The Board of Commissioners and staff of Volunteer Mississippi met recently at Delta State University's Alumni House. Presentations were given by Dr. Rolando Herts of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and Linda Stringfellow of the Center for Community and Economic Development.

Delta Center hosts Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Services at Delta State

By | Delta Center | No Comments

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted the Board of Commissioners of Volunteer Mississippi, also known as the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Services. Volunteer Mississippi’s mission is to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities.

According to David Mallery, executive director of Volunteer Mississippi, this is the first time in his eight-year tenure that the Board of Commissioners has met in a Mississippi Delta community.

“We are very impressed with the facilities at Delta State and the professionalism and hospitality that we have experienced here on campus and in the Cleveland community,” said Mallery. “We look forward to more opportunities to connect the Board of Commissioners and Volunteer Mississippi with organizations in the Delta. We appreciate The Delta Center for welcoming us to the region.”

Volunteer Mississippi commissioners and staff members from around the state traveled to Cleveland for the two-day meeting experience. The group’s various points of origin included municipalities as far east as Columbus and as far south as Gulfport and Bay St. Louis.

The meeting took place at Delta State’s Alumni House. Dr. Rolando Herts provided an overview of The Delta Center’s signature partnership programs including the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop, the International Delta Blues Project, and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Linda Stringfellow also was invited to present on the Mississippi Delta Service Corps, an Americorps VISTA program based at Delta State’s Center for Community and Economic Development.

“Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is quoted as saying, ‘Service is the rent we pay for living,’” said Herts. “Life for so many Delta residents is economically and socially challenged. Many of these challenges are tied to the Delta’s culture and history. The Delta Center’s programming offers ways for residents and visitors not only to understand our culture and history better, but also to discover ways to become engaged in creating change for the better. We look forward to exploring such opportunities with Volunteer Mississippi.”

Dr. Richard Conville, board chair of the commission, echoed Herts’ comments about how understanding local culture enhances community service.

“Volunteer Mississippi has a strong presence in Delta communities through the Mississippi National Service Network, which includes Americorps, Senior Corps and VISTA,” said Conville. “It makes sense for our Board of Commissioners to have more regular meetings in the Delta so that we can learn more firsthand about the culture of the communities that we are serving. The Delta Center has helped us to begin this process.”

During their stay, the group also toured GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, learning about the museum’s community volunteer docent program. Afterwards, they dined on authentic Delta barbecue and catfish at Airport Grocery and stayed overnight at a local hotel.

“Everyone here has been so welcoming,” said commissioner Janis Lane from Byram. “I will definitely encourage my family and friends to visit the Delta.”

“Dr. Herts told us about the GRAMMY’s Top 40 Places to Visit in the Delta website,” said commissioner Roktabija Abdul-Azeez from Jackson. “Now that I know about it, I will be using it to plan my next trip to the Delta.”

Established in 1994 as the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, Volunteer Mississippi has worked to encourage a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility to America. In partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Center for Nonprofits, and faith-based and community organizations statewide, Volunteer Mississippi fosters community engagement and building volunteer capacity throughout the state.

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 center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop and the International Delta Blues Project.

Elizabeth Joel

Joel named Employee of the Month

By | Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Elizabeth Joel, coordinator of Continuing Education, as the April 2016 Employee of the Month.

Joel, a native of Doddsville, has been a staff member at Delta State for nearly six years.

I am honored to receive Employee of the Month from my peers at Delta State,” said Joel. “I could not accomplish what I do without the support of the other staff members in Graduate and Continuing Studies, and those across campus who I work with on a daily basis.”

She is a 2005 Delta State graduate with a degree in fashion merchandising.

Joel currently resides in Cleveland with her husband, Jeff Joel, and their two children, Justin (12) and Anna James (3).    

Each Employee of the Month winner receives a plaque, monetary award, WalMart gift card from the Student Government Association, an engraved insulated coffee mug, a free parking decal courtesy of the Campus Police Department, a box of treats from The Sweetery, a parking spot of their choice, marquee announcement and website recognition.

For an archived list of previous winners, visit

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and opinions to the president.


Alumni and Foundation Announces Delta State University Giving Days

By | Foundation | No Comments


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The Delta State University Alumni and Foundation Office has implemented a new philanthropy initiative, Delta State Giving Days, to encourage alumni and friends to donate to the Annual Fund and help reach the goal of $500,000. The objective of Giving Days is to raise by June 30th the remaining $75,000 towards the $500,000 goal and to increase overall donor participation.

“As a public university, Delta State relies heavily on financial support from individuals, businesses, and foundations,” said Missy Pearce, Director of the Annual Fund. “Gifts to the Annual Fund are used primarily for awarding scholarships, faculty and staff development, marketing the university, and a multitude of other projects necessary for enhancing the University. This year the Annual Fund funded new initiatives in the areas of Admissions and Student Success Center to help with recruitment and retention of students.”

Giving Days will begin May 23 and end June 30, which gives alumni and friends 39 days to make a gift. That’s an average of $1,923 per day needed to reach the goal. No gift is too small; previous donations range in size from $2 to $23,000. All are encouraged to give, even current students. Jessica Foster, of Clarksdale began donating to the Annual Fund when she was a sophomore at Delta State. Foster graduated in December, but she still continues to support the Annual Fund.

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Jessica Foster

“Delta State has been nothing less than the perfect home-away-from-home for me,” said Foster. “The Annual Fund allows the university to improve in multiple areas. I want to help Delta State become the best university it can be because it has helped me become the best person I could be.”

In addition to reaching the $500,000 goal Giving Days offers an opportunity to achieve a goal of 100% participation among business, families, and university campus offices. Leading the way is the Delta State Alumni-Foundation Office staff who has achieved the 100% goal.

“We are proud to claim that 100% of employees of the Alumni and Foundation Office are donors to the Annual Fund,” said Keith Fulcher, Executive Director of Alumni-Foundation. “The office has also achieved the goal of 100% of all Alumni employees being dues paying members of the National Alumni Association, and we are now working towards the goal of 100% of employees having a Delta State logo car tag. All three sources of revenue support the University.”

The Alumni and Foundation Office staff invites and challenges others to join them in reaching the 100% mark in the areas of making a gift to the Annual Fund and being a dues paying member of the National Alumni Association.

Over 600 Alumni and friends have already made a gift to the Annual Fund. The names of Annual Fund donors can be found at Your gift will help us reach our numeric goal of 700 donors to the Annual Fund as well as the monetary goal.

The process of making a gift is very simple and can be made online at, or checks can be mailed to DSU Foundation, Box 3141, Cleveland, MS 38733. Gifts of stock and other appreciated assets are acceptable alternatives to making cash gifts.

Please consider using the Twitter hashtag #DSUGivingDays to encourage others to join you in making a gift. Tell us why you give by sharing your story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Entergy power lunch 2016

Entergy Mississippi gives grant to Delta State InFuse program

By | Alumni, Foundation, General | No Comments

The Bolivar County Power Lunch was held recently at Delta State University. The luncheon celebrated a new $50,000 grant presented to Delta State by Entergy.

“At Entergy, our vision is ‘We Power Life’. That means not only providing electricity, but also enriching our communities through improved educational opportunities,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO.  “Our grant to Delta State will be divided between providing scholarships for worthy students and helping to fund the InFuse program. This program will provide more students with science and technology skills and education, preparing them for the in-demand jobs of the future.”

This is not the first time that Entergy Mississippi has partnered with schools in the region they serve. In 2012, the company received two Governor’s Awards of Distinction from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. The company has been listed in the top 10 for Site Selection magazine’s Top Utilities in Economic Development for the past eight years, and this year, Corporate Responsibility magazine named Entergy Corporation #18 overall  among the Top 100 Corporate Citizens and #4 in corporate giving.

“Delta State University deeply values its partnership with Entergy Mississippi, and sincerely appreciates their support of our students and of InFuSE, the university’s current initiative to secure private funding to support programs in the sciences,” said Gary Bouse, chief development officer, Delta State Foundation.

Speakers at this event included: Robbin Jeter, vice president of customer service and operations, Ed Gardner, director of business and economic development, Aaron Hill, manager of transmission planning, Brandon Presley, Mississippi public service commissioner Northern District, Cecil Brown, Mississippi public service commissioner Central District, and Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. started as Mississippi Power and Light Company in 1923. Entergy Mississippi now serves over 445,000 customers in 45 counties.

delta council exhibit 2016

DSU Fashion Students and Faculty Showcase Work at Delta Council

By | Delta Council, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State fashion merchandising students and faculty showcased some of their original cotton apparel designs at the recent meeting of the Delta Council.

According to Dr. Jan Haynes, Professor of Fashion Merchandising in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, these designs were created from upcycled materials, such as cotton sheets and were eco-dyed with natural dyes at a DSU cotton workshop in September, taught by Pat Brown, MFA. The students’ designs were then presented at the Cotton Summit event held at Mississippi State in November.

This was the culmination of  a grant project, “Delta Cotton, Weaving Futures,” that included three day-long educational events featuring cotton. The grant project was a joint partnership of the three Mississippi universities that offer Fashion Merchandising programs: Delta State, Mississippi State, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Funding was provided by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated.