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Inspiring Women

GROW UP GREEN & WHITE Delta State University claims multiple generations of the Mason family. They help keep the Green-&-White tradition alive—you can too!


atriarch Robert G. “Brick” Mason, from Coahoma County, attended Mississippi Delta Community College and went into the Army before enrolling at Delta State Teachers College on a football scholarship. He majored in math while also playing baseball. At DSU, he met his eventual wife, Rose (Took), an elementary education and reading major from Shaw. After graduation, he coached and taught math in the Cleveland School District and then became Bolivar County superintendent of education until retirement, also serving on the Mississippi Delta and Coahoma Community College boards. Rose taught for 30 years. Their daughters, Beth Mason Redditt and Brook Williams, also graduated from Delta State. Their granddaughter, Ann Marie Redditt Myers, studied speech-language pathology and audiology at DSU and earned an M.Ed. in special education, while also performing in the Renaissance vocal ensemble. She became a music teacher. Their grandchildren, Ryan Redditt and Mikie Williams, attended DSU’s Hamilton-White Child Development Center. Great-grandchild Caleb Myers is there now.

The Mason family, like your own, knows the value of Delta State. Carry on this worthwhile tradition like they have. Enroll your child in Delta State’s Legacy Program. Send us the name, birthdate, and address of your future Statesman or Lady Statesman. He or she will learn about everything bright, fun, and beneficial in the Green & White world.

We want to get to know the smiles on your kids’ faces so we can see their grins at graduation. Scan the code or email us at alumni@deltastate.edu. www.deltastate.edu

KEEP THE TRADITION ALIVE. The Alumni Association partners with Admissions and Recruiting on this initiative. 2 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019



Focused and on a Mission


Image Is Everything


DSU’s First All-Female Backpacking Expedition


To Serve with Love

Physical therapist Carmen Cooper-Oguz never stops striving for her patients, occupation, industry, community, and alma mater.

The careers of alumnae artist Eunika Rogers, art director Tina Miller, and technology attorney Angela Grayson involve representation.

Follow alumnae, faculty, staff, and friends on a Grand Canyon trek about gender-centric group dynamics and skills acquisitions.

Alumna Becky Nowell makes a point of giving back to Delta State and to Cleveland because both helped shape the best parts of her.










Katarzyna Mackowska, DSU’s first Fulbright Scholar-inResidence; DSU filmmakers and siblings Elisabetta Zengaro and Matteo Zengaro’s “Coach Wade”; renovations to Zeigel Hall and Young-Mauldin Cafeteria; Steve Forbes’ Spring Colloquia Distinguished Lecture; Child Safety Summit; Faith Cox and Sean Gage 2019 Statesman Scholars; Winning the Race conference; fall 2018 commencement; Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies; Sarah Mumme and Mattia Schirru 2019 student-athletes of the year; men’s swimming successes; men’s basketball triumphs; golfer Zach Zediker’s kudos; Pittman $4 million gift; microgrant fundraising

26 Alumni Chapter Events 28 Alumni Updates 29

F uture Statesmen & Lady Statesmen


In Memoriam

ON THE COVER: An 11-member, all-female, DSU-affiliated research team hikes part of the Grand Canyon late last year, assessing gender-related topics. Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 1

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Dear Fellow Alumni and Friends, The 2018-19 academic year has been another good one for Delta State University. We conferred degrees on more than 800 students at our December and May commencements combined, and we added digital media arts to our academic offerings. So, you can now tell your friends that Delta State is the only university in the state offering a digital media arts degree with video and animation programs. Longtime Head Baseball Coach Mike Kinnison is DSU’s new director of athletics, and this year produced a lot of excitement as our intercollegiate sports teams continued their successful run. Men’s basketball won the Gulf South Conference tournament, and Delta State welcomes new Head Coach Mike Nienaber, who comes to us from Christian Brothers University. The Statesmen swim/dive team finished second in the nation at the national swim meet, and the Lady Statesmen finished twelfth. Several major signature conferences on campus brought stellar programs to the DSU family and community, including the annual International Blues Conference, the David and Sherry Abney International Business Symposium, and the award-winning race-relations conference Winning the Race. Delta State welcomed two terrific Distinguished Lecturers—NCAA President Mark Emmert and media mogul Steve Forbes. As the airline industry increases its demand for pilots due to retirements, Delta State’s aviation program continues to grow. FedEx is engaging with Delta State’s program by providing a half-million dollar scholarship program to support student pilot training. Thanks to many loyal supporters, Delta State enjoyed its most successful fundraising year in history! We also received the university’s largest single gift ever—a $4 million-plus contribution to support scholarships from Dr. and Mrs. Fred Pittman of Sullivan’s Island, SC. I am pleased to report that we have finally broken ground on the construction of a new president’s home. It is being built on the same footprint as the previous home and is scheduled to be completed mid-2020. I invite and encourage you to visit us on campus whenever you can, to recommend new students for admission, and to consider making Delta State a priority in your philanthropy. As you will see in the stories and reports on the pages that follow, there is a lot of progress and excitement at Delta State and among our alumni ranks. Our university and our alumni continue to set new heights of excellence, and I hope you are as proud to be part of the Delta State family as I am. Very best regards,

William N. LaForge ’72 President

Follow President LaForge on social media, including his Fireside Chat! Visit deltastate.edu/president for more info. www.deltastate.edu

2 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

ALUMNI MESSAGE Dear Alumni and Friends, One of the missions of the Delta State University Alumni Association is to keep alumni involved and connected with one another. By doing this, our hope is that your connection to the school remains strong. My primary objective as president of the Alumni Association is to improve participation and increase the ways in which we interact and build relationships with our alumni. Our board wants to keep alumni excited and engaged so that they will be more active in participating. This past year has shown us that we are on the right track as it relates to engagement! Alumni chapters raised $12,000 to award 13 scholarships throughout 2018. This was also a phenomenal year for our Sustaining Life Program. This program, which has provided an average of 50 scholarships each year, has done extremely well this year—the highest ever since its debut in 2013! We are continuously working to improve our alumni events and tailor them to be of interest to a multifaceted student body and alumni group. We implemented a new alumni chapter structure, with Bolivar County becoming our first officially chartered chapter. I am excited to see the outcome and impact as we continue to execute on this effort. As Statesmen, we have so much in which to take pride! We had a very successful Pig Pickin’ this past fall and Homecoming was equally successful. These exciting annual events are known for the fun and great activities—and are prime times to reconnect with other alumni. I want you to remember that the pride of attending Delta State does not end once you graduate. The university provides several events for you to stay involved and foster a positive relationship with DSU for many years to come. I encourage you to take full advantage of these events. What keeps me connected to Delta State is that I see a connection between what I value and what this university represents—providing an environment that fosters discovery and creativity. As far as I am concerned, there is no place like Delta State. We encourage alumni to visit and want you to know that you are welcome at any time! If you’ve not already taken action to recommit to DSU by becoming card-carrying alumni, I urge you to join me in supporting the university, its programs, and endeavors by becoming a member of the Alumni Association. Also, please consider volunteering at reunions and assisting with local chapter events. It is my honor to serve you and work to grow Statesmen pride. Now, we need you to spread the word. Secure your DSU alumni tag for your vehicle! If you don’t have a DSU sticker, come by the Alumni Office to get one. Refer a student to DSU and contribute to alumni scholarships. If you use social media, use #DSUALUMNI and follow the Alumni Association on our social media sites. Let the world know you are proud to be a Statesman! Go, Statesmen!!!

Patrick Davis ’96 National Alumni Association President

g Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 3


Katarzyna Mackowska: DSU’s First Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Delta State University welcomed legal expert Katarzyna Mackowska (pictured) of Lublin, Poland, as its first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence during the spring 2019 semester. An associate professor and chair of legal history in the Faculty of Law, Canon Law, and Administration at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, she is a practicing attorney who focuses on criminal law. Mackowska enjoyed “learning about the culture of the Mississippi Delta,” she said, and sharing “insights and experiences from back home in Poland.” Mackowska earned doctoral and law degrees at John Paul II Catholic University, has won awards for her teaching, and is a prolific author in her field. “The opportunity to host a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence is a great honor for the Division of Social Sciences and History,” said Chuck Westmoreland, chair and associate professor of history.

“Dr. Mackowska’s courses, Judicial Processes and Democratic Thought, were of great benefit to our students. Her vast expertise expanded students’ understanding of how the law and ideas shape not only American politics but global politics as well.” Delta State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles McAdams added, “Dr. Mackowska’s residency underscores our commitment to provide international experiences and perspectives to our campus.” Delta State began working on hosting a guest instructor through the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program in fall 2017. The application was approved in February 2018. Delta State immediately then began preparations to bring Mackowska to campus, explained Dr. Jamie Dahman, assistant professor of music and the Delta State Fulbright Scholar liaison and program adviser.

DSU Student Filmmakers and Siblings Premiere “Coach Wade” Delta State student filmmakers and siblings Elisabetta Zengaro and Matteo Zengaro (pictured in color) premiered “Coach Wade,” their documentary about the legendary Delta State women’s basketball coach, Margaret Wade (pictured in black and white), at the Oxford (Miss.) Film Festival in February. Considered the mother of modern women’s college basketball, Wade led Delta State to three consecutive AIAW National Championships (1975-77). Guiding the Lady Statesmen from 1973 to 1979, Wade piloted her teams to a 157-23 record (.872 winning percentage). The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association created and named its player of the year award after her in 1978. “During the 1970s, there really weren’t a lot of women’s sports programs and Margaret Wade brought distinction to Delta State and women’s sports in general,” said Matteo Zengaro, a senior psychology major. “In the years after her career as a coach was over, she continued to inspire others and helped to strengthen women’s college sports.” Elisabetta Zengaro, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2015 and a master’s degree in sport and human performance in 2018, added, “Coach Wade is considered an icon because she brought national distinction to DSU and women’s basketball when women still had few opportunities to participate in competitive sports.” Wade (1912-1995) starred as a forward at Cleveland (Miss.) High School and then at Delta State—until her senior year in 1932, when 4 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

the university disbanded the program as too tough for young women. Wade coached high school girls’ basketball for 25 years—including at Cleveland High from 1940 to 1959—amassing a 465-85 record and more than a dozen state championships. When Delta State resurrected women’s basketball in 1973, Wade, age 60, a longtime physical education instructor at the campus, was selected to take charge of it. In 1985, she became the first woman named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Wade also was inducted into the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame (1972), Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (1974), and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (1999). DSU dedicated a statue of her in the West Plaza of Kent Wyatt Hall in 2014. The 33-minute documentary features interviews with former Wade players, such as pioneering center Lusia Harris-Stewart, who earned a B.S. in health, physical education, and recreation in 1977 and a master’s degree in education in 1984 as well as an honorary doctorate in 2014 from Delta State—in addition to many basketball honors. Old Dominion standout Nancy Lieberman, the first two-time winner of the Wade Trophy, calls Wade a “mythical figure.” Craig Roden, Delta State head women’s basketball coach, says Wade “laid the foundation” for the sport. And Delta State President William N. LaForge remembers attending “exciting games” with “standing-room only” houses for Wade’s squads.


