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Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

The Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series was established by President William N. LaForge on September 3, 2013. The first Colloquia speaker was former governor of Mississippi William F. Winter.

“As a university, we need to make available to Delta State and the community marquee speakers from across the country and the world,” said LaForge. “Great universities have great programs, and this is another step in the right direction. This is one of the hallmark items of what we’re trying to do here.”

President LaForge added, “This is a university-wide program that will bring a unique and diverse array of people — from judges, former government officials, lawyers and business people. These are all folks our students can look up to.”

The Colloquia program is a series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. The series is ongoing and will continue throughout the course of the year.

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

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Gustavo Gelpi | September 20, 2016 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

gustavo-gelpi-e1473172150840Gelpi was appointed to the federal court bench in 2006 by former U.S. President George W. Bush, following his unanimous Senate confirmation. He holds life tenure and sits in the District of Puerto Rico.

During his judicial tenure, Judge Gelpi has presided over hundreds of prosecutions for narcotics, firearms, child exploitation, immigration, white collar, government corruption and other federal crimes. He has also presided over a large number of civil cases in the areas of civil rights, environmental litigation, medical malpractice, bank shareholder class actions, corporate litigation and personal injury.

Gelpi has had an illustrious career spanning 25 years of public service, previously serving on the federal bench as a United States Magistrate Judge, as Solicitor General of Puerto Rico, and as Assistant Federal Public Defender and judicial law clerk.

Roger Wicker | March 22, 2016 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

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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.

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.

Nastasha Trethewey | October 22, 2015 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

United States Poet Laureate and Mississippi Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, will present through the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

Former United States Poet Laureate and current Mississippi Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, has been tied to Delta State for many years, having received an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree during the university’s 2007 fall commencement ceremony.

Additionally, Trethewey was the 2008 winner of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Her Pulitzer-winning poems feature elements of her personal history as the daughter of interracial parents — and the story of her mother, who died at the age of 40.

Joseph J. Turner | September 1, 2015 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

Justice Leslie D. King becomes the most recent addition to the Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series March 4 at 6 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

Joseph Jackson Turner Jr. is CEO at First Sun Management Corporation, a 50-store Wendy’s franchise located in the Southeast and one of the world’s largest Wendy’s franchise businesses.

He previously served as the executive secretary for the Clemson IPTAY Club, an athletic fundraising organization for Clemson University. In this role, Turner helped raise over $26 million for the institution. He also served as the associate director and alumni field representative for the Clemson Alumni Association.

Additionally, Turner served as president and trustee for the Wendy’s International National Advertising Board of Trustees, and he is currently on the board of directors for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Leslie King | March 4, 2015 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

Justice Leslie D. King becomes the most recent addition to the Delta State University Colloquia: Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series March 4 at 6 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

Justice King served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1980-1994, and his leadership roles included serving as vice-chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. He was elected to the Court of Appeals in 1994, and Governor Haley Barbour appointed him to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2011.

Other legislative committees on which King served include: Judiciary, Insurance, Environmental Protection Council, Housing Finance Oversight, and Universities and Colleges.

King began practicing law in Greenville in 1973. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1970 and from the Texas Southern University School of Law in 1973.

He was chairman of the Mississippi Black Legislative Caucus in 1988, and previously served as Youth Court Counselor for Washington County, Public Defender, Youth Court Prosecutor, and Municipal Court Judge for the Town of Metcalfe.

Charles A. Bowsher | September 25, 2014 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

As the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the General Accounting Office (GAO) for 15 years, Charles Bowsher’s appointment by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 capped a background of experience in both government and corporate endeavors.

Distinguished service-to both public institutions and the private sector-has been the hallmark of his notable career. With a congressional mandate to audit, evaluate, or investigate virtually all federal operations, GAO under his leadership became increasingly involved in some of the most important issues of the day.

Charles A. Bowsher | September 25, 2014 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

As the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the General Accounting Office (GAO) for 15 years, Charles Bowsher’s appointment by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 capped a background of experience in both government and corporate endeavors.

Distinguished service-to both public institutions and the private sector-has been the hallmark of his notable career. With a congressional mandate to audit, evaluate, or investigate virtually all federal operations, GAO under his leadership became increasingly involved in some of the most important issues of the day.

