Delta Jewels to host final program at Smith Robertson Museum

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Delta Jewel Lela Bearden of Sumner, Mississippi, speaks during an oral history gathering in Charleston, Mississippi.

The Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership is hosting its final program at the Smith Robertson Museum in Jackson on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public through support from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center.

“We are honored to host the final Delta Jewels program,” said Pamela Junior, director of the museum and MDNHA board member. “This partnership has meant so much to the Mississippi Delta region, the state and our nation. In addition to great speakers and special guests, we plan to feature live performances. This will be an exciting cultural celebration for our entire community to enjoy during the holiday season.”

Since March 2015, the MDNHA and The Delta Center for Culture and Learning have engaged communities through the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership. The program features Alysia Burton Steele’s book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom,” a collection of oral histories and portraits of African American church mothers from the Mississippi Delta. The program has engaged over 1,000 residents and visitors in the Delta, the state and Washington, D.C.

“The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is about educating and engaging people, connecting organizations and building community pride by telling the Delta’s story,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “The Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership Program has accomplished this by fostering collaboration among numerous people and organizations. We have effectively raised awareness about the importance of preserving community voices and stories through oral history gathering, storytelling and photography.”

An attendee holds a copy of the Delta Jewels book.

An attendee holds a copy of the Delta Jewels book.

“It has been such a pleasure and an honor to partner with the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and The Delta Center on this educational project,” said Steele. “On behalf of all of the Delta Jewels, thanks to these partners and all sponsoring organizations that have made these events so educational, so impactful, and so meaningful for so many people. Words cannot express our appreciation.”

Through The Delta Center, Steele first presented Delta Jewels sessions at Delta State University’s Winning the Race diversity and race relations conference in 2015. A month later, the MDNHA and The Delta Center partnered with various regional organizations to host a series of Delta Jewels community gatherings in Clarksdale, Charleston, Indianola, Yazoo City, Ruleville and Mound Bayou. The Mound Bayou program was held in conjunction with the town’s 128th Founders Day celebration and witnessed a gathering of 30 Delta Jewels church mothers. Over 300 guests attended the Mound Bayou program.

“The importance of this work truly came to life for me when I attended the Mound Bayou Program to meet the real Delta Jewels,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, chair of the MDNHA. “This remarkable group of strong women inspired me and others with their wisdom and humor. What an honor to be in their presence and hear their stories. I am happy the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area could play a part in promoting and celebrating their legacy.”

Continued demand for the events led to the official creation of the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership in October 2015. Through the new partnership, events were held at Mississippi Valley State University, Jackson State University, Delta State University, Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg, Alcorn State University, University of Southern Mississippi, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland and Holmes Community College in Grenada.

Alysia Steele discusses the project during a gathering at Alcorn State University.

Alysia Steele discusses the project during a gathering at Alcorn State University.

The partnership culminated in March 2016 with a historic presentation at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C., to commemorate Women’s History Month and the National Park Service Centennial. This special program featured Annyce P. Campbell of Mound Bayou, who appears on the front cover of “Delta Jewels,” and Reena Evers, daughter of civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, who also is a Delta Jewel.

For more information about the Dec. 15 Delta Jewels program, contact Pamela Junior or Charisse Bester at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center at 601-960-1457.

DSU quarterback selected for prestigious Congressional Fellowship

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Delta State University Statesmen quarterback Tyler Sullivan was recently selected as a 2017 Congressional Fellow for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Sullivan, who is a biology premedical science major, will move to Washington D.C. in January and remain there through the spring semester. The program selects one Delta State student each year to serve on Cochran’s staff, with the goal of providing a better understanding of the legislative process.

“I am extremely grateful to be selected for the fellowship,” said Sullivan, a native of Louisville, Mississippi. “It’s hard to actually wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be moving to D.C. in January to work for such a prestigious senator. The fact that Delta State and the Delta Council have chosen and trust me to be their representative for the fellowship is a very high honor.”

Sullivan said he was excited to learn how the legislative process works, having never previously delved into politics.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing what I’m made of,” he added. “This is an opportunity to not only get a solid foundation in politics, but also an opportunity that will benefit me no matter what I do in the future. I want to learn what it takes to be a valuable Mississippian like Sen. Cochran is, and how to make tough decisions that will affect many people.”

Delta State has a long-running tradition of sending fellows to Washington, and Delta State President William N. LaForge served as Cochran’s chief of staff during the 1980s.

“I am thrilled that Tyler Sullivan has been chosen to be our Congressional Fellow,” said LaForge. “He is confident, capable and is the perfect candidate for this opportunity. He will be of great value to Sen. Cochran’s office while representing Delta State in grand fashion.

“It is professionally and personally gratifying to me that we continue this wonderful relationship with the senator’s office in cooperation with Delta Council and Staplcotn because of the affiliation with Sen. Cochran going back to my days as his chief of staff. Tyler will have an excellent experience there, and their office will benefit from his outstanding background at Delta State.”

Sullivan, who will graduate in December, is currently applying to medical school. He was recently named a finalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is presented to the best football scholar-athlete in the country. Sullivan was one of only 12 athletes to make the final list and will travel to New York on Dec. 6 for the awards ceremony.

The fellowship program is funded through Delta State University, the Delta Council and Staplcotn. Additionally, Sullivan will receive a stipend from Cochran’s office.

The Delta Council is an area economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. The organization pioneers efforts to solve common problems and promote the development of the local economy. Founded in 1921, Staplcotn (Staple Cotton Cooperative Association) is the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.

Music student wins state recital competition

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Music major Michael Sparks will compete in the Young Artist Performance Competition of the Music Teachers National Association in January 2017.

The Delta State University Department of Music is pleased to announce that music performance major and euphoniumist Michael Sparks will travel to Columbia, South Carolina to compete as the Southern Division Finalist in the Young Artist Performance Competition of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) on the campus of the University of South Carolina from Jan. 13-16, 2017.

Sparks earned the opportunity to represent Mississippi after winning the Young Artist Division of the MTNA State Competition held at Delta State in early November. The winner of the Southern Division Competition will compete in the national finals during the MTNA National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in March.

Sparks, a native of Cleveland, is currently a senior in the low brass studio of Dr. Douglas L. Mark.

The three-tiered MTNA competitions begin at the state level. Winners of each state competition advance to the division competition, and division winners then proceed to the finals.

MTNA is a nonprofit organization comprised of 22,000 independent and collegiate music teachers committed to advancing the value of music study and music making to society, and to supporting the professionalism of music teachers. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest professional music association in the country.

For more information, contact the Department of Music at 662-846-4615.

College of Business recognized in another national ranking

By | Academics, College of Business, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s College of Business has once again been identified as having one of the top low-cost online master’s programs in a recent ranking from

Delta State was commended for its Integrated Master of Business Administration (iMBA) program.

When determining the degree types that would make the list, Best Master’s Degrees considered popularity, accessibility and long-term investment. The schools were then ranked based on criteria such as number of online programs, degrees conferred, employment outlook and salary potential.

Ranking editors noted that Delta State’s program as one of the most cost-effective in the nation.

Best Master’s Degrees’ mission is to help prospective graduate students make informed decisions about what kind of degree to pursue and where to study. Its main focus is providing rankings and profiles of degree programs across a variety of the most common master’s degree areas.

Learn more about Delta State’s College of Business at

Counseling graduate students attend conference

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences | No Comments
Photo (left to right): From left to right: Moira Fair, Cat Vincent, Janet Sheffield, Darkemia DuBose, Erica Sims-Dumas, Aaliyah Jones, Loleta McKnight, Ryan Kwan, Jana’ Slay, Nicki Norman, Rodericka Robinson, Chelsey Haik, Kaislynn Archie, Dr. George Beals and Helen Jones.

Last month, 13 Delta State counseling graduate students attended the annual Mississippi Counseling Association Conference held in Biloxi, Mississippi. Eleven students volunteered as facilitators for the sessions and helped with the registration tables.

The Delta Sigma Upsilon Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society for counseling students, professionals and educators, had fundraisers to sponsor counseling students’ transportation. The DSU-CSI chapter also volunteers for the DSU Woodall Spring Conference each April which helps cover hotel accommodations. For their MCA volunteer service, students were able to attend at a reduced registration rate.

“We are grateful and honored by MCA in their selection of our students to volunteer,” said Cat Vincent, co-sponsor of Delta Sigma Upsilon. “Our counseling students stepped up to the plate in demonstrating their abilities as leaders and budding professionals. They brought a positive presence to their volunteer work and were self-motivated in helping whenever necessary.”

As is common with instituting new procedures and technology, the conference had some bumps in the road with Internet access and the new continuing education app.

Carolyn Anderson, MCA executive director, said, “Without the help of the Delta State University graduate students, I do not believe the Mississippi Counseling Association would have had a successful conference. I look forward to working with DSU students in the future. They certainly saved the day with our new system of scanning and keeping track of attendance.”

“Serving as a volunteer at MCA, I was afforded the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, “ said Darkemia DuBose, president of Delta Sigma Upsilon, local chapter of the Chi Sigma Iota honor society. “I’ve gained an immense amount of knowledge and learned the importance of advocacy within a professional organization. Attending MCA was such a rewarding experience.”

Learn more about counselor education at Delta state at