DMI students Brennan Barham (left) and Brittany McGee  will lead this year's  Levitt AMP Grant Awards concert series.

DMI students to produce second Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

For the second year in a row, Delta State University has been selected to host the Levitt AMP Grant Awards, a 10-week series of concerts created in 2014 by Levitt Pavilions and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.

Leading the organization and production of this year’s series will be two entertainment industry studies majors from the Delta Music Institute program at Delta State University. Brittany McGee from Ecru, Mississippi and Brennan Barham from Clinton, Mississippi will oversee the music series as part of their senior project requirement.

“I chose the Levitt Amp Series as my senior project because I thought it was a rare opportunity that would give me a real life experience in the entertainment industry,” said Barham. “The thing I am most excited about for Levitt AMP is seeing hard work pay off and the community coming together.”

After graduation, Brennan hopes to pursue a career as a manager/producer in the music industry.

Levitt AMP brings the joy of free, live music to people of all ages and backgrounds living in small to mid-sized towns and cities, transforming neglected public spaces into thriving community destinations.

DMI Director Tricia Walker and fellow DMI instructors are credited with guiding their students in making last year’s lineup a success. DMI students will once again play a major role in the production process — from securing talent, to providing sound and lighting at the concerts.

Amber Foster, a DMI entertainment industry studies graduate from DSU, produced the 2015 series lineup for her senior project. In the role, she booked, organized and managed all 10 concerts.

“It’s so exciting as a senior to be able to take on a project like this,” said Foster. “For an entertainment industry student, this is the kind of experience we dream of and hope to have. It was so much fun.”


The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, visit For information about this year’s Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series, email


Former Delta State biology professor, Dr. James Steen (left of center with book), recently donated his 20-year project, “A Selected Chronological Bibliography of Biology and Medicine.” Joining in the celebration were (l to r): Emily Jones, university archivist; Dr. Ellen Green, chair of Biological Sciences; Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Ann Steen, Steen’s wife; President William N. LaForge; Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Jeff Slagell, dean of Library Services.

Steen donates 20-year project

By | Academics, Alumni, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Former Delta State University biology professor, Dr. James Steen, recently made a heartfelt donation of his 20-year project, “A Selected Chronological Bibliography of Biology and Medicine.”

The four-volume bibliography that Steen self-published in 2015 celebrates the secondary authors and laboratory technicians who are responsible for the great labor of discovery in the fields of biology and medicine. The work includes 2,875 pages, 21,457 references, 8,097 first authors cited and 2,632 journals cited.

Steen a Delta State graduate in 1962, taught in the Department of Biological Sciences for 30 years. He recently donated the hard copies of his compilation to Delta State University President William N. LaForge.

The university will now house the hardcover copies, and an online edition is available at

“It’s a wonderful feeling to see this come to fruition,” said Steen. “I appreciate the university being gracious enough to receive this and put it in their collection. I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Tiftickjian, my friend and former colleague at Delta State University. John formatted and placed my book on the DSU server, thereby allowing easy access to anyone wishing to search it.”

Steen started the project primarily for students, providing them a guiding source throughout their research. And Steen said he’s not fully done with it, as he and Tiftickjian will continue to update the information online.

LaForge could not be more thrilled to add the work to the Delta State library.

Dr. James Steen (left) with President William N. LaForge.

Dr. James Steen (left) with President William N. LaForge.

“We very much appreciate your contribution to your university. This is a wonderful compilation of work you put together, and it’s truly a labor of love,” said LaForge. “The volumes that you have here represent a lot of time — from the heart and the mind. Thank you for bestowing this on our university.

“It’s the students who will benefit most from this great work you have contributed.”

Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, was also grateful for Steen’s donation.

“Let me just echo the thanks from President LaForge,” said McAdams. “It’s this type of bibliographic information that is extremely valuable for students as they begin their journey down a research path.”

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Sara Evans will perform live in concert at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on April 21. A special pre-show dinner is planned in the Sculpture Garden featuring several food vendors and live music.

BPAC presents Sara Evans live in concert and Sculpture Garden dinner

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

Join the Bologna Performing Arts Center April 21 for Sara Evans live in concert at 7:30 p.m. Evans, a multi-platinum selling country singer and songwriter, has been called one of the most compelling vocalists of her generation.

Since emerging in the late 1990s, Evans has had a prolific recording career that has seen the sale of more than six million albums. She’s had five No. 1 songs, four others appearing in the Top 10, two No. 1 Billboard Country Albums, five appearances on Billboard’s Top 200 all-genre chart, and four consecutive RIAA certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum albums. She has received awards from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, Billboard Music Awards, and has garnered nominations for Grammy Awards (2), American Country Awards (10) and CMT Music Awards (5).

