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The Real Deal

Delta State Alumnus and Artist in Residence Steve Azar on what makes the DMI unique

Ronnie Mayers ’74, Karen Mayers ’74, Ann Marie Mayers Pate ’04, Brady Pate ’08, Mabry Pate (2033)

GROWING UP GREEN & WHITE You know what it means to be a true Statesman, now pass it on! Start a legacy by sending your child’s name, birthdate, and address to enroll them in Delta State’s Legacy Program. They will learn about everything bright, green, and fun in their future.

We want to get to know the small smiles on your kids’ faces so we can see their giant grins at graduation. KEEP THE TRADITION ALIVE. The Alumni Association has recently partnered with Admissions and Recruiting on an initiative to better recruit children of alumni. Send us your child’s name, birthdate, and address, and he or she will begin receiving information from the Delta State Alumni Association. Send information to For more information, contact the Alumni office at (662) 846-4660. Know a student who would be a great fit at Delta State? Tell us by using the Good Student Referral at


Alumni Magazine





Foundation Editor..................................................... Ann Giger ’93



Board of Directors Delta State University Alumni Association:



President..............................................William “Bill” N. LaForge ’72 Executive Director, Alumni-Foundation.................Keith Fulcher ’83

Alumni Magazine Advisory Committee: Editor............................................................... Jordan Thomas ’11 Alumni Board Representative.............................Richard Myers ’91 Foundation Board Representative.................. Anne Weissinger ’81 Alumni Editor.........................................................Jeffrey Farris ’04

Richard Myers ’91, President; Rob Armour ’95, President Elect; Patrick Davis ’96, Secretary; Sayward Fortner ’04, Treasurer; George Bassi ’87, Past President; Anne Weissinger ’81, Foundation President; Michael Ainsworth ’94, Angela Boone ’02, Serena Clark ’97, Brad Evans ’87, John Fletcher ’91, Angela Grayson ’94, Chrissy LaMastus ’96, Paul “Bubba” Mancini ’00, George Miller ’00, Henry Outlaw ’61, Jeremy Pittman ’05, John Polles ’05, Chris Shivers ’94, Reagan Smith ’08, Lauranne Tomaszewski ’03, Sydney Hodnett ’14, Amy Scott ’14


Board of Directors Delta State University Foundation, Inc:

Anne Wynn Weissinger ’81, President; Tim Harvey ’80, Vice President; Nan Sanders ’67, Secretary/Treasurer; Mike Neyman ’72, Past President; Jeff Tarver ’76, Finance Chair; Tom Janoush ’90, Trusteeship Chair; Ned Mitchell ’62, Campaign Chair; Judson Thigpen ’79, Development Chair; Richard Myers ’91, Alumni President; David Abney ’76, Louis Baioni ’56, Dr. William C. Bell ’82, Anita Bologna, Amanda Borgognoni ’82, Hunter Cade ’66, Jeff Ross Capwell ’60, Kay Clark, Dr. Anna Looney Dill ’74, Hank Drake ’69, Bryce Griffis ’54, Laird Hamberlin ’87, Earnest Hart ’77, Peter Jernberg ’65, Gloria B. Johnson ’79, Ed Kossman Jr. ’59, Draughon McPherson, Rex Lyon ’73, Billy Nowell ’72, Carol Puckett, Randy Randall, Krista Roberts, Homer Sledge III, Sam Waggoner ’76, Margaret Walker ’67, Alan Walters, Dr. David Webber ’78, Jimmy Wilson ’68, Dr. Bennie Wright ’74 The Alumni & Foundation Magazine is published by the Delta State University Alumni & Foundation DSU Box 3104, 1003 West Sunflower Rd, Cleveland, MS 38733 E-Mail: Phone: (662) 846-4660 Note: In an effort to reduce our environmental impact, only one magazine per household is mailed.

Art and Layout by

This vintage photograph shows the Delta State dancers performing in front of the Fielding L. Wright Art Center.


Special Thanks to our Delta State Alumni Association Corporate Sponsors


Then & Now

A look at the changes Delta State has seen over the years

16 The Real Deal Cleveland Medical Clinic, PLLC and Wright Surgical Services


Delta Music Institute making dreams come true

On the cover:

Delta State Alumnus and Artist in Residence Steve Azar at Studio B of the Delta Music Institute; photographed by Matthew Wood ’07. Patrick Davis

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 1


To My Fellow Delta State Alumni, Colleagues, and Friends: Happy New Year to the Delta State University family! This year promises to be an extraordinary one for Delta State, and I welcome you to be a part of the excitement! Our Alumni Association is thriving with wonderful activities planned throughout the year, and our alumni chapters are sponsoring more events than ever before, including many that are helping us recruit students around the country. The newly established Legacy Program is one such initiative that the Alumni Association has implemented to reach out to children and grandchildren of alumni at an early age. To enroll in the Legacy Program or to learn more about it, visit deltastateuniversitylegacyprogram. I now have three quarters of a year under my belt as President of Delta State, and a lot has happened since my arrival on campus last spring. Recent additions to the President’s Cabinet include Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers (’74), Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Steve McClellan (’81), and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Charles McAdams. I also added to my Cabinet composition the Chair of the Administrative Staff Council—Robin Boyles (’84)—and the president of the Student Government Association—Sydney Hodnett. My leadership team is in place, and we are moving ahead with an ambitious agenda. The Delta State University Foundation has recently announced the public phase of its $40 million Campaign for Delta State to support scholarships and other vital university needs, and I hope you will participate. Your tax-deductible gift can be made online. To boost international student enrollment, I have recently signed agreements for student and faculty exchanges with universities in Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria. In the near future, Delta State will host an international academic conference on the blues that will invite blues scholars from around the world and the U.S. to visit the rightful scholarly center of the blues right here on our campus in the Delta. This spring we will host a major conference on diversity entitled “Winning the Race.” We are also developing a new student-business co-op program that will allow students to be employed by local businesses to help defray the cost of education and to gain real-world experience. The newly created Delta State University Colloquia, a distinguished speakers lecture series, kicked off this past semester with six outstanding speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds. And, to top it off, Head Football Coach Todd Cooley led the Statesmen football squad to a 7–3 season and was selected Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year. In remarks at my inauguration this past November, I outlined my 7-point goals and vision of excellence for Delta State that I hope all members of the Delta State family will embrace and share with me as we strive to build our great university: (1) Stabilizing and enhancing our budget and enrollment to provide for growth in student numbers and in the revenue necessary to ensure quality instruction and adequate compensation for our faculty and staff; (2) Maintaining and strengthening our academic standards so that our students are provided a first-rate education and a degree that prepares them for life and for careers in an ever-increasing global workforce and society; (3) Making Delta State a bastion of academic excellence where we celebrate the true meaning and concept of university through forums and programs such as the university colloquia, distinguished speakers events, and major conferences; (4) Transforming this campus to one that is bustling with new students from the Delta and Mississippi, as well as from other states and from foreign countries, who will comprise a multicultural environment that provides an outstanding college experience through our excellent academic programs, our caring faculty, and our student-focused customer service; (5) Rebuilding our campus infrastructure to maintain and preserve the architectural beauty and integrity of Delta State, and expanding the campus as we develop a master plan for growth; (6) Providing increased leadership to the Delta in the form of outreach and engagement in the areas of community and economic development, health care, and education; and continuing our collaboration and partnerships with Cleveland and surrounding governments, communities, and organizations; (7) Collaborating with our foundation, alumni, and others to boost private support for the university with major gifts and aggressive fundraising. I invite you to recommend a prospective student to us, come visit us on campus, and stay connected with your university through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and the Delta State website at, where you will find a wide array of information including my weekly “Fireside Chat.” You can always reach me at or at (662) 846-4000.

