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Tailgating Extraordinaire Alumnus Dr. Brad Vickers


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 smiles on your kids’ faces so we can see their grins at graduation. Scan the code or email us at

KEEP THE TRADITION ALIVE. The Alumni Association has 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 us at 662-846-4660.

CONTENTS 2 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ALUMNI MAGAZINE President.....................................................William N. LaForge ’72

Alumni-Foundation Staff Special Assistant to the President for Donor Relations ....................................... Keith Fulcher ’83, ’85 Interim Executive Director of University Advancement................................Patrick D. Hundley Research and Admin. Assistant .............................Lizzie Woodard Chief Development Officer.................................... Dr. Gary Bouse Research & Campaign Coordinator..........................Abbey Atwill






Chief Financial Officer............................................. Deborah Cox Accountant.............................................................. Lyle Cole ’13 Director of Annual Giving..............................Missy Pearce ’99, ’07 Director of Alumni Affairs................................ Jeffrey Farris ’04, ’05


Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs.................... Melissa S. Love ’04 Senior Secretary for the Alumni Association.... Amanda Robinson ’10

Board of Directors Delta State University Alumni Association:

Sayward Fortner ’04, President; Patrick Davis ’96, President Elect; John Fletcher ’91, Treasurer; Rob Armour ’95, Past President; Tim Harvey ’90, Foundation Board President; Hays Collins ’00, Renee Selby Deweese ’92, Brad Evans ’87, Kelly Hunter ’00, Parker Lipscomb ’04, Paul “Bubba” Mancini ’00, Davlon Miller ’08, George Miller ’00, Bradley Smith ’71, Ifeanyi Ugboaja ’00, Hank Ludwig ’00, Libbi Logan ’99, Jeff Arnold ’92, Larkin Simpson ’02, Ben Bailey ’65, Dana George ’99, Matthew Mullins ’07, Britney Earls, SAA President; Ashley Griffin, SGA President.



Board of Directors Delta State University Foundation, Inc.:

Tim Harvey ’80, President; Tom Janoush ’90, Vice President; Nan Sanders ’67, Secretary/Treasurer; Anne Wynn Weissinger ’81, Past President; Sayward Fortner, Alumni Association President; Judson Thigpen ’79, Development Chair; Jeff Tarver ’76, Finance Chair; David Abney ’76, Louis Baioni ’56, Dr. William Bell ’82, Anita Bologna, Amanda Borgognoni ’82, Jeff Ross Capwell ’60, Kay Dockery, Dr. Anna Looney Dill ’74, Hank Drake ’69, Earnest Hart ’77, Peter Jernberg ’65, Ed Kossman III; Draughon McPherson, Ned Mitchell ’62, Billy Nowell ’72, Carol Puckett, Randy Randall, Homer Sledge III, Greggory Tharp, Margaret Walker ’67, Jimmy Wilson ’68, Dr. Bennie Wright ’74, Bill Crump ’76, Cheryl Comans ’09, Miller Arant ’03.




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: or Phone: (662) 846-4660


Note: In an effort to reduce our environmental impact, only one magazine per household is mailed.

Special Thanks to our Delta State National Alumni Association Corporate Sponsors




New (Indoor) Outdoor Lab The Legacy of Dave Heflin Continues

Alumni Spotlight: Brad Vickers Southern Tradition Tailgating


ON THE COVER: Entrepreneur and Delta State Alum Dr. Brad Vickers is shown with his custom Tailgate Combat Vehicle. Cover photo by Abe Draper Photography Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 1

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Greetings Delta State Alumni and Friends! The first half of 2017 has brought a lot of successes, as well as some challenges and changes to our campus. Goals, strategies, and plans of action that support the university’s 10 Visioning Principles formulated last year (go to and click on “Visioning Principles”) have been developed across campus. Many are in the area of student success and academic excellence — our first visioning principle. Among those plans are early efforts to establish a Center for Teaching and Learning, and new and creative professional development programs for our faculty. We completed the first cohort of faculty participation in “Effective Teaching Practices,” sponsored by the American Council of University Educators, and the response by our professors and instructors was very positive. Good teaching leads to good classroom instruction, and that benefits our students. New efforts to boost student recruitment and retention are also underway. More freshmen qualified for, and have been offered, academic scholarships than in the previous four years. We are recruiting a more qualified applicant pool, while still being accessible and affordable for students who are first generation college-goers or otherwise challenged by college-level work. First-time freshmen and transfer retention rates increased by 8.3% and 12.1% respectively over the last two years. We assisted 367 students with our new S.O.S. Early Alert program that helps keep students focused on their coursework. And, our Student Success Center received a $1.1 million grant to establish a Student-Athlete Support Services Program. One new program that was implemented by all academic departments this past spring is a capstone experience for every academic program. I am very pleased that Delta State can now claim this distinguishing factor that will help place an academic exclamation point behind the majors and degrees of our graduates. Essentially, every student must now have a capstone program (such as a thesis, presentation, performance, research project, etc.) in their major to promote reflection and synthesis of the key concepts of their area of concentration. Our faculty have also increased or enhanced discipline-specific writing requirements in a wide array of courses, resulting in another method of ensuring quality graduates and meaningful academic programs that prepare our graduates for their careers. In collegiate athletics, our swim/dive program sent 25 student-athletes to the National Championships, and Delta State baseball won its seventh Gulf South Conference championship (regular season and tournament) en route to a trip to the NCAA D-II College World Series. We continue to be very proud of our 400 accomplished student-athletes across our 13 different sports. The biggest challenge facing the university is a significant reduction in state funding. On the heels of six mid-year budget cuts beginning in early 2016, the eight state-supported universities were handed another 5% budget cut going into the 2018 fiscal year that commenced July 1. For Delta State, the cuts total $2.2 million. Our first priority was to protect our employees and programs. No layoffs or program eliminations were implemented. We raised tuition by seven percent, closed the golf course as well as our operations at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, and took a number of other steps to create savings and offsets, including a four-day work week and the closure of several buildings on campus over the summer. Unfortunately, this difficult budget situation means that for the first time in Delta State’s history, the university’s revenue from the state is less than that from student tuition. When you come to campus this fall, you will see a number of renovation and construction projects underway — Zeigel Hall, Young-Mauldin Dining Hall, and Statesmen Boulevard. I hope that you will plan to join us for Pig Pickin’ on October 7 and Homecoming on November 11. Please continue to support Delta State with your student recommendations, financial support, and involvement in our alumni chapters. Read on to see many exciting stories about campus, alumni, and student activities. Very best regards,

William N. LaForge ’72 President

Follow President LaForge on social media, including his Fireside Chat! Visit for more info. 2 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

ALUMNI MESSAGES Dear Alumni and Friends, It is a great time to be a Statesman! It has been a privilege to serve our University and fellow alumni as President of the Delta State University National Alumni Association. This past year I have met and served with some amazing alumni on our National Board as well as officers of our local chapters. I am especially encouraged by the pride you all take in your alma mater. I want to thank Alumni Association staff for working tirelessly to host meetings and events throughout the region and country in order to promote Delta State. I also want to take this opportunity to thank our corporate sponsors: Bolivar Medical Center, Polk’s Meat Products, Air Evac Lifeteam, Renasant Bank, and State Farm/Patrick B. Davis, Agent; you are instrumental in making our numerous Alumni Events successful. If you have a business that would be interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, we would love to tell you about the benefits of that relationship. Since our last publication, we officially launched the Alumni App! This is a great way to keep in touch with the Alumni Association, from paying dues to knowing when we will be in your area, and it will be a central tool for us to connect with you in the future. In addition to the Alumni App you can keep in touch via many social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter. We have also begun the process of updating the official Alumni Directory, which is set for publication in July of 2018. Please make sure we have your most updated information

prior to publication. We also partnered with career services to host the inaugural Passport to Success, a signature event that allowed us to connect with our newest Alumni. There are so many great ways for you to support your Alma Mater, including volunteering in a local chapter, participating in student referrals, hiring Delta State graduates, and purchasing a DSU car tag. I continue to encourage all of you to seek out ways to get involved and serve our University; you will get so much out of what you contribute. I hope to see you at a local chapter meeting or on campus for one of our signature events such as Pig Pickin’, Homecoming, the International Conference on the Blues or the Distinguished Speaker Series. Go Statesmen!

Sayward Fortner ’04 National Alumni Association President

Dear Alumni and Friends, Enjoy this issue of your Delta State Alumni and Foundation magazine. The Office of Alumni Relations is the primary communications link between the University and our alumni. It is our goal to encourage and foster lifelong alumni participation, involvement, and commitment. We work towards strengthening the bond between the University and our alumni; to create programs which match the interests and needs of our alumni; to maintain and build upon the positive relationships we have with our more seasoned alumni; to increase the participation, involvement, and communication with our younger alumni; and develop partnerships that enhance the life of the University. We encourage all alumni to participate in and support the programs, services, and numerous campus activities and events. Please stay connected through involvement and participation in the Delta State University National Alumni Association. We also encourage each alumnus and friend of the University to be ambassadors for Delta State by assisting with the recruitment of students and by supporting programs via your time, talent, and finances. We encourage you to visit campus soon with your families and former classmates. Take advantage of the booming community of Cleveland! Visit our world class museums, dine in our restaurants, shop our historic downtown, stay in our hotels and breathe the Delta State air. The Office of Alumni Relations staff is honored to serve our alumni and friends of Delta State. We love getting to know you, and hearing about your success stories. Go Statesmen! #FEARTHEOKRA

Jeffrey Farris ’04 Director of Alumni Affairs

Melissa Love ’04 Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs

Amanda Robinson ’10 Senior Secretary for Alumni Affairs Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 3


International Business Symposium Delta State students get inspiration from top business leaders


elta State University’s College of Business held the 12th annual International Business Symposium this past March. It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn from, and interact with, top business leaders. The theme for this year’s symposium was business innovation, focusing on how businesses must remain innovative in both macro and micro aspects. The symposium is sponsored each year by David and Sherry Abney, Mississippi Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta. Abney, a 1976 graduate of DSU, began his career as a part-time United Parcel Service (UPS) package loader while in college. He now serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. Abney is the eleventh CEO in the 110-year-history of UPS. “Sherry and I wanted to do something meaningful for the Delta. By bringing global leaders onto campus and sharing their experiences with students, I believe we’ll be able to expand Delta State students’ horizons in how they see and prepare for their futures,” said Abney. 4 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017


Along with Abney, the symposium featured four distinguished speakers, all Delta State graduates:

Laird Hamberlin ’87 Hamberlin returned to the symposium to share his expertise. He received his bachelor’s in business administration from Delta State before going on to become the Vice President of Sales and Commercial for Terminix (a division of ServiceMaster). Prior to being an equity investor of ServiceMaster and taking the company public in June 2014, he worked for various conglomerates including UTC Climate, Controls and Security, where he served as President of the Access Controls Division.

Teresa Hubbard ’89 Hubbard is president and CEO of CITE ARMORED, a company which provides every level of service for the armored vehicle industry, including manufacturing, refurbishing, repair, and part replacement. She is well-versed in business operations, staff supervision, sales, and marketing and financial analysis and management. Hubbard received her bachelor degrees in accounting and CIS from Delta State. Hubbard was also recently selected by Mississippi Business Journal as one of the 50 Leading Businesswomen for 2017.

Photos by Rory Doyle

Rodney Scaife ’91 Scaife serves as Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer for CPA Global-North America, the world’s leading intellectual property (IP) management and IP technology firm company. He previously held international positions as Head of HR Operations for PANDORA Americas, with oversight for the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Scaife studied business administration at Delta State before completing his executive education studies at Cornell University’s Center for Advance Human Resources Studies.

Josh West ’05 West serves as CEO and Co-founder of Blue Delta, a bespoke denim manufacturing company. Blue Delta jeans are made in the U.S.A. with globally sourced premium raw materials. The company sells jeans in over 44 U.S. cities and abroad with accounts in Toronto and London. West is a 2005 graduate of Delta State, where he served as student body president.

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 5

CAMPUS Left to right: Dr. Christopher Jurgenson; President William N. LaForge; Betty Sullivan Johnson; Brenda Outlaw; Dr. Joe Bentley; Dr. Charles McAdams, Provost; and Dr. Dave Breaux, Dean of the College Arts and Sciences.

JURGENSON NAMED RECIPIENT OF SULLIVAN-OUTLAW PROFESSORSHIP In February of this year, Dr. Christopher Jurgenson of the Department of Chemistry and Physics was named the first recipient of the Sullivan-Outlaw Professorship in Biochemistry. Dr. Jurgenson has been with Delta State for four years as an assistant professor of biochemistry. This professorship honors the legacy of two men: Dr. Barry Sullivan, a local physician and Delta State supporter, and the late Dr. Henry E. Outlaw, the long-time chair of the Department of Physical Sciences. At the event, Dr. Steven G. Clark, a local physician and friend of both Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Outlaw, talked about their friendship and of his time spent working with Dr. Sullivan at Cleveland Medical Clinic. Dr. Richard Myers, retired dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke about his many years spent working in the Department of Physical Sciences with Dr. Outlaw. Afterwards, President William N. LaForge introduced Chris Jurgenson and named him the Sullivan-Outlaw Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. Dr. Jurgenson outlined how the Sullivan-Outlaw endowed professorship will allow for improvements in teaching biochemistry, student research and travel to conferences. The event was hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Physics and its chair, Dr. Joe Bentley. A native of New Albany, the late Dr. Barry Sullivan came to Cleveland after completing his medical education in 1983 and joined a private practice specializing in internal medicine. Sullivan’s life was unexpectedly cut short by a swimming accident in 2000. After four decades of service to the University, Dr. Henry Outlaw (’61) retired from Delta State in 2002, where he was chair of the Department of Physical Science (now the Department of Chemistry and Physics) and professor of chemistry. After his retirement, Outlaw continued working at the DSU Foundation Office helping to raise money for the ‘Excellence in Science’ Endowment Fund. He passed away in 2015.

