Dr. Ronald Brister, former geology and paleontology curator of the Memphis Pink Palace Museum, recently donated his large rock collection to the Delta State University environmental science program.

Environmental Science program receives large rock collection

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences | No Comments

During the Fall 2015 semester, Dr. Ronald Brister, former geology and paleontology curator of the Memphis Pink Palace Museum, donated the Ron Brister Petrology Collection to enhance Delta State University’s environmental science program.

The rock collection consists of 252 different igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks from around the world. Each specimen is housed and labeled in a Wards plastic specimen tray. Additionally, nearly all the specimens possess locality information.

“The specimens are housed in a rolling cabinet that Dr. Brister constructed of birch veneer plywood,” said Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science at Delta State. “The value of the collection is over $3,000 based on the Wards Classic North American Rock Collection and the Wards Petrology Collection.”

Brister is familiar with Baghai-Riding’s research and with the environmental science program offered by Delta State. In the past, he helped Baghai-Riding coordinate a trip for Bolivar County 4-H participants to the Coon Creek Science Center in Adamsville, Tennessee. The students were able to excavate, prepare and acquire assorted Cretaceous marine fossils of clams, oysters, mosasaurs and more.

Brister said he was thrilled to donate the petrology collection for teaching purposes. In an email to Baghai-Riding, Brister stated that he had the greatest admiration and respect for the work that she has done for the university.

Brister has often displayed a table next to Delta State’s exhibit at the annual Memphis Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show held during the last weekend in April. Baghai-Riding and her husband have promoted the university’s environmental science program at the event for the past decade.

Delta State is the only Mississippi institution that offers a Bachelors of Science degree in environmental science. For more information about the degree program, contact Baghai-Riding at nbaghai@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4797.

2015 Bolivar County s#277EB

Alumni Association Bolivar County Chapter awards $4,600 in scholarships

By | Alumni, General | No Comments

Each year the Bolivar County Alumni Chapter awards scholarships to incoming Delta State freshmen from Bolivar County. The scholarship is named for former Assistant Alumni Director Liza Vaughn (‘95), who passed away in April 2012. The scholarship is funded through participation is the silent auction at the Annual Bolivar County Chapter meeting every April.

This year’s recipients are Emily Adams, Taylor Barr, Ashley Bonner, Braxton Clark, Samuel Cooper, Hannah Crick, Davis Dalton, Joe Garcia, Meagan Griffin, William Hood, Ashley Horton, Destiny McClain, Morgan Ray, Joseph Saia, Shelby Swafford, Mary Vadaley, Candace Vanhorn, Coleman Warrington, LaMonica Williams, William Woo, Layla Young, and Kellie Cummins.

Meet a few of this year’s recipients by watch thing testimonial video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKC2I_YvTak.

To make a donation to the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship, contact the Alumni Association at (662) 846-4660 or visit www.deltastategiving.org.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).


Toy Drive gathers more than 400 toys for Bolivar County children

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, General | No Comments

More than 400 toys were donated for children in Bolivar County during the DSU Annual Toy Drive.

Rhonda Loper, special projects committee chair for Delta State Staff Council, said the success of this year’s program is due to the partnership with Delta State Athletics, local churches, and Delta State faculty and staff.

The toys were delivered this past week to the Bolivar County Family and Children’s Services office and will go to children in the county who are receiving services through the Human Services Department.

“In many cases, without the generosity of those who selflessly gave, these children would receive any presents this holiday season,” Loper said.

She added the importance of the Annual DSU Toy Drive is best summed up in the following statement from one of the partners.

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate with DSU. We have a few people who literally have very little themselves that were so excited to be able to give a toy,” said Cheryl Dean, from the Church of the Latter Day Saints. “Those opportunities to give sometimes bless the giver more than the receiver. I guess that’s part of what makes Christmas such a wonderful time of the year.”

Loper said the success of the toy drive sends a special message going into the holiday season.

“We can all celebrate the fact DSU is extending our family beyond our campus borders into our community, through our outreach and charitable giving,” she said. “Working together for a better DSU!”

For more information on how you can become a part of the DSU family, contact Loper at rloper@deltastate.edu or at 662-846-4504.

The Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was announced Tuesday by Larkin Chapman (front row, third from left), a senior health, physical education and recreation major from Flora, Mississippi. This marks the first scholarship in the history of Delta State established by a current student. The annual scholarship will be awarded to two recipients, one history major and one social science education major. Chapman was joined by Schmidt’s wife, Elizabeth (left of Chapman), Delta State University President William N. LaForge, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. David Breaux, members of Alumni-Foundation, and faculty from the Division of Social Sciences and History.

Student establishes scholarship for Professor Ethan Schmidt

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The legacy of beloved Delta State University professor Ethan Schmidt, who died on campus on Sept. 14, continues to grow. Most recently Schmidt was honored with a scholarship established in his honor by one of his students, Larkin Chapman.

“As a student in Dr. Schmidt’s history classes, I immediately saw the passion he had in teaching and for his students,” said Larkin Chapman, a senior from Flora who is behind the creation of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship. “One of the many things I will always remember about Dr. Schmidt is how his door was always open for any student.”

Schmidt’s widow Elizabeth said the scholarship is an honor that illustrates why her husband was so well-loved by students and faculty.

