Delta State Alumnus Wins International Book Award

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Delta State alumnus Jerry Moorman (MS 1976) was honored during the 22nd Annual EVVY Award Banquet held at the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver, CO. The EVVY Awards are presented by the Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association for outstanding books by independent authors throughout the world.

Jerry Moorman received Third Place in the category of Fiction: Action Adventure for his most recent novel, Whatever Happened to Will. Books are scored according to set criteria, and only those with an acceptable score can become a finalist. From the finalists, placements are awarded, again based on criterion-based judging. Judges are selected from a competitive process and include business leaders, teachers, and others in the book business.

Jerry grew up in a small cotton-farming community in Mississippi. He often describes himself as “just an ole country boy from Mississippi.” Maybe that describes his inner essence, but he is also a retired Professor Emeritus of Business research. His writing style often reflects both sides of his persona.

In addition to five textbooks and numerous academic publications, he has written four novels and one award-winning book of poetry.

Paperback: 978-0996399036 US $12.99 348 pages e-book available

Paperback: 978-0996399036
US $12.99
348 pages
e-book available

 Abandoned through Ignorance, the Government Steps In–
But How and Why Will Surprise You!

This is the story of a life abandoned through ignorance and reborn in a most unusual fashion. Abandoned shortly after birth to the care of an orphanage, later exiled to an academy for violent boys, then trained by the government as a contract assassin, Will battles the conflict between his sociopathic attitudes toward assassinations versus his increasing tendency toward compassion.

The story follows Will from baby, to orphanage, to academy and beyond as he achieves metamorphosis into an exceptionally skilled assassin. On the way he cannot get the thought of family out of his mind. Why did they just abandon him like an unwanted animal? Are they still out there somewhere?

As is often the case, fate answers Will’s questions. But with questions answered, others often appear to further exacerbate the situation. Will’s journey is one of intrigue, exciting action, and ultimately compassion. Does he find the answers to all his questions?         Maybe.

Going A Different Kind of Green

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The Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University has gained final authorization from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Geospatial Analysis and Intelligence (BAS-GAI).

More than 60 students have signed up for the inaugural offering this fall semester, including United States Marine Corps Reservists Corporal Warren Wrybczynski, Lance Corporal Cody Callender, and Lance Corporal Tanner Overcash. While the program is available completely online, all three Marines recently moved to the Delta State University campus to study in-residence.

“We wanted the richness of campus life, the ability to work as student employees on real-world projects in the Center’s lab, and the chance to interact with our peers” said Tanner Overcash.

As all three had completed the Marine Corps’ Basic Geographic Intelligence School with distinction, they were offered academic scholarships and student jobs by the Center. These student jobs became quickly became “real” when Major Michael Lorino, Tom Terry, and William Schouviller from the Intelligence Department at Headquarters Marine Corps flew in for a visit from the Pentagon during the first week of school. The latter universally expressed encouragement for the effort shown by these young Marines to advance both their education and ability to carry out the Marine Corps’ geospatial intelligence mission.

The BAS-GAI degree program teaches students to use spatial technologies – things like computerized mapping systems, GPS, satellite and aerial photography, and similar methods – as both methods and means to understanding problems from a geographic perspective.

This field of study is also relied upon heavily by investment firms, major insurance companies, the Homeland security and emergency response communities, utility companies, oil and gas firms, government, and more. The program is current accepting applications for Spring 2017 students and more information about this program and the Center may be found at

Unita Blackwell marker added to Mississippi Freedom Trail

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The Issaquena County town of Mayersville recently honored one of it’s bravest citizens, former mayor Unita Blackwell, with a Mississippi Freedom Trail marker dedicated to her.

The marker was unveiled during a ceremony that attracted a gathering of local residents, as well as regional, statewide, and national leaders at the Mayersville Multi Purpose Building. Blackwell was the first female African-American elected mayor in Mississippi.

In addition to serving as mayor for 27 years, Blackwell was active in the Civil Rights Movement, Head Start and the Democratic Party for nearly five decades. In 1993, she was awarded a Genius Grant as a MacArthur Fellow. Since 1973, she has been a part of 16 diplomatic missions to China.

JoAnne Prichard Morris shares thoughts about Unita Blackwell.

JoAnne Prichard Morris shares thoughts about Unita Blackwell.

“The notion is that somebody from very, very humble beginnings cannot only rise to be the mayor of her community, but to take delegations all over the world as a goodwill ambassador, to work for childcare, work for better education, is a statement that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s where you’re going,” said Congressman Bennie Thompson, U.S. Representative for Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District.

Blackwell was born in Lula, Mississippi in 1933. Her parents Virda Mae and Willie Brown were sharecroppers. She married Jeremiah Blackwell in 1958, and in 1960, they moved into a shotgun house in Mayersville inherited from Jeremiah’s grandmother. It was here that Blackwell became involved in politics, civil rights and a life of building a stronger community for all.

“She just kept on going and learning and experiencing new things,” said JoAnne Prichard Morris, who assisted Blackwell in writing her autobiography “Barefootin’: Life Lessons from the Road to Freedom.” “She was quite simply the most courageous, most creative, most inspiring, smartest, funniest person I’ve ever known.”

The Mississippi Freedom Trail was created in 2011 to commemorate the people and places in the state that played a pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement. The first Freedom Trail markers were unveiled in conjunction with the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation’s 2011 reunion activities for the 1961 Freedom Riders. The Blackwell marker is the 22nd placed in the state, and was supported in part by partnership development funds from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area in conjunction with support from Visit Mississippi, the Town of Mayersville and Mississippi’s Lower Delta Partnership.

“The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is about telling significant stories here in our region, and the story of Unita Blackwell truly is a significant story,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, the management entity for the MDNHA. “The fact that the MDNHA could support this marker being installed here for ages to come so that the people of Mayersville – particularly the youth – can learn about her story and her legacy, truly is a great asset to the community and to our region.”

An attendee looks at a brochure illustrating the locations of the thirty-plus Freedom Trail markers.

An attendee looks at a brochure illustrating the locations of more than 30 Freedom Trail markers.

The MDNHA includes 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo. 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

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 International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit

U.S. District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpi to provide Colloquia address

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The Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series kicks off the fall semester featuring United States District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpi.

Gelpi’s speech, titled “Police Reform Though the Eyes of a United States District Judge,” will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 in the Jobe Auditorium on campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Those unable to attend the event can view the live stream speech online through the university’s official LiveStream channel:

Delta State President William N. LaForge established the colloquia program when taking office in 2013. The platform is an ongoing series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, was honored as the first speaker in 2013.

Gelpi was appointed to the federal court bench in 2006 by former U.S. President George W. Bush, following his unanimous Senate confirmation. He holds life tenure and sits in the District of Puerto Rico.

Currently, he presides over the nation’s largest police department reform case, which was filed by the United States Attorney General in 2012 as a result of systemic police practices violative of civil rights, such as excessive use of force, racial and ethnic profiling, as well as sexual and political discrimination in the hiring and promotion of officers.

During his judicial tenure, Judge Gelpi has presided over hundreds of prosecutions for narcotics, firearms, child exploitation, immigration, white collar, government corruption and other federal crimes. He has also presided over a large number of civil cases in the areas of civil rights, environmental litigation, medical malpractice, bank shareholder class actions, corporate litigation and personal injury.

Gelpi has had an illustrious career spanning 25 years of public service, previously serving on the federal bench as a United States Magistrate Judge, as Solicitor General of Puerto Rico, and as Assistant Federal Public Defender and judicial law clerk.

He is a graduate of Brandeis University and Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, from which he also holds an honorary doctorate.

LaForge and Gelpi have known each other for about 12 years, and they first met when LaForge was serving as president of the national board of the Federal Bar Association. LaForge’s son Clayton also spent two years as a law clerk for Gelpi in Puerto Rico.

“Judge Gelpi is an outstanding jurist who has had an amazing career on the bench,” said LaForge. “He brings an outstanding amount of expertise on the issues related to police reform. We are looking forward to hosting him on campus.”

In addition to his speech, Gelpi will spend time visiting classes and with student organizations at Delta State.

LaForge said the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series is another commitment to bringing excellence to Delta State.

“The university colloquia program gives our institution a chance to hear from and engage with experts from a wide array of professions and interests,” said LaForge. “It especially allows our students and faculty to rub elbows with professionals and resources we sometimes have the rare opportunity to engage. Great universities have great programs, and this is one.”

U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson will follow Gelpi with the next colloquia address on Nov. 9 for a unique and timely look back at the 2016 national election.

Learn more about the series at

Student Alumni Association prepares for academic year

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The Delta State University Student Alumni Association is in the process of making plans for the 2016-17 school year.

Officers for this year include:

*Hannah Goudy — president
Southaven, Mississippi

*Brittany Earls — vice president
Cleveland, Mississippi

*Dana Rico — secretary
Batesville, Mississippi
biology — pre-occupational therapy

*Rebecca Hudson — treasurer
Flowood, Mississippi
mathematics education

*Artis Love — historian
Cleveland, Mississippi

*Leah Green — projects chairman
Hernando, Mississippi

The SAA also awards scholarships each year. This year’s recipients are: Goudy, Green, Hudson, Rico and Earls.

The Alumni Association recently awarded Meredith Brown with the H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Association Service Award at the annual Student Hall of Fame Banquet in May 2016. The award is named for Henry Lee “H.L.” Nowell Jr., who worked at Delta State from 19481-987. During his 40-year tenure, Nowell served in numerous capacities including dean of men, dean of students, director of student activities, director of public relations, Delta State’s first director of the Student Union, and he was the first paid alumni secretary. The award is given each year to the Student Alumni Association member that has given tireless effort and generosity throughout the academic school year. Brown recently finished her junior year at Delta State and has been an SAA member since her freshman year.

The SAA is a bridge between the Delta State student body and the Delta State University Alumni Association. Goudy will serve on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors as the SAA representative. The organization helps the Alumni Association with projects such as Pig Pickin’ and Homecoming, and is also very active in community service.

To view SAA photos from 2007 to present, visit

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660.  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 this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).