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The development of the Sullivan-Outlaw Professorship was initiated by a challenge gift of $50,000 from Dr. Ken Harden (’70), who is a retired professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “The goal of the Professorship is to assure that the vision for basic research and medicine that Barry and Henry provided to students at Delta State remains in place,” said Harden. Mr. I. Dean Spradling (’53) made a six-figure gift to support the establishment of the professorship, one of many areas in the sciences that he supported. This led to the endowment of the professorship. Spradling is also credited with the idea of establishing the $2 million ‘Excellence in Science’ Endowment Fund. Jurgenson joined Delta State University in August 2013, and he teaches courses in biochemistry and chemical biology. He received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Indiana University, and a master’s degree in physical chemistry from Seton Hall University. He was formerly at Merck Pharmaceutical and has a Ph.D. from Cornell University. Prior to joining Delta State he was a post-doctoral fellow for five years in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department at Yale University. Jurgenson is married to Genevieve and has five children. He lives in Cleveland. “We are delighted to have [Jurgenson] as a member of the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. He has developed new courses in biochemistry which considerably strengthen our premedical science program, along with his research efforts. He is a strong addition to the department,” said Dr. Joe Bentley. To make a gift to the Sullivan-Outlaw Professorship, please contact Gary Bouse at (662) 846-4709 or development@


Delta State University hosted its fourth annual Winning the Race conference on March 28-29. This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” was presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and focused on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta. The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Deltaarea communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking, and reduced racial tensions. In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference included Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs. Next year’s conference will be on March 26-27, 2018. For more information visit

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 7


Photos by Rory Doyle


THE LAB “You haven’t been in here before?” Todd Davis, program director for outdoor education at Delta State, asks. I regrettably admit that this is my first time inside the new outdoor recreation lab at Delta State. It’s about 3:00 in the afternoon. Most students are out of class. While the lab is open, we are the only two people, save the few students passing by that poke their heads around the corner as they head to their afternoon workout in the fitness center down the hall. Dozens of photos line the walls—all from DSU outdoor recreation trips over the past eight years. On the right is a towering rock climbing wall. I have the immediate temptation to grab ahold and start climbing, but something in the corner of the room catches my eye. In the center of the room sits a long wooden table where students gather for class. Mounted on the wall to the left of the table is a map of Mississippi and surrounding states. “These are all the areas we will go, can go, or have gone in our immediate area,”

8 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Davis says. “The pushpins represent what you can do.” The orange pushpin represents mountain biking, blue is canoeing and kayaking, green is hiking, the purple is rock climbing, and the yellow pins represent camping and activities that can be done in a day trip—all within a fivehour radius of Cleveland, Mississippi. “We are opening a digital website, and on the website there will be this map,” Davis explains. “If you click on the button on where you want to go, it will come up with what it is, what you can do there, how far it is from Cleveland, and what road you can take. It will be a digital sort of reference board for our students.” Of course, prepping is a major component of an outdoor recreation trip, and thanks to the lab, Delta State students no longer struggle for space to prep before trips and store equipment. In fact, the need for storage was a primary factor in advocating for the lab. “In 2010, two years after I was here, we started getting a lot of gear,” Davis says. “We used the old pool as a space. When the old pool closed, we couldn’t put things out there because there was no HVAC, so we moved things. Prepping was really awkward because we didn’t have a space, so we utilized the fitness center. We utilized classroom 130 and had to move desks out of the way. We utilized the outdoor space sometimes if it was nice weather, but it was never consistent.” Davis found his diamond in the rough in the form of an old abandoned gym locker. No one had been using it for years, so Davis asked the Dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, Dr. Leslie Griffin, if part of the funds from the Dave Heflin Professorship could be devoted to developing the space into a lab, which she approved. The renovation process began in 2014 and took about two years to complete. During the renovation process, they removed the showers and restrooms and transformed the space into a fully functional recreation lab complete with washing machines, kitchen space, rock climbing wall, guidebooks, maps, and storage space for equipment and camping gear. The lab also doubles as a smart classroom with a ceilingmounted projector and space for students to display ongoing research. HEFLIN & THE PROFESSORSHIP The lab is named for Dave Heflin, an assistant professor emeritus of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Delta State, and the founder of the Outback and Kayak Club. On Feb. 11, 2017, the space was officially dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. As I continue to look around the room, it’s hard to imagine this all began on a canoe trip at the Buffalo River. About 40 years ago, a few Delta State faculty members decided to go on a canoeing trip there. Dave Heflin began taking students on trips in the early 1970s and dedicated his career at Delta State to furthering outdoor recreation and education. Originally a speech professor, Heflin began teaching outdoor recreation program courses in 1976. Still, the outdoor recreation program wasn’t an actual degree program. It was a student club, known as the Outback and Kayak Club, which Heflin served as the leader. For years he took students, faculty and alumni on

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 9

his legendary trips. It wasn’t until he retired that the outdoor recreation program came into being at Delta State. When Heflin retired, his family approached the Delta State Alumni Foundation about the possibility of establishing a professorship that would ensure students can continue to have opportunities for recreation and outdoor experiences. The intent of the professorship was to ensure there would be someone at Delta State to organize outdoor recreation courses such as rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, and kayaking. Todd Davis has fulfilled that role for the past nine years. WHAT’S NEXT Through the professorship, Davis has kept Heflin’s legacy alive, and the outdoor recreation program continues to grow. While the lab was the second phase of the professorship, the third phase is getting a new van to make traveling to different locations easier. “The van will provide us stable transportation to go to new places and other conferences and workshops without having to compete with so many organizations and departments for vans,” Davis said. It’s called, “keeping the program moving forward,” and there are various gift levels people can donate. If they choose to make a donation to the van, their name will be featured on the back of the van. Those wishing to donate to the van or the outdoor recreation program can make gift levels at five different levels—Argonaut, Risk-Taker, Speculator, Adventurer, Explorer and Navigator—with the Argonaut level being the highest level to donate.

For more information on how to donate to the outdoor recreation program and Dave Heflin Professorship, contact the Delta State Alumni Association at or 662-846-4704. The Dave Heflin Outdoor Education Recreation Laboratory is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-4 p.m., and Thursdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Zeigel Hall & Young-Mauldin Cafeteria to be Renovated Known to many as the ‘flying saucer’ on campus, the historically-protected Young-Mauldin Cafeteria is a distinct landmark on campus. According to Jeff Barkman, director of Facilities Management at Delta State, the $9.2 million in renovations will include an updated dining space, theater, snack bar, and private dining room. The remodeling will also feature a new state-of-the-art kitchen. The new temporary dining location will be the State Room in the H.L. Nowell Student Union. A temporary kitchen has also been constructed across the hall. Also receiving a renovation is Zeigel Hall. Named for the first academic dean, William H. Zeigel Music Center (Zeigel Hall) has housed the music program on campus until recently. Some music classes have been held in Bailey Hall prior to renovations, and temporarily the entire department will occupy space there, along with the social work program. Both of these renovation projects are made possible by Bond money.

Zeigel Hall (under construction)

Young-Mauldin Cafeteria

Statesmen Boulevard Project Underway A project almost 10 years in the making officially got underway on Wednesday, July 19, as Delta State University broke ground on Statesman Boulevard. Officials from the City of Cleveland, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Malouf Construction, and Delta State kicked off the project with a special ceremony in what will be the median of the new roadway. “We are excited to finally have this project on the books and officially under construction,” DSU Director of Athletics Ronnie Mayers said. “I want to thank our city leadership, Senator Thad Cochran, and President William N. LaForge for their work and dedication to seeing this project through.” The Statesmen Boulevard project will create a new and improved gameday traffic entrance for the university’s athletic facilities north of Highway 8 and west of the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Funding for this project was made possible in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Additionally, there will be a 20 percent local match from Delta State and the City of Cleveland. Construction will also include improvement of streets around and in front of the football stadium, new sidewalks and street lighting installation, and the construction of new storm drainage piping and fencing. Senator Thad Cochran played a major role in securing federal funding for the project. MDOT pitched the Statesmen Boulevard project as a safety issue. By re-routing gameday traffic, students and fans walking and driving to the athletic venues will no longer have to maneuver in high volume traffic between parked cars alongside residences. The project should be completed in the spring of 2018. rendering of future Blvd.

Future Location of

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 11 Delta State University

Statesmen Park Boulevard DRP-8022000(002) LPA-105541-811000 Bolivar County, MS

emember Cleveland as a sleepy little Mississippi town? Think again. In the past few years, it’s become a hot spot for arts and culture—an incubator for some of the South’s most heralded young bands, the home of a James Beard Award-nominated chef, and the center of a budding visual arts scene. Nevertheless, it retains that welcoming, small-town charm. Meet the Delta State graduates who have helped set Cleveland on its rise. by Boyce Upholt

Photo by RJ Fitzpatrick

ALUMNA @ WORK KELLI CARR (2003) Tourism Director, Cleveland Chamber of Commerce

Kelli Carr knew Cleveland as a child: her parents, Lauree Gist Davis and Dale Davis, graduated from DSU in 1981. Her father, a baseball player, brought the family back for reunions every year. Kelli never imagined living here herself, but now she couldn’t see herself being anywhere else.

What is your role in Cleveland? KC: I’m the Director of Tourism at the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. I’m always trying to improve the visitor experience here. Every day it changes, really – it can mean updating the website calendar, or taking a travel writer on tour. Or it can mean trying to get some kind of eco-tourism business started, because we’ve seen a big demand for that. What has kept you in Cleveland? KC: I have seen Cleveland change so much. It used to be dead after five o’clock downtown, and now there are so many restaurants: Hey Joe’s, Backdraft, fro-yo at Delta Dairy. I really love the transition to more of a local, farm-to-table dining scene, too. It really used to be a “fried, fried, and fried” kind of town. Now there’s the Farmer’s Market, and there’s Cole Ellis, the chef and owner of the Delta Meat Market, who was nominated for a James Beard Award this year. You can do reformer pilates. You can do hot yoga. There’s something for everyone -- something different every night of the week. And it’s not just the young people: you’ve got places like the coffee shop and restaurant, Mississippi

Grounds, where you can see people from 8 years old to 80, or older. Whether you want to go to an art opening or a lecture, or a comedy show, or a poetry reading -- all the things a big city offers are here, but I can do them 50 feet from my own office. That’s really kind of amazing. I love it. When you talk to people, how do you sell them on Cleveland? KC: Cleveland doesn’t take itself too seriously. We’re a town with a sense of humor — you’ve got Keep Cleveland Boring. [See story next page.] We’ve got sculptures all over. There’s a quirkiness. People find the unexpected here. They think they know what the Delta is like, and they come here and they are completely blown away. It’s an easy sell once they’re here. What do you see for the future of Cleveland? KC: I really see us becoming a mini Austin, Texas — you know, one of these great places that fosters creativity and music and all that comes with that. That might be a homemade baking company at the Farmer’s Market.

When you get creative people in the same area pitching ideas, things just happen. Cleveland is becoming not just a destination but a place people want to stay. Just because there’s a college in your town doesn’t mean you have to leave when you graduate. It should be the opposite, and now it is. What’s new on the horizon for Cleveland? KC: There are so many good things happening all the time. The big news now is that we are getting two new boutique properties in town, both with great amenities, restaurants and event spaces. We’ve been lacking in the unique lodging category for a while, so this is super exciting. It’s just a great feeling to know that investors see the potential in Cleveland that many of us here do. It will help with not only the visitor experience, but allow students to have more job availability in town.

KEEP CLEVELAND BORING NEXT PAGE Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 13

ALUMNI WITH A PLAN JUSTIN HUERTA (’06) & WILLIAM “WEEJY” ROGERS (ATTENDED) A few years after he graduated from Delta State, Justin Huerta was picking up trash at a carwash his father owned. “Someone threw more trash right in front me,” he says. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life—but he knew it wasn’t this. The next day, he wrote up the business plan that became Hey Joe’s, the beer-and-burgers bar that is the center of a bustling local creative scene.

Huerta, along with his head chef William “Weejy” Rogers, played in bands while at Delta State, which introduced the friends to how much potential there is in a small college town. Now, along with a cohort of other creators, they run an ironically named nonprofit: Keep Cleveland Boring. It’s never been boring, they say.