Zeigel Hall music center

Scope: The 20,154 square-foot building from 1960 underwent a complete renovation from floor to roofing. All new interior walls were constructed. All new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were installed. Two additions were made, totaling 3,340 square feet: one to the band room, and a two-story addition including restrooms on both floors and an elevator. The only original parts still intact are the four exterior walls. All asbestos/mold was abated. Total space now: 23,584 square feet. Start: March 20, 2017 Finish: July 9, 2018 Ribbon-cutting ceremony: Nov. 9, 2018

Young-Mauldin Cafeteria

Scope: The 33,310 square-foot space-age building from 1964 underwent comprehensive refurbishment. Renovations reworked the original layout for maximum functionality and openness. Additions included open-air eating courtyards, a multimedia meeting room, and a private dining room. State-of-the-art kitchen equipment was installed along with a new roof and exterior enhancements. Light wells, plus the courtyards and center atrium, bring in better and more natural light. An after-hours concession function was created. The food court now resides below the original dome. Start: Sept. 17, 2017

Cost: $6,365,377.11, funded by State of Mississippi issued bonds

Finish: Nov. 16, 2018

Named for: William Henry Zeigel, who came to DSU in 1925 as the first academic dean and served until his retirement in 1947.

Cost: $9,180,791, funded by State of Mississippi issued bonds

Ribbon-cutting ceremony: Feb. 5, 2019 Named for: 1) Dr. Albert Leon Young, one of 11 teachers and administrators at Delta State Teachers College when the doors opened in 1925. He served as a teacher, coach, and acting dean, and was head of the division of education and psychology upon retirement in 1958. 2) Katie Durelle Mauldin, who served as dean of women, teacher of history, and registrar over the course of her career from 1929 to retirement in 1961.

Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 5


Steve Forbes Delivers Spring Colloquia Distinguished Lecture Steve Forbes, the business publishing magnate and two-time candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. president, delivered a talk entitled “In Money We Trust? The American Dollar and Your Everyday Life” at Delta State University’s Spring 2019 Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series on March 4. “When money is trustworthy, human progress comes about,” he told a capacity crowd in Jobe Hall. “When money is untrustworthy, bad things can happen.” Forbes urged the U.S. to return to the gold standard, what he called the most reliable monetary benchmark. Delta State University President William N. LaForge said that there was something in the program to meet everyone’s interest because “the topic of money [is] something to which we can all relate!” Chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, Forbes controls a global business media and branding company with a footprint of 115 million touchpoints each month. Forbes, the nation’s leading business magazine, counts a U.S. readership of 6.2 million and 38 editions worldwide. Forbes.com amasses almost 60 million unique visitors a month. BrandVoice is Forbes Media’s thought leadership marketing platform; since 2010, its 230 partners have published 16,000 posts, gar-

nering 255 million page views, 25 million social actions and referrals, and almost 11 million search referrals. In 1996 and 2000, Forbes campaigned for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency. His platform included a flat tax, medical savings accounts, a new Social Security system for working Americans, parental choice of schools for their children, term limits, and a strong national defense. After his visit, Forbes tweeted, “Had a fantastic time visiting Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, to show and discuss the public television documentary, ‘In Money We Trust?,’ which is based on a book I co-authored. The students at Delta State were as impressive as their great institution.”

Delta State Hosts Child Safety Summit Percy and Donna Malone Child Safety Center in Clark County, Ark. National, regional, and state experts in the prevention of child hu(and wife of former Arkansas State Senator and Delta State alumnus man trafficking convened at Delta State University for a “Child Safety Percy Malone); W. Hunter Nowell, youth court judge in Bolivar CounSummit: Understanding Child Trafficking, Exploitation, and Abuse” ty, Miss.; Karla Tye, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy in late January. The daylong event occurred during National Slavery Centers of Mississippi, based in Jackson; Dr. Sufna John, a licensed psyand Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Participants included John F. Clark, CEO/president of the National chologist and co-director of the Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma in Little Rock, Ark.; Center for Missing and Exploited and Leah Daughdrill, a trafficking Children (NCMEC), which has survivor from Moss Point, Miss. helped law enforcement recover “Delta State University is proud more than 250,000 missing chiland pleased to host the Child dren since opening in 1984; Victor Safety Summit,” said Delta State Vieth, founder of the Gundersen President William N. LaForge. National Child Protection Train“An all-star cast of nationally and ing Center, which has trained more regionally renowned speakers and than 150,000 child protection Left to right: Angela Aufmuth, NCMEC case analysis division director, Vieth, presenters led discussions on a professionals dating back to its cre- Daughdrill, Hutchinson, Nowell, LaForge, John, Clark, Malone, and Tye. number of vital topics concerning ation in 2003; and Susan Hutchinthe safety and exploitation of children. We welcomed a wide array of son, first lady of Arkansas and a longtime advocate for organizations governmental, educational, and private sector professionals who benworking with abused children. efited from the summit. I am especially grateful to our good friends, “Human trafficking and child sexual exploitation continue to John Clark and Percy and Donna Malone, for providing program and grow at an alarming rate across the globe,” said Clark. “I applaud financial support for this very timely summit.” Delta State University for hosting this Child Safety Summit and The event was sponsored by AllCare Pharmacy, NCMEC, opening dialogue with students and the public on how we can work Canopy Children’s Services, and the Local Government Leadership together to combat it.” Institute at Delta State. Additional participants included Donna Malone, cofounder of the 6 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

Two Lewisburg H.S. Seniors Named 2019 Statesman Scholars Faith Cox and Sean Gage, standout seniors at Lewisburg High School in Olive Branch, Miss., have been named the 2019 Statesman Scholars by Delta State University. The 12th-graders—and best friends—receive four-year “full ride” scholarships as a result and will enroll at Delta State in the fall. “What originally attracted me to Delta State was its reputation,” said Cox, who scored a 31 on the ACT and whose unweighted GPA is 4.0. “Upon my visit, it was the warmth of the community.” Ultimately, she added, “What won me over was Delta State’s enthusiasm, interest, and willingness to invest in me as a student.” In fact, the importance of investing in others made such an impression on Cox, who performs much community service, that she intends to give back upon her arrival to Cleveland. “To show my appreciation for my university and my new home, I will focus on volunteer efforts aimed at improving the health and welfare of the residents of my new community.” Gage, who has taken numerous honors, AP, and college preparatory classes, intends to pursue an aviation career. “Ever since I began looking into flight and the opportunities that a degree in aviation would open up to me, it took no time at all for Delta State to pop up on my radar,” he said. “DSU’s high-quality aviation program and its general affordability give me the opportunity to explore a career in aviation that would have previously been locked away.” He continued, “On top of that I, think the top-notch preparation I’ll receive at DSU

Faith Cox and her father, Jonathan Cox, pose during Statesman Scholarship Day in the student union at Delta State University on Feb. 8, 2019, along with Sean Gage and his father, Douglas Gage.

will put me a leg up above the competition as I progress toward my ultimate goal of flying for FedEx.” The duo—who also are in their marching band, Cox as a drum major and French hornist and Gage as a percussionist—stood tallest among dozens of the best and brightest from high schools across Mississippi invited by Delta State to participate in a half-day contest on Feb. 8 to be selected as Statesman Scholars and receive the most prestigious scholarship bestowed by DSU. Applicants must have scored a 26 or higher on the ACT, accumulated a GPA of 3.5 or higher, demonstrated academic leadership, and performed notable service.

Annual Winning the Race Conference Focuses on Millennials Delta State University’s award-winning race relations conference, Winning the Race, returned to campus for a sixth year, March 24-26, 2019. The 2019 conference, themed “Millennials in Motion: Channeling the Winner Within,” was presented in partnership with and with support from Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council. The youth-centered conference highlighted voices and work of young millennials in the quest for racial equity and social justice. The keynote speakers were American writer, civil rights activist, and co-founder of Real Justice PAC and The North Star, Shaun King, and Mississippi State Representative Jeramey Anderson, of District 110, the youngest African American ever elected to a legislature in United States history at the time of his election in 2013. Conference breakout sessions featured leaders from the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Mississippi Economic Council, the Woodward Hines Foundation, Teen Health Mississippi, Mission Mississippi, Fluency Plus, and more.

Keynote speakers Shaun King (left) and Rep. Jeramey Anderson at this year’s WTR.

Students from many area schools take in a point made at the event.

Students serve on a WTR panel. Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 7



92nd Commencement, Dec. 7, 2018 1

2 Delta State President William N. LaForge



1. 218 undergraduate degrees: College of Arts and Sciences, 75; College of Education and Human Sciences, 66; College of Business and Aviation, 43; School of Nursing, 34. 2. 106 graduate degrees: College of Education and Human Sciences, 49; College of Business and Aviation, 40; College of Arts and Sciences, 15; School of Nursing, 2. 3. “I urge you to view your college education as a trust that commits you to a lifetime of learning and service,” said President LaForge. 4. “People do not get to milestone experiences alone,” observed keynote speaker and former Delta State math professor Clifton Wingard. 5. Then-Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers ‘74 (B.S.) and ‘75 (M.Ed.) received an honorary doctorate. He retired from Delta State at the end of 2018 after 42 years of service.


undergraduate degrees


graduate degrees

Clifton Wingard



UN Names GIT Regional Support Office The Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT) at DSU has joined the network of Regional Support Offices (RSO) of the United Nations Platform for Spacebased Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). The program is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Established in 2006 under UNOOSA, UN-SPIDER acts as a gateway to support space-based information on disaster management, facilitate capacity-building, and strengthen institutions, with a focus on developing countries. “With this new and unique partnership with the UN-SPIDER program as a Regional Support Office, Delta State’s Geospatial Information Technologies expertise in disaster management and emergency response is once again being recognized and applied in a wonderfully collaborative manner—this time with important spacebased implications,” said President LaForge. “I am very proud that our GIT program—one of Delta State’s signature centers of excellence—is venturing into this vital field, and I know that we will be a significant and reliable partner in the enterprise.” UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo added, “Delta State University and UNOOSA are both committed to providing accessible education and training on geospatial services technologies and leveraging them for supporting disaster management. Delta State is an important addition to UN-SPIDER’s network of RSOs and adds a North American location to our existing coverage.” An RSO can be hosted by a space agency, a research center, a 8 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

university, or a disaster management institution, among others. GIT joins the Japanese Space Agency, the Indian Institute for Remote Sensing, and the European Space Agency among 23 RSOs. The agreement between UN-SPIDER and Delta State, which lasts for three years, grew out of a longtime working relationship between GIT Director Talbot Brooks and the program. He has contributed to UN-SPIDER technical advisory missions and follow-up initiatives in several countries—Laos, Vietnam, Mozambique, Nepal, and the Republic of Georgia. Brooks also has organized technical visits of disaster management officials from countries supported by UNSPIDER to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and provided experts to contribute to UN-SPIDER programs. “Globally, climate change is increasing the frequency, severity, and geography for many disaster types,” said Brooks. “Of concern are not just immediate effects related to loss of life and property, but the longer-term economic and social consequences as well. These latter effects spread beyond national borders to affect trading partners, trigger mass migration, and increase the need for foreign aid, all of which are of concern to the United States.” He continued, “Leveraging geospatial technologies initially developed for disaster risk reduction purposes into larger spatial data infrastructures helps not only to save lives and property abroad, but also to improve domestic government services in ways that benefit economies. Along the way, our students gain international experience and work with new partners. We are thankful for the recognition and look forward to serving our global community.”

