Lindsey promoted to comptroller

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Delta State University recently announced the promotion of Beverly Lindsey to the position of comptroller. Lindsey officially begins her new role June 1.

Lindsey, who previously served as assistant comptroller, takes over for Jamie Rutledge, who was recently promoted to vice president for Finance & Administration.

“I am very appreciative for this opportunity to continue to work for Delta State and with the great people in our department,” said Lindsey. “I look forward to learning more about elements of the positions that I have had a supporting role in, and continue to help Delta State move in the positive direction our administration is guiding us.”

“The accounting department is made up of a great group of people, and I am very honored to work with them,” she added. “I look forward to continuing the precedent set by Jamie Rutledge and helping the university succeed so that it remains a great place to work, as well as a great university for students to come and get an outstanding education.”

Lindsey, a Delta State accounting graduate in 1989, has 13 years of experience working in the university’s accounting department.

She has worked in numerous roles for the department — starting as an accountant, then working her way to payroll administrator, procurement manager and assistant comptroller.

“I’m very excited that Beverly has been appointed to the comptroller role,” said Rutledge. “She’s extremely familiar with university accounting processes, procedures and the software. She’s a hard worker, dedicated and loyal to Delta State.”

Lindsey was born and raised in Cleveland, where she attended Cleveland High School. She has been married to her husband and fellow Delta State graduate, John, for 24 years. They have two daughters who attend Bayou Academy.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.

Bennett named VP of Student Affairs

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge recently announced the hiring of Dr. Vernell Bennett for the position of vice president of Student Affairs.

Bennett replaces Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston, who had filled the role on an interim basis following the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett, who served the university for four decades.

Bennett will officially take office July 1, pending IHL Board approval, but will begin the transition process on June 15.

I am honored to join Delta State University as the newest member of the great executive team President LaForge has built,” said Bennett. “To say that I’m eager to work with the students the university educates is an understatement. It is truly exciting to join forces with engaged faculty, staff and community members to help Delta State University continue its long legacy of service and excellence.”

In the role, she will serve as the chief student affairs officer for the university. This position is responsible for providing leadership and administrative direction to a comprehensive Student Affairs Division, which complements and supports the academic mission of Delta State.

Bennett arrives at 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. At KSU, Bennett oversaw a personnel and operating budget of $5 million and a scholarship budget of $2.6 million.

Prior to her VP role at KSU, she served as the university’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, the senior advisor to Academic Affairs, and as a presidential liaison.

She holds a doctorate in instruction and administration from the University of Kentucky, received her master’s from Eastern Michigan University and her bachelor’s degree from Fisk University.

Bennett’s professional memberships include: The Council on Student Affairs; The National Association of Student Affairs Professionals; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated; The Links, Incorporated; and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Additionally, she has a background in teaching music courses, including voice instruction, elements of music, phonetics and dictation, and more.

President LaForge said he was thrilled to bring Bennett’s leadership to campus.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Bennett to Delta State,” said LaForge. “She brings a wealth of talent and experience to the position of vice president for Student Affairs, and I know she will have a terrific impact on our students and our campus culture. I look forward to her contributions to our leadership team.”

A selection committee, chaired by Dr. Temika Simmons, assistant professor of psychology, was formed in order to guide the national search for the position. Finalists recently visited the Delta State campus and spent time meeting with various groups including the President’s Cabinet, Academic Council, division directors and the search committee, along with addressing open forums attended by faculty, staff and students.

Along with Simmons, search committee members included: Michael Lipford, Dr. David Hebert, Marilyn Read, Mike Kinnison, Diana McLemore, Dr. David Breaux, Betsy Elliott, Porter Leftwich, Mikel Sykes (student), Allie Rose Parker (student) and Lisa Giger (ex-officio).

Follow all Delta State University news at www.deltastate.edu.

Fireside Chat: Orientation sessions begin on campus

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Joining President LaForge are Jeanna Wilkes, who is the Delta State Director of Student Life, and students Ashley Blackburn and Madison Ennis, who are both student orientation leaders.

This past week marked the beginning of Orientation sessions on campus as the university welcomes new Delta State students to campus. The university offers an extensive orientation program each summer for new students enrolling for the fall semester, and sessions are broken out for incoming freshmen and transfer students. Delta State also has a number of opportunities for parents of first-time students. The two-day programs feature informational sessions on housing, academics, student life and many other topics.