David Abney | April 2, 2014 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

David Abney, a 1976 Delta State graduate, is the Chief Executive Officer for United Parcel Service — the world’s largest package delivery company. Abney studied marketing at Delta State and was named the 2007 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. 

Abney has held various positions throughout his UPS career, which began in 1974. He started as a part time employee loading and unloading packages before working up to division manager in New Jersey and district manager in Utah.

He also served as president of SonicAir®, UPS’s same-day delivery service. While president of the airline, Abney was honored with the Professionalism in Services/Support Management Award by the International Association of Services Management for demonstrating exemplary managerial characteristics.

Dr. Robert Khayat | January 29, 2014 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

Khayat served as the 15th chancellor of the University of Mississippi from 1995-2009. He is also a former college football all-star, an Academic All American football and baseball player, all-pro kicker for the Washington Redskins, law professor and president of the NCAA Foundation.
 
His memoir covers a number of topics from his noteworthy career, including the 1962 riot at Ole Miss with the admission of James Meredith. At the time, Khayat was kicking for the newly integrated Washington Redskins in the National Football League. More than 35 years later he was leading the university through its controversial association with the Confederate flag.

Inauguration of President William N. LaForge

Senator Thad Cochran | November 1, 2013 | Bologna Performing Arts Center

In the current 113th Congress, Thad Cochran serves as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. He has served on this panel since being sworn in as a Senator in 1979, and served as chairman from 2003 to 2005.

Sen. Cochran is a senior member on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and is Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Cochran also serves on the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

For the State of Mississippi, Cochran has maintained a focus throughout his career on promoting economic development and educational opportunity. He has sponsored legislation and promoted policies related to rural economic development, including key provisions of several national farm policy bills.

President LaForge served as Sen. Cochran’s chief of staff and the two enjoy a personal and professional relationship that spans more than 30 years.

Cochran delivers the keynote address for President LaForge’s investiture ceremony Nov. 1 at 10:30 a.m. inside the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Delta State University Inauguration Week Celebration

Dr. Jeffrey Lenn | October 31, 2013 | College of Business

Dr. Lenn teaches in George Washington University’s School of Business in the department of Strategic Management and Public Policy. His areas of expertise include: business-government relations; corporate political strategy; strategic management; executive leadership; managerial ethics; corporate social responsibility; and organizational change.

His current research includes: design and implementation of political strategy; values and ethics in executive decision making; corporate social responsibility; and business as a vocation and occupation. Lenn has served as a consultant to corporations, trade associations, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. He also has extensive experience in management and executive development programs, both domestic and international.

Lenn and President LaForge worked together for more than 30 years at GWU, where Lenn was his department chair, dean and vice president. He has remained LaForge’s great friend and mentor since their time together in the school of business.

Dr. Lenn’s lecture begins at 4:00 p.m. inside the auditorium in E. R. Jobe Hall.

James W. Morhard | October 30, 2013 | College of Arts and Sciences

James Morhard holds a degree in accounting from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Penn., an MBA from George Washington University and a juris doctorate from Georgetown University. He is admitted to the practice in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

In 1978, he became an analyst for the Secretary of the Navy and the Navy Comptroller in the Pentagon, where he reviewed procurement and research and development appropriations. Morhard became the chief of staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2003, where he managed a staff of 68 and assembled, personally negotiated, and passed the fiscal year 2004-2005 Omnibus appropriations bills.

After leaving the Senate in the winter of 2005, he founded the law firm of Morhard & Associates, LLC. He has also been a guest lecturer on the legislative process at Harvard University, the Naval War College and Georgetown University. Morhard is an adjunct professor at the Naval Post Graduate School and is a member of the board of Saint Francis University. He also serves on the advisory board for the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Mr. Morhard’s topic for the evening is “Social Policy and the Problem of a Divided Congress in a Divided Government”. His presentation begins at 5:00 p.m. inside the auditorium of E. R Jobe Hall.

Doris Dixon | October 29, 2013 | College of Education and Human Sciences

Early in her career, Doris Dixon served as a professional staff member to both Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. Congress, the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Legislative Affairs.

Dixon left Capitol Hill in 1995 to become the first director of Federal Relations for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where she established and managed the legislative affairs office for the nation’s preeminent college sports organization.