Mumme and Schirru Earn Kerg Awards Seniors Sarah Mumme and Mattia Schirru (pictured) were named the 2019 Charles S. Kerg Student-Athletes of the Year during Delta State University Athletics’ 51st annual Green & White Awards on April 22 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Mumme starred for the cross country team under Coach Dough Pinkerton. She earned All-Gulf South Conference (GSC) honors in 2018 and was a three-year team captain and four-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Mumme saved her best season for last, as the Holcomb native was the top finisher in each race for DSU, including the second fastest 5K time in program history, with a 18:47 at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Classic. She captured 19th overall at the GSC champion-

ships, running a 19:00 to earn All-GSC (2nd team) honors. A standout student, the biology major carried a 3.95 GPA and was a four-time GSC Academic Honor Roll recipient and a twotime U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete. Schirru, a 19-time NCAA All-American swimmer over his four years, is one of the most decorated student-athletes in DSU history. The Nichelino, Italy, native captured seven individual New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference (NSISC) titles, plus 11 more as member of a NSISC championship relay. He holds all 10 top times in the 100-freestyle at DSU and nine of the top 10 in the 200-freestyle. This season, he led the Statesmen to runner-up position at the NCAA Division II National Championships (see more below) and its third-straight NSISC title. Schirru is the second DSU swimmer to reach 100 career points at the NCAA championships; his 128 surpasses Justin Whitaker’s 110.5 from 2001 to 2003. Schirru also joins Whitaker as the only Statesmen named NCAA All-American all four years of their careers. Schirru further is a four-time NCAA Academic All-American and NSISC Academic All-Conference selection. He completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology (marketing minor) in three years and an MBA (computer information systems emphasis) in May. MEN’S SWIMMING MAKES BIG SPLASH Led by senior Mattia Schirru and sophomore Giulio Brunoni, the men’s swimming and diving team finished as runner-up at the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships in Indianapolis. The Statesmen tallied 364.5 points—most in school history. For his efforts, Head Coach Dan’l Murray was named NCAA Division II Men’s National Coach of the Year . by the College Swim Coaches Association.



DSU Plans DSU Plans


. .


MEN’S BASKETBALL WINS SEVENTH GSC TITLE The men’s basketball team (19-12) claimed their seventh GSC championship with a 64-60 victory over University of Alabama in Huntsville at the Pete Hanna Center on March 10. Guard Matthew Wilson was named tournament MVP. Guard Brett Warner and forward Cedric Harper made the All-Tournament Team.

ZEDIKER WINS SECOND STRAIGHT GSC CROWN Junior Zach Zediker captured his second straight GSC golf championship with a 5-under par at the Magnolia Grove Crossings Course in Mobile, Ala., on April 16. The Panama City, Fla., native is the fourth student-athlete in GSC history to repeat as league champion. His performance propelled the Statesmen to a fourth-place finish in the team competition. Zediker represented Delta State at the NCAA South Region Golf Tournament in May. He also was named GSC Golfer of the Year. Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 9


DSU Receives $4 Million, Largest Single Gift in School History Delta State University recently received a gift of $4 million from a charitable educational trust created by Dr. Fred Pittman in 1993. The trustees of the Pittman Educational Trust unanimously approved the distribution of the $4 million to Delta State upon the recommendation of Dr. Pittman, founder trustee. The funds will be used for scholarships for students with financial need—and amount to the single largest gift in school history. “My motivation for supporting scholarships is very personal,” said Dr. Pittman, a retired internist and Cleveland native who attended Hill Demonstration (primary) School at Delta State and graduated from Cleveland High School in 1950. “I was supported very generously by scholarships to Phillips Exeter Academy, to Yale University, and to the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. I couldn’t have gone to any of those institutions without scholarship support.” “I am deeply grateful for this gift from the Pittman Educational Trust and for this incredible generosity to Delta State University and our students. This gift supports the largest privately funded endowed scholarship at Delta State University,” said President William N. LaForge. “What that means for the university is that, in perpetuity, our future students will benefit from this philanthropic decision made by Dr. Pittman and his wife, Joan, to provide those most in need with the opportunity to earn a college degree.” “Through this transformational gift, the Pittmans have made a wise investment in the future of Delta State University, the Mississippi Delta, and the state of Mississippi by providing much-needed scholarships,” LaForge continued. “The Delta State University family is thankful to Fred and Joan for this terrific demonstration of loyalty and support.” A specialist in digestive diseases and gastroenterology, Dr. Pittman worked at Tulane University and then at the Medical University of South Carolina, among other places. Education provided the grounding for his career, he said. “Whatever success I’ve had in my education is a result of attending Hill Demonstration School. I consider those six years as the most important in my education,” he said. Dr. Pittman, who has a Ph.D. as well as an M.D., also credited several Cleveland notables. His high school English teacher, Effie Glassco, inspired him to achieve academically; Rabbi Maurice Shapiro encouraged him to apply to Ivy League schools; and attorney Lomax Lamb advised him to attend Phillips Exeter for a postgraduate year to prepare for Yale, Dr. Pittman recalled. Delta State played a role, too, he continued. “I heard that the physics course at Yale was used to weed out the weak students. I had the summer off and asked if anyone at Delta State could tutor me. Roy Wiley agreed, teaching two others and me. He was very cooperative and a superb instructor. I did extremely well in the physics course at Yale, he was pleased to learn.” The gift of $4 million surpasses an estate gift of $3.5 million from Robert E. Smith in January 2014. A Cleveland native who made his fortune as a rice and soybean farmer and served on the Delta State Foundation Board before his death in 2011, he wanted to transform healthcare in the Mississippi Delta through the School of Nursing that now bears his name. Smith’s lifetime giving to 10 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

Joan and Dr. Fred Pittman

Delta State totaled $4 million. Delta State also received a $3 million pledge in March 2018 from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation to establish the Center for Teaching and Learning. This isn’t the first time that the Pittmans, who live on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, and raised three children, have given generously to Delta State. In January 2015, they established the Maude Elizabeth Mullen Pittman Endowed Scholarship fund in memory of Fred’s mother, who studied art at Delta State, with gifts totaling $703,000. The fund annually underwrites scholarships for students majoring in a degree field in the Department of Art or Division of Languages and Literature. “I am continually encouraged by the support Delta State University receives from friends and alumni,” said Rick Munroe, vice president for university advancement and external relations. “This latest impactful gift from Fred and Joan Pittman will be a catalyst for change in the lives of many future Delta State students. It is now our duty at Delta State University to be good stewards of their gift.” That makes sense to Dr. Pittman, who with his wife have cumulatively given $4.7 million to Delta State. “Supporting young people and helping them earn a degree in higher education may result in them staying in the Mississippi Delta and addressing its many needs,” he observed.

Microgrants Major Success Delta State University’s inaugural Spring for Success Online Giving Day exceeded its goal, thanks to more than 100 generous donors. They gave necessary funds to replace the Statesman mascot suit, the bulletproof vests for the university’s police officers, and the equipment for a Virtual Dementia Tour® offered by the Social Work Department. All three microgrant projects topped the fundraising goal of $2,500 apiece. Most people— alumni, faculty, staff, students, community members—gave on online giving day on March 20, 2019; some also gave in the days leading up to the event. Several people gave to all three good causes. DSU’s Communications and Marketing Office created videos about each initiative. Additional money raised beyond the $2,500 for each project went to the General Scholarship Fund. Delta State’s Foundation matched up to $2,500 raised for each project. Plus, the team that raised the most money received an additional $1,000 for its project. That means Athletics has $6,000 to replace the Statesman mascot suit. The Social Work Department has $5,000 to replace equipment for a Virtual Dementia Tour® and DSU’s Police Department has $5,000 to replace bulletproof vests for 10 law enforcement officers.

102% of the goal

108% of the goal

$3,125 raised to replace the Statesman mascot suit.

$2,690 raised to replace equipment for a Virtual Dementia Tour®.

$2,555 raised to replace the bulletproof vests for the university’s police officers.

125% of the goal

Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 11

Alumna Carmen Cooper-Oguz poses at her Studio 230 in the spring.