Very best regards,

William N. LaForge ’72 President

2 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014


Dear Alumni and Friends, It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Delta State University team. Whether you’re an alumnus, friend, faculty/staff member, retired faculty/staff member, current student or prospective student of Delta State, there is revitalized energy on our campus.  The fall semester has surely played a significant role in the life of our institution. The Annual Pig Pickin’ continues to grow each year, President William N. LaForge was installed as our 8th President, and Mr. Hugh Ellis Walker was named our Outstanding Alumnus of the Year!  We welcomed new leadership: Vice President of Finance Steve McClellan, Provost Dr. Charles McAdams, Director of Athletics Ronnie Mayers, and many others to our Faculty & Staff team.  The enthusiasm continues as the University and the National Alumni Association move forward together. The Alumni Association looks forward to launching the Alumni Legacy Program soon which will be a direct impact for recruiting efforts. The Legacy Program is a way for the Alumni Association to reach out to children and grandchildren of alumni at an early age. Once a child is enrolled, they will receive free Statesmen/Okra-themed, age-appropriate gifts, invitations to campus activities, and personalized postcards on each birthday through the age of 16. At the age of 16, your legacy will start being recruited to Delta State by the Office of Admissions. We are currently the only Mississippi university alumni association that will offer this program. To enroll your child or grandchild in the program, visit deltastateuniversitylegacyprogram.  As always, I’d like to encourage you to tell us about a prospective student that would be perfect for Delta State by using our Good Student Referral link at The Alumni Association stays busy traveling to various Alumni Chapters around the state, region, and country. We hope to see you at a local chapter meeting in 2014 (State, Regionally, or Nationally).  I would also like to encourage you to support your alma mater by participating in one of our affinity programs. By purchasing a DSU car tag and becoming a member of the Alumni Association you help support the Alumni Association with its mission. Thank you to those of you that do this. I would especially like to thank our 2013 Sustaining Life Members for supporting our newest initiative in providing scholarship dollars to children of alumni. I strongly encourage all paid-in-full life members to consider becoming a Sustaining Life Member in 2014. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the 2013–2014 National Alumni Association Board of Directors and Alumni Chapter volunteers for all their hard work. These alumni volunteer their time and efforts for Delta State University, and we appreciate all the work they do. In closing, I would like to encourage you to follow the Alumni Association on its many social media sites. The Alumni Association truly leads the way in keeping information at your fingertips by constantly updating Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (www.dsualumni., LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni), and YouTube (dsualumni1) to keep you up to date on activities. I hope to see you at an alumni event or back on campus soon!


Richard Myers ’91 National Alumni Association President

Studies show that good universities have strong alumni associations! Your alumni dues allow the Alumni Association to be able to provide better services to our students and alumni. Please consider joining or renewing your membership today! To become a member, scan the QR code with your smart phone, call (662) 846-4660, or send an email to Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 3


The LaForge family with the Statesmen and the Okra at the luncheon following the Inauguration Ceremony.

LaForge with friend Jim Morhard, who spoke on surviving a plane crash that claimed five lives, including Senator Ted Stevens.

LaForge and Mike Neyman with Beatles tribute band 1964: The Tribute at the Community Cookout during Inauguration Week.

LaForge and friends jam out at the Delta Music Institute Studio A.

Dr. Wayne Blansett, Mimi Clark, LaForge, and Clayton LaForge at the Inauguration Kickoff sponsored by the Bolivar County Alumni Chapter.

Gov. Phil Bryant with Richard Myers, president of the National Alumni Association, at the Inauguration Ceremony.

Senator Thad Cochran delivered the Keynote Address at the Inauguration Ceremony. LaForge served as Chief of Staff for Senator Cochran.

President LaForge addresses the crowd at his Inauguration Ceremony.


8th Presidential Inauguration On Friday, November 1, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., a congregation of faculty, staff, students, alumni, delegates, and friends from around the globe joined together in communal unity to celebrate the inauguration of William N. LaForge as the eighth president of Delta State University. The stately ceremony culminated a week-long celebration of excellence in tribute to Delta State’s distinct, rich history and enthusiastic future. Inauguration Week was celebrated each day by a different college or school within the university. The festive week reflected Delta State’s commitment to academic excellence and student and community engagement and was a perfect prelude to the highly anticipated investiture.

Photo by Rory Doyle

4 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

INAUGURATION DONORS LEADERSHIP LEVEL ($5,000+) ARAMARK Higher Education Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mississippi City of Cleveland, Mississippi Jefferson Bank Mr. and Mrs. Glover Alcorn “Russ” Russell, Jr.

CORNERSTONE LEVEL ($2,500–$4,999) Anonymous (1) Bolivar County, Mississippi Fred & Margaret Carl Casey Family Programs Roy Collins Construction Co. Eley|Barkley + Dale Partners Entergy Gerber/Taylor Capital Advisors, Inc Wylie Hilburn Renasant Bank Mike Sanders Family Margaret H. Walker

VISIONARY LEVEL ($1,000–$2,499) John & Melissa Alexander Louis & Sylvia Baioni Bank of Anguilla Barfield, Salley & Associates Cannon Ford Lincoln, Michael Joe Cannon Chawla Hotels, Incorporated Cleveland – Bolivar County Economic Development Foundation Cleveland State Bank Chip & Billie Cole Scott & Cindy Coopwood Bill & Jane Crump Mark W. Davis Delta Electric Power Association, Ronnie Robertson Delta State University Foundation Double Quick Inc., Tom Gresham Mike Espy Greenwood-LeFlore Industrial Board Guaranty Bank & Trust Company Hammons & Associates Al & Ruth Hopkins Mark Houston Joe & Dot Janoush Paul & Lucy Janoush Mr. & Mrs. J. Peter Jernberg, Jr. Arthur & Beverly Johnston Kitty, Ed, & Edward Kossman Drew & Whitney Middleton Don Q. & Mary Sue Mitchell Ned & Bettye Mitchell Planters Bank John Kirkham & Hilda C. Povall Carol Puckett Willie L. Simmons

SouthGroup Insurance, Ned Mitchell Burns Strider Billy & Myrtis Tabb Wade, Incorporated, Bill & Ann Litton Anne & Charles Weissinger Jimmy & Pam Wilson Kent & Janice Wyatt

EMPOWERMENT LEVEL ($500–$999) Alexander, Johnston & Alexander, PA Anonymous (5) AvantGarde Strategies, LLC, Serena Raspberry Clark Ben & Liz Bufkin Hunter & Suzanne Cade Butch & Marlene Caston Ed & Kay Coleman Mac & Martha Curlee Doug & Joy Delap Hank & Suanne Drake DSU National Alumni Association Mike & Cindy Ellis Brad & Mellany Evans Mayo & Renee Flynt Donald & Nancy Fountain Walter & Kathy Fountain Bill Greenleaf Keith & Leslie Griffin Bryce Griffis Eddie & Virginia Hall Gerald & Beth Jacks Derrell James & Trudy Fountain-James Carolyn & Clyde Manning Derek & Heather Miles Richard & Stacy Myers Needle Specialty Products, Michael Belenchia Nehi Bottling Company Mike & Martha Neyman Billy & Becky Nowell Omicron Delta Kappa, Shelby McIntire Partnership Properties Planters Equipment Company Steve Puckett Retzer Resources, Mike Retzer Randy & Helen Smith Larry Toney Sam Waggoner Hugh Ellis & Eloise Walker

LEGACY LEVEL ($250–$499) Danny & Betsy Abraham Anonymous (3) Trey & Lynda Bobinger Gary & Rebecca Bouse Butler | Snow, Thad Varner & Kathryn Stewart Lizabeth & Terry Carlson

Castrol Lube & Economy McKay Dockery Clark Daniel Coker Horton & Bell, P.A., Gary Jones Carl & Jane Easley Jeffrey & Stephanie Farris Terry & Debra Faust John & Lisa Fletcher Keith & Anne Fulcher Gary & Jamey Gainspoletti Donald & Nelia Green William L. Hood Laura & Frank Howell Cooper & Marilyn Johnson Matt & Emily Jones Marvin & Kathleen Lott Lolo & Vicki Lubiani Rex & Kelly Lyon Ronnie & Karen Mayers Steve & Ladye Ann McClellan George & Deborah Miller Beverly Moon Billy & Deborah Moore Tom & Kathy Nichols Billy & Lisa Percy Robert & Marilyn Ragan Michelle Roberts Ann J. Shackelford Will & Allison Simpson Jeff Slagell & Christopher Slagell Frank W. Smith Paul L. & Melissa Starkey State Bank & Trust Company Russell & Shirley Stewart Sarah Gaddis Thompson Kim G. Tyrone Keith & Jeanne Walker

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS Anonymous (6) Wayne & Diane Blansett Robin & Rick Boyles Patsy Burchfield James Donald Cooper DSU Staff Council Leigh Emerson Willis & Jodie Frazer Deb & Nancy Gee Dana George Dennis & Ann Giger Sydney Hodnett W.O. Luckett, Jr. Kenny & Cynthia McCool Charlie McGuffee Don Allan Mitchell & Shelley Collins Kim Pongetti Ronald C. Porter Christy Riddle Forest & Debra Thigpen Jordan Thomas Vicki & Allen Williams The Wishing Well, Jo Parker & Susan Wiggins J. Walter Wood, Jr.

Donor Listing as of December 6, 2013

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 5



Many times when Alumni come back to campus, they note how much has changed. After rummaging through boxes in the Archives, we couldn’t agree more. As a salute to the “old school we love best,” we bring you this photo essay featuring Delta State Then and Now. Special thanks to Emily Erwin Jones and Fawn Horton in the University Archives and Museum and Caitlyn Thompson and Rory Doyle in Communications and Marketing for helping us locate, scan, and capture these images.

6 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014





Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 7


2013 National Alumni Association Service Awards winners and Alumni Hall of Fame inductees at Walter Sillers Coliseum.

2013 Delta State Athletic Sports and Coaches Hall of Fame inductees at Walter Sillers Coliseum.

8 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Alumni Association & Athletic Department Awards Honors T

he Delta State University National Alumni Association teamed up with the Athletic Department for this year’s Alumni Awards and Gala Dinner, which is held every year during Homecoming. Eight alumni and friends were recognized with Alumni Association Awards, and seven former athletes and two coaches were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Each year the Alumni Association honors four individuals or groups with the alumni service awards. The Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award is presented to recognize outstanding service and contributions to Delta State University by an alumnus, and this year’s recipient was Neal Holcomb (’92). The Gladys Castle “Friend of Delta State” Service Award is presented each year to recognize outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by a non-alumnus. The Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce received the award this year. Michael Aguzzi (’97), current President of the chamber, accepted the award. The Kent Wyatt “Young Alumnus” Service Award is presented to recognize outstanding service and contributions to Delta State by a young alumnus 36 years of age or younger. The Alumni Association presented this award to Sayward Fortner (’04). The Legacy Award is presented annually to someone who has made an institutional change upon the university. Dave Heflin (’62) was this year’s recipient for his role

in establishing the Outdoor Program. The Alumni Association also has the privilege of inducting alumni into the Alumni Hall of Fame. Induction into the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the Delta State Alumni Association. Established in 2007, the Alumni Hall of Fame is extended to alumni and friends who have achieved professional distinction and made significant community service contributions at the local, national, and/or international level, and who have thus brought honor and distinction to Delta State University. This year, the Alumni Association inducted three individuals into the Hall of Fame: George Bassi (’87), Dr. Keith Parker (’78), and Jeff Russell (’80). The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award was established to give recognition to an alumnus of Delta State University who has distinguished himself or herself by making some significant contribution to human or institutional programs in which a situation, an institution, or a movement has been materially changed for the better because of that individual’s personal participation. Hugh Ellis Walker, Sr. (’52) was named this year’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for his tireless dedication to the university. The Alumni Association also established a new award this year to honor the Outstanding Chapter of the Year. This award is for an alumni chapter who focuses their efforts on raising scholarship dollars for Delta State

students in their area. This year’s recipient was DeSoto County Alumni Chapter. For former student-athletes and coaches of Delta State, induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame or Coaches Hall of Fame is a true honor. The 2013 class represents a diverse cross section of the 13 intercollegiate sports sponsored by Delta State. The seven Delta State Sports Hall of Fame inductees included a decorated swimmer, one of the most dominant post players in Lady Statesmen basketball history, a men’s basketball scoring machine, one of the greatest pitchers in the modern era of Lady Statesmen softball, a standout outfielder for the Statesmen baseball team, a speedster on the track, and a power running back in the 60’s for the Statesmen. The seven inductees helped deliver two national championships, six conference titles, and 13 all-conference and all-American accolades. This year’s inductees were: Nicki Genre (Softball, ’02), Anita Robinson (Women’s Basketball), Liberty Cash (Football, ’66), Norris Ashley (Men’s Basketball, ’69), Jamie Cox (Track and Field, Attended), Casey Myrick (Baseball, ’99), and Brad Vickers (Men’s Swimming & Diving, ’98). The DSU Alumni Coaches Hall of Fame Class included Ray Ishee (’71) and Derek Hunter (’73). The Athletic Department also recognized long-time professor and supporter of athletics, Ray Wilson, with the Distinguished Statesmen Award.

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 9


Advancing DSU Athletics Three families with one goal Delta State University is a special and unique place. Just ask anyone associated with the school and you’ll get the same response— “I love this place.” Three families from different parts of the state have all impacted Statesmen and Lady Statesmen athletics in a major way in recent years. The Dorgan, Thigpen, and Crawford families have all experienced the impact Delta State University made on their lives, and in return they have helped change the foundation of this program forever. 10 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014



Annual Giving Program: Legends Society, Legacy Club, and Statesmen 360°


Student-Athlete Scholarship Endowment


Special Projects Fund

The growth began in the fall of 2000 with the announcement of a major contribution to Delta State University by the Billy Dorgan family. The Dorgans believed that Delta State was a special place and a place where lives were changed. Their son, Billy, Jr., had been a place kicker for the 2000 NCAA National Championship team and a 2001 graduate. The family expressed an interest in helping to create a facility that would enhance the student-athlete educationally and athletically. The idea became a reality when the Billy Dorgan, Jr. Student Performance Center was opened in the summer of 2004. “Delta State has played a major role in our lives over the years, and we wanted to give something back to such a special place,” said Dorgan, Sr. As the construction wrapped up on the Dorgan Center, ground was breaking on the east side of Chadwick-Dickson Athletic Field House for the J.A. “Bud” Thigpen, Jr. Baseball Annex. The Thigpens, a family synonymous with Statesmen baseball, made a major donation to the program for the facility. “DSU has been home to me and my family for as long as I can remember,” said Judson Thigpen, III. “We wanted to give something back to the school and the program that has meant so much to this family.” The Thigpen Annex was turned over to

At Delta State you know you are a part of one of the nation’s top athletic programs, and that knowledge drives you to excel to levels you never imagined. Your support helps each studentathlete achieve their goals of playing for a championship team. The department motto—Where Champions Play—is not just words but a goal we all strive to attain. CORNEL KNIGHT, Men’s Basketball

the Delta State University Department of Athletics on June 13, 2005. The facility features coaches’ offices, storage areas, and meeting spaces for the Statesmen baseball program. The Thigpen family has a long history with Delta State baseball, as Judson Thigpen, a standout reliever for former Statesmen head coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss from 1975-78, was a part of two College World Series teams during his playing days. Judson’s son, Jud, led DSU to the program’s first ever NCAA Championship and for his efforts was named the Rawlings/ ABCA NCAA DII Player of the Year.

In the fall of 2005, the Robert L. Crawford family made the dream for a new entrance to Dave “Boo” Ferriss Field a reality with their contribution to the Statesman Club. John Crawford, a two-time ABCA All-American catcher for Coach Ferriss, made the gift in honor of his father, Robert L. Crawford. “The Crawfords have been tremendous supporters of our program for years,” said coach Ferriss. “They have supported us like few others, and I am excited this facility bears their name.” The Robert L. Crawford Center opened in the spring of 2007 with new restrooms, concession stand, memorabilia shop, and the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum. The 3000-plus square foot facility has further enhanced one of the top facilities in all of NCAA Division II. All three families experienced the impact that Delta State University can have on one’s life, and each felt the need to give something back in return. Their singular goal has been the advancement of DSU Athletics, and their contributions to the program will help ensure the championship tradition of Delta State University Athletics for years to come!

For more information or to donate, visit

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 11


Giving Back Former student athlete establishes scholarships to show gratitude

Rodney Scaife

By: Judy Smith Rodney Scaife has always felt a great sense of appreciation for the education he received at Delta State University, believing that the instruction and guidance he received here led him to the success that he has found in his life. Searching for a way to show his gratitude for his many blessings, Scaife felt compelled to give back to his beloved University by initiating two scholarships, the Rodney H. Scaife Endowed Scholarship and the Rodney H. Scaife Student-Athlete Scholarship. “I want to give back because I have been so blessed in my life in the form of scholarships, guidance, and education,” Scaife said. “Without the instruction I received at Delta State, I would not be where I am today.” As Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for the Allegis Group, the nation’s largest and 4th largest global Human Capital Solutions and Staffing firms, Scaife credits his success to the professors and mentors he encountered at Delta State. The Clarendon, Arkansas, native received an athletic scholarship to play defensive back for the Statesman football team and was enchanted by the “family feel” of the University from the first day he set foot on the campus. “I felt embraced by the University, and the quality of education that I received there was like no other,” Scaife said. “All of my professors were so helpful and caring, and the university helped to prepare me for my future. It was an amazing experience, and those memories are some of my fondest.” Upon graduation in 1991 with a BBA in 12 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Management, Scaife took his athletic talent to the NFL, playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. After hanging up his cleats, Scaife found success in the global business world and credits much of that success to Delta State. Scaife praises Dr. Kent Wyatt, thenpresident, his coaching staff, and professors with helping to prepare him for the business world while teaching him the importance of being a responsible, dedicated citizen. “While a student-athlete at Delta State, I learned so many lessons that have guided me throughout my life. That was where I really learned to balance my life and priorities,” Scaife said. “The experience of playing football taught me leadership skills as well as how to be led. I learned the true meaning of teamwork and accountability.” Delta State has been paramount in the foundation of Scaife’s life. Although Scaife, his wife Montrell, and their children, Taylor, Tanner, and Rodney, Jr., now reside in Elkridge, Maryland, the family has maintained close ties with the university. “The time I spent at Delta State University was so vital to who I am as a person and as a professional,” Scaife said. “I realized that the knowledge and skills I acquired at the university enabled me to achieve the goals that I had set forth. I wanted to give back to others on their life’s journey in the same way that I was helped along the way. I have been so blessed in my life, and I want to return some of those blessings to others.” Community service is a mainstay for the

Scaife family. Scaife donates his time and services on the Board of Directors for The National Kidney Foundation of Maryland, Healthcare for the Homeless in Baltimore, The National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, and the Corporate Board Advisors for the College of Business at Bowie State University and Alcorn State University. Scaife encourages everyone to give back to others even if they feel that their impact is not that significant. “Don’t worry about the amount that you are able to give. It is always going to be appreciated and will help students as they pursue their dreams,” Scaife said. “Whatever amount you’re able to give will go a long way to help buy textbooks and supplies. What’s most important is helping to provide opportunities to others and to show gratitude for the opportunities that you have received throughout your life. I owe so much to Delta State.” Scaife is helping to build a legacy of dedication and support to his alma mater, and Delta State is grateful for Scaife’s generosity. “Rodney’s decision to establish both endowed and annual scholarships represents his sincere gratitude for the educational experience he received at Delta State. We are very appreciative for that support,” said Dr. Gary Bouse, Chief Development Officer, Delta State University Foundation. It is Scaife’s dream to help light the way for future generations as they begin their own journeys in life and to honor the university that he holds so dear.

Family Creates Cheerleading Scholarship

I’m still a Delta State cheerleader. –Stutts


aneil Pickett Stutts (’55) (and her late twin sister Nancy Pickett Dantzler ’55) came to Delta State in 1951. For the next four years, the twin cheerleaders traveled over 10,000 miles cheering on the Statesmen. “I’m still a Delta State cheerleader,” laughed Stutts. “I just love Delta State, and she (Dantzler) did too. We came here thinking we’d go to a small school and then transfer somewhere else. We ended up loving it, and we didn’t want to leave!” Stutts wanted to do something in memory of Dantzler, who passed away in 2003. Her family also wanted to honor her, so the idea grew into a scholarship fund for Delta State Cheerleaders, which was the only sport that did not have a scholarship fund. “It’s exciting because it will definitely help build the program,” said Angela Dent,

Delta State’s Cheerleading Coach. “It’s an advancement for us, and it’s one more way we can help a student-athlete complete their degree.” In September of 2013, the families of Dantzler and Stutts initiated an endowment to fund a scholarship in memory of Dantzler and in honor of Stutts. The scholarship also honors the memory of the deceased members of the Pickett-Stutts-Dantzler family including Ralph Stutts, Sam Dantzler, LTC Jerry Dickerson, and Ryan White. Ralph, husband of Janeil and a 1953 graduate of Delta State and former football player, passed away in 1995. The scholarship will be awarded to

a member of the Cheerleading Squad and selected with input from the Cheerleading Sponsor in collaboration with the Admissions and Recruiting Office and the Office of Financial Aid. The recipient must be in good academic standing with the University and maintain the scholarship for subsequent years. At Homecoming this year, Stutts, along with other former cheerleaders, met with the current Delta State Cheerleaders to share the news. The group even did a cheer together.

ABOVE. Sister Janeil Pickett Stutts ‘55 (left) and Nancy Pickett Dantzler ‘55 (right) with Janice Collins Wyatt ‘56 (center). RIGHT. Janeil Stutts, along with other former DSU cheerleaders met with current cheerleaders at this year’s Homecoming Game. Visit our YouTube page dsualumni1 to view the event video. To give to the Pickett Cheerleading Scholarship Fund, contact the Delta State University Foundation at (662) 846-4704 or visit

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 13

Dedicated Statesmen Association Aids Delta State’s Mission


his past spring, an initiative to get retired faculty and staff of Delta State University involved in the school’s growth was started. And the Dedicated Statesmen Association was born. The DSA has expanded to include anyone who loves Delta State and wants to be involved. “The Dedicated Statesmen Association is an organization comprised of individuals who care about Delta State,” said Dr. Gary Bouse, Chief Development Officer at Delta State and Delta State Liason to the DSA. “Originally envisioned as an organization for retired Delta State faculty and staff, the mission quickly expanded to include alumni and non-alumni of the institution who have a desire to be involved in a myriad of volunteer opportunities to benefit the University.” The Dedicated Statesmen Association’s purpose is to uphold Delta State’s values and keep retired staff, faculty, and all lovers of green and white involved, encouraged, 14 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

President LaForge meets with the Dedicated Statesmen Association to discuss upcoming projects for the group.

and informed on activities and future endeavors of the campus, in addition to athletic events and performances at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. “Delta State is a very special place to many of us who spent much of our careers here. The University was good to me and for me in my 41 years as a faculty member and continues to be a strong force in my life and in my retirement,” said Dr. Rose Strahan, retired faculty and Dedicated Statesmen Association member. “I enjoy being able to give back to DSU, and the Dedicated Statesmen Association has given me the opportunity to give back to various areas of the University in an organized way. I am excited to be a part of DSA.” Because many of the members have spent a significant time at Delta State, they provide an invaluable perspective on where

volunteers are needed. They have been extremely involved on campus since their inception in a variety of areas including student recruiting, visiting Delta State University Alumni Chapters, helping to support University social events, and working on special projects such as the upcoming 90th Anniversary celebration for the University. “We love this school, and we will do anything to help,” said Dr. James Robinson, history professor emeritus and Dedicated Statesmen Association Chair. “When people see what this group is doing, they’re going to wonder what this school ever did without it.” The group has gone from having 13 initial members of the steering committee to over 30 members and counting. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Gary Bouse at (662) 846-4704.

George Bassi accepting his gift from Chris Blount, President of Mississippi AFP, and Mrs. Maggie Wade, Mistress of Ceremonies.

Photo by Rory Doyle

A Tradition of Philanthropy National Philanthropy Day (NPD), November 14, proved to be a day of recognition for Delta State University’s Wiley Hatcher and George Bassi by the Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Wiley Hatcher was announced as the Mississippi 2013 Philanthropist of the Year and George Bassi as the 2013 Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year. Wiley Hatcher founded the Madison Charitable Foundation in 2008. During the past four years the Madison Charitable Foundation has given over $14 million to 50+ areas such as education, medicine, arts, children’s homes, and research. Delta State became a recipient in 2009 with a $100,000 grant in memory of Delta State alumnus Allen Burrell (’73) who was killed in 2006. George Bassi (’87) has spent the majority of his 26-year development career at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art (LRMA) in Laurel. George began the first development program at LRMA and successfully completed the first major capital campaign in the museum’s history. Prior to joining the LRMA staff, George held the position of Assistant Director of Alumni at Delta State University. To view more photos from this event, visit

Wiley Hatcher

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 15

16 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

What started as a dream for many students is now a reality here. Students at the Delta Music Institute are receiving a worldclass education in the music and entertainment industries right here at Delta State University.

By Jordan Thomas Photography by Matthew Wood

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 17

One early Wednesday morning in November, I arrived at the Delta Music Institute with a photographer, a designer, and a creative director in tow. The mission was simple, capture the essence of the program for the Delta State Alumni Magazine. Having been there a handful of times, I felt that I had a good sense of what the DMI had to offer. I quickly realized, I had only scratched the surface. Country music superstar (and DSU alumnus) Steve Azar strolled in just after 8 a.m. looking effortlessly cool in a way only musicians truly can. The DMI staff, all clad in green, gathered in Studio B around the piano, and even while the camera was clicking, there was music being made. Sweet music that 18 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

comes from the soul of someone (or I should say someones) who spent their days tickling ivories and strumming guitars in the birthplace of music—the Mississippi Delta. Joyous voices filled the air, and students were invited to join in. They were singing about nothing in particular, yet everything that mattered in the world all at the same time. It was then I realized that these hallowed halls were a force to be reckoned with. These were not simply classrooms. These were the building blocks to musical careers, where artists pour their hearts out. This was a special place where passions were realized. And just to be in their presence was to be inspired. What started as a dream for many students is now a reality here. Since its inception in 2003, students at the Delta Music Institute are receiving a world-class education in the music and entertainment industries right here at Delta State University. For Steve Azar ’87, the DMI has been years in the making. “For me, I always wanted this when I was here at Delta State because I was jumping from

major to major, and I had my band going,” said Azar. “I didn’t at the time know that this was something I could pursue. I just loved it.” After graduating from Delta State, Azar moved to Nashville, to pursue his career in music. He began writing his own songs, and he eventually signed with major label company, Mercury Nashville. He released his first fulllength album, “Waitin’ on Joe” in 2002, which made him a household name in Country Music. Although Azar did make a career out of his music, he believes that having the DMI when he was in school would’ve helped him tremendously. “If I’d had the DMI, I feel like it would’ve sped my career up about 10 years,” he said. “I’m blown away by it all. I get excited when I’m here. It reinvigorates me, and at the same time, I’m learning with my own career on the Senior Tour as I call it.” The mission of the DMI is to “provide our students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business

“The DMI offers the ‘real deal,’ the real knowledge—hands on. You’re going to learn it all; you’re going to learn the legal side, the business side, to be able to write a song, the publishing side, the side of engineering, every side that you need to know in this day and age.” –Steve Azar ’87

L to R: Tyan Nash of Cleveland, Amber Foster of Belzoni, Azar, and Mic Hargrove of Grenada.

areas of the music and entertainment industries,” and according to Azar they are doing just that. “The DMI offers the ‘real deal,’ the real knowledge­—hands on. You’re going to learn it all; you’re going to learn the legal side, the business side, to be able to write a song, the publishing side, the side of engineering, every side that you need to know in this day and age,” he said. He is now involved in the DMI by being the Artist in Residence, and he shares some of his experience in the music business with students. He also gives scholarships to DMI students through his charitable organization, the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation. “I like being part of something that can potentially do the same for so many students. Giving insight is where I feel like I add, coming from the real world of it as far as having tried really making a living on doing nothing but this.” Azar is not the only Delta State alumnus who felt the call to come back and help establish the DMI. GRAMMY-winner Tricia Walker, the Director of the DMI, came home after an extensive career in the music business. “I decided to come back to Delta State in the summer of 2006 after Katrina kind of broke everybody’s heart. I had just finished 26 years in Nashville in the music business, and I still had a sister that lived here in Mississippi,” she said. “I had done a lot of things in my music career, and I kind of got that little call in my ear to think about

Laeitta Wade of Greenville and Mic Hargrove of Grenada

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 19

“The music industry is such that you’ve really got to have more than one skill set. It’s hard to just specialize and do one thing and make a living because there are so many different types of opportunities, so we try to expose our students to all those different types of opportunities.” –Tricia Walker ’74

20 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Delta Music Institute Faculty and Staff

coming home. I didn’t really know what I was going to do. “I had heard about a program starting at Delta State called the Delta Music Institute, and I thought maybe I could teach a class or get involved somehow.” Walker was given more than just a class to teach. She was offered the position of Director of the program, and as they say, the rest is history. “It seemed like a great opportunity to take everything I had learned in my entrepreneurial music lifestyle and come back and share that with students at Delta State,” said Walker. The DMI prides itself on being a hands-on educational experience for students. She also encourages her students to learn more than one discipline and be more well-rounded in their chosen field. “The music industry is such that you’ve really got to have more than one skill set. It’s hard to just specialize and do one thing and make a living because there are so many different types of opportunities, so we try to expose our students to all those different types of opportunities,” she said. The DMI is housed in the old Whitfield Building and contains two world-class recording facilities on the same level as the famed Abbey Road studios in London. Students have the opportunity to use these studio spaces to create, edit, and mix audio. The identity of the DMI is sometimes confused with Delta State’s Music Department. However, the DMI exists as an independent center under the College of Arts and Sciences. While music is often the end product at the DMI, the music industry studies program focuses on all aspects of the entertainment industry, including recording arts and business. Students receive a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies when they complete their

coursework. The DMI students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have interests just as diverse. One thing they all have in common is their talent. “I’m noticing the talent level every year is getting thicker and wider and broader,” said Azar. “The genres and styles of artists that are here­—it’s unbelievable.” And the students recognize how fortunate they are to learn under professionals in one of the most unique places in the country. “It’s just such a blessing,” said Mic Hargrove, a student from Grenada. “You just really can’t get the resources and the opportunities that are here unless you leave the state, so it’s pretty cool that we can stay at home. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t be any other place but here.” DMI students have the opportunity to be in two student bands—Ol’ Skool Revue, which plays hits from the Blues, R&B, Soul, and Funk genres, and Delta RoX, which focuses more on classic rock. Members of the bands earn one hour of course credit—further proof of the hands-on approach— and they perform around the area. Upon graduation from the Delta Music Institute, students can pursue careers in a variety of areas in the music profession, including, but not limited to, agent representation, artist management, legal issues, recording engineer, sound designer, music publisher, and the list goes on and on. For students interested in the music and entertainment industry, the DMI is definitely the place to be. “It’s a quiet enough environment to really focus in on your art, and the teachers here are second to none,” said Azar. “As far as hands on, real world, real music business, real music life—I think the DMI is absolutely it.”

For more information on the Delta Music Institute, contact (662) 846-4579 or visit their website, To meet the faculty and students, watch the DMI video at At the time this article was going to press, the DMI building incurred substantial flood damages to its offices and classrooms from a faulty HVAC pipe. A recovery fund has been set up through the DSU Foundation to receive contributions for repairs and equipment replacement. To donate to this fund, please visit

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 21

“It was unreal. I just opened the door and water came rushing out.” –Barry Bays, Delta Music Institute instructor on the flooding of the DMI building after a pipe burst.

“I thank God for the opportunity to represent Delta State University in the Miss Mississippi Pageant.” –Briana Sturgis, Miss DSU

“President LaForge, once again I extend a heartfelt welcome to you, Mrs. LaForge, and your family. It is with warmth and gratitude that I say ‘Welcome home’ to your University, the home of the famous ‘fighting okra’, to the ‘green and white’, to our Delta State University. We are grateful that you chose now to come home.” –Sydney Hodnett, SGA President

“If I could leave anything with you, I urge you to try to live in the present moment, because this could happen to any one of us. And we all take these lives, these precious lives, for granted, and they could end very abruptly. So learn from your past, plan for the future, but live in the present.” –Jim Morhard, survivor of the 2010 plane crash in Alaska that claimed the lives of Senator Ted Stevens and four others.

“My husband and I treasure the years we spent at Delta State College during the early 1960’s. James particularly treasures the classes with Dr. LaForge, father of the present president. I am forever thankful for teachers Dr. Ralph Hitt and Dr. Butler from the English Department. They were demanding, fair, entertaining, and unforgettable teachers.” –Joyce Montgomery Miller ’63

22 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

“We are united by our desire for knowledge of the truth, united by our desire for the experience of authentic beauty, united by our hunger for relationships in which we can give and receive respect and love, and united by our hope of making a difference, even if small, by our having lived on this earth” –Fr. Kent Bowlds, at the Inauguration of President William N. LaForge

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 23


Jim Brown College of Business Q. Where are you originally from? A. I was born and raised here in Cleveland, MS. Q. Where did you go to school, and what are your degrees in? A. I received a BBA in Marketing from Delta State

in 1973, an MBA from Delta State in 1985, and I have completed some work toward a PhD at the University of Mississippi.

Q. How long have you been at Delta State? A. I have been here 25 years! Amazing!! Who knew

time could pass so quickly?

Q. What courses do you teach? A. I teach the courses for the Insurance area of the

Insurance and Real Estate degree. I also teach teach Microeconomics on occasion.

24 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Q. What do you like most about teaching? A. I honestly enjoy teaching all of my classes. The reason I enjoy teaching them is what I find most enjoyable about teaching. I enjoy the interaction with the students. We receive them at a marvelous age, and if we are effective, we mold them into what they need to be for their future employers. It is fun to watch them evolve into young adults and see them become excited/nervous/scared about what their future holds for them. Sometimes I think we underestimate the role that an effective professor/mentor can play in their futures.

Q. What is your favorite memory as a professor? A. This is easy. There are two memories, but they are related. Two years ago, two of my colleagues at work nominated me for the S.E. Kossman Award. The idea that they thought I was worthy of such an honor was overwhelming. I did receive the Kossman Award, and I got to deliver a commencement address at the December 2012 Commencement.

Photo by Rory Doyle

Q. What is one thing you hope your students will take away from having you as a teacher? A. I would hope that they would come to realize that what I had to share with them was “Reality.” Not only did they need to know the content of what we study in our coursework, but also to understand that Society and Life has expectations from all of us. I hope that they understand that as difficult as I may have graded them on work, that no one will be any more strict than their future employers.

Q. What do you like most about Delta State? A. I like the size of the school.

I love my students.

Q. How would you encourage a prospective student to attend Delta State? A. As I’ve said, I’ve been here 25 years, and I’ve had the opportunity to have students tell me why they came to Delta State. It is difficult to find a better answer for that question than to listen to the students that have attended DSU. They do like the small class size and the ratio of teacher-to-students. They do like that they get to know their teacher on a person-to-person basis. They do like that the teacher knows them by name. Just a few weeks ago, I was walking down the hall here in Broom and I ran into a former student who now works in Admissions. She was escorting some potential students around to meet teachers and to see the facilities. I stopped to interact with them, and the mother of a young lady made a great comment which was along the lines of “I like that you stopped to talk to us. You didn’t even know us. This speaks highly of Delta State.” In addition, I would encourage them to contact former Delta State students who are now in Business and Life and have them talk about the role that Delta State played in their successes.

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 25


CLASS NOTES Arthur Johnston III to take federal court post Arthur S. Johnston, III, was selected as the Clerk of Court for the federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi. The selection was made by Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola. Johnston was formerly the Madison County Chancery Clerk. The Clerk of Court serves as the Court’s chief administrative officer with budget, IT, facility, civil and criminal case management, and HR responsibility. The jurisdiction of the court’s Southern District includes the state’s 45 southern counties, with staffed facilities in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, and Natchez. The Court is currently served by six active district judges, four senior judges, and five magistrate judges. Johnston, a cum laude graduate of Delta State University, is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law where he was the associate editor of the Law Journal. He was in private practice for 10 years before elected as the Madison County Chancery Clerk.


Langston Rogers, of Batesville, was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.


Bill Buckner, of Madison, was inducted into the 2013 Hinds Community College Sports Hall of Fame. He was a student at Delta State from 1966–1967. He was also an assistant Football Coach for DSU as well as inducted into the DSU Athletic Hall of Fame.


John Blanks, of Hattiesburg, was recently awarded the James C. Stubbs Volunteer Award by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health at the annual Mental Health/ Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Join Conference.



Trina Garner Nullet, of Orange Park, FL, is the Accounting Manager for Communities in Schools of Jacksonville, FL, managing a $7+ million budget for their after-school, mentoring, literacy, and student advocacy programs.


Dr. James Caves, of Toomsuba, was awarded the Doctorate of Ministry degree from Ebenezer Christian Seminary. Caves built his Thesis on concepts first learned in the Department of Counseling at Delta State.


R. Daniel Logan III, of Madison, was installed as an officer of The Gardeners of America/Men’s Garden Club of America in Spartanburg, SC.


Frank Dantone, of Greenville, was named 2013 Mississippi Delta Community College Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Julie Massie Speakes, of Cleveland, was elected President of the University Aviation Association.



Harry Hill, of Madison, was awarded Pearl Education Administrator of the Year.


Robin Boyles, of Cleveland, has been accepted into the Leadership Mississippi Class of 2014.

26 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Dr. Tyrone Jackson, of Raymond, was named District Dean of Students at Hinds Community College and Raymond Campus Dean of Students.

Gae Wade Blain, of Mount Olive, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Simpson County Academy Board of Directors.


Shannon Moore, of Brandon, was awarded Rankin County Teacher of the Year. Lloyd Brady Clark, of Vicksburg, completed the Ironman Triathlon in Augusta, GA.


Will Bradham, of Merigold, is an Agent at Farm Bureau Bolivar County, MS.


Kelli Davis Cotton, of Cleveland, was hired by the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce as the Tourism Director.


Brian Blansett, of Cleveland, has accepted a position at Jimmy Sanders Incorporated. Justin M. Simmons, D.O., of Grand Blanc, MI, accepted a position with Integrated Vascular Vein Center of Michigan as the Dialysis Access Coordinator.


Baby Statesmen

Cole Armstong to M/M Chris Armstrong (Clara Runnels ’07) on May 9.

Sy Runnels, of Merdian, accepted a position as a funeral director with Robert Barham Family Funeral Home.

Barrett Tyler to M/M Patton Borland (Natalie Smith ‘04), of Birmingham, AL, on December 6.

Laura Fleeman Walker, of Cleveland, was named Graphic Designer and Brand Manager in the Office of Communications and Marketing at Delta State University.

Christopher Matthew to M/M Brian Cohen (Dayle Houston ’01) on June 17. Caleb Cole to M/M Bryant Lee Cooper (attended) (Meagan Cooper ’06) on July 24.


Benjamin Steen, of Starkville, accepted the position of Financial Aid Counselor/ITS at Mississippi State University.



Justin Daniel Smith, of Birmingham, AL, received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Samford University Birmingham and is now working at CVS.

Reise Campbell to M/M Brad Lightsey (Kerry Lightsey ’07), of Batesville, on May 9.


Lucy Kathryn to M/M Bryan Nobile ’02 (Lauren Nobile ’07), of Natchez, on December 20.

Rory Doyle, of Cleveland, accepted a position as News Writer/Phototgrapher in the Office of Communications and Marketing at Delta State University.

Amelia Taylor to M/M Jay D. Patton ’03 (Brandi Taylor ’05) on September 17.


Spencer Clark to M/M Andrew Strehlow (Fran Haaga ’00), of Brandon, on December 21, 2012.

Alyssa Shetley accepted a position as Admissions Recruiter at Delta State University.


Margaret Warren to Dr/M Jay Hubbard ’99 (Lyn Warren ’96), of Cleveland, on June 26.


Olivia James to M/M James Tims ’03 (Brooke Bassi ’03), of Cleveland, on May 10.

Katelyn Hulett accepted a position as Admissions Recruiter at Delta State University. Diana McClemore ’13 was named Admissions Recruiter at Delta State University.


Elizabeth Bowler was named the Senior Secretary of Alumni Affairs. Justin Chandler, of Cleveland, recently graduated from Leadership Mississippi at the Museum of Art in Jackson. Miles Fulwider joined the Delta Music Institute as an Instructor of Music Industry Studies.

Wedding Bells

Lindsay Locke (Attended) to Nick Belvedresi ‘09, of Boyle, on May 18.

Dr. Charles McAdams, of Maryville, MO, has been named Delta State University’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Megan Frazier ’11 to Owen Davies ’11, of Houston, TX, on August 3.

Caitlyn Thompson, of Cleveland, was named the Coordinator of Communications and Marketing at Delta State University.

Mary Claire Kinnison ’07 to Andrew Parrish, of Madison, on August 24.


Holly Grigsby to Justin Daniel Smith ’08, of Birmingham, AL, in the spring of 2013.

Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 27

IN MEMORIAM Bruce K. Pope ’94, of Greenville, on August 3.

DR. W. LARRY HAILEY 1943–2013

Ben Puckett (Friend), of Jackson, on June 2.

W. Larry Hailey, husband, father, grandfather, hunter, fisherman, educator, departed this life on October 17, 2013,

Frankie E. Reynolds ’61, of Baxley, GA, on October 5.

after eight years of battling multiple myeloma. He was born March 23, 1943, to C.O. and Mary Alice Sciple Hailey of Kemper County, MS, and later Noxubee County. Larry graduated from Mississippi State University with a B.S., M.S. and EdD. His teaching career included chemistry teacher and science coordinator of Humphreys County, MS, and Administrator of Mississippi Public Schools in Starkville, Union, and Greenwood. He served as Chair of Curriculum and Instruction in the Delta State University Department of Education and retired at The University of West Alabama in the Department of Education. Survivors include his wife, Lyn Brasher, children, L. Shea Hailey (Carol) of Meridian, Kathianna Garrett (Dan) of Berkley Lake, GA, Les Hailey, of Meridian, and five grandchildren, Rhet and Rylee Hailey, Joseph, Charlie, and Henry Garrett. Siblings are Vondelle Fairbanks of Oxford, Levin Hailey of

William Murray Sanford ’63, of Marietta, GA, on November 9. Jane F. Seale ’43, of Batesville, on October 10. James S. Sessums Jr. (Friend), of Natchez, on September 16.

Gholson, Levi Hailey and David Hailey both of Macon. Larry accepted Jesus as his Savior at a young age. He was ordained as deacon at First Baptist Church, Starkville, MS, and was a member of Highland Baptist Church of Meridian. He learned to love Jesus more and grew closer to Him through his battle with cancer.

Virginia B. Shannon ’35, of Pontotoc, on October 15. Ted Shepherd ’50, of Greenville, on August 16.

Belle M. Alexander ’69, of Cleveland, on April 11.

David Dodd ’60, of Lexington, on October 25.

Paul Kilcullen ’42, of Vero Beach, FL, on August 17.

Phil Sherman Jr. ’68, of Greenwood, on October 31.

Charles R. Bell ’91, of Leland, on October 22.

William Spotswood DeVault ’51, of Carthage, on September 10.

Cora E. Lamond ’48, of Williamsburg, VA, on November 25.

Margaret Shutt ’37, of Chatham, on December 3.

Ralph P. Fears ’50, of Bentonia, on November 30.

Byron W. Lehman ’68, of Spring, TX, on September 3.

Kelvin Fields ’03, of Southaven, on September 29.

Sharee Levington ’73, of Jackson, on July 22.

Dr. Winston Grant Gray, ’51, of New Orleans, LA, on September 9.

Jerry J. Lubiani, of Memphis, TN, on September 7.

Sheppard W. Haaga ’75, of Cleveland, on April 10.

Linda Martin ’72, of New Albany, on October 20.

Dr. Larry Hailey, of Meridian, on October 17.

June V. McDaniel ’60, of Boyle, on September 6.

Jewel Henderson ’65, of Sheffield, AL, on May 12.

Phyllis A. Mosby, of Rolling Fork, on August 31.

Linda S. Holstun, of Cedar Falls, IA, on August 19.

Baxter E. Nichols ’55, of Winona, on November 30.

Bonnie J. Horton ’02, of Belzoni, on July 23.

Betty Pryor Orsi ’51, of Greenville, on November 8.

Benjamin P. Howse ’05, of Greenville, on September 10.

John Edward Peacock (Attended), of Cleveland, on December 4.