What was Cleveland like when you guys were in school? JUSTIN: I always thought it was pretty cool. I knew a lot of people who played music, made art—and people who supported that. It was a utopia. We made our own fun. WEEJY: There was a great group of folks from Delta State who went out and supported local music. JUSTIN: I wish all those people would come back to start businesses now. Could you imagine? Well, how do you imagine Cleveland in the future? WEEJY: I really think the sky’s the limit. We just need everyone to jump on that ship. As individuals, we all have the ability to change this small town, but there are shoes that still need to be filled—even if that means just showing up, supporting the events taking place in town. JUSTIN: It’s already ready for creative people to set up shop—calling all entrepreneurs, musicians, chefs, artists. You may not become a millionaire, but you’ll have room to be creative.

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Photo by RJ Fitzpatrick

What role does Keep Cleveland Boring play in that process? JUSTIN: We’re trying to bring an edge to town. To start new traditions. WEEJY: We try to highlight the great things going on in town: the food, the music, the art. We feel like the stuff that already made Cleveland and the Delta unique can steer the ship forever. We help by giving pre-existing talent a platform from which they can be seen or heard or tasted. So there are various food festivals, music festivals, and beer festivals throughout the year. What does that look like on the ground? JUSTIN: We didn’t invent the wheel. We’re doing the same thing happening in bigger cities, but scaled for Cleveland. WEEJY: A Keep Cleveland Boring event is basically Chicago’s Lollapalooza but condensed. Picture people all over town, moving from venue to venue.

a food festival, Cleveland Bites. And Restaurant Week. And more we’d like to do—stay tuned. So has Cleveland changed? WEEJY: I think people are also finding that it’s okay to think a little outside of the box and create their own entertainment. So there’s more food to eat, more places to explore. JUSTIN: I don’t think it’s changed much. We grew up, some people moved off and some people stayed. I’m proud to see my age group building things, starting businesses. We meet a lot of likeminded artists and musicians who tell us how much they love Cleveland. That’s a good thing to hear—that your town has a lot going on. People say they wish they had what we have.


JUSTIN: We have two music festivals. We launched the first, Otherfest, twelve years ago. There’s a beer festival, Pour Mississippi. There’s


Lil’ Oyster Shuck Party: Fresh oysters on the half-shell, served up with live music every Friday. Restaurant Week: Special menu items in participating restaurants all week long.


DSU Athletics: During the spring semester, check out athletic events for the 2017-2018 season, such as soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, and more!

Delta State Event

Keep Cleveland Boring Event

Drinko de Mayo Pub Crawl: Pinatas and live music through the heart of downtown. DSU Graduation: Delta State sends the next generation of leaders onto their next destinations. Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute Pour Mississippi Music & Beer Festival: Craft beers from Mississippi and beyond.


Winning the Race: A groundbreaking race relations conference.

Youth Sports Camps: Delta State University Athletics programs host a myriad of summer camps for all age groups and ability levels.

International Business Symposium: Top business leaders visit campus to speak at Delta State and lead discussion forums, inspiring students and sharing tips from the external companies and industries.

Kid's College: Kid’s College is a series of Fun and Unique Enrichment courses for children that have completed Grades K5—6. This one week educational program is taught by DSU Faculty or qualified and experienced instructors.

Spring Broke Festival: A hometown festival for students sticking around for spring break.




Mural, Mural on the Wall: Members of DSU’s art department help decorate downtown. Go Green Weekend: Celebrate the spring season with live entertainment, tailgating, a jambalaya cook-off, athletic games, activities for the family and more! Anotherfest: KCB’s springtime music festival, held in various downtown venues. Bolivar County Crawfish Boil


Okra Camp for kids: We keep kids moving! Experience activities such as archery, lacrosse, kayaking, and many more! sign up your kids for Delta Down & Dirty

Back to School: Volunteer to help out the newbies on campus during registration! It’s a fun way to get involved, even if you’re not a student.

Mississippin’ Saturdays: Live music paired with local brews at Hey Joe’s. Pig Pickin: One of the most popular events on campus. Each year, hundreds of alumni and friends flood back to campus to tailgate, enjoy the live entertainment, watch a little football, and most importantly, sample some of the finest BBQ ever served.



Statesmen Football: Come cheer on the Statesmen during the fall semester and enjoy as the sights and sounds of Cleveland on a game weekend. Experience the Levee!


International Conference on the Blues: Three days of intense academic and scholarly activity and music. Academic presentations, Blues performances, a “Blues in the Round” jam session, and excursions to local historical attractions add appeal for all audiences. Otherfest: KCB’s flagship festival, featuring 20+ bands on 2 stages, now in its twelfth year.

experience OTHERFEST

watch spring DSU athletics

DSU Basketball: November - February, watch the Men's and Women's teams take on opponents from around the Southeast. BPAC Events: Catch a show, such as the world-renowned dancers of Rhythmic Circus and their swingin’ seven-piece band! Homecoming: Football, a parade, special reunions, tailgating, and so much more!


Caroling Pub Crawl: Singing your favorite Christmas carols at your favorite bars.

at Pig Pickin’: compete in the cornhole tourney


Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 15

YEAR-ROUND DELTA STATE HAPPENINGS Delta State athletics Bologna Performing Arts Center events & shows The Nan Sanders Sculpture Garden Wiley Planetarium shows Continuing Education programs The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building

MORE to see and do IN CLEVELAND Dockery Farms Blues Trail Markers Local flavors & world-renouned culinary experiences Boutique shopping downtown Friday night music at Delta Meat Market Happy Hour Wednesdays: Trivia Night at Hey Joe’s Mardi Gras Parade Octoberfest Cleveland Bites: a restaurant food tasting event Farmers Market Christmas Parade Crosstie Arts Festival Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum BBQ Thursdays at MS Grounds Art in the Alley Grammy® Museum Mississippi McCarty’s Pottery (in Merigold) Food Trucks Studio 230 Fireman’s Park

16 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017





At Delta State University, being a college student is a hands-on experience: flying commercial planes and drones, creating art, operating world-class recording studios, learning to save lives, and more. Delta State consistently ranks among the best in the nation for affordability, and there are no out-of-state tuition fees. Come find your place in the #DSUFamily.


Winter/Spring 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 13



Making a Memory and a Difference

Carla D. Evans Memorial Scholarships

Sharon G. McGregor, a 1974 DSU graduate, continues to pass along the memory of her daughter through Delta State’s scholarship program. Carla D. Evans attended Delta State as a pre-pharmacy student before transferring to The University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy. Carla was working as a pharmacist at the Cherokee Nation’s Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, at the time of her death in 2012. After the sudden passing of her daughter, Sharon found solace in the hopes of carrying on her daughter’s legacy while making an impact in the lives of students with similar career paths as Carla. Sharon then established the Carla D. Evans Memorial Scholarships at Delta State University. “I do hope more people will fund scholarships in memory of loved ones. Helping young people achieve their goals is the perfect way to remember those who have passed away,” said McGregor, Carla’s mother. “I chose to offer it to students interested in becoming pharmacists, since that was Carla’s chosen field and she loved it. Since I am a graduate of DSU and Carla attended, I wanted DSU students to be recipients.” Two scholarships are awarded annually in the amount of $3,000 per student. They are awarded to a current pre-pharmacy student in the latter stage of the pre-pharmacy program who has demonstrated high academic achievement and has demonstrated a strong interest in attending pharmacy school. A native of Greenville, Mississippi, Sharon now resides in Powder Springs, Georgia. 18 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Scholarships Memorialize Loved Ones & Help Students in Need


Maude Elizabeth Mullen Pittman Endowed Scholarship Fund

Cleveland native Dr. Fred Pittman searched for a way to honor the life and memory of his mother, Maude Elizabeth Mullen Pittman. Because she was an alumna of Delta State, he decided that paying it forward in the form of scholarships would make an impact­— both in memory of his mother and in the lives of deserving students. In January 2015, Dr. Pittman and his wife, Joan, established the Maude Elizabeth Mullen Pittman Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of his mother. While at Delta State, his mother studied art. It is possible for the endowment to provide a full scholarship to a qualified student. Students considered for the scholarship must meet certain criteria. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are majoring in a degree field within the Department of Languages & Literature or the Department of Art are candidates. Dr. Pittman grew up in Cleveland and attended Hill Demonstration School, which formerly resided on the Delta State campus. He began his college career at Delta State and then transferred to Yale University where he earned his undergraduate degree. He continued his education and later earned a Ph.D. and an MD. Dr. Fred and Joan Pittman reside in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.




aving a will or living trust allows you to protect the people you love most even after you’re gone. What you may not realize is that these documents also offer an opportunity to continue your support of Delta State University students and programs into the future.

HOW DO I MAKE MY GIFT? The process of making a provision in your will or trust for the DSU Foundation is easy. Simply take the sample wording in the box at right to your estate planning attorney when you create your will or trust. If you already have a will or trust, just ask your attorney to draft a codicil or an amendment to the existing document.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? • You can leave assets without worrying about whether you will need them to live on because you won’t actually be giving them away until after your lifetime. • There are a number of ways to make your gift: you can give a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events, or a percentage of your estate. • Your estate is entitled to an unlimited estate tax charitable deduction for gifts to Delta State University.

WHAT IF I ALREADY MADE THIS TYPE OF GIFT? Let us know! That way we can ensure that your gift will be used exactly as you intend. Plus, it would be our honor to thank and recognize you for your gift. We will of course respect any wishes regarding anonymity.

Even a gift of 5–10% of your estate can make a big difference.

HOW TO INCLUDE DSU IN YOUR WILL OR LIVING TRUST If you would like to support Delta State students and programs after your lifetime, ask your estate planning attorney to add this suggested wording to your will or living trust: I hereby give, devise and bequeath to the Delta State University Foundation, a nonprofit corporation with principal offices in Cleveland, Mississippi, percent (%) of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate for the unrestricted benefit of Delta State University. Additional bequest language can be found at plannedgiving. Contact us at (662) 846-4709 to learn more about supporting Delta State University through your will or trust. Winter/Spring 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 15


Dr. Brad Vickers (‘98), CEO of Southern Tradition Tailgating

20 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Photo by Abe Draper Photography

WORK + PLAY with Alumnus Dr. Brad Vickers: founder, owner & CEO of Southern Tradition Tailgating


By Ashley Locke

uring football season, rivalries are all part of the fun. There is, however, one tradition that brings everybody together: tailgating. Delta State Alumnus Brad Vickers (‘98) is one of the many football fans for whom tailgating is a fundamental part of the game day experience. “The build up in excitement as people come on to campus to cheer for their favorite team is unbeatable,” said Vickers. Vickers fell in love with the experience after his first tailgate in 1994, his sophomore year. “Jeff Horn was a Pike with me at Delta State, and he got us tickets to the UGA at Ole Miss game. We had a blast in the Grove and the Circle, but that’s when tailgating consisted of just a tent, a few tables, and chairs,” Vickers said. After completing his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Delta State, he attended the University of Georgia to pursue his doctorate. “My time in Athens fully immersed me into the UGA culture and further strengthened my love of sport, mainly football and tailgating,” he said.

Vickers, a professor at MSU, spends many a fall Saturday tailgating, and that is exactly what he was doing when inspiration struck. “I went to a game, and I was looking all over the Junction to find a TV so I could watch UGA play South Carolina,” said Vickers. “I just started thinking there must be a better way to tailgate.” Enter Southern Tradition Tailgating, a convenient twist on a classic event. “I decided to purchase everything I would need for a top of the line tailgating experience and turn it into a tailgating company,” Vickers said. Vickers offers tailgating packages that include everything from chairs and tablecloths to TVs and music. The setup and take down is taken care of, giving football fans more time to get to the fun stuff— enjoying the game day. It’s not just the amenities that attract customers to Southern Tradition Tailgating, it’s also the customer service. “We try to develop a personal relationship with all our customers,” Vickers said. “It’s more than a customer base, it’s closer to

WHAT IS SOUTHERN TRADITION TAILGATING, IN A NUTSHELL? An all-inclusive “turn-key” tailgating service. Their vision is to offer luxury tailgating at an affordable price, for fans of all kinds. They can provide a setup for a tailgate that is as simple or elaborate as you can dream!

Winter/Spring Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 21 19


family. My wife and I went to Nashville and wound up seeing a couple of our tailgaters. We ended up hanging out with them for several hours that night. It’s little things like that that you start to appreciate when you own a small business.” Though his company has been growing each year, it was not always smooth sailing. Southern Tradition Tailgating’s first year was a rough one. “Our first season in 2009 was full of rainy weather. I think we only had two games that season where it didn’t storm,” said Vickers. In fact, at Mississippi State’s first SEC game during the 2009 season, a thunderstorm destroyed almost 70 percent of his equipment. “We were a brand new company, a new concept in tailgating, and a thunderstorm about wiped us out,” Vickers said. The thunderstorm was not enough to stop him, though, and today Southern Tradition Tailgating serves football fans from Atlanta, Georgia, to Austin, Texas. Vickers runs his business while maintaining his job as a professor at Mississippi State. Working two full time jobs

22 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

requires a lot of hard work, the value of which he learned during his time at Delta State. Vickers, a swimmer, grew up going to swim meets in Cleveland. He caught swim coach Ronnie Mayers’ eye, and Mayers began recruiting him. “As Ronnie was recruiting me, my mom was the one that really talked me into going to DSU. It was the best decision she ever helped me make,” he said. “It was during my college years that I truly learned that hard work pays off,” Vickers said, and he has the awards to prove it. “I ended up being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and named All-American for the Statesmen.” Vickers’ time in a fraternity also left an impression on him. “During Pike initiation, I learned to never give up and the true meaning of integrity: doing what’s right because it’s right, regardless of who’s watching,” he said. Delta State was not just hard work and lessons learned. “I’m convinced you will never find better people than those at DSU,” he said. “The people I met there remain my best friends to this day. I have many fond memories of Pike chapter meetings, swaps, and swim meets, but my favorite

memory is the day I stepped into Dr. James Robinson’s history class as a junior and met Jennifer, my-soon-to be wife.” Vickers says the people he met while at Delta State helped make him the person he is today. “I don’t think success is as much about what you’ve accomplished as an individual, but more about the people that help you achieve your goals,” he said. “Nobody can be successful alone.” If there is one word that describes Southern Tradition Tailgating, it’s successful. It has landed on University of Georgia Alumni Association’s Bulldog Top 100 fastest growing businesses for the past four years. He continues to gain new customers, and customers keep coming back. “We have a 92% return customer rate,” Vickers said. That explains how Southern Tradition Tailgating has been able to completely sell out all 150 packages for the last eight seasons. Even though football fans may be the bulk of Vickers’ customers, his services are available for other events. “Our services can be used for birthdays, NASCAR, BBQ festivals, Fourth of July parties, Kentucky Derby parties, and we have even done a wedding reception,” he said. It’s not just customers that benefit from Vickers’ business. “Southern Tradition Tailgating is more than a company operating on game day, we are community members striving to enhance our communities as a whole,” he said. His company has donated to the Delta State University National Alumni Association, Starkville Public Schools, the Palmer Home, Young Life Ministries, the Make a Wish Foundation, Reclaimed Project and the Starkville Junior Auxiliary. Southern Tradition Tailgating has also supported Mississippi State and Ole Miss athletics through reduced rates and donations of equipment use. For Vickers, community involvement is one of the things that makes Southern Tradition Tailgating special. As the business continues to grow, Vickers hopes to one day expand his game day services to Delta State. “DSU is where my adult life began. The people there are the friendliest people you will ever meet.” Until then, residents of Cleveland can book his services for other events— just visit

BACK IN THE DAY: DSU SWIM LIFE Brad Vickers was named an NSISC all-conference athlete four straight years for Statesmen Swimming. Named Delta State's most valuable swimmer in 1994-95, Vickers won an NSISC conference championship in the 200-Butterfly, with a new conference and Delta State record at the time, touching the wall with a 1:55.38. He also held the 100 DSU record for the 100-Butterfly during his time at Delta State. In 1998, Vickers was named a three-time NCAA All-American, including one first team selection. Vickers was the anchor leg of the men's 200 and 400-Freestyle Relay teams that took eighth and 16th, respectively, at the 1998 National Championships. Vickers also had finishing positions in the 50-Freestyle and 100-Freestyle at the 1998 National Championships. Vickers was also was named an NSISC ScholarAthlete during his time at Delta State. In 2013, he was inducted into the Delta State University Athletics Hall of Fame for Swimming & Diving. Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 23

PIG PICKIN’ OCT. 6-7 Think you’ve got what it takes to bring home the trophy? Enter the Memphis Barbecue NetworkSanctioned Cooking Competition! ALSO FEATURING: PIG PICKIN’ Friday after dark Statesmen Park Tailgating Lots and Lots of BBQ & food DSU DAY DSU Baseball Alumni Reunion Cornhole Tournament Live Music & Entertainment Delta State Football vs. West Alabama @ 6 p.m.

To sign up to compete & to view the full schedule of events, visit

WWW.DSUPIGPICKIN.COM 24 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Janoushes Receive Honorary Doctoral Degrees By Rory Doyle Delta State University continued its tradition of recognizing green and white greatness by conferring honorary doctoral degrees to the powerhouse alumni couple of Lucy and Paul Janoush. The Janoushes were recognized during spring commencement ceremonies May 6 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Delta State confers the honorary degree to individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to the University, higher education generally or other areas of society. Achievements can include, but are not limited to, outstanding creative and scholarly work, distinguished leadership or service, significant accomplishments or exceptional philanthropic support. Lucy, who was named Delta State’s Alumnus of the Year in 2015, has been a dedicated supporter of the institution for years. Take a look at what used to be the southeast corner of the Delta State golf course, and you’ll notice the latest of Lucy’s many civic contributions. Since 2011, she has served as president of the Cleveland Music Foundation Board of Directors, the group responsible for planning, funding, constructing and operating GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi. The $19 million-dollar facility opened in March of 2016. This latest project represents just one of many ways Lucy has given back to the school and community that gave her an academic foundation. She started at Delta State in 1974 and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Lucy’s memberships and volunteer service in the community run incredibly deep. To name just a few: executive vice president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce; Hayes Cooper Booster Club, president; Wildcat Booster Club and CHS PTSA, president; Crosstie Arts Council, president; DSU Alumni Association and Booster Club; Cleveland Community Theater; Friends of the Bolivar County Library; and the Cleveland Park Commission, volunteer coach for baseball, soccer and softball. Lucy’s husband, Paul, also a Delta State alumnus, was recognized for his decades of contributions to both Delta State and the Bolivar County community. He has served as the Chief Financial Officer at Jantran, Inc., since its founding in 1977. The Boy Scouts of America and Cleveland scouts have benefited greatly from the many hours of dedicated volunteer work he has provided, including having served as a member of the Executive Board of the Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts of America, past chairman of the Tallaha District and Cub Scout pack leader. The importance of youth activities within the community has always been one of Paul’s passions. His commitment has been evident in the many years he has volunteered his time and talents to Hayes Cooper Center Booster Club, Cleveland’s Booster Club, and Margaret Green Junior High’s and Cleveland High School’s Parent, Teacher, and Student Association. His love for Delta State is also evident in his past and present commitments in serving on the Delta State University Foundation Board, the DSU Booster Club, the Delta State University National Alumni Association, and Institutions of Higher Learning.

Delta State‘s Career Services is customizable to meet the demands of your organization, and your personal advancement.

On-Campus Recruiting

Career Events

One-on-one interaction with students through information booths.

A number of career fairs and events held throughout the year.

Resume Consultation

Statesmen Connect

Alumni Services

Contact our office for details of these services and more.

Get help polishing and strengthening your resume.

We continue to provide all services for your future career path.

A great way to find employment and post jobs/internships online.

Facebook: @DeltaStateCareerServices Instagram: @DSU_Careers Twitter: @DSUCareerServices Statesmen Connect: | (662)846-4626 L to R: DSU Chief Development Officer Gary Bouse, Greene Sayle, Jimmie Stennett, Michael Brasell, Kevin Sayle, Dr. Billy Moore, Ike Sayle. Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 25


Alumna Credits Career Advancement to Delta State & By Ashley Locke

It is no secret that students are on social media. It is hard to find someone who is not on Facebook or Instagram these days. For college students at Delta State, one social network is a rising star: LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on business and employment opportunities. As of 2016, there were over 39 million students or recent graduates on LinkedIn. Delta State professors have begun encouraging their students to create and maintain profiles on LinkedIn. Delta State alumna Shelby Burns created her LinkedIn profile in 2015 as a requirement for Dr. Eyad Youssef ’s Social Media Marketing class. After graduating, she continued to keep her page active, and it led her to a career. “I just planted new roots with my family in Jackson, Mississippi, as the Client Relationship Specialist at Charles Schwab,” said Burns. “Walt Bettinger, the president and CEO here at Schwab, attended Delta State from 1979 to 1981. Bettinger came to speak at Delta State in October of 2015 and I was hooked on the idea of starting my career with Charles Schwab after that.” After Bettinger’s speech, Burns connected with Charles Schwab on LinkedIn and followed the company on Twitter. “I had no idea that five months later a Charles Schwab Branch Manager in Memphis would be asking to interview me for the Jackson, Mississippi, position,” she said. Burns’ LinkedIn profile played an integral part in starting a career with Charles Schwab. A recruiter connected with Burns on LinkedIn and sent her a private message requesting a phone interview. After a successful phone interview, she was told to submit her resume and apply for an open position on their website.

“It was a phenomenal feeling knowing that my profile sparked enough interest in others for them to want to reach out to me personally,” she said. “LinkedIn is very informative and a great way to network, and it makes job hunting so much easier. It gives you the ability to connect with business professionals that are in your field of study, and the more you connect, the more business professionals are looking at your profile,” said Burns. Before accepting a job at Charles Schwab, her LinkedIn account also helped her land an interview with New York Life Insurance C om pa ny. “ T he r e a r e o p p or t u n it ie s everywhere,” said Burns. Burns also gives Delta State a lot of credit for helping her start her career. “Growing up, I was always determined to attend a university. Delta State happened to be close enough to my hometown of Greenville that I was able to commute back and forth during four and a half years with no problem.” Being able to commute allowed her to earn her degree while raising her young son, Aiden. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a background in customer satisfaction, loan processing and loan closings. “I hope to one day become a Certified Financial Planner and inspire individuals to invest and save for their futures,” she said. Although Burns plans to continue her career at Charles

Passport to Success Aides Students with Social Media Presence

Jeffrey Farris, (‘04) Alumni Director, helps students create their LinkedIn profiles.

The Delta State University National Alumni Association and Delta State Career Services partnered to host “Passport To Success 2017.” The program successfully prepped Delta State students to enter their careers confidently, while maintaining a strong professional social media presence. Students were given assistance with creating professional LinkedIn profiles, were offered headshots for their LinkedIn profiles and résumés, received résumé assistance, and learned about best practices for searching for jobs and internships. Additionally, students were given guidance on professional attire, were able to register for graduation regalia and complete the senior exit survey for the Department of Institutional Research. “With the growing number of users on the professional social media platform LinkedIn, we are seeing more and more students gain exposure and leads to career opportunities,” said Davlon Miller, director of Career Services. Following the event, students who met specific criteria on their LinkedIn pages were eligible for one of two $500 scholarships to Delta State. “This successful event enabled alumni staff to enhance their relationship with upperclassmen, developing life-long relationships with the future alumni,” said Sayward Fortner, National Delta State University Alumni president. “Students also gained the ability to engage with other alumni who have LinkedIn profiles.”

26 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017




Shelby Burns, center, at her Charles Schwab office in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

Schwab, she continues to keep her LinkedIn profile active. “I am keeping it up to date with my current location and job position. I get a notification once every couple of days with new job opportunities and positions available in the surrounding areas, which is a great feature for those who are actively job hunting,” she said. The Student Alumni Association took notice of Shelby’s success with LinkedIn. In the fall, the organization is going to require its 75 plus members to create a LinkedIn profile. The organization will help them take a professional profile photo, and offer support when students are listing skills, classes, and job descriptions on their profiles. According to LinkedIn, users with professional photos are 14 times more likely to have their profile viewed. Users with their skills listed on their profile get 13 times more views than users without listed skills. With the support of the Student Alumni Association, students will be able to use this data to create professional-looking profiles that appeal to job recruiters. Alumni Association Director Jeffrey Farris hopes this will get students excited about entering the business community by opening up job opportunities.




DELTA STATE ALUMNI Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 27


Greater Jackson Area Scholarship recipients with President LaForge & alumni committee members Dr. Kent Wyatt (center) was awarded Outstanding Alumnus, and is pictured with Jeff Arnold and Janice Wyatt, ‘06.

Greater Jackson Area Baseball Alumni with Coach Mike Kinnison



Leflore Co. Scholarship recipients with President LaForge

L to R: Jeffrey Farris ‘04, Alumni Director; President LaForge ‘72; Molly Hoagland Johnson ‘94, South Central Mississippi Chapter Alumnus of the Year; and Neal Rand ‘69. 28 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Miller Arant ‘03 was recognized as chapter president.

President LaForge, left, and Lolo Lubiani.

Coach Todd Cooley

Keith Fulcher, left, and SGA president, Ashley Griffin.


First Lady Nancy LaForge, right, & friend Elaine Rupp

The 2017 Greater Washington, D.C. Area Chapter, near the Lincoln Memorial.


Outstanding Alumni Awards were presented to Jerry Ainsworth, friend, and Dot Bright ‘62 as Crawfish King and Queen.


The 2017 Greater Atlanta Area Chapter at Chastain Park in Buckhead. Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 29


H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Award winner Hannah Goudy ‘17, and Jeffrey Farris ‘04.

Wayne Blansett Award recipient Madison Nash ‘17, left and Dr. Wayne Blansett ‘73, right. Bolivar Co. Alumni Night at Walter Sillers Coliseum: Swag winners Jeff Lusk and Holly McKee


above: DSU Soccer held a reunion during Go Green Weekend. Both men’s and women’s soccer scrimmaged against their respective alumni. It was great to see former athletes, who have helped build and support the programs over the years, come back and relive their glory days. The women’s team beat their alumni 5-3 and the men beat their alumni 8-2. Pictured are: Owen Kittle, Cath Thompson, Sam Naughton, Taylor Guess, Emily Oldacre, Fraser Pain, Jack Pilley, Rhomes ‘Andrew’ Aur, Jordan Bradshaw, Joe Stockglausner, Jason White.

30 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017





Want to check out where your fellow alumni are today? Find them in the 2018 Delta State Alumni Directory!

We need your help:

Confirm or update your info with us! Watch for postcards and emails from the Delta State University Alumni Association partner, PCI, with instructions to update your information (samples pictured below) STUDENT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION END OF YEAR COOKOUT

Even if you’ve updated your information recently, it’s important that everyone verifies their info for the most accurate publication possible. Questions? call 662-846-4660 or email Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 31

SPRING CAMPUS EVENTS MEN’S BASKETBALL 1996-98 GULF SOUTH CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS REUNION During the spring semester, the Delta State University National Alumni Association hosted a reunion of the men’s basketball 1996-98 Gulf South Conference championship teams. During a dinner banquet, the former players were recognized for their contributions to the basketball program at Delta State. They then received updates on the current basketball program and future plans for athletic facility upgrades from head men’s basketball coach James Boone and Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers. Special guest former coach Steve Rives shared words of wisdom while catching up with his former teams. “It is always special when alumni and former staff make their way back to their alma mater,” said Jeffrey Farris, Alumni director. “It was very special to witness the guys relive the camaraderie, team spirit and fellowship that still lives on within our athletic programs today.”

Men’s basketball 1996-98 Gulf South Conference championship teams reunion: Pictured above, (front row, left to right): Stacy Miller, Carlos Kelley, Tim Pledger, former coach Steve Rives, Brad Bunch, Dwaun Warmack. Back row (l to r): Robert Thompson, Rodney Francis, Ross Dorr, Marco Nicvwenbrock, Chris Sykes, Richard Micheaux, Twentis Magee, Jay Walton and Jon Parker.

6-7 32 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017



The 49th annual Green & White Awards proved to be another rousing success, with over 750 student-athletes, coaches, administrators and community supporters in attendance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Delta State University and the Department of Athletics took time to honor the accomplishments of the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen on and off the field in 2016-2017. The event was the culmination of another successful athletic campaign for the Green and White.

THE STEWART APPRECIATION AWARD This award was presented to Delta State alumnus Miller Arant. Arant, in addition to being a big fan of Statesmen and Lady Statesmen athletics, made several Miller Arant, left, and Athletic Director contributions to the deRonnie Mayers partment. His contributions to the Delta State tennis fund and his gifts to help renovate the Dorgan Center weight room facilities leave an indelible impact on Delta State University athletics.

ATHLETIC ALUMNI APPRECIATION AWARD The Athletic Alumni Appreciation Award is given to a Delta State University faculty or staff member who has exhibited continued support and service to Statesmen and Dr. Deborah Heslep, left, and Athletic Lady Statesmen athletics Director Ronnie Mayers during their tenure. This year’s recipient of the Athletic Alumni Association Appreciation Award was presented to Dr. Deborah Heslep, the Dean of Enrollment Management. Heslep plays a key role in the recruiting efforts, admission efforts, and a host of other areas for Delta State athletics.

THE KERG AWARD The Charles S. Kerg Senior Student-Athlete of the Year Awards, the most prestigious of the night, were presented to Melanie Tombers (Swimming and Diving) and Tyler Sullivan (Football). Tombers claimed the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 Award for women’s swimming, which is awarded to the student-athlete who has the highest grade point average, with the most hours attempted, at an NCAA Championship event. From left: President William N. LaForge; Tyler Sullivan; Melanie The Dusseldorf, Germany, naTombers; Senior Executive Associate A.D. for Compliance, Academics, tive has claimed 12 All-American and Internal Operations/SWA Dana George; and Athletic Director honors for top eight finishes at the Ronnie Mayers NCAA Championships. She has also claimed the NSISC Championship in the 400-IM during all four years of her career. Tombers has collected four school records during her career, and also has more top 10 times that any other Lady Statesman in school history. After achieving her bachelor’s degree in less than four years, Tombers is scheduled to receive her Master’s of Business Administration in International Business, in which she has a 3.97 GPA. Sullivan, a Louisville, Mississippi native, finished the 2016 season with the highest single-season completion percentage in DSU history, completing 69% of his passes (174 of 252). Sullivan also owns the Delta State career record in that category, completing 64.6% of his passes (744 of 1,152) from 2013-2016. He finished his career second in Delta State record books with 9,157 yards passing and 9,684 yards of total offense, and he added 76 touchdowns while averaging 269.3 yards passing per game for the Green and White. Sullivan was a National Football Foundation Campbell Trophy Finalist this past season, an award given to the very best football scholar-athlete in the nation across all levels of NCAA and NAIA competition, and received an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship in being one of 12 finalists. Established by former Head Coach and Athletic Director Horace McCool, the Charles S. Kerg Award was named after the former Sports Editor at the Delta Democrat Times. At a time when very few media outlets paid attention to Delta State athletics, Charles Kerg followed Delta State religiously, always making sure that Statesmen and Lady Statesmen student-athletes and their programs received the coverage they deserved. When the award was established, Coach McCool’s intent was to see that the award went to the all-around student-athlete who not only excelled on the field but in the classroom and in the community. One of the most influential supporters in the history of the DSU athletic program, Charles Kerg’s dedication serves to this day as not only an inspiration but a model for how dedicated we can be to both our program and the community as a whole. Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 33


Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Honors Lady Statesmen with Trailblazer Award Having played a major role in the growth and development of women’s basketball in the United States, Delta State University’s 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77 Lady Statesmen squads were named the recipient of the 2017 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s Trailblazer Award. The Lady Statesmen and the six members of the 2017 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction class were honored this June in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Hall of Fame’s annual Induction Weekend. “We are delighted the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame has elected to honor our Delta State University Lady Statesmen teams from 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77 as the 2017 Trailblazer Award recipient,” Director of Athletics Ronnie Mayers said. “Under the tutelage of Head Coach Margaret Wade, the Lady Statesmen helped pave the way for the modern era of women’s collegiate basketball and usher in one of America’s greatest legacies.” No period in Mississippi women’s basketball history has been more successful, as coach Margaret Wade and the Lady Statesmen went 93-4 on the hardwood, capturing three consecutive AIAW National Championships and cementing Delta State’s place among the game’s greatest programs. Delta State saw eight Lady Statesmen named All-American during this three-year stretch, pictured at right with current athletic director Ronnie Mayers, including the entire starting “Fab Five” of Lusia Harris, Debbie Brock, Corneila Ward, Ramona Von Boeckman and Wanda Hairston in 1976-77. Wade was also named the Kellogg’s National Coach of the Year following the 1976 and 1977 seasons. The Trailblazer Award is voted on by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors to recognize teams and organizations that have paved the way for the game. In order to be considered as a Trailblazer, the team/organization must meet two requirements: (1.) Team or league has been a “first” in something, led the way, or set the bar; (2.) High winning percentage or winning streak over an extended period of time.





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34 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall Winter/Spring2017 2017


It’s a well-known fact that food and sports combine for the best recipe for a perfect afternoon. At Delta State’s “The Levee,” fans can enjoy the tradition of college football in a tailgating atmosphere. Located behind the north end zone at Parker FieldMcCool Stadium, The Levee is a green strip with picnic tables, reserved exclusively for Delta State football fans looking for a tailgating experience in the middle of gameday action. At The Levee, Delta State football fans can take in all the action on game day at the picnic tables lining the end zone that seat them game-side. At the end of each home game, fans at The Levee can greet the Statesmen as they make their way back to the locker room. Levee season passes & tickets may be purchased online at or call (662) 846-4300.

Winter/Spring Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 35


Statesmen: taking the

season by storm

36 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

story & photos by Elisabetta Zengaro

Tradition never slumps when it comes to Delta State University’s historic Statesmen baseball program. The Statesmen captured their 14th Gulf South Conference Title, 12th NCAA DII South Region Championship, & ended the 2017 season making their 12th appearance at the DII College World Series in Grand Prairie, Tx. But the road to Grand Prairie wasn’t without its obstacles. Prior to the start of the season, the Statesmen baseball program lost two beloved coaches, Bill Marchant and Dave “Boo” Ferriss. Ferriss, the former patriarch of Delta State baseball, built the program from the bottom up, carving out a baseball field from a bean patch—this would be the first season of baseball without the former skipper. Still, the Statesmen battled through adversity in what was one of the most successful seasons in school history. After capturing the regular season Gulf South Conference Title, the Statesmen earned the top seed and hosted the 2017 Gulf South Conference Tournament. Delta State went undefeated in pool play to face the University of West Alabama in what ended up being a rematch of the 2015 GSC Tournament Final. The Statesmen defeated the Tigers, 6-3 for their 14th GSC Championship. The last time the Statesmen claimed back-to-back tournament championships was in 20032004. After winning the GSC Championship, the Statesmen hosted the NCAA DII South Region Tournament for first time since 2008. Delta State continued its undefeated run in postseason play to earn its 12th regional title in school

history and the sixth under Head Coach Mike Kinnison. Then it was time to #GetInTheTruck as the Statesmen headed to their 12th NCAA DII College World Series. Delta State a dropped the first game 4-0 to Lindenwood University, but senior pitcher Tre Hobbs kept the Statesmen’s hopes alive, pitching a complete game three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts against the University of North Georgia in game two. The Statesmen posted the second College World Series shutout in school history and the fifth shutout ever in an NCAA postseason game. Delta State’s run came to an end with a 6-2 loss to Colorado Mesa. Delta State finished the season with a 45-13 record and a myriad of accolades. Junior first baseman Zack Shannon was named 2017 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Conference Commissioners Association Division II (D2CCA) National Player of the Year; 2017 NCBWA, D2CCA and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) South Region Player of the Year; GSC Player of the Year; and a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award and C-Spire Ferriss Trophy. Head Coach Mike Kinnison was named NCBWA National Coach of the Year, NCBWA South Region Coach of the Year and GSC Coach of the Year. Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 37


Champs Cup: Promoting Champions off the Field By Elisabetta Zengaro

Delta State University prides itself on building a university of champions. While its athletic programs have brought great success through championships, accolades, and season titles, it’s off the field where Delta State student-athletes make their biggest impact. The most noteworthy way student-athletes give back is through the CHAMPS Cup program. The Delta State CHAMPS Cup was developed and implemented to streamline and create a more effective approach for community service and engagement opportunities. “Lots of our programs were participating in activities in and around Cleveland, but there was no concerted effort,” said Dana George, senior executive associate A.D. for compliance/ academics/senior woman administrator and internal operations. “We have witnessed first-hand that our approach to this has made a tremendous difference to those affected. While each of our student-athletes is unique, they all have competitive spirits so I decided to tap into that to encourage active outreach that may really spark a lasting interest or concern for others in our studentathletes.” Student-athletes can earn CHAMPS Cup competition points by volunteering their time and participating in scheduled events. For example, teams can volunteer by reading in local elementary schools weekly and contributing food and toys during the holidays. At the end of each academic year, Delta State Athletics

awards a trophy to the team that has collected the most CHAMPS Cup points. This year, that honor went to the Delta State baseball team. “We have received lots of feedback from current and former student-athletes indicating that these efforts are accomplishing great things,” George said. “Student-athletes tell us regularly that they truly enjoy the outreach opportunities, and that they are very fulfilling experiences.” With Delta State ranking in the top 10 among NCAA Division II programs for financial donations to Make-a-Wish for the last three years with over $25,000 donated during that time and having volunteered thousands of hours to local organizations and events, the success of the CHAMPS Cup program has been immense to the community. “We have seen a tremendous response to service and engagement efforts from student-athletes and our coaches and expect only to see more,” George added. “Delta State has wonderful fans and support, and mostly, we’re thankful for the opportunity to give back in whatever ways we can.” For more information on how to donate to the CHAMPS Cup program, contact Dana George at (662) 846-4289 or

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STATESMAN NATION DSU STUDENTS & FANS: Use the APP & get rewards for supporting Statesman Athletics! Check-in at DSU events ▶ get points ▶ unlock prizes ▶ earn FREE stuff & discounts! ALSO WITH THE APP: • GET GAME & EVENT DATES & TIMES • CHECK OUT HOW YOU MEASURE UP TO YOUR FELLOW FANS • SHARE YOUR SCORES TO COMPETE WITH FRIENDS VIA TWITTER & FACEBOOK DOWNLOAD AT THE APPLE APP STORE OR ANDROID MARKETPLACE 38 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

MDHS Partnership Spawns StudentAthlete Support Services Program By Elisabetta Zengaro

The athletic milestones that student-athletes accomplish at Delta State are forever preserved in history through championship titles and accolades. While we celebrate athletic success, it also goes without saying that student-athletes must compete to be at the top of their class to continue on-the-field accomplishments. While it can be difficult to balance academics and athletics, a new program called the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services was established to ensure Delta State student-athletes champion their challenges in the classroom. The Student-Athlete Support Services program is a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The program will offer a newly renovated academic lab, academic coaching and various programs designed to improve overall health and career readiness, while increasing graduation rates. MDHS has contributed funding for the partnership through 2017 with the possibility of renewed funding in coming years. Beginning this fall, each athletic team will be assigned its own academic coach to provide individualized attention and assistance as it relates to eligibility and procedures in compliance with NCAA academic standards. “The DSU Student-Athlete Support program’s overall mission of the partnership is to prepare student-athletes for careers which positively impact local communities, enrich lifestyle choices which prepare for productive citizenship, and increase academic resources to meet the needs of each individual learner,” said Tricia Killebrew, project director for StudentAthlete Support Services. “By creating a three-tier system of support, the individual needs of each student-athlete will improve thus helping ensure positive outcomes will be met. This partnership will tremendously increase DSU’s capacity to serve and provide resources which will help retain student-athletes in their programs of study.” “While working with academic advisors on campus, the athletic coaches will provide accurate academic information and planning related to each student-athletes’ progress towards degree attainment and monitor essential study habits and social integration,” Killebrew said. “In addition to academic coaching, student-athletes will have access to a learning specialist and lifestyles coach. Both individuals will work to provide assistance to student-athletes for overall health and wellness, academic skill building and monitoring of academic progress, disability services, degree and career selection, learning styles identification, and any other services which relate to academic success and degree attainment.” The new initiative, the Student-Athlete Support Services program is an addition to the Student Success Center. The center includes six divisions focusing on specific aspects of retention: Academic Advising Services, Aca-

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demic Support Services, First Year Seminar, International Student Services, Okra Scholars, and now, Student-Athlete Support Services. Each division of the Student Success Center focuses on a targeted area of retention and will be involved in the implementation of the Student-Athlete Support Services program. Dr. Charles McAdams, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the program is part of a university-wide effort to increase retention and student success. “I am very excited about this program as it will enable us to provide targeted efforts to increase the academic success of our student-athletes,” McAdams said. “Helping students stay in school and complete their degree is a major priority for us. Athletes often have challenges that nonathletes do not have. This initiative is designed to help studentathletes make good academic decisions and lifestyle choices.” Delta State President William N. LaForge said this is a big step for the university. “Thanks to MDHS, Delta State will now be able to provide our student-athletes with enhanced academic support that will help them complete their studies and graduate,” LaForge said. “This is huge for Delta State and our student-athletes.” For more information regarding the Student-Athlete Support Services program, contact Tricia Killebrew at (662) 846-4654 or


Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 39


Dr. Clifton Wingard PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS Dr. Clifton Wingard currently serves as Professor of Mathematics at Delta State University, teaching various courses such as Trigonometry, Calculus, Discreet Mathematics, and Algebra. Wingard was born in Ripley, Tennessee, and his family moved around a bit, following his father’s profession as a minister. He graduated high school in Seminary, Mississippi, then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Belhaven University. Wingard then earned a Master of Science in mathematics and a Ph.D. in mathematics, both from Ole Miss. After teaching high school for three years at Calhoun City, he taught one year at Oklahoma Baptist University before joining the Delta State University family.

40 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Q. How long have you been at Delta State?

I have just completed my twenty-first year of teaching at Delta State. I began in the fall semester of 1996. Q. What do you like most about teaching?

There is not just one single thing that I like most about teaching. It is a combination of things that make it exciting. I enjoy sharing knowledge with students, and it is exciting to see students become interested and want to know more. It is exciting to see students “get it” after struggling for a bit, and it is very rewarding to see them do well on examinations and feel good about their performance. It is also very rewarding to see former students excelling in their work after they leave. I love to visit with them after they leave Delta State and learn about what they are doing now.

Photo by Sandi Burt

Q. If you had to choose, what is your favorite course that you teach and why?

I like and enjoy different courses for different reasons. To me, mathematics is like a beautiful gem stone where each course is one of the facets. The concepts in the various courses are interwoven so that each course is connected to other courses, just like the facets on the gem. I will name two courses that may surprise some of my students. I enjoy teaching trigonometry because it is so practical, and much of the content has been known for thousands of years. The other is a course called modern algebra (also known as abstract algebra at other colleges and universities). Its two names describe something of its character in that this course contains concepts that are really new to mathematics; that is, some of the concepts were discovered in the twentieth century. Modern algebra is not necessarily easy to teach, and I like the challenge of taking these abstract ideas and making them understandable to undergraduates. Q. What is your favorite memory as a professor?

I absolutely love it when a student comes back after several years and says, “Do you remember when you . . . ?” That tells me that something that I did or said made an impression. Very often it was not a lesson learned in mathematics, but it was something that happened in class that stuck with that student.

Q. What is one thing you hope your students will take away from having you as a teacher?

It would be wonderful if every student left with an understanding and appreciation of mathematics! But, I know that is not reality. I want my students to leave my classes knowing more than they did when they began. This may mean that they know more about themselves. I also want them to know that I care about them not just as a student but also as a person and that I want them to excel in academics and in life. Q. When you are not teaching, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

When I was beginning the third grade and my brother was beginning the fourth grade, our parents made arrangements for us to take piano lessons. My brother and I continued to take lessons through our years in college as well. I switched over to organ for my last two years in college, and by the way, neither of us majored in music. I enjoy practicing after leaving school most days, and I enjoy playing for church services when I have the opportunity. I also enjoy gardening, but I do not have much time to devote to that now. Traveling is another activity that I like because there is so much to learn about our world whether it be cultures of other countries, the history from those places, or the geography and scenery at different locations. Q. What do you like most about Delta State?

When I first came to the University in 1996, I was welcomed as one of the family. I was taught the traditions and told the stories of bygone years. It is the sense of family and being part of a group unified in providing a quality education to our students that has been one of the most enjoyable things about being here. Working with colleagues that have the same goals and ideals of education has been very rewarding. Q. How would you encourage a prospective student to attend Delta State?

I like to talk about the smaller classes and the friendly learning environment that we cultivate here. I also like to share with others about the successes that our graduates have had in the working world; I like to show prospective students that our graduates can achieve as much as graduates from larger institutions.

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 41


J. Walter Wood, Jr., former Executive Director at The Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS), was honored recently. A new treatment facility for girls at DYS was dedicated in his honor. He was the longest serving state juvenile corrections executive in the United States when he retired on June 30, 2014.


Ann Lamar, retired state Supreme Court Justice, was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees for the Institutions of Higher Learning. She replaces Karen Cummins, who passed away in January 2017 after an extended illness.


Lucy Janoush has been selected as the recipient of the Order of the Pearl. The award is given to an outstanding alumnus of Kappa Delta sorority who has made significant contributions at the national, state, or local level in areas other than service to Kappa Delta. Janoush was nominated by her Kappa Delta sisters and selected by a committee. Additionally, Janoush was recognized by the Mississippi Arts Commission. She received the Governor’s Award/Arts Patron Award for her efforts on behalf of the Grammy Museum.


Greg Head, soccer coach at Warren Central, received The Vicksburg Post’s Soccer Coach of the Year award. This is the fourth time in six years that he has won this award. Michael Furlow was appointed as senior vice president of information technology and chief information officer (CIO) for Denny’s Corporation. Mr. Furlow is a seasoned restaurant executive with more than 30 years of restaurant and technology experience at several restaurant brands, including most recently as CIO at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.


Dr. William C. Bell, Casey Family Programs’ president and CEO, was honored March 28 by the Mississippi legislature with a joint resolution recognizing his public service and leadership accomplishments. Sen. Derrick Simmons sponsored the resolution and shared it on the Senate floor.


James E. “Jim” Holland, was appointed County Prosecutor by the DeSoto Board of Supervisors. Holland, a veteran attorney, has served as Horn Lake Municipal Judge since 2001 and DeSoto County Emergency 911 Commission counsel since 2000.


Dr. William Morehead is a recipient of the President’s Award from the Association of Government Accountants.

Montie Moore was named Safety Coordinator for Koch Foods Poultry Processing Plant in Morton, Mississippi.



Teresa Hubbard has been selected by Mississippi Business Journal as one of the 50 leading businesswomen for 2017.


Steve Weis is named new principal at St. Joseph High School in Greenville.


Colonel Gentry Boswell was recently promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Air Force. The One-Star General currently is commander of the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, the largest B-1 combat wing in the US Air Force, with 27 aircraft and more than 3800 military and civilian members. The decorated veteran has over 500 combat mission hours and more than 23 major awards and decorations.


Amy Carroll (Denley) has been recognized as part of the 2017 class of the Gulf South Conference Hall of Fame. She led the Lady Statesmen to three NCAA Division II National Championships as a three-year starter for Delta State.


Kelly B. Hales received his Doctor of Education from Delta State University on May 6, 2017.


Susan Morgan was promoted to VP-Regulatory Oversight/Compliance Manger for Cleveland State Bank. She began her new duties January 2, expanding on her previous role assisting with challenges of monitoring bank policies and procedures in order to comply with governmental and financial laws.


Celeste Wilson, a judge in DeSoto County Court since 2009, has been appointed Mississippi circuit judge for the 17th judicial district. Gov. Phil Bryant named Wilson to the post. Wilson will oversee criminal cases in a five-county region that includes DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Yalobusha counties. She was a district attorney in the 17th district from 2002 to 2008, before becoming county judge in 2009. As county judge, she oversaw delinquency, neglect, abuse and domestic violence cases, as well as some civil and appeals cases.


Dr. Eugene Allen recently opened several Urgent Care centers throughout the Los Angelos, CA area. Jeff Wheeler recently joined Arysta LifeScience as Head of Sales in Cary, North Carolina.

42 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017

Marty Brantley is a partner (co-owner) of Engel & Völkers New Orleans. The company was awarded with the #2 spot as Top Workplaces for 2017; being awarded during Brantley’s first year of operations. Lesley Mancini accepted the position as Instructor in Speech and Language Pathology Department at Delta State University. George Miller, Jr. was named Senior Fundraising Consultant at Gabriel Group.


Jeff Steele was named Senior Vice President of Helena National Bank.


Dr. Blake Newsom is the new Senior Pastor at Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile. His undergraduate and M.Ed. degrees from DSU are in Physical Education. Heather Kovarcik Miller recently accepted the position of Director of Institutional Grants at Delta State University. Fabien Guardiola has been named Vice President to the business development team at Alantes Corporate Finance. Fabien will focus on providing his investment banking experience to and expanding relationships with small and middle market businesses in the New York and across the nation. Kristy Daniels, Assistant Vice President for Regions Bank, was chosen as one of the Top 50 Under 40 Honorees by the Mississippi Business Journal for the State of Mississippi.


Andrew Edwards has been named Assistant Principal at Lake Cormorant Middle School. Brian Street was recently named Agency Manager with Farm Bureau Insurance in Greenville, Mississippi.


Greg Long was promoted to associate head coach at The University of Central Arkansas.

Griffith Named President of the Mississippi Association of Realtors David Griffith is a MS Certified General Appraiser, Realtor®, Broker, and CEO and Co-Owner of Griffith Real Estate, Inc. He was named the president of the Mississippi Association of Realtors for 2017. A lifelong resident of Cleveland, David is a graduate of Delta State University, acquiring a bachelor’s degree in 1993. He entered the real estate world while working his way through college, and he decided to continue the profession after graduation. In 1998, he became a co-owner of Griffith Real Estate, Inc. He serves as Sales Broker and is experienced in all types of appraisals. David has served on the MS Realtors® Board of Directors since 2001 including roles as Treasurer and Central VicePresident. Other positions at MS Realtors® have included chairman of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, MARPAC®,

Elizabeth C. Lishman, BSN, RN-BC, was awarded the 2017 Nightingale Award as Inpatient Clinical Practice Nurse of the Year. She is employed by Mississippi Baptist Medical Center.


Robert Pitts became Senior IT Analyst at the ExxonMobil Corporate headquarters. He is responsible for rolling out the Skype project and providing executive support for senior leadership. Pitts is pictured with former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Archie Tucker, II, has been appointed by Alabama A&M University’s President Andrew Hugine, Jr. to cabinet post of Vice President for Marketing, Communications and Advancement- a key post that encompasses fundraising, alumni affairs, electronic media communications, public relations, and print/ mail. Tucker has served in the role of interim vice president since 2014. Corley Mullins was recently named the new Executive Director of United Way of ClevelandBolivar County.

and Association Operations. In 2016, David was chosen as the Chairman of the Real Property Valuation Forum of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). As MS Realtor® President, he serves on the Board of Directions for NAR. He is also a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Locally, David has been president of the Cleveland Board of Realtors®, and in 2001 and 2014, he was voted Realtor® of the Year by the Cleveland Board of Realtors®. David is a member of the Cleveland Country Club, Cleveland Noon Lions Club (served as President in 2015), Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, Delta State University National Alumni Association, and the Loyal Order of the Moose. David is also proudly affiliated with the Left Field Crew, who are active supporters of Delta State and DSU athletics. He is also an uncle to 13 nieces and nephews; and he has six godchildren. “I love Cleveland because of the wonderful community we have here. There is always of sense of family here in the Delta and I think Cleveland is a great place to live,” said David.

Rivers Gainspoletti opened an online store, riversgainspoletti. com, featuring her many works of original and hand-made art. She specializes in textiles, apparel, ceramics, and home accents, including paintings, fabric by the yard, place mats, pillows, dinner napkins, tea towels, chairs, apparel items, and couture items.


Regan Hall Sellers completed her ED.S in Ed Leadership at DSU in December and became Assistant Principal at Strayhorn High School. Holly Ray recently accepted the position of Graphic Designer at Delta State University.