16 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2018


Physical Therapy Leader and Alumna Carmen Cooper-Oguz By Kristina Norman


riven describes Carmen Cooper-Oguz ’91, ’93. She Sunflower, marveled, “She’s very focused and driven. She is earned a bachelor of business management from Delta constantly moving forward.” State University in two years right out of high school. Her husband seconded this: “She’s a go-getter,” he said. “She Within the next 24 months, she completed an MBA at Delta likes to take on projects.” State. Her boss, Billy Marlow, North Sunflower CEO, agreed. Rechanneling career interests to physical therapy, she “She’s been a leader ever since she’s worked here, not only in the received a bachelor’s degree in short order and, ultimately, physical therapy department but other departments as well,” a doctorate, in the field from the University of Mississippi such as the nursing home program. Medical Center. In 2004, by her early 30s, she became vice president of service Developing the Essentials line development and director of rehabilitation services at Actually, Cooper-Oguz, who grew up in Steiner, Miss., never North Sunflower Medical Center in Ruleville, Miss. She also imagined she’d pursue physical therapy. Her childhood ambition is a medical expert witness in legal malpractice cases. And was to become a lawyer. Her brother inspired her to switch while all physical therapists are exposed in school to wound goals, she recalled, and the Mississippi Delta needed licensed management, she deepened her skill set by becoming nationally healthcare professionals. Plus, healthcare is the family business: certified in wound prevention and management—two times. her father served as North Sunflower’s hospital administrator “What drives me are all the people who were and her mother as lab manager. negative to me along the way,” Cooper-Oguz Navigating sea change requires being both said in an interview from her office. “I want to nimble and methodical. Cooper-Oguz thanks show them I can do things that nobody even Delta State for growing those abilities. “I learned dreamed could be done, not even me.” to be very efficient in my resources and time,” she Further, as a volunteer, she co-chairs the said. “I learned how to speak to professors and writing of exam questions for the National advisers and know exactly what I needed.” Delta Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy, is a State “prepared me to be organized, proficient, Mississippi delegate for the American Physical She was named the 2018 University of and professional.” Therapy Association, and travels with Health Dr. Grady Williams, former chair of the Mississippi School of Health Related Professions Alumni of the Year. Volunteers Overseas. Department of Biological Sciences at DSU, Plus, she holds a regional leadership position remembers his onetime student for this with Rotary International. very reason. “She had to work her rear end off ” in his She does all this while raising two teenaged sons, Cetin Comparative Anatomy and General Zoology upper-level “Cooper” II, 15, and Cruz, 14, with her husband, Cetin Oguz courses, he recalled, because as a business graduate, she ’01, a professor of art at Delta State—while helping him run came to them without much science background. “General Studio 230, a 3,500 square-foot art gallery, and Cooper-Oguz, Zoology was known as a very difficult ‘weeder’ course,” an accompanying 1,500 square-foot office space, in downtown he wrote via email, “and my Comparative Anatomy Cleveland. (Among the artists shown at the gallery: Eunika course was so difficult that only highly-motivated, upperRogers ’94—for a related story, see page 15.) level pre-professional students would take it. Carmen Her brother, Brad Cooper, an occupational therapist at North is the only student I ever permitted to take both classes Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 13

simultaneously.” He continued, “She achieved great success in both courses and then gained acceptance to physical therapy school. But she didn’t stop there! Carmen has gone on to apply her many talents and motivation to do much more than the routine application of physical therapy skills. She has used her inherent personal drive, problem-solving skills, and broad educational background to emerge as a visible leader and earn the respect and recognition of her cohorts and peers.” The fiscal savvy to graduate from DSU in two years also helps her manage budgets at North Sunflower. And stretching money as far as possible at DSU came in handy when she created physical therapist assistant programs at Holmes Community College in Grenada and Mississippi Delta Community College in Greenville. “I don’t know if I had those financial skills inherently,” she said. “They were learned from Delta State.” Accentuating the Positive This interrelated sense of determination and urgency is why she took an average of 20 hours per semester at DSU. Once she took 23 hours, needing dispensation for the override. “They said, ‘What are you doing?’” I said, “I’ve got to get to law school. I said, ‘Once you get into law school, that’s three more years. I’ve got things to do, life to live,’” she remembered. Although law school didn’t pan out, she relishes being a medical expert in court cases. “It all worked out,” she said. In fact, her DSU experience proved so worthwhile that for years she returned to campus as an adjunct instructor in the Athletic Training Education Program. This experience helped her to develop the two aforementioned physical therapist assistant programs, she said. Cooper-Oguz goes all out, all the time—for her own sake and for the greater good. She’s one of 15 people nationwide to serve on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Advisory Panel for Hospital Outpatient Payment through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As chief delegate for the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association, Cooper-Oguz lobbied for the Physical Therapy Compact licensure on behalf of her home state. “The first 10 states to pass that legislation got a seat at the national compact table to make the rules,” and Mississippi was one of them, she said. “That’s what jazzes me.” Volunteerism at professional organizations “makes me among the first people to learn about new avenues of treatment, new ways to get reimbursed for things that may be beneficial clinically for the patients, etc. So everybody wins,” she observed. “When you are the first to know, you are the first to help. You become kind of a go-to person. The reputations of the person and organization thrive as well as outcomes for patients.” Reaping the Rewards Success in the industry and in the community regularly earns Cooper-Oguz acclaim. For instance, she recently was inducted 14 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

Cooper-Oguz and her husband, DSU Art Professor and alumnus Cetin Oguz (left), pose with Dan’l Murray (center right), swimming and diving head coach, and Ronnie Mayers, then-athletic director, in June 2018 at the creation of the Cetin Oguz and Carmen Cooper Oguz Swimming & Diving Scholarship. It awards $900 annually to a current or incoming member of the DSU swimming and diving team.

into the Quarter Century Healthcare Executive Forum. The Mississippi Physical Therapy Association named her 2017 outstanding practitioner. And the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy presented her with its Volunteer in Action Award in 2016. Cooper-Oguz also was named 2018 University of Mississippi School of Health Related Professions Alumni of the Year. On the day she received the commendation, Cooper-Oguz presented this alma mater with an inaugural check for a scholarship she had established for physical therapy students interested in rural healthcare. Cooper-Oguz and her husband have also established two scholarships at DSU. One is for students to study abroad. And last June, they funded the Cetin and Dr. Carmen Cooper-Oguz Scholarship to benefit the DSU Statesmen and Lady Statesmen swimming and diving programs. Cetin Oguz was inducted into DSU Athletics’ Hall of Fame in 2012 for swimming. “I was fortunate to grow up in a very loving and supportive family,” she said. “Not everybody has that. People along the way, at various jobs, in my academic career, have helped me, and that’s what I want to do for other people,” she remarked. “I want to give that support back in as many forms as I can, whether it be financial support, verbal or written mentorship, or leading by example.” She has never met a stranger, echoed her brother. “She is positive, upbeat, kind, and warm, and that translates into her activities as a go-getter.” The theme of her Facebook page? “Positivity and productivity,” she declared. “As long as you’re breathing, you should be achieving.” Cooper-Oguz concluded, “I got the best traits of my parents and the most out of my education at Delta State and UMMC, and it’s all culminated in who I am today.”

Image Is E veryt hing

Three Delta State Alumnae’s 1 Careers in Representation By Kristina Norman



unika Rogers ’94, Tina Miller ’82, and Angela Grayson ’94 share more than a love of their alma mater. Rogers, an artist; Miller, an art director; and Grayson, a technology attorney, understand that visuals inspire people. The trio sees something else, too. They appreciate that Mississippi culture—their school and the state—helped shape them. What follows are thumbnail portraits of three DSU alumnae whose professional success across all sorts of imagery owes much to their higher education.

1 Eunika Rogers ‘94 2 Tina Miller ‘82 3 Angela Grayson ‘94


Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 15

Eunika Rogers painted these yellow Aspen trees with colonial violet pigment and charcoal on water color—and with Mississippi red clay she calls Tina Miller stands by the set of one of Greenwood Dawn, along with Red Mountain Pass, her favorite annual assignments. Colo. gold Aspen clay shetrees callswith Golden Sneezeweed. Left to right: 1. Tina Miller stands by the set of one of her favorite annual assignments. 2. Eunika Rogers painted these yellow colonial violet pigment and charcoal couple of years ago that really talked about the trend in women inventors versus men inventors. While there is some steady progression [for women], it really hasn’t moved that far

For reasons both practical and personal, artist Eunika Rogers utilizes Mississippi clay, among others, in her paintings that explore themes of nature and the female body. Her interest in clay began at Delta State. And DSU helped ground the emigrant from a small village near Trnava, Slovakia, to America. “I use it as a color palette. I have different colors of clay from different parts of the world where I have lived,” she said on the phone from Telluride, Colo., where she lives with her husband and works at Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures as a logistics and guided travel specialist. Rogers likes clay’s warmth, smoothness, and malleability. “A lot of my clays come from places that have meaning for me,” she continued. “I think of a swallow. It flies between two points and in between builds a nest out of clay. So I collect clays from my homes. From Mississippi. From Slovakia. From Italy, as I kind of have a home there. And from here in Colorado.” Her journey to America began as a teenager with her family, first in refugee camps in Eastern Europe for four months to escape Soviet Communist rule and then via asylum in Ontario, Canada. But Rogers never felt at home in Canada because of language barriers and cultural differences, she said. Delta State and the Mississippi Delta, however, provided “the most amazing feeling,” she recalled. “Everybody was warm, welcoming. I was not an immigrant. I was a student,” said Rogers, who received tennis and cross-country scholarships, competed in swimming, and earned a B.F.A. in graphic design and ceramics. “DSU and Cleveland provided a lot of outlets to figure out problem-solving, how to get things done.” The sense of community “supported not just my creativity but my character,” she said. Class excursions digging clay with Art Professor Marcella Small inspired the student. “I just loved the idea of connecting with nature: pick up 16 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

something from there and just start working with it,” said Rogers, who earned an MFA in ceramics from University of Memphis and taught for a spell at Ole Miss. Her work has been shown at Kamruz Gallery in Telluride, Michael McCormick Gallery in Taos, N.M., and elsewhere. She cherishes what she calls Greenwood Dawn, a reddish Mississippi clay. “It’s my first one. It’s my baby. That’s where it all started. I have people try to send me clay, and it’s not part of my process. I have to have an experience with it and dig it from the ground.” Art director Tina Miller grounds her process between developing her own ideas and executing someone else’s vision. She and colleagues won consecutive daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding achievement in art design/set direction/scenic design for the first two seasons of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003 and 2004. “We created the foundation for the look of the show, and it has carried through to today,” she said via phone from Los Angeles, Calif., where she works for Shaffner/Stewart Production Design. “The strongest element that has survived is the color. At first, Ellen wasn’t sure about the blue we proposed, but her friend encouraged her to go with it. The blue has been her signature ever since,” Miller said. The Cleveland native also enjoys The American Music Awards—an annual gig for her company for almost 20 years. Performers “have become more demanding” as cutting-edge technology advances special effects, she explained. “Performers used to be very grateful to be on the show” and would stand on their mark and sing as requested, Miller continued. “Now, it’s kind of flipped. They want to dictate everything.” Performers “don’t want to be outdone” by others,” she stated, “and don’t want to have the same look as anyone else on the show.”

“I did a webinar a couple of years ago that really talked about the trend in women inventors versus men inventors. While there is some steady progression [for women], it really hasn’t moved that far up,” said “Andwith it’s really unfortunate. One of the things I don’t is a lotSneezeweed. of women in3.scientific arcoal on water color--and with Mississippi red clay she calls GreenwoodGrayson. Dawn, along Red Mountain Pass, Colo. gold clay she callssee Golden “I did a leadership.” webinar a

hat far up,” said Grayson. “And it’s really unfortunate. One of the things I don’t see is a lot of women in scientific leadership.”

