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Graduation Archives - News and Events

Delta State to celebrate Commencement May 5

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Delta State University will celebrate 2018 Spring Commencement Ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 5 inside the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The institution, friends and family will unite to recognize the accomplishments of 493 graduates.

The 10 a.m. ceremony will honor graduates receiving doctorates, education specialists, masters degrees, College of Business and Aviation undergraduate degrees, and School of Nursing undergraduate degrees.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduates receiving undergraduate degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Each graduate will receive four tickets to administer to family and friends. Ticket pickup will be at the Registrar’s Office May 2-4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If students choose to not take all of their assigned tickets, additional tickets will be available for pickup at the Registrar’s Office starting at 10 a.m. May 4, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

At the 10 a.m. ceremony, Delta State will also continue its tradition of recognizing greatness by conferring an honorary doctoral degree to legendary Delta-influenced soul and gospel singer, and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples.

Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally, or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

Keynoting both ceremonies is Dr. Glen Jones, president of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Jones also serves as the committee chair of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council. When Jones was introduced as Henderson State’s president in March 2012, he became the first African-American to serve as president or chancellor of a non-Historically Black Colleges and Universities institution in the history of Arkansas higher education.

Delta State President William N. LaForge will provide introductions at the ceremony, while presentations of candidates and degrees will be led by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams.

Follow all news at Delta State University at http://www.deltastate.edu.

Mavis Staples to receive honorary doctoral degree

By | Academics, Community, President | No Comments

Delta State University will continue its tradition of recognizing greatness by conferring an honorary doctoral degree at spring commencement ceremonies May 5.

Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally, or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

Receiving the honor will be the legendary Delta-influenced soul and gospel singer, and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples.

Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Kennedy Center Honoree, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient.

“We are honored to welcome Mavis Staples back to Delta State, and to present this musical legend who has ties to the Delta, with an honorary degree,” said Delta State University President William N. LaForge.

With her first recording at age 13 in 1954, the musical world has continued to learn from Staples. She has worked with and schooled countless musical legends. And each time she takes the stage, she performs with timeless talent. Beyond gospel and soul, her musical influence has had an impact on folk, pop, R&B, blues, rock and even hip-hop.

Mavis’s stardom began with the Delta-inflected gospel sound she helped create in the 1950s with her father, Pops, and her brother and sisters as The Staple Singers. The Staple Singers, inspired by Pops’ close friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., became the spiritual and musical voices of the civil rights movement. Few musicians can rival Staple’s impact in American music history, along with her family’s impact on the civil rights era.

Mavis, who was born in Chicago, has ties to the Mississippi Delta thanks to Pops’ roots. Pops was born and raised near Dockery Farms in Sunflower County, learning to play his guitar at Charley Patton’s feet, picking up technique and musicianship from the older and popular bluesman.

These Delta Blues influences were passed down to Mavis and her siblings, shaping their musical careers forever.

Mavis would go on to top the radio charts during the Stax era with hits like “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself.” She served as muse to both Bob Dylan and Prince at the peak of their careers, and later formed collaborations with Van Morrison, Billy Preston, Zac Brown, Ry Cooder, Chuck D. and Willie Nelson.

Staples last performed at Delta State’s Bologna Performing Arts Center in 2016 alongside the Blind Boys of Alabama.

To follow all Delta State news, visit www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State launches Writing Skills Initiative

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Delta State University’s Academic Council recently approved a new platform to increase writing skills on campus that replaces the current Writing Proficiency Requirement for graduation.

The new Writing Skills Initiative focuses on enhancing academic writing experiences and expectations in writing across all disciplines. It will take effect in the Fall 2018 semester.

Through the initiative, academic departments have developed, increased and identified discipline-specific requirements that seek to increase students’ writing skills at the collegiate level in each major.

Development and enhancement of writing skills is a shared responsibility of the two required composition courses in the General Education program and upper-division, enhanced writing courses.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams, said an emphasis on writing within disciplines will enhance academic standards, rather than relying on a barrier exam that data show did not achieve intended results.

“Writing skills are an important element in the education of Delta State students,” said McAdams. “We are committed to helping our students develop into proficient writers in their discipline. Several faculty committees have studied how to improve the previous Writing Proficiency Requirement, and the new Writing Skills Initiative is the result of that study. Numerous universities across the country have used a similar model for many years with very positive results.”

Academic Council indicated that English Composition I and II courses should provide a foundation for college-level writing, focusing on grammar and mechanics of writing — while the writing-enhanced courses within majors are designed to expand the written communication skills of students, within the context of the student’s chosen major.

Each major will identify two upper-division (300 or 400 level) required courses.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research, is excited to improve student writing across the board.

“We are thrilled that our faculty have embraced the idea of directly impacting their students’ writing abilities within the individual disciplines,” said Moon. “The writing products that come out of upper-level courses will showcase our students’ abilities to move into the workplace or on to professional schools.”

