The Delta Center's "Most Southern" workshop participants at the Fannie Lou Hamer memorial garden in Ruleville. The workshop will be presented again in June and July 2017. through generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities."

The Delta Center’s NEH “Most Southern” workshop funded for eighth year

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In its 50th anniversary year, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced $79 million in grants for 290 humanities projects and programs across the United States. The grants will be awarded in 14 humanities fields or areas, and also include $42.8 million in annual operating support for the national network of state and local humanities councils.

The grants will support a wide range of efforts in the humanities, with institutions, scholars and humanities organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories receiving NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available through the NEH website.

“NEH grants help bring humanities experiences to Americans across the country,” said chairman William D. Adams. “Our funding supports museums, libraries and cultural institutions, and the local state councils that create and sustain humanities programs in their communities. Through films, original research and new intellectual insights, our grants strengthen the nation’s cultural fabric and identity.”

For the eighth year, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University has been awarded a NEH grant for “The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History, and Culture of the Mississippi Delta” workshop. The workshop is one of several Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers that NEH funds across the country. The purpose of this grant category is to support a series of one-week workshops for K-12 educators that address central themes and topics in American history, government, literature, art history and other humanities fields related to historic landmarks.

NEH workshop participants experiencing the Delta's rich fertile soil.

NEH workshop participants experiencing the Delta’s rich fertile soil.

“We are pleased that the National Endowment for the Humanities once again is funding the ‘Most Southern Place on Earth’ workshops,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center and co-director of the workshop. “This is one of the longest running NEH Landmarks workshops. We are excited to have the opportunity to offer it once again to K-12 educators who have a passion for learning and teaching about the rich culture and history of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, identified by the National Park Service as ‘the cradle of American culture.'”

Over the years, the NEH “Most Southern” workshops have built a dedicated network of over 500 alumni scholars who serve as educational and cultural ambassadors for the MDNHA and for Delta State University. The workshops use an experiential learning approach, engaging participants directly with historically and culturally significant people and places in the MDNHA.

Workshop participants take what they have learned back to their schools and communities, sharing stories and lessons from the MDNHA with students, colleagues, family and friends, nationally and globally. Many past participants have made return visits to the region, bringing students, colleagues, family and friends with them, which has broadened the “Most Southern” workshops’ educational and economic impact.

“Participants from as far away as Alaska, California and New Hampshire remain connected to The Delta Center, Delta State and the Delta region because of this workshop,” said Lee Alyward, program associate for education and community outreach at The Delta Center and workshop co-director. “In fact, several of them completed the International Blues Scholars Program this summer, our online Blues Studies certificate. We look forward to working with another group of educators in summer 2017 who are passionate about the Delta.”

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the NEH Most Southern Place on Earth workshop and the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit

The MDNHA is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at

Delta State University President William N. LaForge will deliver the State of the University address Aug. 19 at 10:30 a.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Convocation scheduled for Aug. 19

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

Delta State University President William N. LaForge will deliver his State of the University convocation address on Aug. 19 at 10:30 a.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The address will serve as a welcome to faculty, staff and the community at the start of Delta State’s academic year. Leading the event with LaForge will be Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Heather Robinson, president-elect of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, will provide a community welcome.

Dr. Chris Jurgenson, president of the Faculty Senate, will provide an introduction of new faculty, followed by an introduction of new staff by Christie Rocconi, chair of the Administrative Staff Council.

As is the tradition at each Delta State convocation address, new Student Government Association officers will also be recognized.

LaForge will conclude the ceremony with his address, highlighting university achievements over the last year, along with goals and visions for Delta State’s future.

Tune into the address remotely through live stream. The link for the live stream will be available on the Delta State home page and social media platforms Friday.

Visit to stay updated on university news and event coverage.

MS public universities

Board of Trustees to meet this week

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The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, August 18, 2016, beginning at 9 a.m.  Members of the Board may participate in the meeting via teleconference.  Members of the public and media may attend the meeting in the IHL Board Room, located in the Universities Center, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, Miss. An Executive Session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

The Real Estate Committee, a standing committee of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning chaired by Trustee Hal Parker, will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 to review the FY 2018 Facilities Needs Requests submitted by the universities. Members of the Board may participate in the committee meetings via teleconference. The public may attend the meeting in the IHL Board Room, located in the Universities Center, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211. An executive session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

The Health Affairs Committee, a standing committee of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning chaired by Trustee Ford Dye, will meet at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 to discuss University of Mississippi Medical Center projects and priorities. Members of the Board may participate in the committee meetings via teleconference. The public may attend the meeting in the IHL Board Room, located in the Universities Center, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211. An executive session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

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.