Her task: make sure each entertainer stands out yet blends in. “You have to have enough variety so the show is visually interesting but also keep the talent happy.” She analogized: “It’s a fun tap dance.” In a way, Miller uses the psychology degree she earned from Delta State to help her deal with show-biz people, she said. “I think it gave me the ability to understand the artists’ whims and put their egos into perspective,” Miller analyzed. “But most of all, it taught me to stay calm and rational when things got crazy.” Her knack for art direction arose at Delta State. She minored in art. And as vice president for membership of the Gamma Psi chapter of Kappa Delta, Miller revamped sets for recruitment skits and directed the segments. That led to theater classes and participation with Delta Playhouse. She subsequently earned an M.F.A. in theater from Trinity University at the Dallas Theater Center. Miller’s other credits include the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, Film Independent Spirit Awards, ESPY Awards, and the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Republican National Conventions. She relishes the problem-solving and socializing inherent in her field and at Delta State: coming together like family for a purpose. Purpose motivates technology attorney Angela Grayson. A native of Rolling Fork, Miss., she safeguarded intellectual property rights for major companies such as Walmart, DuPont, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer, and issued patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, before founding Precipice IP PLLC, a strategic technology legal firm for emerging and growth companies, with locations in Bentonville, Ark., and Ridgeland, Miss., in 2015. “I recognize my story does inspire some people: coming from the Mississippi Delta where the odds were very slim I would even go to college, let alone finish college, go on to get a graduate degree in an area of science, and, ultimately, go to law school,” she said via phone from Bentonville, where she lives with her

husband. “Being a success means you need to understand the world in which you live. I think a good school will help students do that. And I think I got a good education” at Delta State (B.S., chemistry) and University of Mississippi (M.S., physical chemistry; J.D.). “Delta State gave me curiosity,” she said, “and a good foundation to go into the world.” Chemistry instilled a love of science, and as an intellectual property lawyer, she helps protect scientific innovations, technical designs, and visual arts. A “balanced liberal arts degree” made her “well-rounded,” an important trait in a “robust” world, she added. Grayson also served on the student council, learning foundations of leadership. DSU means so much to her that she returned in 2013 to speak at the International Business Symposium, founded in 2006 by David Abney ’76, ’15, chairman and CEO of UPS, “I was really excited and proud of the warmth,” she recollected. “I learned a lot.” This “great experience” inspired her later to visit DSU chemistry students. To Grayson, there’s no place like home. “While I had a lot of fun being immersed in different parts of the U.S., I always wanted to come back to the South,” she said. Her emerging business clients generate unconventional ways to solve societal problems, upending the status quo. “I enjoy working with disruptors,” said the disruptor. Grayson speaks and writes about women’s issues and intellectual property. She volunteers with the Minority In-House Counsel Association and the Women’s Empowerment Center at the Inseitz Group, among others, and served on DSU’s Alumni Association board. “The impact of my life, especially on people of color and women—if I have the ability to influence or inspire, I really try not to walk away from that. You just never know how your story is going to impact someone else.” Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 17

H DSU’s First All-Female Backpacking Expedition 18 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

At the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, left to right: Katie Gennarelli ’17, BS HPER (recreation leadership), and ’19, MS in sport and human performance (sports management), graduate assistant, Outdoor Recreatio n Education Programs; Michelle Johansen ’08, M.Ed. (history education), adjunct instructor of history and study abroad coordinat or, among other roles; Krista Davis ’12, B.S. in family and consumer sciences (nutrition and dietetics), and adjunct instructor of nutrition and dietetics; Kayleigh Lindsey, first-year pre-engineering major; Emily Thompson, senior speech and hearing sciences major; Kara Veazy, Cleveland resident and an incoming first-year biology major at DSU; Rachel Stephens, ’18, B.A. in marketing; Sydney Street, X-ray and CT technician at North Sunflower Medical Center in Ruleville, Miss.; Britnee Smith ’10, B.S.E. HPER, HPER instructor and physical education teacher prep coordinator; Taylor Street (sister of Sydney), sophomore; and Stevie Malone ’19, physical education major.


ast November, the Outdoor Recreation Education Program at Delta State University achieved two interrelated firsts. It assembled the first all-female research expedition team in the 10-year history of the enterprise. The 11-member crew trekked 18.6 miles from Hermit Trail to the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park. This journey also marked the first time Dr. Todd Davis, assistant professor in the Division of Division of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) and director of the Outdoor Recreation Education Program, was not expedition leader. The purpose of the research trip was to evaluate group dynamics and skill acquisition in a gender-centric environment: all women. Britnee Smith ’10, HPER instructor, and Katie Gennarelli ’17 and ’19, graduate assistant for outdoor programs and events, co-led the mix of alumnae, students, and regional community members engaged in this 12-week project. “There is a call to understand better females’ experiences in outdoor

adventures, and this research intends to shed light on the importance of female participation in a male-dominated activity,” said Smith. “Through this experience, the hope is to understand motivational implications that can be transferred into programming and bridge the gender adventure gap.” Gennarelli added, “As involvement in outdoor recreation grows, it is important to evaluate motivating factors to and barriers of female outdoor recreation participation. The outcome of this research is to empower women to be more active in outdoor activities through heightened confidence, skill knowledge, and risk management.” The impact suggested by the initial data appears beneficial, said Davis, so much so that “we have already been accepted to speak on this research at the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professional national conference in May.” Here is a photo gallery of some of stops along the way, with captions from various participants.—Todd Davis Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 19

“The Grand Canyon trip really tested my limits. The hike back up was intense but we were all super impressed and proud of each other for making it and no one got hurt. It was beautiful there and kind of felt unreal that we were actually there.” — Kara Veazy, as the group descends an upper section

“What an incredible three-day exploration of the Grand Canyon’s Hermit Trail with some incredible and extremely tough women. My favorite quote on the Hermit Trail’s information board: ‘Going down is optional; going up is mandatory.’” — Krista Davis, who photographed the group exploring a creek bed on the rest day before the trek back up

“To make less of an impact and reduce backpack weight, the group was divided into pairs, sharing a tent, a cook stove, and food rations. This allowed participants to bond, work together and strengthen the group. It was amazing to see us all come together and conquer this goal.” — Britnee Smith

“It was awesome to see some of our participants fully immerse themselves in the moment and use equipment they had to survive. Sydney Street sipped water from Hermit Creek through a new water filtration system called Lifestraw®. Watching our team of women confidently use the gear, which for some was a very new concept, showed how fast skills can be acquired—something we wanted to assess.” — Katie Gennarelli, trip photographer 20 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

“The Grand Canyon expedition was a challenging but empowering trip. It showed me that I can push myself both physically and mentally to complete anything I try to accomplish.” — Kayleigh Lindsey, heading west with the team, mid-section of the trail

“On this trip, I acquired a set of outdoor skills I had never had or needed. I also developed a better understanding of how important teamwork is and how helpful and motivating it can be.” — Sydney Street, sitting near the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

“Going to the Grand Canyon with an all-women group challenged me to reevaluate my preconceived notions of my outdoor abilities and endurance. Also, I appreciated DSU students in a new way outside of the classroom. Our students are perceptive, compassionate, and supportive of each other. I’m excited to see what these women leaders accomplish in the future.” — Michelle Johansen

Davis, Johansen, Sydney Street, Taylor Street, Veazy, Lindsey, Stephens, Malone, Thompson, Smith, and Gennarelli

Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 21

Becky Nowell wears a Delta State-green scarf for her campus photo session outside Sillers Chapel in the spring.

To Serve with Love: Becky Nowell ’81 Remains Committed to Delta State and Cleveland By Kristina Norman


leveland’s first lady Becky Hawes Nowell ’81 loves to give back to Delta State University and the community for the many blessings in her life. “I came to Delta State in 1977 right out of high school, and that was one of the best decisions I ever made,” she said in an interview from her living room. “I got a great education. I made lifelong friends. And I was very involved in campus,” particularly as a member and then president of Kappa Delta sorority. 22 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

That’s why she and her husband, Billy Nowell ’72, mayor of Cleveland, have given often to their alma mater over the decades—most recently $150,000 last September for various scholarships, sports, and programs. Becky was inducted into the Delta State Alumni Hall of Fame in 2017 and Billy in 2009. She also gives back to the city. “Cleveland is a community of volunteers,” she said. “We’re all proud of our community, and it’s important to me to continue to make Cleveland a great place to live.”

That’s also why Nowell, who retired from Baxter Healthcare Corporation in Cleveland in 2014 after 31 years in quality assurance/management, volunteers big-time. She is president of the board of directors of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi—and cheerleads its arts exposure, education, and programming. She also serves on the board of directors of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for its annual downtown Christmas event. Nowell has assumed leadership roles with the chamber since the early 1990s. Additionally, she is on the fund distribution committee of the area United Way and is a member of area organizations such as Delta Arts Alliance and the Friends of the Bolivar County Library, plus Delta State’s Statesman Club and the Friends of the Delta Music Institute. She further was president of the Sunny Seniors Alzheimer’s Respite Program. “Cleveland, as long as I’ve known it, has always been a town of volunteers, and I think that’s what makes Cleveland so special,” she said. “It takes a lot of people to do all the things that go on, and if we don’t have people who want to step up and give their effort, we wouldn’t be where we are. I enjoy helping and improving and volunteering is a great way to do that.”


Planting the Seeds Delta State jump-started her eventual profession and volunteerism, she said. “I got a great education that helped lead to a long career at Baxter Healthcare,” said Nowell, who majored in biology and earned an MBA in 1984. “I couldn’t ask for a better education. That prepared me for life. I had a science background. I had to do a lot of reading and writing and take liberal arts classes, so I was well-versed in dealing with people. It gave me a great background and basis for the business world. And then, obviously, so did getting an MBA.” What she termed her “welcoming” and “friendly” undergraduate experience also solidified Nowell’s understanding of outreach. “I learned a lot about life, about dealing with people, about community service and giving back—all those values were instilled in me throughout my life,” she said. “But Delta State and Kappa Delta were both a big part of it.” What’s more, Delta State readied her to navigate the demands of career and home life. “I was active in campus, involved in a lot of activities, and managed to still study and get everything done, which helped prepare me for the real world,” Nowell said. “You learn how to manage your time and balance and get it all done.” Dr. Jim Steen, a retired biology professor at Delta State, remembers the Clarksdale native’s positivity, diligence, and maturity as a student, he said. “She was a young lady on a mission, and she educated herself. She’s always been just as pleasant and nice as can be,” Steen said. “If she wants to do something, she gets her teeth into and does it. She’s the sort of person you would want on your team if you had a team effort to get something done.”

Leading the Way Husband Billy Nowell agrees. “If somebody asks her to get involved in something, she generally does,” he said. “The best example I can come up with is the 50 Nights of Lights (a winter holiday wonderland in downtown). She kind of spearheaded it and had a really good committee working with her.” The Janoush family began it by donating a giant Christmas tree in 2016; since then, she has raised approximately $500,000 for the celebration, according to Judson Thigpen, executive director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. “Once she makes her mind up about something, she is determined to make it work,” said Billy Nowell. “She is determined that it’s going to succeed no matter how much time she’s got to put into it.” He added, “She expects everybody to

The Nowells meet business publishing executive Steve Forbes (left) at a DSU reception prior to his address at the Spring 2019 Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series held on March 4.

work as hard as she does. She expects you to put your heart into it like she does.” Thigpen seconded this. “She’s a go-getter. She doesn’t sit back and wait for something to happen. She really gets out, takes the lead, and sees things are done and done right. That’s tremendous leadership character. She would be what I would consider one of the premier leaders in the community in this generation.” Nowell isn’t in it for the attention, though. “I do what I do because I enjoy it, not to be recognized,” she said. “I prefer to be behind the scenes.” Her passion for the Mississippi Delta and Delta State arose because, she observed, “I fell in love with Delta State and Cleveland.” When not doting on four grandchildren, she’s around campus or about town, lending a hand or showing the way. To Nowell, giving back is second nature. “I feel like I’m helping. I’m contributing. We all pitch in and help and everybody’s got different interests and talents. We spread it all around, and we get things done.” Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 23




“Lord, my heart’s found a home I’ve been dreaming of. / Now that I’ve found you, I’m looking in the eyes of love,” singer/songwriter and Delta Music Institute (DMI) Director Tricia Walker observed in “Looking in the Eyes of Love.” Country music star Patty Loveless recorded that tune, co-written with Kostas Lazarides, in 1990, and Allison Krauss earned a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Performance for her cover. But in a way, the number also reflects Walker’s feelings for Delta State, from which she retires at the end of June. Walker, who grew up in Fayette, Miss., and earned a bachelor of music education degree from Delta State in 1974 and a master of music degree in theory/composition from Mississippi College, spent 26 years in Nashville as a musician, songwriter, music publisher, and music producer before coming to DSU in 2006 to develop the DMI program; it offers a B.S. in entertainment industry studies, with concentrations in audio engineering technology, entertainment industry entrepreneurship, and multimedia technology. Prior to joining DSU, Walker was a backing musician with Connie Smith, Paul Overstreet, and a young Shania Twain. Debby Boone and The Imperials recorded Walker’s material. She performed at Robert Redford’s Christmas Cantata at his Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah. In 1988, Walker started Women in the Round at the renowned Bluebird Cafe with fellow songwriters Karen Staley, Ashley Cleveland, and Pam Tillis; a version of the show headlines downtown Cleveland each year. Walker will remain in town upon retirement and keep pursuing music endeavors. She answered questions about her career and Delta State via email. —Editor Peter Szatmary What are DMI’s greatest accomplishments during your tenure? It’s hard to select things I’m most proud of because I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished. But completing the recording studios with their state-of-the-art equipment, starting a mobile music lab, recovering from the 2013 flood in our building, establishing the student-run Fighting Okra Records, developing our four-year entertainment industry studies degree, creating multiple hands-on opportunities for our students, and partnering with GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi rank pretty high. So do our DMI alumni who have jobs in artist management, audio production, social media management, live sound support, event management, and touring.

What will you miss most about DSU? The daily interactions with all the good people at Delta State. But I won’t be far away, so I won’t be a stranger. Since I don’t do a lot of cooking for myself, I’ll likely be found in the cafeteria.

What have your students taught you? That showing mercy and grace is an important part of teaching and that patience is, indeed, a virtue.

What’s next for you? I plan to stay in Cleveland and continue writing, performing, and producing music plus developing entrepreneurial ideas connected to the creative economy and the regional entertainment scene. Coming back to Mississippi, and particularly Cleveland, has felt like coming home—full circle. I love being able to get to places quickly yet still take long drives across the sprawling Delta.

What have your DSU colleagues taught you? That to move forward, all oars must be in the water, pulling in the same direction, paddling pretty hard. 24 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

Best parts of Delta State? Small college atmosphere, knowing students by name, friendly staff members who go the extra mile to help solve problems, and the beautiful campus. What don’t most people know about you? I am a Benedictine oblate associated with the Sacred Heart community in Cullman, Ala.



Senior cross-country runner and biology/pre-physical therapy major Valeria Uvarova understands the importance of going the distance. A native of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, she grew up watching her parents excel in athletics. Her father, Pavel Uvarov, represented Kyrgyzstan in the modern pentathlon (fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, riding, and cross-country running) in the 2004 Summer Olympics; her mother, Roza Bikkinina, medaled in the same sport at the 1994 World Cup and later became an internationally-ranked master’s fencer. The diligence and rigor they taught her has served Uvarova well, states Doug Pinkerton, Delta State University cross-country coach. “She has been a great teammate, always has a positive attitude, and is an exceptional student-athlete,” he said. Dr. Tanya McKinney, associate professor of biology and Uvarova’s academic adviser, added: “Valeria is the epitome of a Delta State student: committed, hard-working, goal-oriented.” Uvarova answered questions about role models, Delta State, and more via email.—Caroline George Fletcher ’15 What female has inspired you most? My mother. She has been my inspiration since day one. She had me and returned to professional sports in less than one year. She is my personal coach and helps me push my limits. She went with me through the hardest and most fun times in my life, the Junior Olympics and the Asian Games in the modern pentathlon. She has coached multiple Olympians in the modern pentathlon. She makes a difference in many people’s lives every day. She truly cares. She is passionate about everything she is doing. That is why she is successful. I still have so much to learn from her. I am so grateful that I have her because she is my mother, my coach, and my best friend. How did you end up Delta State? At 17 and 18 years old, I was trying to qualify in the modern pentathlon for the Junior World Championships all over Europe and Asia. I earned a top 10 world ranking and was invited to the 2013 Junior World Championships at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. I won the junior world title and qualified for the Junior Olympics the following year in China. After that, I gained exposure at the college level and went to New Mexico Military Institute to continue my modern pentathlon career and run cross-country. This was a great opportunity and

challenge to become a better version of myself and experience different cultures. After two years of being in the U.S., I really liked the school system and how much freedom it gave me compared to schools back home. After that, I transferred to Delta State. I like that Delta State is not that big. Classes are small, so I can be more focused on my goals. Also, Delta State offers the degree I am interested in. DSU is diverse and has very good athletic programs. What did you learn from being on DSU’s cross-country team? Qualities like hard work and teamwork. You cannot get better in anything if you are not going to surround yourself with people who are better than you are at something. That is why I appreciate my teammates and Coach Pinkerton so much. They pushed me harder every day. I learned to be tough and patient from competing in cross-country. These qualities will help me in anything I end up doing. What are your plans after graduation? I might take a year off and work and then start physical therapy school or start on my Ph.D. in neuroscience or something biology related. I am on the national triathlon team, and I hope to turn professional. Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 25

CLASS NOTES Bolivar County Chapter The Delta State University Alumni Association held its annual Bolivar County Chapter Alumni Crawfish Boil on the grounds of the Walter Sillers Coliseum on campus. More than 300 attendees enjoyed crawfish and barbecue and relaxed to music by Chris Boykin as well as the Cleveland Central High School Jazz Band.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge ‘72 spoke to the audience about current events and exciting renovations on campus.

The 2019 Bolivar County Alumni Chapter Crawfish king was Dr. James R. Robinson ’66 and Eloise Stratton Walker ’50, wife of the late Hugh Ellis Walker, was queen.

This year’s Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship recipients were, left to right, Lindsey Steadman, Andres Becerril Nieves, and Anna Lott.

Miss Delta State University Chesney Mardis, an exercise science graduate student, signs autographs. Chris Boykin ’12 rocked the night away with sounds of the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and today.

Delta Playhouse Reunion Delta Playhouse held its first reunion on campus this spring. The group, which included professors, ate lunch and reminisced at Jobe Hall. They also read excerpts from scripts and were recorded at the Delta Music Institute. Members met the current players and discussed the role that theater plays, from entertaining to bringing awareness to issues that are often taboo in society. After a tour of the campus, the group continued their visit at dinner and walked around downtown Cleveland.

Left to right: Dr. Andy Jones, professor ’69-’75; Pat Dakin; Cathy Pounds DeLuca ’77; Matt Dakin ’58; Dr. Ted Solomon ’66, professor; Errol McLendon ’75; Lucy Ferron Franck ’76; Jan Glenn Brown ’72, ’73, ’77; Paige Posey ’83; Don Conger ’82, ’92; and Chris Hart ’90.

McLendon and Franck take a trip down memory lane. 26 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

Left to right: Jones, DeLuca, Matt Dakin, Pat Dakin, McLendon, Franck, and current Players Layla Young and Logan Swain.

DeSoto County Chapter

Patrick Dixon ’99 and Janie Stafford ’97, ’08.

Left to right: A.C. Williams III ’64, Lucy Williams ’65, Betsy Bobo Elliott ’73, Patti Gordon ’88, ’18, and John Elliott ’73.

Left to right: Jeffrey Farris ’04, ’05, Hannah Taylor, Mary Allison Mayo, and Janie Stafford ’97, ’08.

Leflore County Chapter The Delta State University Leflore County Alumni Chapter held its annual meeting in July 2018 at The Alluvian in Greenwood.

Attendees enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres and listened to athletic updates by former Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers ’74, ’75.

The chapter awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Tavoris Roach.

South Central Chapter

Shelley ’61 and Jim Crutcher.

Sara Pinkston ’11, Nick Joseph Jr. ’85, and Aimee Robinette, alumni engagement coordinator.

Passport to Success

The South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter held its annual meeting in February at Mitchell’s Special Events & Catering in Brookhaven.

Delta State Athletic Director Mike Kinnison ’77, Left to right: Steve Jones ’72, Cindy Willis ’73, and Bonnie ’78 gave an overall athletic update and spoke on the importance of being plugged in as alumni. Wimberly ’72.

The Alumni Association partnered with Career Services in the annual Passport to Success. The program provides guidelines on how to dress for job interviews and daily office attire and how to get a desired job. DSU Marketing and Communications provided a photographer and a few jackets and dressy tops for students to obtain a professional LinkedIn profile picture. Delta State Alumni Association President Patrick Davis ’96 spoke to every student about the importance of appearance, speech, and demeanor in a job interview. The Alumni Association also provided two scholarships and door prizes for the event.

Washington County Chapter The Delta State University Washington County Alumni Chapter held its annual meeting in November at the Mighty Mississippi Brewery. Among those attending were President LaForge, DSU National Alumni Board President Davis, former Athletic Director Mayers and Merritt Dain, director of recruiting.

Mayers gave alums an athletic update.

