Talmage Boston will speak at Constitution Week

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On Sept. 17, 1787, following weeks of intense debate, the 38 of the 41 delegates to the Philadelphia Convention signed the Constitution of the United States, the oldest constitution in the modern world.  We now face a general election season during which Americans are divided on at least three issues: immigration, terrorism and the handling of the economy.

At the core of these disagreements lies the question of leadership.

On Wednesday (Sept. 14) at 6 p.m. in Jobe Hall, The Madison Center at Delta State University will host a discussion of presidential leadership by Talmage Boston.

Boston, an attorney, author and former law partner of President William N. LaForge, will offer his “Ten Commandments of Presidential Leadership,” a set of standards that can help citizens work through their decision on November 8th.

Boston is also a renowned interviewer.  His book, Cross-Examining History, with a preface by Ken Burns, is a set of “cross-examinations” of scholars on the presidency from the time of the Founding Fathers to the present.  His interviews include David McCullough, Peter Onus, H.W. Brands, Taylor Branch and David Brinkley, just to name a few.  Topics range from discussions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, to Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Boston’s work has been endorsed by the likes of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham and Lincoln Prize winner Harold Holzer.

In a matter of weeks, Americans will go to the polls and choose the person who will lead them for the next four years.  That choice will not only determine our economic and military policy.  That new president will also shape the direction of the United State Supreme Court, an institution that will have a voice in determining the way we understand the document that was signed in Philadelphia almost 230 years ago.  A plurality of voters has already staked their claim on a candidate. Many more will decide the week or so before Nov. 8.

The Sept. 14 program will offer the regional community an opportunity to consider standards by which to measure the quality of leadership offered by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Delta State enrollment increases approximately 4 percent

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For the third year in a row, Delta State University is proud to announce an increase in university enrollment.

The unofficial numbers, as of Sept. 8, were 2,763 undergraduate students and 824 graduate students, for a total enrollment of 3,587. This is an approximate 4 percent increase over the previous year’s enrollment.

The increase is due in part to institutional efforts focused on recruitment and retention, said Delta State University President William N. LaForge

“Recruitment and retention work together. Bringing in new students is very important, and we are doing a much better job at that, as evidenced by the numbers,” said LaForge. “We have an increase of approximately 4 percent this fall, which is great news for the university. We will continue to guide our students on a path to success.”

LaForge said the Office of Admissions and individual academic units deserve credit for their never-ending recruitment efforts, while Academic Affairs and the Student Success Center have spearheaded the retention efforts.

“This is the third year of increased enrollment following eight years of decline,” added LaForge. “We should be proud of that fact, but not let off the pedal. We need to continue to recruit and continue to keep students here. These numbers show that we are a university of choice, and they also show that there’s programming here that’s appealing to our students.”

Recently, the university doubled its staff specifically devoted to recruiting community college and transfer students, an area LaForge said should keep Delta State’s enrollment on the rise.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Charles McAdams said the focus on retention will continue for the long term.

“Our retention efforts are essential to help students stay on the right path to complete their degree,” said McAdams. “Helping students stay on the right path helps them achieve their career goals, and it helps Delta State grow its enrollment so we can provide expanded opportunities to all of our students.”

“It is easy to underestimate the challenges many of our students face in their transition from high school to college, or in their transition from a community college to a university,” added McAdams. “Some students may struggle with academics, while others may struggle with financial, personal or emotional challenges. We have a series of initiatives in place specifically designed to identify and help students facing these transitional challenges. I am hopeful that as these initiatives progress, our enrollment and positive impact on students will continue to increase.”

Marked growth has been seen in a number of majors across campus, including programs where Delta State continues to attract and retain students through its offering of unique and specialized programs.

“We continue to see growth and increased interest in our nursing programs,” said Dr. Vicki Bingham, dean of the Robert E. School of Nursing. “We continue to have more qualified applicants to the SON than we can accept. We’ve also seen an increase in RN to BSN applicants, and we anticipate the number of applicants to increase in future years. The SON offers a quality education at an affordable rate, which is why we are able to draw such a large number of students.”

Tricia Walker, director of the Delta Music Institute, said that program has also experienced significant growth over the past few years.

“Thanks to the hard work of the DMI faculty and staff, the fantastic DSU recruiters, and the support of the administration, DMI reached a big goal this year of having 100 majors enrolled in our entertainment industry studies program. We are packed and we like it that way!” said Walker.

Additionally, an exciting achievement by Delta State this year is a major uptick in the number of international students.

According to Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center, there are 128 international students attending this fall, doubling the amount enrolled three years ago.

“It’s so gratifying to see how quickly our international student population is growing,” said Riddle. “International students bring additional perspectives and diversity to campus, and we look forward to their contributions across campus. We look forward to even more international students in the years to come.”

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 http://gis.deltastate.edu

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 www.msdeltaheritage.com.

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 http://deltacenterdsu.com/.