Bicentennial events at Delta State

Joining President LaForge is Laurissa Backlin, assistant professor of music.

On December 10, 1817, the State of Mississippi joined the Union as the 20th state. During the past several months, the state has celebrated its 200th year of the statehood with a number of events that honor Mississippi’s people, places, music, food, agriculture, industry, sports legends and literary greats. On October 4 and 5, Delta State University will join the statewide celebration of Mississippi’s bicentennial.

Programming for the events is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, Winning the Race and the Quality Enhancement Plan at Delta State. Some of the events planned include a juried art show at the Bologna Performing Arts Center that will run from October 4th until the end of the month, and an evening poetry slam, featuring student submissions, that is set for 8 p.m. on October 5th at Mississippi Grounds coffee shop.

In other news on campus, the annual Mississippi Blood Services Drive competition between Delta State and Mississippi College is set for tomorrow, September 26, and Wednesday, September 27, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in front of the H.L. Nowell Student Union. And, the Wired for Sound concert series, hosted by our Delta Music Institute, is set for Wednesday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in downtown Cleveland. On Friday at 7 p.m., the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams will host Rhodes College, and the Statesmen football team will travel to Clinton on Saturday to play rival Mississippi College at 7 p.m.

Enrollment increases at Delta State

In this edition of Fireside Chat, Delta State University President William N. LaForge discusses this year’s enrollment increase.

Delta State has some exciting news. After several years of decreasing enrollment, the university has seen enrollment increase for the fourth straight year. This fall, enrollment at Delta State is 3,789 students, an increase of 201 students or 5.6 percent over last year. This percentage increase is the largest among the state’s eight public universities.

As funding from the state continues to decline, enrollment and the resulting tuition are more important than ever, and the university is very pleased and proud of all of the institutional efforts that have contributed to the enrollment increase and also to increased retention rates.

In this video, President LaForge outlines six reasons for the increase.

In other news on campus, the Office of Student Affairs is hosting the 2017 Men’s Conference this week, and country music legend Tracy Lawrence will be performing at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Sept. 21. To find out more about these events, and to keep up with all of our news, events and activities, visit our website at

92nd Anniversary of Delta State

Joining President LaForge is Emily Jones, University Archivist.

This Wednesday, members of the Delta State family will come together to celebrate the university’s 92nd anniversary. Two years ago, we began hosting annual anniversary celebrations, and we will continue to do so as we prepare for the centennial celebration in 2025. Each year’s celebration has focused on a specific decade of the university’s history, and this year’s events will highlight the 1940s. For that reason, the celebration will be held in Whitfield gym, which is named for Governor Henry L. Whitfield, the governor who signed the bill creating the university in 1924.

Whitfield Gym, which was one of five buildings constructed with “Works Progress Administration” funding, was completed in time for classes to be held there for the winter quarter session. The outdoor pool, located beside the gym, had also been constructed with supplements from the WPA during World War II.  While the university had suspended all of its formal athletic programs, students were encouraged to remain active, and so the gym was the site for many war-year dances, intramural activities, and exercise classes, of which shuffleboard and table tennis were favorites.

In other news on campus, Wednesday is also the kickoff of the annual Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy on campus, which brings high school students from across the state to Delta State to learn skills that will expand their leadership abilities. And, on Friday, rice farmers and agriculturists from around the state will be on campus for the 27th Annual Rice Tasting Luncheon, and we are pleased to once again host this event and to honor all of the rice farmers in Mississippi.

To keep up with all of our news, activities and events, visit our website at