Parents are encouraged to attend the same session as their student, and the sessions include meals, housing for students and entertainment activities to enable new students to meet current Delta State students and spend time with other new students. Upcoming sessions for freshmen are set for June 2nd and 3rd, June 27th and 28th, and July 7th and 8th. There is a transfer student session today, and upcoming sessions set for June 23rd and July 1st. You can sign up on the Orientation web site, and there is a direct link on our home page www.deltastate.edu.

In other news on campus, today marked the beginning of our first summer school term, and we are pleased to welcome students back to campus. And, in late June, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi will unveil a new exhibit centered on the life of blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughn. We hope that you will make plans to come check it out. For other news, events and activities, visit our web site at www.deltastate.edu.

LaForge meets with Mississippi lawmakers in D.C.

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge visited the nation’s capital in late April to touch base with Mississippi’s federal lawmakers.

“This was an opportunity to visit with the Mississippi congressional delegation and their staffs,” said LaForge. “There are issues that we want them to support or oppose, and we had an opportunity to express our concerns with them.”

LaForge personally spent time with Mississippi Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and the staffs of Mississippi’s four members of the House of Representatives.

The conversations focused on grants, federal funding and alternative funding sources to support Delta State.

“Government relations and public policy advocacy are necessary in order to keep issues in front of our lawmakers so they know what our interests are, and so that they can vote and act accordingly. It allows us to express our needs and interests to our government.”

“It’s all about directly addressing the issues that are important to us as a constituent institution,” added LaForge. “We are always exploring possibilities for Delta State assistance.”

LaForge is no stranger to Capitol Hill, having spent time in the ‘70s with Congressman David Bowen and in the ‘80s working as Cochran’s chief of staff.

“Senator Cochran is very special to me. We have a unique relationship that goes way back,” said LaForge. “It was great to see my mentor again and have a visit with him. He has a deep interest in education in general, and certainly higher education. He’s a great resource for us at Delta State.”

LaForge also has a connection with Wicker, as the two were law school classmates at the University of Mississippi.

Follow all Delta State University news at www.deltastate.edu

GRAMMY MUSEUM® MISSISSIPPI TO PARTICIPATE IN BLUE STAR MUSEUMS

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GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is one of more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense

CLEVELAND, MS (May 26, 2016) – Today GRAMMY Museum Mississippi announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2016. Leadership support for Blue Star Families programming and promotional materials has been provided by MetLife Foundation. The program also provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

“We are excited to participate in this program.  Service members and their families are so important to our communities,” said Emily Havens, Executive Director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “This is a great way for the Museum to honor their service and sacrifice.”

“The Blue Star Museums program is a fun, free activity for military families to enjoy during the summer months,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The program is also a great way for service member families to connect to their new communities, and it can provide a meaningful way for families to reconnect after deployment. The Blue Star Museums program is also a perfect way for the arts community to say ‘thank you’ to our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf, every day.”

“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

This year, more than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer. The effort to recruit museums has involved partnerships with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and dozens of children’s museums. Among this year’s new participants are the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover, New Hampshire, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove, California, the Rochester Museum & Science Center in Rochester, New York, and El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

About Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 30, 2016 through Labor Day, September 5, 2016.

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members. Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find participating museums and plan your trip, visit arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

All summer long, Blue Star Museums will share stories through social media. Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #bluestarmuseums, on Facebook, and read the NEA Art Works blog for weekly stories on participating museums and exhibits.

Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact bluestarmuseums@arts.gov, or Wendy Clark at 202-682-5451.

This is the latest NEA program to bring quality arts programs to the military, veterans, and their families. Other NEA programs for the military have included the NEA Military Healing Arts Partnership; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.

About GRAMMY Museum Mississippi

Built and operated by the Cleveland Music Foundation — a non-profit organization developed in 2011 — the 28,000-square-foot GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is housed near the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industry Studies program, which features the most unique audio recording facilities in the South. Similar to its sister Museum — the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE — GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric area that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape.  For more information about GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, visit www.grammymuseumms.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @GRAMMYMuseumMS on Twitter and Instagram, and like “GRAMMY Museum Mississippi” on Facebook.

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military spouses, children, parents and friends, as well as service members, veterans and civilians, dedicated to supporting, connecting and empowering military families. With our partners, Blue Star Families leverages data-driven insights to curate resources for military families, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members annually. Blue Star Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, State and Federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. Visit bluestarfam.org for more information.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016.