Reena Evers, daughter of Medgar Evars and Myrlie Evers-Williams, enbraces Annyce Campbell after a presentation of "Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom" at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC.

MDNHA, Delta Center partner with Delta Jewels author for Smithsonian presentation

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Annyce Campbell has lived in the same house in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, for over two-thirds of her life. She raised 12 children in the home, teaching them to respect themselves and to respect their community. She raised them quietly and diligently, wanting them to have more opportunities in their lives than she had in hers.

On March 13, Campbell was recognized for her strength and commitment at a Women’s History Month and National Park Service Centennial presentation at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C. The event was a Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership program organized by the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, and University of Mississippi journalism professor Alysia Burton Steele, author of “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.” The book is a collection of oral histories and portraits featuring 54 African American church mothers from the Mississippi Delta. Campbell’s portrait is featured on the book’s cover.

“My grandmother used to tell me that you learn something new everyday,” said Campbell. “I passed that on to my own children. You have to learn to love life, to love living, and to be appreciative of every moment we’re given.”

For Steele, the presentation served as a reinforcement for the importance of gathering oral histories. Her family sat in the audience to hear her speak for the first time, finally under-standing what she strives to do as a journalist. Seeing the way the audience embraced Campbell was also a poignant moment.

“Mrs. Campbell was glowing all weekend,” Steele said. “I was so happy to have helped make this trip happen for her.”

Alysia Burton Steele (from left) poses with Annyce Campbell of Mound Bayou, who is featured on the cover of Steele's book "Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisodom." Seated next to Campbell are her daughters Alma Campbell and Emily Harris, also of Mound Bayou.

Alysia Burton Steele (from left) poses with Annyce Campbell of Mound Bayou, who is featured on the cover of Steele’s book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisodom.” Seated next to Campbell are her daughters Alma Campbell and Emily Harris, also of Mound Bayou. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning serves as the managing entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The MDNHA creates partnerships that promote and empower the Mississippi Delta’s people and communities to tell their stories and to celebrate their pride in the region’s unique and diverse cultural heritage.

“After a year of planning, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is excited to see that this collaborative effort was a success,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center and MDNHA. “This would not have been possible without a team of strategic partners. Mossi Tull, a member of the Smithsonian Anacostia board, sponsored travel for Mrs. Campbell and her family. Maggie Tyler with the National Heritage Areas program made important connections with the National Park Service. And, of course, Alysia Burton Steele’s oral histories and photography provided critical subject matter for educating audience members about the Mississippi Delta’s cultural significance. Everyone brought something to the table.”

The MDNHA is one of 49 National Heritage Areas, which are cultural heritage partnerships with the National Park Service. All areas are being encouraged to commemorate the National Park Service Centennial.

According to Tyler, National Heritage Areas program manager for the National Park Service, this year’s centennial celebrations are intended to engage the next generation of visitors, supporters and advocates, and the 49 congressionally designated Heritage Areas around the country are an integral part of the process.

“National Heritage Areas help us achieve this goal by exposing grassroots movements, heritage tourists, and community members to the benefits of having a partnership with the National Park Service in their community,” said Tyler.

Dr. Rolando Herts (l to r), director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, and Reena Evers, daughter of Medgar Evers and Myrlie Evers-Williams, pose with Maggie Tyler, Martha Raymond and Kathleen Durcan of the National Heritage Areas Program, National Park Service.

Dr. Rolando Herts (l to r), director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, and Reena Evers, daughter of Medgar Evers and Myrlie Evers-Williams, pose with Maggie Tyler, Martha Raymond and Kathleen Durcan of the National Heritage Areas Program, National Park Service. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian presentation attracted over 70 guests who were eager to hear from Steele and Campbell, as well as to learn about the MDNHA. In addition to receiving words of wisdom directly from Campbell, audience members were treated to a presentation from special guest and Mound Bayou native Reena Evers, daughter of civil rights activists Myrlie Evers-Williams and Medgar Evers. Myrlie Evers-Williams also is a Delta Jewel.

Tull, board member of the museum, was moved by the presentation. “Mrs. Evers family has endured, struggled and fought through things no family should have to face,” he said. “Having her speak with such grace, strength and aplomb was a reminder and inspiration for all of us that face difficult situations to endure as well.”

The Smithsonian presentation follows a series of successful Delta Jewels presentations which have engaged over 600 Delta residents and visitors from diverse backgrounds in several Mississippi Delta communities including Clarksdale, Cleveland, Charleston, Indianola, Itta Bena, Mound Bayou, Ruleville, Vicksburg and Yazoo City.

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Wicker lectures as part of Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

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U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker presented at the Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series Tuesday night in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall.

Wicker, who has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007, discussed numerous topics, including getting things done in a time of divided government. The senator then fielded questions from a panel of Delta State State students and faculty, followed by a Q&A with audience members.

Those on the panel included Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; students Allie Rose Parker and Chelsey Rhodes; and Delta State University President William N. LaForge.

During his time in the Senate, Wicker has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs and has worked to reduce spending, limit federal overreach and maintain a strong national defense. He is a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, serving as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wicker also chairs the Subcommittee on Seapower.

Learn more about Delta State’s ongoing lecture series at www.deltastate.edu/colloquia.

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Posters in the Rotunda event to showcase university student research

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Students from all eight of Mississippi’s public universities will share their research and creative activities on topics ranging from healthcare to cultural heritage to agribusiness with legislators and state leaders at Posters in the Rotunda, which will be held in the Rotunda of the State Capitol on Thursday, March 24. The students will show how their research solves some of Mississippi’s most pressing problems and benefits the citizens of the state.

The event provides opportunities for legislators to visit with students from their districts, allows students to network with each other as they learn about work on other campuses, and showcases the cutting-edge research conducted by undergraduates that benefits the residents of Mississippi.

“We are very excited about the event and hope it will share with the legislators and public the incredible research projects conducted by undergraduates at all eight public universities in the state,” said Dr. Marie Danforth, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Center for Undergraduate Research at The University of Southern Mississippi and coordinator of the event. “We are very proud that undergraduates were integral to many aspects of the launch, including the creation of the Posters in the Rotunda logo as well as designing the website and placing it in operation.”

Modeled after the Posters on the Hill event in which students from across the country share their work in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Mississippi’s Posters in the Rotunda event is similar to ones held in 17 other states. The posters will be on display in the Rotunda of the State Capitol from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Scheduled speakers include Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Glenn Boyce, with introductions given by Dr. Gordon Cannon, Vice President for Research at The University of Southern Mississippi.

A proclamation of support will be given in the House Chamber at 10:00 a.m. and in the Senate Chamber at 10:30 a.m. Senate Concurrent Resolution 606 designates March 24, 2016 as “Undergraduate Research Day in Mississippi” to emphasize the value of scholarly inquiry and the application of research to the education of future leaders. The resolution has been approved by both the Senate and the Mississippi House of Representatives.

“Students who generate their own research projects at the undergraduate level gain first-hand experience in identifying topics that merit investigation, designing and executing detailed research plans, applying for grant funding, and communicating their findings both in writing and via conference-style presentations,” said Dr. Rodney D. Bennett, President of the University of Southern Mississippi. “These experiences strengthen their work ethic and time management skills. Participating students are also better prepared for rigorous graduate school courses and have a higher level of confidence in their ability to succeed in master’s, specialist’s, and doctoral programs.”

The students participating in the Posters in the Rotunda event and the titles of the research projects include:

  • Katelyn Allen of Hernando, University of Mississippi, Oxford, The Effects of Electron Withdrawing Groups on Halogen Bond Donors
  • Afua A. Antwi-Boasiako of Lorman, Alcorn State University, Color-Indicating Sensors for Detecting Trace Levels of Cadmium in Drinks
  • Greg Banks of Los Angeles, Jackson State University, Developing an Adroid Ap to Control a Robot via the RN-42 Bluetooth Model, co-author with Mia Williams and Kirubel Tadesse
  • Lashon Barnes of Magee, Jackson State University, Passing Praxis: Fear or Procrastination, co-author with Ashanti White
  • Brian Barnett of Winchester, Va., Delta State University, Blood Flow Occlusion Pressure at Rest and Post Low Load Exercise
  • Christine Beck of Crystal Springs, Delta State University, Role of Tick Antioxidants in Rickettsia parkeri Colonization in the Gulf
  • Laurel Duty of Collins, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Roles of Osteopontin and Neutrophils in the Pathogenesis of West Nile Virus
  • Jamie Henton of Gulfport, University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Park, To Stay in the South
  • Tiffanie Herron of Jackson, Jackson State University, 41 Shots to Fruitvale Station: Street Violence and Protest Utterances, co-author with Ricardo Jamison and Shamiraca Williams)
  • Ricardo Jamison of Greenville, Jackson State University, 41 Shots to Fruitvale Station: Street Violence and Protest Utterances, co-author with Tiffanie Herron and Shamiraca Williams)
  • Joseph Jelinski of Diamondhead, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Painless Hematophagy: The Role of Metalloproteases in Pain Suppression
  • Jenna Kilgore of Pelham, Ala., Mississippi State University, Test-Retest Reliability of Self-Reported Lifetime History of Aggression
  • Kamberlin King of Itta Bena, Mississippi Valley State University, Validation of the Antartic Snow Accumulation and Ice Discharge Basal Study
  • Jaclyn Langford of Calhoun City, Mississippi, Mississippi State University, RAGE Signaling is Intersected by Rap1A Crosstalk in Fibroblasts
  • Richard Y. Leonard III of Huntsville, Ala., Mississippi State University, A Mathematical Model of Inhibitory Drugs with Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Caroline Mensah of Port Gibson, Alcorn State University, Radiological Implications of Locally Produced Fertilizers in the State
  • Rebekah Napier-Johnson of Johannesburg, South Africa, Delta State University, The Gut Microbial Fauna of the Hardwood Stump Borer, Mallodon dasystomus (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae)
  • James Robinson of Covington, La., University of Mississippi, Oxford, An Analysis of Force Loading During Heading in Women’s Soccer
  • Portia Rucker of Memphis, Tenn., Mississippi University for Women, Bacterial Growth on Registered Nurses’ Uniforms Vs. Student Nurses’ Uniforms
  • Brenda Sharma of Butwal, Nepal, Mississippi University for Women, The role of GenF in the asymmetric distribution of the virulence protein, IcsA in Shigella flexneri, co-author with L.D. Brandon
  • Kirubel Tadesse of Jackson, Jackson State University, Developing an Android App to Control a Robot Via the RN-42 Bluetooth Module, co-author with Greg Banks and Mia Williams
  • Ariel P. Walker of Lorman, Alcorn State University, Improving Biofuel Production by Enhancing Yeast Mitochondrial Activity
  • Brianna Warner of Gulfport, Mississippi University for Women, LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training at MUW
  • Ashanti White of Edwards, Jackson State University, Passing Praxis: Fear or Procrastination, co-author with Lashon Barnes
  • Benita Williams of Jackson, University of Mississippi, Jackson, Molecular Markers in Trauma Induced Clinical Complications as Sepsis
  • Mia Williams of Jackson, Jackson State University, Developing an Android App to Control a Robot Via the RN-42 Bluetooth Module, co-author with Greg Banks and Kirubel Tadesse
  • Shamiraca Williams of Greenwood, Jackson State University, 41 Shots to Fruitvale Station: Street Violence and Protest Utterances, co-author with Ricardo Jamison and Tiffanie Herron
  • Angelic Willingham of Glendora, Mississippi Valley State University, The Mississippi State Flag Controversy in 2001
  • Kevin Young of Indianola, Mississippi Valley State University, Veterinary Biochemistry Technique: Demonstrating Blood Analysis of Cattle

More information on the Posters in the Rotunda event is available on the website: www.mississippi.edu/posters.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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International Business Symposium Celebrates 11 Years

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Delta State University’s College of Business will hold the 11th annual International Business Symposium on Wednesday, March 30 at 2 p.m. in the Baioni Conference Center, and Thursday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to noon in the auditorium of Jobe Hall on the campus of Delta State University.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Business Communication: Here, There, & Everywhere!” Business professionals will share their knowledge and expertise to provide a unique look at communication trends in the business world.

The symposium is sponsored by David and Sherry Abney, Mississippi Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta. Abney, a 1976 graduate of DSU, began his career as a part-time United Parcel Service (UPS) package loader while in college, now serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. Abney is the eleventh CEO in the 107-year-history of UPS. Through UPS, he has traveled the world on business, but his Mississippi Delta roots are forever ingrained.

“Sherry and I wanted to do something meaningful for the Delta. By bringing global leaders onto campus and sharing their experiences with students, I believe we’ll be able to expand Delta State students’ horizons in how they see and prepare for their futures,” Abney said in a previous Delta State interview.

Assisting Abney and the Division of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration in planning and presenting the symposium is Laird Hamberlin, who is also a graduate of Delta State where he received a BBA in Business Administration. Hamberlin is the Vice President of Sales and Commercial for Terminix (a division of ServiceMaster).

The symposium will feature three distinquished speakers. Charles Pleas, who has served as Senior Vice President, Controller, and Customer Satisfaction for AutoZone, Inc. since 2007. Pleas joined AutoZone in 1996 and has served in key leadership positions including vice president, accounting, and director of general accounting.  Pleas earned his BBA in Business Administration from Delta State majoring in accounting.

Stephen Cesler worked 36 years for Procter & Gamble, the largest consumer products company in the world.  Cesler retired in 2014 as the Sales Vice President for the Global Health & Grooming business, the global Electro channel, and the global Braun business. During his career he worked on virtually all of the P&G brands, both in the United States and abroad.

Jordan Abidor, the Social Media Marketing Manager for ServiceMaster Corporation and the Social Media Marketing Manager for Terminix, will also join the slate of speakers. Abidor began working for American Home Shield, a subsidiary of ServiceMaster global holdings, as a Social Media Marketing Manager in 2014 and has increased the social footprint of the American Home Shield pages by over 5,000% and began driving eComm sales through social media.

The 2016 International Business Symposium is free and open to public. For more information, contact Rebecca Hochradel at 662-846-4190 or email rhochradel@deltastate.edu.