Joining President LaForge is Dr. Vernell Bennett, Delta State University’s new Vice President for Student Affairs.
Dr. Bennett officially began her role this past week, but has been on campus for several weeks meeting with staff and officials. She will be responsible for providing leadership and administrative direction to a comprehensive Student Affairs Division.
Dr. Bennett comes to Delta State after previously serving in the same role at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. Her extensive experience at KSU enabled her to foster collaborations between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, faculty, staff, students, the administration and community. She holds a doctorate in administration from the University of Kentucky, received her master’s from Eastern Michigan University, and her bachelor degree from Fisk University. Additionally, she has a background in teaching music courses, including voice instruction, elements of music, phonetics and diction.
The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Tarnisha Smith, coordinator of university facility reservations and calendar, as the June 2016 Employee of the Month.
Smith, a native of Drew, has been working in the Office of Student Life since 2013.
“I was completely shocked when I received the award,” said Smith. “I really feel like Delta State is home, so this was just icing on the cake for me.”
Outside of work, Smith enjoys spending time with her children and family.
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.
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.
Delta State University has received quite a bit of airtime on national television lately — first with an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” followed by a shoutout from Al Roker on NBC’s “Today” show.
Delta State’s very own “BBQ Princess” Leslie Roark Scott ’95 made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” June 11 taking part in the 14th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York City.
Scott and her father Gary Roark are masterminds behind the award-winning Ubon’s BBQ in Yazoo City, and the duo has received national attention for their tasty BBQ.
Scott is no stranger to national TV, having made appearances on “Chopped Grill Masters,” “Chopped Impossible,” and will be on the new show “Smoked” July 6 on the cable channel Destination America.
“It’s getting easier for me to be on TV, but it’s definitely taken some time. I’m always excited about having the chance to represent Ubon’s, Delta State and Mississippi,” said Scott. “That’s the most exciting opportunity right now — to be out there and talk about the things I love.”
Tune into Scott’s new show July 6 on Destination America.
“I’m excited about it because I got to talk about Delta State, I cooked okra and I talked about the Mississippi Delta the entire time,” said Scott.
And Delta State made a strong appearance on the “Today” show Tuesday when host Al Roker was drawn to Kate Hargrave Hood ’98 passionately waiving her Fighting Okra flag in the crowd.
Hood and her family are vacationing in New York this week after winning the trip from the Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland Children’s Benefit Ball Auction.
“It was an unbelievable and awesome experience to make it on the show,” said Hood. “Nothing gets attention like the Fighting Okra! I’m a second generation ‘Today’ show watcher, and I knew Al Roker being a food fanatic would love the flag and it would get him interested. I’m proud to be a DSU alumnus!”
Roker approached Hood, who proudly shouted her Delta State Pride.
“All right, the Fighting Okra — wow, they go up against the Battling Rutabaga. Watch out,” joked Roker.
Mayors from across the Mississippi Delta recently gathered at Delta State University for the third annual Delta Mayors’ Summit hosted by President William N. LaForge.
The university invited the mayors as a way to engage in discussion about campus and community activities, and to continue forging collaborations and partnerships in the Delta.
“It was a pleasure to host the third Delta Mayors’ Summit on our campus,” said LaForge. “I always enjoy the opportunity to visit with our local mayors, hear about their activities, and learn how Delta State can be engaged with them in partnerships. We are collaborating to ensure continued improvement of local government management.”
LaForge was excited to build on the success of previous summits, a conference he instituted after becoming president in 2013.
This year’s meeting focused on campus updates, a summary of university initiatives, topics for Delta State’s annual race relations conference, student recruitment, as well updates from a number of campus leaders.
The mayors in attendance also had an opportunity to discuss common challenges and successful initiatives in their respective communities, and agreed that it is important for them to have open dialogue in order to continue to improve the region’s opportunities and quality of life.
“I look forward to continuing our collaboration with the mayors of the many municipalities in the Delta,” added LaForge.