Tickets available for BPAC School-Time Matinee Series

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

School is back in session and the Arts Education office at the Bologna Performing Arts Center is ready to help teachers make their reservation to the 2016-17 School-Time Matinee Series.

The series connects children, teachers and schools with the performing arts in meaningful ways by bringing performances to Mississippi that complement the school curriculum. Exposure to live theater ignites a child’s imagination in a unique way, opening the door to a greater understanding of the world and a life-long love of the arts.

The School-Time Matinee Series offers a wide variety of programming that incorporates academic subject matter, literary classics, and art-forms such as music and theatre. The series also aims to meet the artistic and educational needs of students from preschool through high school seniors. Each production provides a variety of curriculum connections, as well as comprehensive study guides that aid in classroom learning both before and after the performance.

The season kicks off Oct. 25 with “A Year with Frog and Toad,” based on Arnold Lobel’s beloved children’s books. The program was nominated for three TONY Awards, including Best Musical.

Next, the internationally renowned dance company Parsons Dance Company will perform its energized, athletic ensemble work on Nov. 9. On Nov. 18, audiences are invited to spend some time with the groovy Pete the Cat and rock out as they learn about friendship and adventure.

The first show of 2017 will be Feb. 1 with “Alonzo King LINES Ballet,” which is hailed by critics as stunning, fierce and evocative. On Feb. 23, get ready for the ultimate playdate as “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo LIVE” takes the audience on a breathtaking tour of pre-historic Australia.

The season concludes with the musical adaptation of the Caldecott award-winning Cinderella tale of John Steptoe’s “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” on April 12.

Tickets are now on sale for all productions in the School-Time Matinee Series. To place a reservation for a school group or family, visit and complete an order form. Payment is required to hold reservations. For more information, call Joannah Taylor, Arts Education coordinator, at 662-846-4844.

Pictured (left to right): Chris Masingill of Delta Regional Authority, Lane Riley of Shaw, Shellie Michael of Jackson, Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Joshua Bower of Jackson, Amanda Allen of Clarksdale, Tracy Ausberry of Clarksdale, Jessie Whitley of Greenville, and Mike Marshall of Delta Regional Authority.

Delta Leadership Institute completes 2015-16 Executive Academy

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Fifty community leaders have successfully completed the year-long Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a program of the Delta Regional Authority. The Executive Academy is a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions for a collaborative leadership development experience, emphasizing regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region.

Each graduate completed leadership development coursework and field studies in the year-long program that included five sessions in Delta communities and one session in Washington, D.C.

Seven DLI fellows, nominated by Governor Phil Bryant and DRA federal co-chairman Chris Masingill, represented Mississippi this year:

– Amanda Allen of Delta Regional Authority, Clarksdale
– Tracy Ausberry of Delta Regional Authority, Clarksdale
– Joshua Bower of Mississippi Community College Board, Jackson
– Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Cleveland
– Shellie Michael of Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Jackson
– Lane Riley of Delta Hands for Hope, Shaw
– Jessie Whitley of the City of Greenville
– Jessie Whitley of Greenville001

“For our communities to grow and support strong economies that create opportunities for Delta residents, we need local leaders that understand the local and regional challenges that we face, as well as the networks and resources that can help identify solutions and address these challenges,” Masingill said. “The Delta Leadership Institute’s dynamic programming and ever-growing alumni network are helping to meet this need and empower our region’s leaders to make the Delta a better place to live and work.”

In addition to the program certificate, participants graduate with an industry-recognized certification in Crucial Conversations. Present for the ceremony were Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Masingill, alternate federal co-chairman Mike Marshall, and Alice Perry, Gov. Bryant’s senior policy advisor and designee to the DRA board.

Gov. Bryant said, “I am grateful to DRA for cultivating leadership that will strengthen Mississippi, and I thank the graduates for taking an active role in improving their communities. Being from the Delta, I appreciate the importance of leadership for this region of our state.”

The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over 10 years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.