DSU President LaForge congratulated L to R: Lee Atwill, Joey Reed, & Morgan Robinson ’10. Abbey Atwill and Interim Alumni the two scholarship recipients, Konner Director Amanda Robinson ’10. Mitchell and Preston Wicker. Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 27









David Abney, of Atlanta, received a 2019 Horatio Alger Award from the Horatio Alger Association.



Amanda Fontaine, of Brandon, became director of development and sustainability for Families First for Mississippi.

Dr. Jimmy Avery, of Cleveland, was elected president-elect of the World Aquaculture Society.

Tyrone Jackson, of Rosedale, will become the ninth and first African American president of Mississippi Delta Community College.

Dr. William C. Bell, of Seattle, was elected chair of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association Board of Trustees.


Lisa Coleman Watson, of Ridgeland, was named Teacher of the Year at Ridgeland High School.

Jeff Grimsley, of Madison, was appointed chief financial officer of University Mississippi Medical Center University Hospitals and Health System.

Joe B. Whitehead, Ph.D., of Bowling Green, Ohio, was named provost and senior vice president of academic affairs for Bowling Green State University.


Gene Bell, of Grenada, was promoted to Grenada market president of Renasant Bank.


Bob “Pic” Billingsley, of Laurel, was elected 2019 Chairman of the Mississippi Poultry Association Board of Directors.

Elizabeth Prewitt McMahan, of North Little Rock, Ark., was voted 2018-19 Hero Teacher of the Year at Lakewood Middle School in North Little Rock.


Jane Moss, of Greenwood, was listed as one of the Top 10 finalists for Business Woman of the Year by Mississippi Business Journal.

Nick Joseph Jr., CPA, of Greenwood, joined Greenwood Utilities as controller.



Jason Woods, of Cleveland, was named Cleveland park director with the Cleveland Park Commission.

Tubist James Shearer, Regents Professor of Music at New Mexico State University, released his latest CD, Secret Frets, which includes a cover of “Darkness on the Delta.” He returned to DSU in March to participate in the Department of Music’s annual Tuba-Euphonium Day, organized by Dr. Douglas Mark, associate professor of trombone/low brass.


Lesley Holleman, of Ridgeland, opened a second Fleet Feet in Flowood. Ginger M. Robey, of Madison, was named one of the Top 10 winners of the Mississippi Business Journal’s 2018 Leadership in Law.


W. Laird Hamberlin, of Memphis, Tenn., was named CEO of Safari Club International.



Tim Edwards, of Memphis, was named defensive line coach for the University of Memphis football team.



28 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

Misty Ivy Moore, of Hernando, joined Levy Dermatology as a nurse practitioner.









Robyn Thornton, of Carrollton, joined Mike Rozier Construction Co. and Rozier Investments LLC as the group’s first financial officer.

Cate Robinson, of West Point, was promoted to wealth advisor at Cadence Investment Services in Starkville, Miss.



Jeffrey Farris, of Cleveland, a 13-year employee at his alma mater, most recently as director of development, became vice president of commercial lending at Guaranty Bank & Trust in Cleveland. He also was named president of Mississippi Tennis Association. Geoffrey Latham, of Cleveland, was named as an art instructor for Coahoma Community College.


Dr. Lee Pambianchi, of Brandon, was named the 2019 3rd Congressional Administrator of the Year for Mississippi.


Elizabeth Haley, of Greenville, was promoted to assistant vice president at Guaranty Bank in Greenville. Chandra Hines, of Belzoni, was promoted to assistant community development officer at Guaranty Bank in Belzoni.


Ken Horton, of Cleveland, was named regional sales manager at Quality Steel Corporation. Milena Araujo Stephens, of Westin, Fla., was named education administrative coordinator for Professional Tennis Registry.


Allen Morris, of Cleveland, won a quarterly Illustrators of the Future Award and participated in the 35th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards in Hollywood, Calif.


Merritte Morgan Abraham, of Tupelo, was named principal of Sudduth Elementary School in Starkville.


Brooks Bishop, of Jackson, started a new position as financial representative at Northwestern Mutual. Jared Rabren, of Columbus, was named fixed based operator for the Columbus-Lowndes County Airport.


Tyler Dunavent, of Cleveland, became a management trainee for Cleveland State Bank. Jamie Lyn Smith, of Cleveland, became manager of The Rustic Nail in Cleveland. ---------------------------------------------------------


Hunter Calvert, of Crowder, became assistant project manager and safety coordinator at Tri-Star Mechanical Contractors.

Jamey Chadwell, of Conway, S.C., was named head football coach at Coastal Carolina. He served as head football coach at Delta State in 2012.

Tara Dunn, of Senatobia, received a doctorate in urban higher education at Jackson State University.

Joe Edward Morris, of Tupelo, presented his new novel, The Prison, at the Roberts-LaForge Library on campus.


Deniger ’10 and Sarah Cobb ’09, of Memphis, Tenn., welcomed Wyatt Deniger Cobb on Jan. 10, 2019.

John ‘96 and Ashley Cox ‘12, of Cleveland, Miss., welcomed Quinn Riley Cox on Jan. 29, 2019. 

Brandy Campbell Rowland ’03 and Shane Rowland, of Vicksburg, Miss., welcomed Reese Caroline Rowland on Dec. 17, 2018. 

Rory Dale Young II ’16 and Bethany Young ’16, of Nettleton, Miss., welcomed Griffin Lawrence Young on Feb. 27, 2019.

Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 29

IN MEMORIAM James F. “Jim” Armishaw

John R. Ford

Opaline Webb Gordon

James F. “Jim” Armishaw, 81, of Cleveland, died on Jan. 4, 2019, in Greenville. He was born on Nov. 13, 1937, to Frank and Elsie Armishaw in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. On April 15, 1962, in Jackson, he married Linda Ruddick, who survives him. He worked for the Jackson Police Department from 1962 to 1978 and then taught criminal justice at Delta State University from 1973 to 2002. He was appointed by Gov. William Winter to be a member of the Standards in Training for state law enforcement. He is preceded in death by three sisters. Other survivors include his son, James F. Amishaw, Jr. (Suzy) of Lexington, Ky.; daughter, Lesley S. Armishaw of Memphis; granddaughters, Claire E. Armishaw and Catherine W. Armishaw, both of Lexington, Ky.; nephews, Phillip McDade and Gregory D. Demrow, both of Jackson; and niece, Elizabeth A. Shelton of Jackson.

John R. Ford, 72, died at Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland on Dec. 24, 2018, after battling Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Ford was born on Sept. 28, 1946, in Salem, Mass., to John F. and Eileen F. Ford. He was educated at Boston College, University of Maine, and University of Michigan. He taught English at Delta State University from 1983 to 2011 and was a passionate advocate for Shakespeare, poetry, drama, and analytical thinking and writing. He received the DSU Foundation Award for Outstanding Research. He published two books and presented often at the Shakespeare Association of America conference, the Blackfriars Conference, and the SouthCentral Renaissance Conference (once serving as program chair and president). Survivors include his wife, Susan Allen Ford, who recently retired as an English professor at DSU after 35 years of service; five siblings and their families; and many other kin.

Opaline Webb Gordon, 82, died on Nov. 16, 2018, at her home in Teague. She was born on June 22, 1936, in Shaw, to Cleveland and Pauline Grimes Webb. She married Frank H. Gordon on Aug. 11, 1954, in Cleveland. She retired from the Delta State University custodial department after 20 years of service. She was preceded in death by her husband; daughter, Sandra Triplett; granddaughter, Melissa D. Barrentine; and brothers, Jerry Webb, John Webb, Billy Webb, and Cleveland Webb Jr. She is survived by her daughters, Pamela Dianne Barrentine and husband, Herbert Sr., of Teague and Cindy Lelati of Corpus Christi; son, David F. Gordon and wife, Natalie, of Iola; sister, Linda Farley of Merryville, Ind.; and brothers, Jimmy Webb and Kookie Webb, both of Cleveland; and sisters-in-law, Joyce and Ada Webb, both of Cleveland.

• Adding student-athlete services • Enhancing athletics facilities • Providing championship rings & other recognition • Upgrading travel • Increasing recruitment • Offering staff professional development & leadership training 30 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

GIVE NOW DSU Foundation DSU Box 3141 Cleveland, MS 38733 (662) 846-4704 https://deltastategiving.org/ product/statesmen-club/


Lanita Jones, ’74 of Cleveland, MS, Sept. 23, 2018

Margaret Smith, of Coby, TN, Jan. 21, 2019

Jeff Tarver, ’76 of Madison, MS, Oct. 27, 2018

Paul W. Strode Jr., of Hattiesburg, MS, Oct. 18, 2018

Mary E. Jackson, ’43 of Baton Rouge, LA, Nov. 19, 2018

Rickie L. Pannel, ’77 of Oxford, MS, Dec. 28, 2018

Sandra K. Taylor, of Greenwood, MS, Dec. 20, 2018

Mary Kimbrell, ’47 of Satellite Beach, FL, Oct. 30, 2018

John Patterson, ’77 of Gastonia, NC, Feb. 22, 2019

William E. Middleton, ’48 of Cleveland, MS, Dec. 19, 2018

Doran D Yelton II, ’78 of Jacksonville, FL, Jan. 27, 2019

Rubye R. Sherman, ’48 of Greenville, MS, Feb. 2, 2019



ATTENDED Roseabel H. Burleson, of Tupelo, MS, Feb. 10, 2019 Angeline Cooper Causey, of Greenville, MS, Jan. 4, 2019

Betty Lou Stribling, ’80 of Clarksdale, MS, Dec. 22, 2018

Barbara K. Davenport, of Vicksburg, MS, Nov. 15, 2018

Hal Gerrard, ’50 of Cleveland, MS, Dec. 24, 2018

Noel Russell, ’83 of Stuart, FL, Feb. 19, 2019

Marcia Smith Davenport, of Pascagoula, MS, Nov. 17, 2018

Alvin Malone, ’50 of McCarley, MS, Feb. 9, 2019

Teddy Avara, ’85 of Kansas, MO, Dec. 7, 2018

Richard C. Geoghegan, of Jackson, MS, March 15, 2019

Morris L. Busby Sr., ’51 of Southaven, MS, Feb. 14, 2019

Lena Gale Ricks Purvis, ’85 of Cleveland, March 22, 2019

Richard Grafton, of Mount Juliet, TN, Dec. 22, 2018

Vivian Rickels Nemitz, ’52 of Owensboro, KY, Dec. 6, 2018 Lilyan Elizabeth Couch Parker, ’55 of Drew, MS, Feb. 5, 2019 William R. Wilson, ’57 of Cleveland, MS, Jan. 30, 2019