“Our family is so honored that Ethan’s teaching and relationship with students and colleagues will be remembered through this scholarship,” she said. “We are excited to know that Ethan will be able to touch lives of future students through this money. We are very touched that Larkin had such a personal relationship with Ethan as a teacher and friend and knew Ethan’s passion was to help students aspire and meet their potential. We know that the money will help Delta State students for years to come even though they never got to meet Ethan.”

Delta State President William N. LaForge said the scholarship will be a gift that resonate through the lives of all of the students it assists, and it is fitting that it was created by a student.

“The establishment of the Schmidt Memorial Scholarship fund is a wonderful tribute to our beloved late colleague, Dr. Ethan Schmidt,” LaForge said. “His memory and the legacy of his good work will be perpetuated through the students who receive assistance from the fund in the years ahead. What makes this scholarship unique is that it is the first established by a current student. I salute Mr. Larkin Chapman, a senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major from Belzoni, for his thoughtfulness and generosity in establishing this memorial scholarship for Dr. Schmidt.”

Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history and personal friend of Schmidt’s, added, “Through his infectious enthusiasm and dedication to students, Ethan Schmidt made Delta State a better place. He touched the lives of so many people on campus and Larkin Chapman was obviously one of them.”

Delta State Director of Donor Relations Ann Giger said when Chapman came into the Foundation office, he was certain that a scholarship was needed to honor Schmidt.

“I wanted to establish the scholarship as a way to remember Dr. Schmidt and to give back to other students at Delta State the same enjoyment of learning that I’ve received.  I am not ashamed to say that God helped all of this to come together, and I give Him all the glory in this process,” Chapman said.

“This senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major from Flora, Mississippi spoke numerous times of how Dr. Schmidt always made him and other students feel they mattered and how there was greatness ahead for each of them,” Giger said. “Because of Larkin’s determination, the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was established and will be awarded to a history major and a social science education major.”

Giger added the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is the first scholarship in the history of Delta State to be established by a current student

“When Larkin learned of this historical first, he was surprised as his purpose was never intended to have the focus on himself but on remembrance of Dr. Ethan Schmidt, the professor who loved his students and gave so much,” she said. “Thank you, Larkin Chapman, for your example of leadership in the establishment of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship and in transforming the lives of students.”

Jeffrey Farris, Delta State Director of Alumni, said the National Alumni Association applauds Larkin for his establishment of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship.

“There’s nothing more powerful than a student with a transformational idea for the betterment of the university,” Farris said.

Schmidt’s fellow educators agree.

“One of my favorite quotes regarding education is from the renowned Irish poet William Butler Yeats, who once said that ‘education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,’” said Dr. David Breaux, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “From talking with students that had the privilege of taking courses with Ethan Schmidt, it is clear that he took that quote from Yates to heart. He constantly looked for creative ways to challenge students to think critically and to hone their communication skills. Therefore, I can think of no better way to memorialize Ethan, than by the scholarship established by Larkin Chapman.”

Dr. Paulette Meikel-Yaw, chair of the Division of History and Social Sciences, added, “Dr. Schmidt was an enthusiastic educator and scholar, beloved colleague and committed family man. He touched the lives of countless students, and he was a prolific leader in the Division of Social Sciences and History and in the University at large. He has left an indelible impression on the hearts of his students, colleagues and friends.”

“As Ann Giger, Director of Donor Relations at the Delta State University Foundation, notes this marks the first scholarship in the history of Delta State to be established by a current student, Larkin Chapman,” Meikel-Yaw added. “The thoughtfulness and generosity of Mr. Chapman is heartening as Dr. Schmidt’s legacy as a professor is cherished and his influence will live on in the hearts and souls of the students who will receive these scholarships.”

The Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is one-third of the way toward the Phase I goal of $10,000. Gifts can be made on line by going to https://www.deltastategiving.org/fund/give/690?amount=0.00  or calling 662-846-4704.

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

“Splendiferous” time had with Fancy Nancy

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

Nearly 2,000 local students were treated to the musical “Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas” at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Dec. 10.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade traveled from as far as Coahoma, Leflore, Sharkey, Sunflower and Washington counties to experience the delightful theatrical performance. Children and adults alike enjoyed this fancy holiday show. Students left with smiles on their faces and had great things to say about the performance.

Romie Caston, a first grader at Bayou Academy, said “I thought it was absolutely splendiferous, as Fancy Nancy would say.”

Her mother Lauren Caston added, “We thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic Christmas show with a great message.”

Jennifer Krutz, a homeschooling mother in Cleveland, also attended the show with her youngest daughter and noted how the message of selflessness and love shone through the performance. Not only did Krutz appreciate the experience to start a conversation with her children about altruism, she also had the opportunity for a vocabulary lesson.

“The way Nancy uses her ‘fancy’ words is a great way to teach synonyms,” said Krutz.

In an effort to assure that educational standards are being met while students step outside the classroom and into the theater, teachers and families who attended the performance were provided with a comprehensive study guide. The guide was designed for use before and after the performance and led students through vocabulary, both English and French, holiday traditions around the world, and manners.

This School-Time Matinee performance was made possible through partnerships with Double Quick, Inc. and the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. For information about upcoming shows, call Joannah Taylor, BPAC Arts Education coordinator, at 662-846-4844.