The courses selected will be reviewed by the appropriate dean and reported to the provost. The assessment of writing skills in the two writing-enhanced courses will count for at least 20 percent of a student’s final grade.

Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also agreed that the initiative would better prepare students for the job market.

“When talking to potential employers about what they believe our students need to be successful, they always mention the need for them to have good written communication skills,” said Breaux. “Requiring each of our degree programs to incorporate enhanced writing requirements into at least two of their upper-level courses, will afford students opportunities to hone their writing skills within the context of their chosen academic majors. This will hopefully make them more competitive on the job market and a better employee.”

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

First C2C participants receive degrees

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, IHL, Students | No Comments
Left to right: Dr. Karen Bell, Provost Dr. Charles McAdams, Randa Hitchcock, Keir Davis, Jeremy Weaver and President William N. LaForge.

 

Earlier this year, Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) launched the statewide initiative, Complete 2 Compete (C2C), to encourage adult learners to return to college and complete degrees.

The program focuses on adults who have accumulated hours towards a college diploma but have not finished a baccalaureate degree.

Since the C2C launch, Dr. Karen Bell, Delta State University’s C2C coach, has been working with 142 C2C leads (applicants). At Delta State’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, 14 of the program participants reaped the benefits of graduation.

“We are excited to have our first graduates in the new adult degree completion program, Complete 2 Compete,” said Bell. “This program is a great opportunity for students who have been out of school at least two years and have completed 90 hours to reconnect and finish their degree.”

“Having a college degree makes a real difference for many people, and we want to help adults earn their degree,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Delta State.

Through this initiative, Randa Hitchcock will receive the new bachelor’s in general studies and finish what she started.

“It is important for me to show my daughter, as well as others, that no matter what life may throw at you, you can accomplish anything you set out to do,” said Hitchcock. “It is important not to give up on a dream, and completing my degree was a dream of mine.”

This year’s graduating class includes:

Ashley Bobo
Keir Davis
Chelsey Dunn
Dana Floyd
Judy Haney
Randa Hitchcock
Marilyn James
Jon McKinney
Phillip Sarullo
Paul Scott
Keisha Thompson
Jeremy Weaver
Joshua Williams
Sandra Williams

“I plan on using the degree to build a better career,” said Jones. “I will be entering the Master of Arts Teaching program, and I could not do this without the BS degree.”

“I plan to use this degree to motivate me to finish what I started,” said Bobo. “I’ve never been more grateful for this opportunity. This is just the first step in my educational journey, and I plan to get my masters as well.”

Learn more about C2C at http://www.msc2c.org.

Malone to receive honorary doctorate

By | Alumni | No Comments

Delta State University will continue its tradition of recognizing green and white greatness by conferring an honorary doctoral degree at fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 9.

Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the university, higher education generally or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support.

Receiving the honor will be Percy Malone, who attended Delta State in 1960 and was named the university’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for 2017.

“Senator Percy Malone is a most-deserving honorary degree recipient,” said Delta State University President William N. LaForge. “It is customary for universities to bestow honorary degrees, and they are intended to do just that — honor the recipient for distinguished service, accomplishments, successes and contributions to society. Sen. Malone is the ideal candidate for this honor. His record of community service and leadership is enviable. And he credits Delta State with providing him the basic science education to launch his professional school, and later, his business, successes. He is a leader who cares about people and who has demonstrated, time and time again, his commitment to human and civic causes.”

Malone, who was raised in a humble upbringing in Rosedale, Mississippi, credits his time in the classroom at Delta State as paving his way to pharmacy school, and then to eventually becoming a representative and senator in Arkansas.

Long before he sat in his senate and representative seats in the Arkansas legislature, long before he established a chain of pharmacies across Arkansas, and long before he traveled to Oxford to learn his vocation, he sat in classes at Delta State soaking up the knowledge and wisdom from several teachers that would influence him the rest of his life.

“I had a professor in physics – Dr. Wiley – he took a special interest in his students,” Malone said. “It was an affordable school, and when I got out, I was prepared for pharmacy school at Ole Miss.”

“This is a great honor from a school that helped me get out of poverty,” Malone said in a previous press release about being named Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. “I have fond memories of being able to go to Delta State. It was a hand out and not a hand up.”

After receiving his pharmacy degree in 1965, Malone began working with I.B. Fuller in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Fuller became a mentor for Malone’s community involvement, which has ranged from serving on the board of directors of the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce, to serving as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention in 1980. He was also a member of the state Board of Pharmacy.

His political career began in 1995 when he was elected to represent District 36, which he did until 1999. In this capacity, he served as co-chairman of the joint budget committee and as a member of the insurance and commerce committee, the public health and welfare committee, and other important committees and subcommittees. Malone’s stint in the state senate ran from 2001-2012.

President LaForge said Delta State has bestowed fewer than 20 honorary degree’s in the institution’s history, acknowledging the significance and prestige of Malone’s degree.

To follow all Delta State news, visit www.deltastate.edu.