Fireside Chat

President LaForge is joined by Mikel Sykes, president of the Student Government Association, to discuss the State of the Student Union address set for 5 p.m. tonight.

Mikel is the only student in Delta State’s history twice-elected president of SGA and a shining example of how Delta State is preparing students to go on to bright careers in a wide variety of professional endeavors.

Tonight, Mikel will deliver a “State of the Student Union” address to other students. This address comes at a time when he is not only leading the Delta State student body but also representing university students across the state in his role as vice president of the Institutions of Higher Learning Student Body President’s Council. The Council is comprised of the student body presidents from each of the eight public four-year institutions in Mississippi, and he is serving under President Jeffrey George, SGA president from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Just last week, Mikel was Delta State’s 2016 student honoree at the annual HEADWAE luncheon. The Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence, was established by the state Legislature to honor academically talented students and faculty members at each of Mississippi’s 34 public and private higher education institutions.

In other news on campus, last week Delta State hosted a delegation from Perm State University in Perm, Russia. This is the third time delegates from Perm State have visited campus, and their visit was filled with meetings and classes that promise to help further develop exchange opportunities for students and faculty from both universities. Be on the lookout for other exciting news regarding exchange opportunities for Delta State students as a group of students and faculty members are preparing to visit John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) in Poland. Delta State hosted a group of KUL faculty and students in October of 2015, and the upcoming trip will mark the first opportunity for Delta State students to visit KUL’s facilities. KUL is one of several universities abroad that Delta State has signed a memorandum of understanding with to further develop international exchanges.

Fireside Chat

Joining President LaForge are three people who have been at the center of planning and implementing an exciting new Blues curriculum program: Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning which hosts the annual Blues conference on campus; Tim Colbert, a member of the Delta State faculty who is helping to lead this new course of study; and Scott Baretta, who will be teaching one of the courses.

This spring, Delta State is announcing an exciting edition to its programs of studies as the university begins a new Blues Studies curriculum that will offer certificates for international scholars of Blues music. The program will begin this summer with plans to expand the program to include an advanced certificate in the summer of 2017.

Plans are quickly taking shape with faculty already enlisted to teach courses including Sociology of the Blues, Material Culture of the Blues, Blues Literature, and Psychology of the Blues. This program will further Delta State University as an internationally recognized home for academic studies related to the Blues genre, which is very fitting since the Delta is home to where this important genre first began and is the epicenter of Blues music and history.

Delta State draws hundreds of Blues scholars to campus each year for its International Conference on the Blues, an innovative event that is one of several programs related to building the university’s presence as an academic center of music and culture. The hope is that the program will also further expand the entire Mississippi Delta region’s influence as a premier destination for Blues education and culture.