2000s James D Nance, ’04 of Greenwood, MS, Nov. 29, 2018

James A. Reynolds, ’58 of Baxley, GA, Oct. 20, 2018

Richard L. Harris, of Newton, MS, March 22, 2019 Donald A. Hemphill, of Brookhaven, MS, Nov. 6, 2018 Shirley Litton, of Greenville, MS, Oct. 27, 2018 Patrick Manuel, of Mamou, LA, Oct. 20, 2018

Wilma Jane Roberts, ’58 of Columbus, GA, Feb. 2, 2019


Robert A. “Slick” McCool, ’59 of Tupelo, MS, Feb. 24, 2019 Frances E. Moses, ’59 of Port Lavaca, TX, March 6, 2019 1960s

Elbert D. McNutt, of Grenada, MS, Oct. 25, 2018 Paul Sechler, of Memphis, TN, Oct. 14, 2018

Virginia F. Berry, of Leland, MS, Jan. 19, 2019

Peggy Elaine Tatum Wilson, of Senatobia, MS, Feb. 12, 2019

Christine Boykins, of Clarksdale, MS, Dec. 31, 2018

Edward L. Windham, of Laurel, MS, Nov. 15, 2018

Mamie Opal Turner Brown, of Vaiden, MS, Dec. 26, 2018

Liz Workman, of Signal Mountain, TN, Jan. 29, 2019

Ronald Oltremari, ’61 of Grove, OK, Oct. 25, 2018

LaDortha Cooks Keesee, of Greenville, MS, Dec. 21, 2018

Wilburn R. Murphree, ’63 of Memphis, TN, Oct. 19, 2018

Maurice Duffel, of Edinburg, TX, Oct. 21, 2018

Sandra Kershner, ’64 of Calabash, NC, Nov. 14, 2018

Alva Falgout, of Richton, MS, Sept. 22, 2018

Herbert A. Badger, of Douglasville, GA, Nov. 18, 2018

John L. Calcote Jr., ’65 of Brookhaven, MS, Feb. 1, 2019

Katherine B. Gibbs, of Greenwood, MS, Feb. 19, 2019

Allen Dennis, of Cleveland, MS, Nov. 5, 2018

Linda F Perkins, ’66 of Greenwood, MS, Nov. 27, 2018

Henry Goodman, of Anguilla, MS, March 9, 2019

Adam Johanson, of Cleveland, MS, Jan. 3, 2019

Jack Gregory, ’67 of Tupelo, MS, March 2, 2019

William “Bill” Hames, of Grenada, MS, Jan. 1, 2019

Lavorne Jones, of Cleveland, MS, Jan. 26, 2019

John W. Lewis, ’67 of Cleveland, MS, Nov. 9, 2018

Lola D. Holloway, of Jackson, MS, Dec. 5, 2018

Michael L. McCarty, of Jackson, MS, March 5, 2019

James Bruce, ’68 of Georgetown, KY, Dec. 27, 2018

William Elbert Lott, of Greenwood, MS, Jan. 6, 2019

Mary Patridge Robbins, of Cleveland, MS, Jan. 19, 2019

Charles “Chuck” Owens, ’69 of Middlebury, IN, Jan. 23,

Eugene McCray, of Chandler, AZ, March 6, 2019

Paul L. West, of Lancaster, PA, Oct. 23, 2018


Ruth Bagwell McGinn, of Paragould, AR, March 25, 2019

William Ray Wilson, of Cleveland, MS, Jan. 30, 2019

Bertie B. Weiler, ’69 of Long Beach, MS, Oct. 13, 2018

Matt McGregor, of Indianola, MS, Dec. 24, 2018



Andrew C. Meyers, of Clarksdale, MS, Dec. 17, 2018


Stephen Nick, of Greenville, MS, Oct. 21, 2018

Owen R. Makamson, of Greenville, MS, Dec. 15, 2019

Donald L. Key, ’70 of Vicksburg, MS, Feb. 8, 2019

Mary J. Pierce, of Hernando, MS, Sept. 6, 2018

Oddie William “O.W.” Miller, of Cleveland, Jan. 24, 2019

Barbara J. Grayson, ’72 of Beaver, OH, Oct. 30, 2018

Sandi L. Randall, of Mobile, AL, Jan. 19, 2019

Ann Nelson, of Cleveland, MS, March 1, 2019

Roland P. Guest, ’72 of Tupelo, MS, Nov. 6, 2018

Arlin Reed, of Greenville, MS, Oct. 25, 2018

Sunshine Parham Ward, of Amory, MS, Jan. 15, 2019

William Park Kellum, ’72 of Paducah, KY, Feb. 16, 2019

Mary P. Robbins, of Cleveland, MS, Jan. 19, 2019

Danny Earl McCraney, ’72 of Moorhead, MS, Oct. 14, 2018

Kenny Lafayette Smith, of Carthage, MS, Nov. 14, 2018

WE WANT YOUR DSU ALUMNI UPDATES! Submit an item for Class Notes, Future Statesmen or Lady Statesmen, Marriages/Unions, or In Memoriam to alumni@deltastate.edu or DSU Box 3104, Cleveland, MS 38733. Due to space limitations, listing priority in the “Class Notes/In Memoriam” section of the magazine will be given to dues-paying members of the Delta State University Alumni Association. The Alumni Association relies on numerous sources for “Class Notes” information and is unable to verify all notes.

Winter/Spring 2019 • Delta State Magazine • 31

MISSION STATEMENT Delta State Magazine informs, celebrates, and engages alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of Delta State University.


Delta State Magazine is published by the Delta State University Advancement & External Relations twice a year: winter/spring and summer/fall. Views expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff or Delta State policies. In an effort to reduce our environmental impact, we mail one edition per household.

DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY President, William N. LaForge ’72 UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS Rick Munroe, vice president Gregory Braggs Jr. ’15, ’19, communications & marketing web designer Ethan Callahan ‘18, radio station manager Lyle Cole ’13, accountant Deborah Cox, CFO Leigh Emerson, manager of mailing and printing Caroline George Fletcher ’15, communications and marketing social media specialist James Forte ’16, ’18, annual fund director Terrence Liddell, printing service specialist Patricia Malone, communications and marketing senior secretary Steve Matzker, communications and marketing photographer/videographer (former) Dr. Nerma Moore, director of development Kristina Norman, communications and marketing staff writer (former) Holly Ray ’06, communications and marketing graphic designer (and alumni magazine art director) Aimee Robinette, alumni engagement coordinator Amanda Robinson ’10, interim alumni director (and alumni magazine publisher) Kandace Stevenson ‘18, annual fund coordinator Peter Szatmary, communications and marketing director (and alumni magazine editor) Paula Thompson ‘00, director of advancement services Rhonda Williams, postal clerk Lizzie Woodard, research and administrative assistant

NATIONAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS Patrick Davis ’96, president John Fletcher ’91, vice president Hays Collins ‘00, treasurer George Miller ’00, secretary Sayward Fortner ’04, past president Hank Ludwig ’00, district 1 Parker Lipscomb ’04, district 2 Libbi Logan ’99, district 2 Jeff Arnold ’92, district 3 Bradley Smith ’71, district 4 Courtney Davis ‘14, presidential appointee Renee Selby Deweese ’92, presidential appointee Tara Dunn ‘10, presidential appointee Brad Evans ‘87, presidential appointee Paul Mancini ’00, presidential appointee Kelvin Short ‘92, presidential appointee Tom Janoush ‘90, president of foundation board Larkin Simpson ‘02, non-resident Merritt Dain, DSU faculty or staff Johnny Arnold ‘58, golden circle president Kelly Smith ‘00, black alumni Matthew Mullins ‘07, young alumni Abbey Gordon, SAA representative Charlie King, SGA representative Shauna Allen ‘13, nursing constituent group appointee Lindsey Bragg ‘05, education constituent group appointee Howard Brown ‘96, accounting constituent group appointee Mark Cummins ‘85, aviation constituent group appointee Steven Hugley ‘12, music constituent group appointee Robert Robinson ‘95, art department constituent group appointee

DELTA STATE FOUNDATION, INC. Tom Janoush ’90, president; Anna Looney Dill ’74, ’88, vice president and trustee committee chair; Nan Sanders ’67, secretary and development committee chair; Hank Drake ’69, treasurer and finance committee chair; Tim Harvey ’80, past president; David Abney ’76, ’15; Miller Arant ’03, ’08; Louis Baioni ’56; George Bassi ‘87; Dr. William Bell ’82; Anita Bologna; Dr. Walker Byars ’92; Cheryl Comans ’09; John Cox ’96; Patrick Davis ’96, Alumni Association president; McKay Dockery; Dr. Doty Farmer ’92; Earnest Hart ’77; Brian Henry ‘99; Leslie Jenkins ‘93; Peter Jernberg ’65, ’67, ’71; Arthur Johnston ’89; Edward Kossman III ’94; Andy Lee ‘98; Ned Mitchell ’62; Ken Mullins Jr. ’87; Richard Myers Jr. ‘91; Billy Nowell ’72; Randy Randall; Rodney Scaife ’91; Hugh Smith ‘70; Anne Wynn Weissinger, ’81, ’15; Margaret White ‘75; Jimmy Wilson ’68; Dr. Bennie Wright ’74, ’75; William N LaForge, president, ex-officio; Eckward McKnight, faculty representative, ex-officio; Jamie Rutledge ’84, vice president for finance and administration, ex-officio. SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR DELTA STATE NATIONAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION CORPORATE SPONSORS



Delta State Magazine contact information: DSU Box 3104 | 1003 West Sunflower Road | Cleveland, MS 38733 | alumni@deltastate.edu or foundation@deltastate.edu | Phone: (662) 846-4660 Send address changes and class notes, in memoriam, future Statesmen and Lady Statesmen, marriages/unions, and Okra Outings to alumni@deltastate.edu or to DSU Box 3104, Cleveland , MS 38733 Send letters, questions, comments, and ideas to alumni@deltastate.edu Copyright @ 2019 by Delta State University. Delta State University is an equal access, equal opportunity, and affirmative action institution. 32 • Delta State Magazine • Winter/Spring 2019

The Delta State University National Alumni Association seeks nominations for the 2019 Alumni Service Awards, Alumni Hall of Fame, and Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. Submit nominations at https://deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/alumni-service-awards/ Award recipients will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Awards Gala on Nov. 8 during Homecoming weekend.

DSU Box 3104 1003 West Sunflower Road Cleveland, MS 38733 www.deltastate.edu Address Service Requested

When you purchase a Delta State car tag, $32.50 goes back to SUPPORT DELTA STATE programs, scholarships, & more.

Profile for Delta State University

Delta State University Alumni Magazine Winter/Spring 2019  

The Winter/Spring 2019 edition of the magazine for Delta State University Alumni and Friends.

Delta State University Alumni Magazine Winter/Spring 2019  

The Winter/Spring 2019 edition of the magazine for Delta State University Alumni and Friends.