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Delta State’s 14th Annual International Business Symposium Examines Global Financial Markets

CLEVELAND, MS—Delta State University’s 14th annual International Business Symposium will revolve around the theme, “The Global Financial Market.” The two-day event takes place Oct. 11-12 in Jobe Hall on the campus of Delta State University and is free and open to the public.

“We continue to devise topics that are relevant to today’s students, our surrounding region, and the wider world,” said Dr. Tomeka Harbin, chair of management, marketing, and business administration and the symposium organizer. “This approach has been the guiding principle of the symposium since our notable alumnus, Dr. David Abney ’76 and ’15, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of United Parcel Service, and his wife, Sherry, established it in 2006.”

Abney—who began his career as a part-time UPS package loader while in college at Delta State before rising to become the 11th CEO in the 111-year history of the world’s largest package delivery company—returns to the symposium to give the keynote speech. He’ll also conduct a Q&A with students.

Other speakers include former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, Mike Retzer, CEO and owner of Retzer Resources, one of the largest McDonald’s franchisees in the nation; Delta State alumnus Arian Maliqi (B.A. in business administration in 2010; MBA in 2011), CFO of Press-Seal Corp., which provides infrastructure products for underground collection systems; and Dr. Darrin Webb, state economist and director of the University Research Center, a division of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. For a complete list of the symposium, go online to

“Fourteen years ago, my wife, Sherry, and I were excited to create a unique event designed to connect students with business leaders and provide an impactful learning experience,” said Abney. “As the event has progressed, we’re just as excited today because we know that it has opened up new opportunities and new ways of thinking for so many attendees over the years.”

Students agree. “I’ve been to three symposiums, and they’re a great opportunity to network,” said Maria Clara Belisario, who graduated in 2017 with a degree in international business development and is an MBA student with a concentration in finance. “I had the chance to do a summer internship with Danny Lipe,” a Delta State alumnus and vice president of finance at Wincorp International, a producer and exporter of agricultural products.

Eric Syc, a 2017 business major and a first year MBA student who has attended the last three symposia, added, “The International Business Symposium gives Delta State students the unique chance to hear from people who have used their college experience to achieve great goals. Being able to see and talk to these people in person is a great inspiration for myself and my fellow business majors.”

About the International Business Symposium: Hosted by Delta State University’s College of Business and Aviation, the International Business Symposium provides a unique opportunity for Delta State students and Mississippi residents to gain insights from and interact with some of the most successful business leaders in the country. Previous presenters include Charles Pleas, senior vice president and controller of AutoZone, and Stephen Cesler, retired vice president of global customer business development for Procter & Gamble. David Abney, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of United Parcel Service, and his wife, Sherry, established the symposium in 2006; a Delta State alumnus, he frequently returns to campus to speak at the event.

About Delta State University: Delta State University is a four-year public institution whose more than 3,750 students come from most U.S. states and more than 50 countries. The university offers numerous unique programs, including the Delta Music Institute entertainment industry program, and is the only university in Mississippi to offer undergraduate and graduate aviation programs. Situated in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, which is recognized as the birthplace of American music, Delta State has become the center of music and culture for the state and the region. The university is also the academic center for the blues, offering an online blues studies curriculum that leads to a certificate for advanced study of blues music. In addition, Delta State offers top-notch academic programs in business, arts, sciences, nursing, and education, among other areas.