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International Business Symposium Celebrates 11 Years

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Delta State University’s College of Business will hold the 11th annual International Business Symposium on Wednesday, March 30 at 2 p.m. in the Baioni Conference Center, and Thursday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to noon in the auditorium of Jobe Hall on the campus of Delta State University.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Business Communication: Here, There, & Everywhere!” Business professionals will share their knowledge and expertise to provide a unique look at communication trends in the business world.

The symposium is sponsored by David and Sherry Abney, Mississippi Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta. Abney, a 1976 graduate of DSU, began his career as a part-time United Parcel Service (UPS) package loader while in college, now serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. Abney is the eleventh CEO in the 107-year-history of UPS. Through UPS, he has traveled the world on business, but his Mississippi Delta roots are forever ingrained.

“Sherry and I wanted to do something meaningful for the Delta. By bringing global leaders onto campus and sharing their experiences with students, I believe we’ll be able to expand Delta State students’ horizons in how they see and prepare for their futures,” Abney said in a previous Delta State interview.

Assisting Abney and the Division of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration in planning and presenting the symposium is Laird Hamberlin, who is also a graduate of Delta State where he received a BBA in Business Administration. Hamberlin is the Vice President of Sales and Commercial for Terminix (a division of ServiceMaster).

The symposium will feature three distinquished speakers. Charles Pleas, who has served as Senior Vice President, Controller, and Customer Satisfaction for AutoZone, Inc. since 2007. Pleas joined AutoZone in 1996 and has served in key leadership positions including vice president, accounting, and director of general accounting.  Pleas earned his BBA in Business Administration from Delta State majoring in accounting.

Stephen Cesler worked 36 years for Procter & Gamble, the largest consumer products company in the world.  Cesler retired in 2014 as the Sales Vice President for the Global Health & Grooming business, the global Electro channel, and the global Braun business. During his career he worked on virtually all of the P&G brands, both in the United States and abroad.

Jordan Abidor, the Social Media Marketing Manager for ServiceMaster Corporation and the Social Media Marketing Manager for Terminix, will also join the slate of speakers. Abidor began working for American Home Shield, a subsidiary of ServiceMaster global holdings, as a Social Media Marketing Manager in 2014 and has increased the social footprint of the American Home Shield pages by over 5,000% and began driving eComm sales through social media.

The 2016 International Business Symposium is free and open to public. For more information, contact Rebecca Hochradel at 662-846-4190 or email


Campus prepares for Go Green Weekend

By | Admissions, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

The Delta State family is gearing up for the third annual Go Green Weekend, scheduled on campus March 31 through April 3. Events include live entertainment, tailgating, a cooking competition, sporting events and a spring visit day.

The weekend will kick off on Thursday with performances by the Delta Music Institute bands at 5:30 p.m. in Statesmen Park. A jambalaya cook-off, sponsored by the Alumni Association, will kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, along with tailgating in Statesmen Park and a women’s soccer showcase at Parker Field-McCool Stadium. At 7:30 p.m., a men’s soccer showcase will take place followed by live entertainment at 9 p.m. on the main stage in Statesmen Park.

The student community is excited about the entertainment and weekend events. Mykel Syles, president of the Student Government Association, said students are looking forward to the event.

“Go Green Weekend is a time for students to come together in what is our first big event of the calendar year,” he said. “It’s a time for students to relax, enjoy the spring season and show our DSU pride. G’okra.”

Saturday’s events begin with a Statesmen football scrimmage at 10 a.m. at Parker Field-McCool Stadium. Statesmen Park will open for tailgating, and the cooking competition will continue. Vendors that will be on site include Domino’s Pizza, Shorlone’s Southern Snow and more. The Delta Allstars Cheerleaders will perform at 11 a.m., followed by a women’s soccer alumni game at noon. The cooking competition awards will take place at 1 p.m., and both baseball and softball teams will begin a doubleheader match against Christian Brothers at 2 p.m., along with a men’s soccer alumni game.

Visitors for Spring Preview Day will also be welcomed to campus on Saturday. High school juniors and sophomores have been invited to participate in Go Green Weekend activities including an information session, academic and student organization fairs, campus tour, lunch and athletic events. Caitlyn Thompson, director of recruiting, said the goal of the day is to showcase campus and life as a Statesmen while providing information on academics and the admission process.

“The staff in the Office of Admissions is working hard to reach potential students at a younger age,” said Thompson. “We want these juniors and sophomores to start considering Delta State as their college option at an earlier time in their high school career. We hope to provide an opportunity for them to get the full Delta State experience by tailoring the day to meet their interests.”

Students interested in attending Spring Preview Day are asked to register online at

Applications for the cooking competition sponsored by the National Alumni Association are available on the event website Jeffrey Farris, director of the Alumni Association, is looking forward to the family atmosphere.

“The weekend is designed to roll out the ‘green carpet’ for alumni, friends of the university, current student body and prospective students to enjoy Delta State University,” said Farris. “Go Green Weekend will focus on a family friendly environment that will appeal to all. Be sure to visit the National Alumni Association Tailgate Tent to register and pick up your official baseball or softball clapper.”