Kyle Nichols was named Rookie Agent of the Year 2017 for Shelter Insurance. Matthew Mullins received People’s Choice Best Banker in Bolivar County


Eric Kelly received the Outstanding Visual Merchandising Award from MS Main Street President Allison Beasley on behalf of Haley Kelly, owner of H Squared Ladies Wear and H Squared Formal Wear. Abby Murphy of Planters Bank has been promoted to Branch Officer for the Greenville office.


Kelly Cosby received Teacher of the Year at Batesville Elementary School for the 2016-2017 academic year.


Jason Webster is currently working for Phillips Pet Food and Supply as the Night Shift Operations Manager. Tara Dunn was named Dean of Students at Northwest Community College. Amanda Robinson recently accepted the position as Senior Secretary for the Alumni Association at Delta State University. Morgan Robinson recently accepted the position as Physical Therapist at Bolivar Medical Center Outpatient Rehabilitation.


Reeves Gaddy is now an agent for New York Life Insurance.

2013 Shauna Allen, of Cleveland, received the Mercy Award presented by Bolivar Medical Center.

Emily Boyd has been appointed Event Coordinator for Chawla Point LLC. continued on next page

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 43


continued Tim Lampkin has been appointed to the Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC) of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Lampkin is the CEO of Higher Purpose Co. a social impact agency based in the Mississippi Delta utilizing the power of entrepreneurship to help underserved communities thrive. He is also the Co-Founder of CapWay, a financial technology company providing products and services primarily for the unbanked. Lampkin also serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Mississippi Humanities Council where he oversees the racial equity fund. Kendall Sizemore, DVM has joined Delta Animal Services, Inc. as a full-time veterinarian.


Devin Schmidt recently signed with the C.B. Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet European Professional Basketball Team. Anji Reddy Nalamatapu received the international educators’ Hall of Fame award. Turner Lloyd is employed at Guaranty Bank at the Cleveland office. Brandon Cummins, has been picked up by the Chicago Cubs. He previously played for The Southern Illinois Miners. The outfielder, who made his pro debut with the Miners in 2016, becomes the 47th former Miner to join a Major League organization.


Tasha Watt (’05) of Grenada to Zebton Wells III (‘08) of McComb on June 17, 2017. Chris Williams (’05; ‘09) of Greenville to Danielle Chapuis (’07) of Senatobia on July 1, 2017 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Eddie Vaughn (‘94) of Cleveland to Daye Radford (friend) of Cleveland on July 11, 2017 in Hot Springs, AR. YoKeyna Rena Williams (‘08) of Clarksdale to Melvin D. Miller on October 26, 2016.


Caroline George (‘15) to Jon Fletcher (‘14), both of Cleveland, on May 20, 2017 in Corinth, MS.

John Wesley Cohen, to Dr. Dayle Cohen ’05 on December 1, 2016

Easton Mallory Parkton, to Brian Parkton ’02 and Mollie Parkton on May 16, 2017.

Sutton Truman Blount, to Heath and Megan Blount ‘08 on January 12, 2017.

Elizabeth Pelezo (’99) of Spring, TX to Steven Newkirk on April 22, 2017 in Cancun, Mexico. Devin Ché White (’16) of Benton to Phillip Wolfe Smith on April 8, 2017.

44 • Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017


Braylee Jane Ingvoldstad, to Justin Ingvoldstad ‘11 and Aimee Ingvoldstad ‘11 on May 16, 2016.

Alinda Sledge was named Queen and Mickey Thompson was named King at the Junior Auxillary Children’s Benefit Ball in Cleveland.

James Waldrop (’16) of New Albany to Anna Claire Stokes (’16) of New Albany on October 22, 2016 in New Albany, MS.

George / Fletcher


Wyatt Walker Woodard, to Ben and Lizzie Woodard (Staff) on January 26, 2017.


Burns / Cummins

Kristy Burns (‘14) to Clay Cummins, both of Cleveland, on June 3, 2017 in Cleveland, MS.

Jeffrey Johns is now serving as the Chief of Police for Delta State University. He has served as interim basis since November 2016 after Chief Lynn Buford, who served in the position nearly 25 years, announced his retirement.

Tricia Walker, Director of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industry Studies program at Delta State, received the Premier Partner Award from Mississippi Main Street Association President Allison Beasley. Team Cleveland and Keep Cleveland Boring received the Premier Partner award for its Wired for Sound program with Delta Music Institute.


A’Mari Elise Smiley, to Shomari D Smiley ‘16 and Donesha C Baker ’16 on May 20, 2017.


Aurelia Kimmel Bush, to Brian Bush and Sarah Leonard ‘06 on June 10, 2017. James Archer Bryant born June 1, 2017 to Mary Mac (Drake) Bryant ‘16 and Baylor Bryant (friend). Smiley

President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt’s great grandson, Wyatt Mounger, Jr. is pictured, wearing a Delta State baseball shirt that Coach Bill Marchant gave to his daddy, Wyatt Mounger (Dr. Wyatt’s grandson), when he was a toddler.


IN MEMORIAM Donald Alderete (attended), of Killen, AL, on March 10, 2017

James M. Harvey ‘70, of West Palm Beach, FL, on May 21, 2017

James D. Phillips ‘50, of Greenville, MS, on February 22, 2017

Theresa A. Antoon (attended), of Greenwood, MS, on January 19, 2017

Sammy W. Hatcher (attended), of Buies Creek, NC, on June 23, 2017

E. Ray Potts (attended), of Iuka, MS, on June 21, 2017

Lela M. Ashworth (attended), of Memphis, TN, on January 09, 2017

Bettye Hawkins ‘46, of West Point, MS, on January 18, 2017

Travis Q. Richardson ‘56, of Gulfport, MS, on June 22, 2017

Margaret A. Balzli (attended), of Metairie, LA, on May 15, 2017

Gains B. Hawkins ‘47, of Starkville, MS, on January 18, 2017

Jeffery S. Beachum (attended), of Indianola, MS, on February 08, 2017

Laura R. Hearn (attended), of Clarksdale, MS, on May 15, 2017

Mary R. Rodriguez (attended), of New Orleans, LA, on January 20, 2017

Wilma L. Blackmon ‘72, of Ridgeland, MS, on February 18, 2017

Leslie P. Henning ‘62, of Brookhaven, MS, on February 21, 2017

William D. Rogers ‘50, of Nashville, TN, on July 22, 2017

Victor J. Blair, Jr. ‘53, of Hattiesburg, MS, on February 16, 2017

Betty H. Hern ‘60, of Blue Mountain, MS, on April 03, 2017

Jerry P. Ross (attended), of Cleveland, MS, on July 07, 2017

Betty W. Boyles (attended), of Byram, MS, on January 15, 2017

Berney G. Hertlein (attended), of Jackson, MS, on December 09, 2016

Donald R. Russell ‘57, of Thaxton, MS, on May 26, 2017

James D. Bramlett, Sr ‘70, of Southaven, MS, on April 23, 2017

Charlotte S. Hill (attended), of Pascagoula, MS, on June 23, 2017

Mary F. Salley (friend), of Cleveland, MS, on June 14, 2017

Selestine Brown-Skipper ‘70, of Milwaukee, WI, on January 10, 2017

Vincent D. Hilliard (attended), of Oxford, MS, on January 24, 2017

Mrs. Jerry H. Burd ‘70, of Cleveland, MS, on April 20, 2017

Tommy L. Hobson ‘93, of England, AR, on March 22, 2017

William E. Salley, II (attended), of Goodlettsville, TN, on April 17, 2017

Jimmy A. Burkett (attended), of Brandon, MS, on March 25, 2017

Rowena B. Houston ‘79, of Stanton, TN, on January 22, 2017

Susan J. Burrell (attended), of Greenwood, MS, on May 22, 2017

Judy R. Howell (attended), of Tupelo, MS, on May 21, 2017

W. A. Butts (faculty), of Winona, MS, on June 08, 2017

Bette B. Hutto ‘92, of Ridgeland, MS, on May 19, 2017

Lucy P. Carter ‘38, of Greenwood, MS, on February 12, 2017

Mertha L. Jackson (attended), of Memphis, TN, on June 09, 2017

Thomas H. Cassel, III ‘90, of Parker, CO, on April 28, 2017

Pam C. Jacobs (attended), of Greenville, MS, on March 11, 2017

Percy R. Chandler, Sr. (attended), of Alexandria, LA, on July 08, 2017

Laura H. Jacque (attended), of Byram, MS, on May 09, 2017

Ann J. Clifton (attended), of Shaw, MS, on June 28, 2017

John T. Janoush ‘76, of Cleveland, MS, on May 23, 2017

Kenny W. Coleman ‘69, of Corinth, MS, on March 01, 2017

Stephen G. Kaminski, II ‘02, of Atlanta, GA, on December 30, 2016

Curtis C. Collums ‘77, of Columbus, MS, on May 26, 2017

Christopher L. Keenan (attended), of Tulsa, OK, on June 23, 2017

Catherine C. Snowden (attended), of Moorhead, MS, on February 12, 2017

James D. Cooper ‘63; ‘69; (staff), of Boyle, MS, on April 15, 2017

Jeanette S. Kelso (friend), of Cleveland, MS, on May 23, 2017

Joel Scott Spradling ‘83, of Lambert, MS, on May 13, 2017

Archie P. Crawford, III (attended), of Yazoo City, MS, on June 30, 2017

Charles W. Kimbrell ‘16, of Inverness, MS, on July 16, 2017

Jerry G. Steen ‘85, of Greenwood, MS, on March 30, 2017

Karen L. Cummins ‘79, of Oakland, MS, on January 22, 2017

Taylor T. King (attended), of Tupelo, MS, on June 14, 2017

William W. Sultan, Jr. ‘64, of Waukegan, IL, on March 10, 2017

Yvonne H. Cunningham (attended), of Laurel, MS, on June 27, 2017

Malcolm D. Kornegay ‘87, of Clarksdale, MS, on May 09, 2017

Betty J. Sykes (attended), of Indianola, MS, on July 10, 2017

Edward L. Davenport ‘63, of Fort Walton Beach, FL, on June 13, 2017

Barbara J. Latham (staff), of Cleveland, MS, on July 09, 2017

Lyda S. Tavenner ‘65, of Tupelo, MS, on April 28, 2017

Melvin Davis ‘61, of Oxford, MS, on April 17, 2017

Joseph P. Leach ‘68, of New Albany, MS, on March 08, 2017

Frances R. Terry ‘44, of Money, MS, on February 04, 2017

Dollie B. Dick ‘55, of Madison, MS, on March 22, 2017

Sally A. Lee ‘62, of Adamsville, TN, on March 05, 2017

Sarah A. Thompson ‘72, of Tupelo, MS, on December 19, 2016

Christopher R. Dingler (attended), of Monticello, MS, on May 28, 2017

Elouise P. Lee (attended), of Valparaiso, IN, on May 08, 2017

Allen D. Thornton (friend), of Cleveland, MS, on February 15, 2017

Elsie M. Drane ‘69, of Ridgeland, MS, on March 20, 2017

Clyde O. Lenoir, Jr. (attended), of Meridian, MS, on May 20, 2017

Mary E. Thornton ‘42, of Chambersburg, PA, on March 16, 2017

Betty Eidt ‘62, of Marks, MS, on February 26, 2017

Judy H. Lewis (attended), of Olive Branch, MS, on July 09, 2017

Joel W. Tyler, Jr. ‘80, of Greenwood, MS, on June 05, 2017

Elizabeth A. Ferguson (attended), of Cleveland, MS, on April 28, 2017

David Lindh ‘52, of Biloxi, MS, on January 31, 2017

George R. Vines ‘64, of Hermitage, TN, on February 04, 2017

Hal G. Fiser (faculty), of Clarksdale, MS, on March 20, 2017

Everett D. Lovelace (attended), of Jackson, MS, on July 10, 2017

Karen F. Walker (attended), of Indianola, MS, on March 25, 2017

Jane G. Fitzpatrick (attended), of Raymond, MS, on April 22, 2017

Nils L. Lundgren ‘70, of Sardis, MS, on December 18, 2016

John W. Walton ‘70, of Indianola, MS, on February 12, 2017

Carolyn F. Ford ‘84, of Glenpool, OK, on March 11, 2017

Billy S. Madden (attended), of Sebastopol, MS, on March 16, 2017

JoAnn M. Walton ‘72, of Jackson, MS, on May 14, 2017

Fred A. Foster ‘55, of Meadville, MS, on January 05, 2017

Cindy A. Marshall (attended), of Greenville, MS, on April 14, 2017

William Hershel “Tuddy” Fulcher (friend), of Vicksburg, MS, on January 13, 2017

Ann L. Maxwell ‘63, of Ruleville, MS, on February 14, 2017

Martha C. Weatherall (attended), of Raymond, MS, on December 25, 2016

Jimmy C. Sanders ‘58, of Meridian, MS, on March 29, 2017 Rhonda D. Saunders ‘08, of Tupelo, MS, on May 30, 2017 Clementine Q. Shepard (attended), of Brinkley, AR, on December 22, 2016 Walton D. Smith ‘68, of Belzoni, MS, on January 02, 2017 Kathy F. Smith ‘92, of Greenville, MS, on February 04, 2017 Charles E. Smith (attended), of Duncan, MS, on June 26, 2017 Carvill Smith-Vaniz Cox ‘55, of Canton, MS, on June 02, 2017

William N. Mcarthur (attended), of Cleveland, MS, on December 22, 2016

Kathy A. Wernimont ‘77, of Clarksdale, MS, on December 22, 2016 Henry O. White, Sr. ‘74, of Clarksdale, MS, on May 07, 2017

Deborah D. Gentry ‘89, of Hernando, MS, on May 21, 2017

Dr. Cathyrn Houston Pentecost Meyer ‘90; ‘97, of Jacksonville, AR, on February 24, 2016

Herbert E. Glenn ‘61, of Ballwin, MO, on February 23, 2017

Brook K. Mitchell ‘67, of Greenville, MS, on April 25, 2017

Jerry S. Goodnight (attended), of Sardis, MS, on May 28, 2017

Gloria A. Murphree ‘95, of Oxford, MS, on June 07, 2017

Marietta Gould ‘69, of New York, NY, on March 14, 2017

Lois J. Nelms (attended), of Tullahoma, TN, on December 15, 2016

Richard R. Gruetzemacher, II ‘67, of Chickamauga, GA, on January 20, 2017

James W. Nicholson, Jr. (faculty), of Glen Allan, MS, on March 17, 2017

Sara A. Gunter (attended), of Tupelo, MS, on January 29, 2017

James N. Norman ‘61, of Cedar Hill, TX, on April 23, 2017

Charles F. Guynes ‘50, of Jackson, MS, on February 27, 2017

Glenn E. Norwood ‘50, of Oxford,MS, on December 27, 2016

John A. Haas (faculty), of Battle Creek, MI, on January 07, 2017

Elizabeth Norworth ‘49, of Memphis, TN, on January 10, 2017

Ottis R. Hankins (friend), of Cleveland, MS, on March 22, 2017

Alece C. Owens ‘98, of Jackson, MS, on March 13, 2017

Bessie S. Gallaspy (attended), of Shreveport, LA, on August 21, 2007 Donald D. Gann ‘77, of Vicksburg, MS, on April 20, 2017

Dianne D Hanos ‘64, of Greenville, MS, on June 10, 2017

Curtis W. Parker ‘74, of Hurley, MS, on March 31, 2017

Danny E. Harrison (faculty), of Montgomery, AL, on February 19, 2017

Eddie L. Peacock ‘48, of Madison, MS, on April 03, 2017

William G. White (attended), of Biloxi, MS, on May 10, 2017 Odis E. Wilkinson, Jr. ‘86, of Vicksburg, MS, on April 12, 2017 Jefferson E. Williams ‘63, of Lena, MS, on April 27, 2017 Jerry L. Williams (attended), of Lena, MS, on April 27, 2017 Virginia C. Williams (attended), of Biloxi, MS, on May 27, 2017 Bettye F. Williams ‘58, of Doddsville, MS, on April 25, 2017 Tommy Williams (attended), of Kosciusko, MS, on June 06, 2017 Gaylon Wise (attended), of Aberdeen, MS, on June 18, 2017 Phillip C. Wright (attended), of Ruleville, MS, on December 09, 2016 Janet J. Young (attended), of Greenwood, MS, on April 14, 2017 Nina Young (attended), of San Francisco, CA, on April 19, 2017 Douglas A. Young, Jr. ‘67, of Kansas City, MO, on March 05, 2017 Mary Jo Zaydon ‘73, of San Diego, CA, on July 07, 2016

Due to space limitations, listing priority in the “Class Notes/In Memoriam” 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 Box 3104, Cleveland, MS 38733. The Association relies on numerous sources for “Class Notes” information and is unable to verify all notes with individual alumni.

*all class notes and memoriams are current as of July 24th, 2017

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 45

IN MEMORIAM Fred A. Foster, ’54 Are you already a Life Member of the DSU National Alumni Association? Take it to the next level!

be a


LIFE MEMBER and help a deserving future student !

THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY for current, paid-in-full Life Members of the Delta State University National Alumni Association to provide additional annual support to the Association with a yearly taxdeductible gift of $100 which goes n will feature the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni and Foundation House. directly to the Hugh Ellis Walker d like you to consider joining untary way for current paidScholarship Fund. SU STA INI

NG LIF E ME MB ER • 20 16

lumni Association to provide -deductible gift of $100 which


NG LIF E ME MB ER • 20 16

The late Hugh Ellis Walker Sr. served as Executive Director of the Alumni & Foundation Office from 19691993. He was instrumental in developing the Alumni Association Scholarship fund. This special scholarship is named for him.

umni nsfer ersity Hugh

this ional Ellis

Hugh Ellis Walker Sr. passed away on November 14, 2014, in Cleveland. Mr. Walker served as Executive Director of the Alumni & Foundation Office from 1969–1993. He was instrumental in developing the Alumni Association Scholarship fund for incoming freshman and transfer students whose parents are “Active” dues-paying members of the National Alumni Association. The scholarship is named for him.

Sustaining Life Member funds raised are used strictly for the HUGH ELLIS WALKER ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP. The one-time scholarship is given to incoming freshmen and transfer students whose parents are alumni of Delta State University and dues-paying members of the Alumni Association.

Join as a ning Life Member for 2016 Join as a Life Member ning Sustai for 2016 The 2016 lapel

2016 lapel pin will feature the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni

pin will featur e the Hugh Ellis

Walker Alumn

New Sustaining Life Members will receive a one-of-a-kind commemorative lapel pin.

i and Foundation ate Universit House. Foundation House. y Nationaland Alumni Associat ing Life Mem ion would like ber for 2016. you to The program emb ers of like ider joining the you on would to consider joining is a voluntary waySUS TAIcons Delta Stat G LIF SUSTA eLIFE Univ INING nnual support E ME MB forNINcurr ersit y Nati MEM BER ent ER paid onal is a voluntary for current paidto way • the Association • 2016 SUSTA Alumni Associat 201 6 SUS TAI to the Hug with a yearINING ion to provide LIFE MEM NIN G h Ellis ly taxational Alumni Association to provide BER • 2016 Walker Scho LIF E ME dedu ctible gift of $100 MB ER larship Fund. • 201 Alumni whic early tax-deductible gift of $100 which 6 feature the Hugh Ellis Walker will h


The 2016 lapel pin

and Foundation House.

consider joining Association would like you to SUSTA INING LIFE MEMB The Delta State University National Alumni ERpaid• The program is a voluntary way for current 2016 as a Sustaining Life Member for 2016. to provide University National Alumni Association in-full Life Members of the Delta State of $100 which gift le a yearly tax-deductib annual support to the Association with d are used additional strictly the Hugh Ellis Walker Scholarship Fund. for thetoHug directly goes h Ellis Walker which is give Alumni n to incomin g freshmen and e parents Walker Alumni transfer are alumni of Delta Stat ng mem and transfer e University bers of the Alum ni Association. holaUniversity ate rship is The Hu

rship Makes 46 Delta State Magazine • Summer/Fall 2017 a Di• ffe rence. ence. SUSTA INING


Mr. Foster was born Aug. 7, 1931, in Natchez, the youngest son of John and Martha Foster. He was a 1949 graduate of Natchez High School, a 1954 graduate of Delta State University and completed graduate studies at Auburn University in 1968. He was a star athlete through high school and college, lettering in five sports at Delta State, followed by a coaching and officiating career through the 1980s. Mr. Foster was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Claude Foster; and double first cousins, Helen Foster and Jack Foster. Survivors include one son, West Foster and wife, Katie, of Natchez; one daughter, Allison Foster of Vidalia; three grandchildren, West Foster Jr., Anna Margaret and Ben Foster, all of Natchez; mother of his children, Billie Ann West Foster of Vidalia; one brother, Charles Foster of Mobile, Ala.; great-grandchildren, Logan and Barrett Foster of Natchez; double first cousin, Louis Foster of Natchez and a very special friend, Madalene Carter of Meadville along with a number of nieces, nephews and friends.

James Donald Cooper Delta State University mourns the loss of James Donald Cooper who passed away Saturday April, 15, 2017. He was born October 17, 1941 to James Robert and Mildred Philley Cooper in Greenwood. He grew up in Drew where he graduated from Drew High School. He attended Delta State College and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1963 and a Masters of Education in 1968. He was the Band Director for West Tallahatchie School District for six years before beginning his career at Delta State University in 1969. He served as an Admissions Counselor, the Registrar, and Director of Admissions for the University. He retired from Delta State in 2001 and was bestowed the title of Registrar Emeritus. Until the fall of 2016 he had not missed a football game at Travis E. Parker Field at Horace L. McCool Stadium since it opened in 1970. He had attended every commencement since 1968 until December of 2016. James Donald had served as Master of Ceremonies for the Most Beautiful Pageants and Miss DSU Pageants for over 30 years. James Donald was elected as an Alderman for the Town of Boyle in 2009 and was elected Mayor in 2013. He is survived by his wife of 51 Years; Norma Vance Cooper, daughter; Mandy (Mark) Morse, son; Van (Christie) Cooper, three grandchildren; Emily and Clair Morse and Landry Cooper, and a sister, Mary Mildred Cooper Carver. The family requests memorials be made to the James Donald Cooper Memorial Band Fund: otherareas/jamesdonaldcooper.


Karen Logan Cummins, ’79 Karen Logan Cummins, 59, of Oakland, died Sunday, January 22, 2017 at her home with her loving husband by her side. She was born September 8, 1957 in Indianola and was the daughter of Raymond and Ileana Hughes Logan. Karen spent her childhood in Inverness, where she lived until graduating from college. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State University and an associate degree in business from Mississippi Delta Community College. Karen served as a Vice-President for Atmos Energy since 2012. She was responsible for operations in the Northern Region which includes the Delta region, the Southaven District and the Columbus and Tupelo areas. She began her career with Atmos as a local office clerk in 1979 in Greenville and progressed through administrative, marketing, and operations teams before assuming her current duties. After moving to DeSoto County in 1997, she became actively involved in the community. Karen is a past chairman of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council and currently served on the board and volunteers with the organization on both the governmental relations and industrial relations committees. She also served on the Community Advisory Board for Baptist Memorial Hospital and was a member of DeSoto County Business Women. She was a March of Dimes volunteer. She was a past board member of the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, the Southaven Main Street Association and the North Mississippi Homebuilders Association, the Greenville Homebuilders Association, Washington County Hospitality Association, and the Mississippi Restaurant Association and was a committee volunteer for From left: President William N. LaForge, Ann the Greenville Area ChamWeisinger, Karen Cummins, and Athletic Director ber of Commerce. She also Ronnie Mayers volunteered with the House of Grace domestic violence shelter in DeSoto County and the Jesse Brent Memorial Boat Racing association in Greenville to benefit the Mississippi Firefighters Burn Unit. She was also a life member of the Clark Lyon VFW Auxiliary in Indianola.

Billy Cummins (second from right), signed endowment agreements for the Karen L. Cummins Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of his wife Thursday with Delta State Chief Development Officer Gary Bouse (l to r), President William N. LaForge and Keith Fulcher, Special Assistant to the President for Donor Relations.

In May 2012, Governor Phil Bryant appointed Karen to the Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning Board to represent the Third (Northern) Supreme Court District for a term to expire May 7, 2021. She truly had a passion for education, and this was apparent while she volunteered and served as an I.H.L. representative until her death. Karen was preceded in death by her parents and her stepson, Brad Cummins. She leaves to cherish her memory her husband of 30 years, Billy Cummins of Oakland; brother, Raymond M. Logan of Augusta, Georgia; sister, Sharon Logan Wade of Inverness; and numerous nieces and nephews. In her memory, contributions may be made to the Karen Cummins Scholarship at Delta State University. The purpose of the fund is to establish a scholarship for a student attending Delta State University. Delta State President William N. LaForge said he was extremely grateful to the Cummins family. “Billy Cummins’s generous gift to the Delta State University Foundation is significant for two reasons. First, it honors a very special person — his wife, Karen — who was a Delta State alumna and served on the IHL Board of Trustees. Secondly, the gift supports a major foundation scholarship fund that Delta State has established, with Billy’s guidance, that will honor Karen’s memory in perpetuity, while providing funds for deserving students to attend Delta State far into the future,” LaForge said. “I am very grateful to Billy Cummins, his and Karen’s companies — Atmos and Entergy — and all donors who have contributed to this fund in Karen’s memory,” he added. “It is so fitting that we pay tribute to Karen Cummins in this meaningful way.” The current level of the endowment will provide approximately $2,000 annually to a qualified recipient. Checks should be made payable to Delta State Foundation, with the notation ‘Karen Cummins Scholarship’, & mailed to Delta State Foundation, DSU Box 3141, Cleveland, MS 38733. Donations may be made on-line at For more information, contact Gary Bouse, Delta State Chief Development Officer, at or 662-846-4704.

Summer/Fall 2017 • Delta State Magazine • 47


This spring, Delta State awarded degrees to more than 430 students. Congratulations & best wishes to these new alumni!

Photo by Rory Doyle

DSU Box 3104 1003 West Sunflower Road Cleveland, MS 38733 Address Service Requested

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

Delta State University Alumni Magazine  

Summer/Fall 2017 edition of the magazine for Delta State University Alumni and Friends

Delta State University Alumni Magazine  

Summer/Fall 2017 edition of the magazine for Delta State University Alumni and Friends