Prior to the show, there will be a dinner in the Sanders Sculpture Garden located in front of the BPAC. Along with live music by The Callie Champion Band, food and beverages will be sold on site by Delta Dairy, Delta Meat Market, Nehi Botting Company and The Warehouse Restaurant. Sales will be cash only. Dinner in the garden will last from 5:30–7 p.m., and the Sara Evans will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the show start at $30 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, open Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 662-846-4626, or going online at Tickets to the performance are not required to attend the dinner. Food purchases may be made on site.

For more information, stop by the Bologna Center Ticket Office, call 662-846-4626, or visit

Biological Sciences to offer post-baccalaureate certificate in Health Sciences

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate and Continuing Studies | No Comments

Beginning in the Summer I 2016 semester, Delta State University will offer a post-baccalaureate certificate in health sciences. To complete the certificate, students are required to take 24 credit-hours from a list of 500–600 graduate level biology, chemistry or physics courses over a 12-month period. The certificate would be signed by the department chairs and would be registered on a student’s transcript.

“Students enrolled in the program would maximize their chances of getting into competitive and professional health-related program and schools — medical, pharmaceutical, dental, veterinary, physical therapy or other graduate programs,” said Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science. “With required supervision, students would be guided to take courses that would help fulfill admission requirements to these programs. Students who obtain a post-baccalaureate certificate could show they are capable of handling graduate level courses when applying for admittance or re-admittance to health-related professional programs.”

In Mississippi, post-baccalaureate programs are currently available at William Carey University, The University of Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi College.

According to Riding, students choosing the program at Delta State University would save money compared to other in-state options, be engaged in a rigorous program, and have the opportunity to improve their academic credentials. Additionally, due to smaller class size at Delta State, students would have more face-to-face time with faculty.

Students must apply to be eligible for the program. Requirements include a Bachelors of Science degree in biology, chemistry or physics and a GPA of a 3.0 or above. Students must also submit their scores on the GRE, Medical College Admissions Test or Dental Admissions Test. For more information about this opportunity, contact Dr. Ellen Green, chair of Biological Sciences (662-846-4484), or Dr. Joseph Bentley, chair of Chemistry and Physics (662-846-4482).

James E. Rutledge Jr.

Delta State names Rutledge VP for Finance and Administration

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

Delta State University President William N. LaForge has named alumnus James E. Rutledge Jr. as vice president for Finance and Administration at Delta State University.

Rutledge, an accounting graduate from Delta State in 1984, has served as the university’s comptroller since 2009. He is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of government and finance experience.

Previously, he worked as the CFO for the Greenville Public School District and as the business manager for the South Delta School District in Rolling Fork.

Rutledge will take office May 1, pending IHL Board approval. He is replacing Steven J. McClellan.

“I feel so honored that I have been offered the position of vice president for Finance and Administration,” said Rutledge. “The overwhelming support from my co-workers and colleagues across the university and the community during this search process has been very humbling. To see the people that you work with everyday show their strong support and encouragement is what Delta State University is all about.

“I look forward to working with the president, other vice presidents and the entire DSU staff with the one goal of making Delta State University even greater.”

LaForge is thrilled to add Rutledge to the university’s leadership team.

“I am pleased to name Jamie Rutledge to this important position at Delta State,” said LaForge. “He has earned his way to this cabinet-level role through hard work, dedicated professionalism and loyalty to his alma mater. I welcome him to our leadership team and look forward to working with him for many years.”

At Delta State, Rutledge has worked collaboratively with former vice presidents for Finance and Administration to develop, prepare and distribute annual operating, auxiliary and plant fund budgets to other vice presidents, directors and department heads.

Rutledge is a member of the Mississippi Society of CPAs, American Institute of CPAs, Southern Association of College and Universities Business Officials and the Cleveland Exchange Club Board of Directors. Additionally, he serves as the treasurer for the First Baptist Church of Cleveland.

A selection committee, chaired by Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, was formed in order to guide the national search for the position. Finalists recently visited the Delta State campus and spent time meeting with various groups including the President’s Cabinet, Academic Council, division directors and the search committee, along with addressing open forums attended by faculty, staff and students.

Along with McAdams, search committee members included: Allie Rose Parker, David Hebert, Deborah Cox, Greg Korb, Judson Thigpen, Julie Jackson, Kelvin D. Davis, Kim Pongetti, Lisa Giger, Lynn Byrd, Marilyn Read and Nicholas Walters.

“I am very grateful to Dr. McAdams and the search committee for their hard work and for the time and dedication they committed to this search,” LaForge said.

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