Sunday concludes Go Green Weekend with a Lady Statesmen softball game at 1 p.m. at University Field and a Statesmen baseball game at 2 p.m. at Harvey Stadium-Ferriss Field. A drawing for the winner of the “Saturdays at the Levee” raffle will take place during the baseball game. For more information or to purchase raffle tickets, call 662-846-4300. Events to benefit the Make-a-Wish foundation will also be held.

Go Green Weekend activities are open to the public, but tickets are required for entry into the baseball and softball games. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the gate if available.

Go Green Weekend is coordinated by Delta State’s Office of Admissions, Alumni and Foundation, Department of Athletics and Office of Student Life.

For more information on Go Green Weekend and Spring Visit day, visit or search media outlets for #DSUGGW.

Keith Williams ’86 (left), president of Hancock Bank – Gulfport, and Jeffrey Farris ‘04/’05, director of Alumni Affairs.

Alumni Association hosts pregame social in Biloxi

By | Alumni, Athletics | No Comments

The Delta State Alumni Association recently hosted a pregame party before the Statesmen baseball team played William Carey Univeristy at MGM Park – Shuckers Stadium in Biloxi.

The social was held in the Mercedes Benz Club and appetizers were provided for guests. Over 100 alumni, friends and prospective students attended the event.

Jeffrey Farris ‘04/’05 (l to r), director of Alumni Affairs; Brett Walker ’05, Hancock Investment Services; Cristina Coca ’13, director of Community Relations at MGM Park.

Jeffrey Farris ‘04/’05 (l to r), director of Alumni Affairs; Brett Walker ’05, Hancock Investment Services; Cristina Coca ’13, director of Community Relations at MGM Park.

Delta State staff members in attendance were: Kara Talley and Sarah Shepherd, admissions recruiters; Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs; and Keith Fulcher, executive director of Alumni-Foundation. Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, the mayor of Biloxi, also attended and welcomed the crowd to the Gulf Coast.

Delta State alumnus and former Statesmen Mark Graham ’83, of Dallas, Texas, threw out the first pitch to former teammate Steven Tomaszewski ’74, of Ocean Springs. The Statesmen defeated William Carey 4-1. The contest was part of a series of 27 college baseball games that will be played at MGM Park.

To view pictures from the event, visit: To watch a video clip, visit

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Go Green Weekend (April 2), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

Ari Berman, left, and Tim Wise are the two highlight speakers at the third annual Winning the Race conference at Delta State March 28-29.

Berman and Wise to be featured at Winning the Race

By | Community, General, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University’s award-winning race relations conference, Winning the Race, will feature two highlight speakers at this year’s event which will be hosted on campus March 28-29.

Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an investigative journalism fellow at The Nation Institute. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone and The Guardian, and he is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC, C-Span and NPR.

His new book, “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” was published in August 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Berman graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and political science. He lives in New York City.

Tim Wise is the author of seven books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.” He has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues.

Wise is among the nation’s most prominent antiracist essayists and educators and has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1,000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation.

This year’s conference is titled “Winning the Race: Advancing Social Justice in Communities and Institutions.”

The inaugural program spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference. The 2016 schedule promises to build on the meaningful dialogue presented at previous conferences.

Follow all Winning the Race updates at


U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker will present at the Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series March 22 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker to present at Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series continues this semester with U.S. Sen. Roger F. Wicker.

Wicker will speak on campus March 22 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall at a free and public event. There will be a reception in Wicker’s honor immediately following the speech.

“On behalf of the university, I am thrilled to welcome Senator Roger Wicker as our next lecturer in the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series — The Delta State University Colloquia,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge, who established the lecture series in September of 2013. “Senator Wicker is a prominent figure in Mississippi politics and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in state and federal government. The Delta State family is honored to host him on campus.”

Wicker has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007. During his time in the Senate, he has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs and has worked to reduce spending, limit federal overreach and maintain a strong national defense.

He is a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, serving as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he chairs the Subcommittee on Seapower.

Additionally, Wicker has actively supported cancer survivorship programs and efforts to fight heart disease with the American Heart Association, diabetes and childhood obesity. He has been recognized as a champion of polio eradication for his work to wipe out polio worldwide. He is also the co-founder of the Senate Malaria Caucus and has worked to eliminate the preventable disease.

Prior to his service in the Senate, Wicker was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, he served in the state Senate on behalf of Lee and Pontotoc counties.

Wicker is also a veteran, having served active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

LaForge encouraged Delta State professors to alert their students of this rare opportunity to hear Wicker speak.

“This is a university-wide program that continues to bring a unique and diverse array of speakers — from judges, government officials, lawyers, artists, and business professionals — to our campus to address and interact with our students, faculty and staff,” LaForge said. “I encourage the campus and Cleveland communities to join us for this special event.”

Each Colloquia lecture is streamed live online through the official Delta State University uStream channel. Learn more at