Don Biedenharn (Attended), of Vicksburg, on November 16. William Ross Bradley Sr., of Clarksdale, on October 2. Athalie Buckley ’63, of Cleveland, on November 28. Christopher Butler Jr. ’72, of Sugar Grove, IL, on October 26. Roy C. Campbell ’72, of Greenwood, on September 9. Joyce Carter ’53, of Rolling Fork, on August 9. Jane Elizabeth Brown Clement, of Cleveland, on October 5. Thomas A. Coghlan ’68, of Nashville, TN, on November 25. Josephine Culbertson ’48, of Portland, OR, on December 16. Roberta D. Day ’38, of Atlanta, GA, on October 23.

Jack C. Johnson Sr. ’76, of Greenville, on November 16.

Buford H. Smith ’70, of Greenwood, on September 30. George H. Smith Jr. ’74, of Greenwood, on July 12. Toy A. Tedford Jr. ’54, of Waveland, on July 29. Elsie Telfair ’37, of Chapel Hill, NC, on August 17. Kristee H. Trammell ’98, of Greenville, on August 18. Dr. Allen Towery ’60, of Moorhead, on December 2. Dan Wesson ’95, of Memphis, TN, on July 13. Linda R. Whited ’70, of Nashville, TN, on September 29. George R. Wilson, of Genesee, ID, on July 31. Herbert Wilson ’48, of Gulfport, on August 16.

*Due to space limitations, beginning with the Summer 2013 Delta State Magazine, listing priority in the “With the Classes” section of the Alumni & Foundation magazine will be given to dues-paying members of the Delta State University Alumni Association. To submit a Class Note, Baby Statesmen, Wedding Bells, In Memoriam, or Miles Away photo, send it to or DSU P.O. Box 3104, Cleveland, MS 39042. The Association relies on numerous sources for “With the Classes” information and is unable to verify all notes with individual alumni.

28 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Stand Out.

Delta State’s Career Services can help you stand out in today’s competitive job market. Contact Career Services to learn about employment opportunities, get career coaching, or to polish up your resume. Employers can research job seekers and post positions on the online job board. Whether you’re looking for a job or seeking a new employee, Career Services can help you stand out above the competition. Contact us at (662) 846-4646 Winter 2014 • Delta State Magazine • 31

MILES AWAY Where has the road taken you? Share your travels with us. Let us see where you’re reading the Delta State Alumni & Foundation magazine. E-mail your photos to


Janye Long WIlson, Instruct or of Nursing; Eden and Kaiden Wilson, Catheri ne Kirk, Delta State student Interning at Disney World and Jamye Long ’05, Associate Professo r of Management; at Disney World in Orlando , FL.

5,290 Miles Away

), ily (Whitney Messer ’08 We are the Messer Fam in ay aw miles and we are living 5,290 ny! Speichersdorf, Germa


y LaMastus Katherine Keller Batenhorst ’96, Case Amy and ’96, s astu Carr ’97, Chrissy Keller LaM Island, FL. rge Geo St. at ’97 rd dwa Woo Caraway

449 Miles Away

Reagan Smith Dilmore ’08, Jamie Wallace ’04, and Ansley Papizan ’04 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

2000 Miles Away

Jan Glenn Brown ’72, Adelaide Fletcher (Friend), John Brown ’72, Betty Aden ’72, Robert Naron (Friend), and Karen Naron ’69 in Northern California.

30 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

Jutta Ferretti ’10 and Azrie Vassel ’08, Loyal Annual Fund Donors

You’re never too old to graduate, and never too young to give. Giving to the Annual Fund is the perfect choice if you want to better Delta State as a whole and give us the choice to use your gift where it is needed most. With the flexibility to pay in one lump sum or through monthly payments, giving is now easier than ever.

To give to the Annual Fund, visit


The Greater Jackson area chapter held its annual meeting this year at the Jackson Yacht Club.

The DSU Co-Ed Cheer Alumni hosted a reunion at this year’s Pig Pickin’.

The Alumni Association inducted the Delta State Class of 1963 into the prestigious Golden Circle at this year’s Alumni Awards and Gala Dinner.

The DeSoto County Alumni Chapter awarded three scholarships to area students who began Delta State this fall.

A group of alumni gathered in Atlanta for the annual Mississippi in the Park.

Delta State alumni attended Mississippi in Central Park this summer in New York City.

The 28th annual Pig Pickin’ was held September 27 and 28 at Statesmen Park. Over 1,300 people were in attendance including over 200 prospective students who participated in DSU Day.

Ambassador Mike Retzer (second from left) pictured with Hal Burt, Don Fitzgerald, and Frank Broussard, all graduates of Delta State, who have been working at Retzer Resources for a combined 100 years.

Ronnie Mayers ’74 and Dave Heflin ’62 at the Alumni Awards and Gala Dinner. Heflin received this year’s Legacy Award for his role in establishing the Delta State Outdoor Program.

IMPORTANT DATES Kappa Alpha Order will celebrate 50 years on campus. Date, location, and times are to be determined. For more information, contact Will Bradham at

Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity with celebrate its 50th Reunion Weekend Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1, 2014. To register for events, go to zetabetapikes. Events include: informal meeting at the Pickled Okra Friday night, a 4-Man Golf Scramble Saturday at the Cleveland Country Club, and a Black Tie Dinner at the Cleveland Country Club Saturday night. For more information, contact Carl A. “Trey” Labella at (210) 422-2058.

2014 Alumni Awards

The deadline to submit nominations for the Delta State University Alumni Association Service Awards for 2014 is May 9. For more information, visit our website at Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Alumni Hall of Fame, Kent Wyatt “Young Alumnus of the Year” Award, Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award, Gladys Castle “Friend of Delta State” Award, Legacy Award, Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the Year. Submit to: DSU Alumni Association, P.O. Box 3104, Cleveland, MS 38733. For more information, contact Jeffrey Farris at (662) 846-4660.

For additional information on any of these events, contact the Alumni Association at (662) 846-4660 or

32 • Delta State Magazine • Winter 2014

2012–2013 re

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Become a Sustaining Life Member Today! By becoming a Sustaining Life Member, you are making a difference in the lives of Delta State students. This program was launched for current paid-in-full lifetime members of the Delta State University Alumni Association who are looking for ways to provide additional annual support. By donating a yearly gift of $100, you will be supporting the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Scholarship and helping a deserving student complete their education.

2013 Sustaining Life Members: Lana Aguzzi Michael Aguzzi Charles and Vicki Fioranelli Keith and Anne Fulcher Willo and Louise Goodwin, Jr. Peter and Patricia Jernberg Cooper and Marilyn Johnson William and Martha Johnson Paul and Dara Kyle Pat and Elizabeth Lewis Roane and Libbi Logan

Sustaining Life Members will be recognized for their generosity in an issue of the Delta State Magazine and listed on the Alumni Association’s website. They will also receive a Sustaining Life Member Certificate and a special edition 2014 lapel pin. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660 or email

Kelly Lyon Rex Lyon Ed and Kitty Meadows George Miller, Jr. John and Brenda Mitchell Jimmie C. Norwood Sara O. Trotter Joyce Dugan Wood

DSU Box 3104 1003 West Sunflower Road Cleveland, MS 38733 In an effort to reduce our environmental impact, only one magazine per household is mailed.

PURCHASE A DSU AFFINITY CAR TAG AND SUPPORT YOUR ALMA MATER. A portion of all proceeds directly benefits Delta State. For more information, scan the QR code, send an email to, or call (662) 846-4660.

Delta State University Alumni Magazine Winter 2014  
Delta State University Alumni Magazine Winter 2014  

Alumnus Steve Azar talks about what makes the Delta Music Institute unique.