Dixon is currently a legislative policy staff member in the office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs for the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Dixon’s topic for the evening is “From Dickens to Dr. Dre”. Her presentation begins at 5 p.m. inside the Jacob Conference Center in James M. Ewing Hall.

Dr. Marcella McKay | October 28, 2013 | Robert E. Smith School of Nursing

Marcella Long McKay serves in a dual role as Chief Operating Officer for the Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA) and President and CEO for the MHA Health, Research & Educational Foundation. Her areas of expertise include health policy, regulatory compliance, patient safety, quality of care, and healthcare administration.

Dr. McKay has over thirty years of experience in health care in clinical, education, and administrative positions and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

Dr. McKay previously served as Executive Director of the Mississippi Board of Nursing and served on the Board of Directors for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (1991).

She currently serves on the National Advisory Committee for the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a major initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She currently is a co-lead for the leadership development track of work within the Mississippi Action Coalition.

Dr. McKay opens the Inauguration Week Colloquia series with her presentation on October 28 at 5:00 p.m. inside rooms 141-143 in the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing.

First Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

Gov. William F. Winter | September 3, 2013 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

Gov. Winter, considered one of Mississippi’s most distinguished political leaders, spoke at the initial Colloqua Lecture Series on Sept. 3, 2013 in the Jobe Hall auditorium.

Winter served Mississippi in numerous official capacities, including Governor from 1980–1984, Lt. Governor from 1972–1976, Mississippi State Treasurer from 1964–1968, Mississippi State Tax Collector from 1956–1964, and Representative in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1948–1956.

“I’m honored to be the first speaker in the series and share a few thoughts that I hope will be welcomed on campus,” said Winter. “I think the Colloquia program represents the vision and creativity Dr. LaForge is bringing to Delta State. It is so important that Delta State University receives the recognition it deserves because of the role it fills as an intellectual beacon in the Delta.”

“I am thrilled to have Gov. Winter as the first Colloquia speaker,” said LaForge. “He has been such a prominent figure in Mississippi law, politics, education and racial reconciliation. He is known in all circles of the state as a man who is fair, just and forward thinking.”

Dr. Robert Khayat | January 29, 2014 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

A selection of pictures from the Delta State University Colloquia Lecture Series featuring former University of Mississippi Chancellor Dr. Robert Khayat.

Sen. Thad Cochran | November 1, 2013 | Inauguration

Cochran delivered the keynote address for President LaForge’s investiture ceremony for a full house inside the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Check out more photos from the inauguration at inauguration.deltastate.edu.

Dr. Jeffrey Lenn | October 31, 2013 | College of Business

Dr. Lenn spoke during the Inauguration Week “Celebration of Excellence.” in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

James Morhard | October 30, 2013 | College of Arts and Sciences

James Morhard spoke about “Social Policy and the Problem of a Divided Congress in a Divided Government” during the Inauguration Week “Celebration of Excellence.”

Doris Dixon | October 29, 2013 | College of Education and Human Sciences

A selection of pictures from Dixon’s colloquia speech during the Inauguration Week “Celebration of Excellence.” Dixon’s topic for the evening was “From Dickens to Dr. Dre.” .

Dr. Marcella McKay | October 28, 2013 | Robert E. Smith School of Nursing

A selection of pictures from Dr. McKay’s colloquia speech during the Inauguration Week “Celebration of Excellence.”

Gov. William F. Winter | September 3, 2013 | E.R. Jobe Hall Auditorium

A selection of pictures from the first Delta State University Colloquia Lecture Series featuring former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter.

Charles Bowsher – September 25, 2014


David Abney – April 2, 2014

Dr. Robert Khayat – January 29, 2014

Senator Thad Cochran – November 1, 2013

Dr. Jeffrey Lenn – October 31, 2013

James W. Morhard – October 30, 2013

Doris Dixon – October 29, 2013

Marcella McKay – October 28, 2013

Gov. William F. Winter – September 3, 2013

Help Support the Delta State University Colloquia Lecture Series

To make a gift in support of the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series, please contact the Delta State University Foundation at 662-846-4704 or make your gift online at DeltaStateGiving.org.

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