Giving Tuesday marks launch of Delta State’s Centennial Fund

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

On Dec. 1, as part of the global “Giving Tuesday” event, Delta State will officially launch a new fundraising program. This new program, called The Centennial Fund, was motivated by a generous gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation.

“Giving Tuesday” has gained momentum in recent years as a global day dedicated to giving back, and people around the world are encouraged to come together for the common purpose of giving and celebrating generosity.

The Delta State’s Centennial Fund was started by providing each of the colleges —Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education — as well as the School of Nursing, an initial gift of $5,000. Every dollar contributed will be matched with a dollar from the Gertrude Ford Foundation gift — up to $5,000 for each academic unit. There is also an option of giving to the General Academic Fund, where every penny received goes to support important academic initiatives. You can give online at, and each Dean will receive a notice of every gift received.

FOR Poster-Hi-Res

Fighting Okra Records to finalize artist search

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

Fighting Okra Records, a student-run record label at Delta State University, continued its search to find a new artist for the 2015-16 academic year by holding a performance showcase on Nov. 3 at the Delta Music Institute.

The event was held to review the five finalists competing to sign with FOR. The showcase was closed to the public, and the live performances were viewed by label members in order to give the artists a more realistic experience in dealing with record label executives.

FOR’s artist and repertoire team served as judges for the live performances and conducted the interviews that followed on Nov. 10. The artists were asked to perform two songs, one of which was included in the artist’s video submission.

An announcement of this year’s winner will be made following Thanksgiving break.

“We are excited about all the talent that came out to audition,” said Mic Hargrove, vice president of the label’s A&R team. “This is definitely going to be a hard decision.”

The interview portion of the competition served as a final step in the selection process. The interviews allowed the label members to determine which artist was the total package.

FOR is the driving component of the DMI’s Record Label Practicum course. The mission of FOR is to provide a practical, real-world music industry experience to the students and to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences of Delta State University. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact Fighting Okra Records at 662-846-4579 or


Staff Council begins DSU Toy Drive

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

This Delta State holiday season has once again kicked into the spirit of giving. Help members contribute to this year’s annual DSU Toy Drive, running until Dec. 17.

Unwrapped gifts are sought for children from infancy to 10-years-old and will be donated to youth identified by the Bolivar County Family and Children’s Services. The collection will end at the annual staff holiday breakfast on Dec. 17.

The Delta State Administrative Council began the holiday gifting today by delivering a truckload of non-perishable food items to the BCFCS through its annual Feed-A-Family food drive held each year before Thanksgiving.

“Feed-A-Family is as a way to give back to the DSU family and community,” said Rhonda Loper, project coordinator for the Okra Scholars program. “A special thanks to each of the staff who donated food and/or time to make this years event a success.”

For more information the DSU Toy Drive, contact Loper at or 662-846-4504. Or contact Whitney Delaney at or 662-846-4113.

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 options to the president.

Delta State University will once again host Tech Savvy on Feb. 27, 2016. The conference for young girls is sponsored by the American Association of University Women.

AAUW of Mississippi to host dynamic math and science program for girls

By | Academics, Community | No Comments

The American Association of University Women of Mississippi will once again host the Tech Savvy event on Delta State’s campus, scheduled for Feb. 27, 2016. Registration will be available at as the date gets closer.

The a day-long conference is designed to show girls firsthand how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields can lead to exciting careers. The conference, part of the AAUW National Tech Savvy Pilot Program, will welcome 200 sixth through ninth grade girls and their families.

“The Cleveland branch wants to host the Tech Savvy program because we see ourselves as climate changers, and we’re hoping our girls connect with local role models to help them achieve their career and educational dreams,” said Dr. Glendscene Williams, branch president. “The girls will be exposed to cutting-edge technology and become trailblazers themselves in helping distill the myth about women in STEM through the generosity of Delta State University, The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, The Exchange Club, Entergy Corporation and fellow AAUW members.”

Tech Savvy and similar programs are one way to increase the number of women in the STEM pipeline. Other recommendations, including suggestions for employers, appear in AAUW’s new research report, “Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing.”

“STEM’s gender problem is well known,” said Jill Birdwhistell, AAU Chief Operating Officer. “We’re working with parents, teachers and employers on solutions like Tech Savvy because attracting and retaining women in STEM fields isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do.”

Created in 2006 by Tamara Brown, then-president of the AAUW Buffalo, New York branch, Tech Savvy has since served more than 3,500 girls. As a result of her work, Brown was honored as a White House Champion of Change.

For more information, visit or call 662-846-4233.


The AAUW empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken a positions on the fundamental issues of the day – educational, social, economic and political. Learn more and join us at

Dr. Rolando Herts (center) with National Heritage Areas program representatives Heather Scotten (left) and Martha Raymond at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s PastForward Conference in Washington, D.C.

MDNHA, Delta Center highlighted at National Trust conference

By | Delta Center, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, was recently invited to represent both organizations in a panel discussion at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2015 PastForward Conference in Washington, D.C.

The conference launched a year-long celebration of the National Historic Preservation Act’s 50th anniversary, attracting hundreds of historic preservation scholars, policymakers, experts and activists from around the nation.

The session was part of the preservationVOICES Learning Lab presentation track organized by the National Trust in partnership with the National Park Service and the Kellogg Foundation. The session, “Recognizing Our Shared History,” focused on how the NPS works to tell inclusive stories of all Americans, reflecting national values of social and environmental justice.

Over 150 conference guests attended the session. Among those in attendance were Martha Raymond and Heather Scotten, NPS colleagues from the National Heritage Areas Program office in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Rolando Herts. Photo by David Keith.

Dr. Rolando Herts. Photo by David Keith.

“How meaningful to have the National Heritage Areas program represented by Dr. Herts in this national forum, telling the story of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the important work of The Delta Center and partners,” said Raymond.

“Through their educational programs and partnerships, National Heritage Areas play a critical role in racial healing and in the social and environmental justice movement, which is precisely why heritage area leaders like Dr. Herts were invited to the preservationVOICES track,” said Scotten. “Dr. Herts is a wonderful ambassador for the National Heritage Areas program. The work of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and The Delta Center is creating opportunities for greater dialog about the history of the Delta, as well as past and current Delta residents.”

Herts’s presentation, “Telling the Delta’s Story: Recognizing Our Shared History Through Partnerships,” discussed the MDNHA’s and The Delta Center’s collaborative work with Delta State’s Winning the Race conference and the International Conference on the Blues, as well as Mississippi Valley State University’s BB King Day and the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership Program.

“Participating in this Learning Lab was both informative and inspiring,” said Herts. “The National Park Service is doing important work in communities across the country to give voice to diverse cultural heritage perspectives. The panel session illuminated this work with tangible examples that conference attendees seemed to find very useful.”

Other panelists included NPS representatives Dr. Elaine Jackson-Retondo, National Historic Landmarks program manager; Nigel Fields, acting deputy associate director for Interpretation, Education and Volunteers; and Carol Shively, coordinator for the Civil War to Civil Rights Commemoration. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Luis Hoyos, professor of architecture at Cal Poly Pomona.

“Recognizing Our Shared History” panelists were led by moderator Dr. Luis Hoyos. Photo by David Keith.

“Recognizing Our Shared History” panelists were led by moderator Dr. Luis Hoyos. Photo by David Keith.

The National Heritage Areas Program team also displayed MDNHA informational materials and Mississippi tourism brochures at the NPS Find Your Park booth.

To learn more about the 2015 PastForward conference, visit