the golf course at Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi.” Seven environmental and biology students were involved in the research, including Emily Bodin, Steven Moreton, Rebekah Napier-Jameson, Megan Clark, Michael Manley, Joseph Cummins and Amanda Bishop. Most of the project was completed in Baghai-Riding’s 2014 conservation biology course.

The third poster was entitled “Digitization of Mississippi herbarium specimens aids in understanding plant diversity in the Southeast and improves K-12 education.” The poster explained how herbarium curators in the state of Mississippi are photographing and inventorying all of the plant specimens in their collections. Delta State is one of six Mississippi herbaria involved in the project and has contributed over 14,500 specimens that are available through the SERNEC Symbiota project (

Abstract submission for all three posters can be viewed at to the Botanical Society of America website:

Baghai-Riding also served as a PLANTS Grant mentor at this year’s conference. She was recognized as the longest serving mentor, having participated in the role for the past seven years. The PLANTS Grant program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Botanical Society of America and brings talented and diverse undergraduates and recently admitted graduate students to the conference.


RESSON to host White Coat Ceremony

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recently announced that 50 schools of nursing across the nation were selected to receive funding support to host White Coat Ceremonies, which emphasize the importance of providing compassionate care among health professionals. Launched in 2013, this ground-breaking collaboration between APGF and AACN was developed to promote humanistic, patient-centered care among future generations of registered nurses.

Delta State University’s Robert E. Smith School of Nursing was one of the 50 schools selected to host the ceremony and the only nursing school in Mississippi to receive this designation.

“By reaching students early in their professional formation with the message that compassion matters, our goal is to ensure that all future healthcare providers see humanism as foundational to their practice,” said Dr. Richard Levin, president and CEO of APGF. “We remain so grateful to the Elaine and Mike Adler family for their enabling support of this crucial collaboration. We are delighted to continue our collaboration with AACN this year, which expands the universe of nursing schools offering White Coat Ceremonies to 210 institutions nationwide.”

Though White Coat Ceremonies have been conducted by medical schools for more than 20 years, the APGF-AACN initiative marks the first time a coordinated effort has been developed to offer similar events at schools of nursing. Nursing joins the growing number of health professions that offer “cloaking” ceremonies, including dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistants among other disciplines.

To date, 160 nursing schools in 46 states plus the District of Columbia have received financial support and guidance to offer a White Coat Ceremony, which typically consists of the recitation of an oath, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests.

Students are also given a specially designed pin that serves as a visual reminder of their oath and commitment to providing high quality care. View the listing of schools selected to participate this year.

 “White Coat Ceremonies highlight the important role compassion plays in providing patient-centered care and improving health outcomes,” said Dr. Juliann Sebastian, chair of the AACN board of directors. “With health care becoming more interprofessional and team-driven, nurses, physicians and other providers must embed humanism in their practice as a way to elevate the patient care experience.”

To learn more about nursing opporunitities at Delta State’s RESSON, visit



Alumni Association welcomes back Delta State “Ole” grads

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The Delta State University Alumni Association will host the 16th annual “Ole” Grad Reunion August 5-6 on the campus of Delta State University.

This year’s event will provide an active schedule, which will feature Delta State Night with guests from campus, a tour of the “Boo” Ferriss Museum, a tour of the Capps Archives & Museum, and a tour of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.

Each year, alumni come from all over the state to attend the reunion. “Ole” grads are alumni of Delta State University who are in the Golden Circle, a prestigious group of graduates who have been alumni for 50 years or more.

“Several ‘Ole’ Delta State grads met at Homecoming in 2000 at the Country Platter in Cleveland and the ‘Ole’ Grad Reunion was born,” said Wayne Lee ’57. “Meeting ‘Ole’ Delta State graduates and friends each year at our reunion keeps the die-hard supporters in touch with each other and creates a special bond that cements a relationship beyond description. The Delta State grads attending our annual reunions dearly love Delta State University for many reasons – not the least being Delta State gave each ‘Ole’ grad a feeling of belonging to a special group and a real and competitive chance in life. We urge all ‘Ole’ Delta State graduates, far and wide, to make plans to attend the 16th annual ‘Ole’ Grad Reunion on the campus of Delta State University.”

The event begins Friday with registration at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni-Foundation House from 5-5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. A silent auction will be open from 5-9 p.m. on Friday and 8 am. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The cost per person is $25 per night. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Anniversary Scholarship. To view the invitation and full schedule of events, visit the website

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).


Concert lineup announced for Levitt AMP CLEVELAND Music Series

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The countdown to an unforgettable season of free concerts under the stars is underway. Today, the Levitt AMP CLEVELAND Music Series announced its impressive lineup of artists who will perform weekly on the Green Space in downtown Cleveland from Aug. 31 through Nov. 3.

Sponsored in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private family foundation that empowers communities to transform public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music, the Levitt AMP CLEVELAND Music Series will present 10 free, family-friendly concerts. The series will feature a diverse lineup of high caliber talent spanning genres such as soul, Celtic, jazz, country, pop, Americana and more.

Kicking off the series at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 is Southern Komfort Brass Band. Since the band formed in 2010, Jacksonians have fallen in love with Southern Komfort’s clever takes on cover songs at their performances at festivals, parades, and many of the best venues around the city. While the nine-piece band plays plenty of classic jazz favorites and original tunes, Southern Komfort is also known for applying its signature New Orleans sound to tracks from other genres, such as Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” James Brown’s “ I Feel Good” and Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dream.”

Also scheduled to perform is Taylor Henry on Sept.8. Henry has dedicated his life to using his voice to express his story and emotions in a way that will resonate with people everywhere. He has shared the stage with Blake Shelton, Bo Bice and The Charlie Daniels Band. Future Thieves takes the stage Sept. 22. Future Thieves has been around for two years, yet in that brief time, they have stirred up plenty of attention from fans through Music City and from onstage performances at Bonnaroo and Summerfest. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band follows on Sept. 27. Bands have been covering Beatles tunes for decades, but none like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band. Imagine the music of the Fab Four shaken up with infusions of bluegrass and jazz and topped off with a classical twist. The result: a satisfying musical cocktail. Street Corner Symphony will highlight the Oct. 13 show. Street Corner Symphony is an a cappella group based out of Nashville, Tennessee. They became internationally known in 2010 after becoming runners up on Season 2 of NBC’s all vocal competition, “The Sing-Off.”

Rounding out the schedule are Celtic performers Chambless & Muse on Sept. 13, GRAMMY-nominated Cedric Burnside Project on Oct.3, folk and Americana singer-songwriter Kate Campbell on Oct. 18, salsa big band Latinismo! on Oct. 27, and series favorite Blackwater Trio closing out the 2016 series on Nov. 3.

The public is invited to bring their own picnics, blankets and lawn chairs to the concerts, which will have an open lawn setting. Each night, there will be a local vendor set up to sale food and drinks. The serieswill be located on the green space of the downtown walking trail between Court Street and College Street.

Visit for a full schedule of concerts, directions and information on parking and wheelchair accessibility.

In January, Cleveland was named one of 15 small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to win a Levitt AMP Grant Award of $25K in matching funds to present the free concert series. Delta State University submitted the Levitt AMP proposal and is presenting the concert series. In an effort to inspire and engage communities across the country around the power of creative placemaking, the Levitt Foundation invited the public to choose the Top 25 Finalists through online voting. Learn more about the winners and the 150 free Levitt AMP concerts across America at