Fireside Chat

Joining President LaForge is Brennan Barham, a student with the Delta Music Institute.

We are now just days away from the much-anticipated opening of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, a historic addition to the culture and educational opportunities at Delta State and for the entire state of Mississippi.

Just two weeks ago, some of our Delta State students, who are enrolled in the Delta Music Institute, showed the city of Los Angeles and GRAMMY Recording Academy members one of the reasons that Delta State is the right location for this incredible Museum. The DMI All-Stars, a student band that covers songs of Mississippi GRAMMY-winning music, rocked the stage in the Clive Davis Theater in L.A. as part of the annual Mississippi Night held during GRAMMY Week. Performing alongside Mississippi musical legends like Cedric Burnside and Bobby Rush, our students performed for dignitaries, tourism leaders, politicians and special GRAMMY guests.

Opportunities like this are just one reason that Delta State is so excited about this new partnership with the GRAMMY Museum and the immediate benefits it will bring to our students and our community as a whole.

The entire Delta State family and larger community are excited to join in the opening events for GRAMMY Museum Mississippi this weekend, and we invite you to join us at 10 a.m. Saturday for the official ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Museum. Everyone is invited to attend and to stay for “Mississippi Music on the Grounds” during which the Museum will be open to the public and a number of Mississippi musicians will perform. On Sunday, the festivities continue with the Museum opening to the public at noon. “Gospel Music on the Grounds,” a concert featuring a number of gospel groups, will occur from 1 to 4 p.m. It is an exciting and ground-breaking time for our university and state, and we would love for you to be here and join in the fun.

Fireside Chat

Joining President LaForge is Dr. Temika Simmons, assistant professor of psychology, who is co-chair of the Winning the Race conference committee.

Delta State is gearing up for the third annual Winning the Race conference on March 28 and 29. It will be two days of meaningful dialogue that will build on the discussions from previous years.

This conference has been recognized for taking the lead on race relations by being honored with the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice award at the National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Delta State is pleased to host this unique and valuable dialogue concerning issues of importance to everyone in the Delta and in the State of Mississippi.

This year’s conference, titled “Winning the Race: Advancing Social Justice in Communities and Institutions,” promises to break new ground as we discuss educational and economic opportunities, engage Delta municipalities in collaborative conversation about our communities, and hear from world-class speakers.

Two highlight speakers will be featured during this year’s schedule: Tim Wise, the author of seven books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son,” and, Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation magazine, and an investigative journalism fellow at The Nation Institute.

To learn more about this award-winning conference, visit, and make plans to join us on campus March 28 and 29.

Fireside Chat

President LaForge is joined by Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of International Student Services and the Student Success Center at Delta State.

When President LaForge took office in 2013, one of his goals was to develop Delta State’s relationships with international institutions and to provide more exchange opportunities for our students. Over the past three years, Delta State has accomplished this goal by forming growing partnerships with Perm State University in Perm, Russia, The University of National World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and with John Paul II Catholic University (KUL) in Lublin, Poland.

This past spring, students, and faculty members from KUL visited campus and attended the International Conference on the Blues. President LaForge had the opportunity to serve as a visiting professor at KUL four times, and the university is excited to announce that this May, students from Delta State will visit KUL’s campus for two weeks to learn more about that university and to experience the culture of Poland. KUL is one of several universities with which Delta State has signed a memorandum of understanding to further develop international exchanges.

Students for this upcoming trip will be selected through a competitive application process, and all academic majors are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to full-time,undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees in law, particularly business law, international business and environmental law. KUL’s law school is known for their programs in these areas, and students will gain experience and knowledge that will set them apart as they begin to apply for jobs and graduate programs.

In other news on campus, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area will bring the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership to campus on Wednesday at noon in the Jacob Conference Center in Ewing Hall. Sponsored by the Delta State Diversity Committee and the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, the event will feature a collection of oral histories and photographs of African American church mothers from the Mississippi Delta which has been collected by Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele.