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Center for Distance Education to host Lunch & Learn this month

MSU News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 5:46pm

The Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State invites faculty and staff to the September Lunch & Learn series on Sept. 29 in Memorial Hall's Coskrey Auditorium. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. with the program starting at noon.

Michael Busby will present "CDE Support Services," an overview of the services available to help you market your distance programs and reach prospective students.

RSVP by Sept. 24 to

If you require special assistance relating to a disability, please contact JoLee Clark at 662-325-0299.

MSU honors Professor Rose Sebba with Steinway Artist celebration

MSU News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 3:12pm
	Rosângela Yazbec “Rose” Sebba, Mississippi State University music department professor of piano, theory and ear training, was honored Tuesday evening [Sept. 15] with a reception celebrating her prestigious Steinway Artist designation. A native of Brazil with more than 36 years of experience in piano performance, Sebba is among the select ranks of some 1,600 highly esteemed musicians from around the world who have chosen to play exclusively on pianos produced by internationally renowned piano manufacturer S

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Rosângela Yazbec “Rose” Sebba, Mississippi State University music department professor of piano, theory and ear training, was honored Tuesday evening [Sept. 15] with a reception celebrating her prestigious Steinway Artist designation. A native of Brazil with more than 36 years of experience in piano performance, Sebba is among the select ranks of some 1,600 highly esteemed musicians from around the world who have chosen to play exclusively on pianos produced by internationally renowned piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons. Among those congratulating Sebba during the celebration were (l-r) Barry E. Kopetz, MSU professor and music department head; Richard Blackbourn, dean of education; President Mark E. Keenum; and Robert Klingbeil, director of institutional sales for Amro Music Stores Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State University faculty member with more than 36 years of experience in piano performance was honored Tuesday [Sept. 15] with a reception celebrating her prestigious Steinway Artist designation.

Rosângela Yazbec “Rose” Sebba, the music department’s professor of piano, theory and ear training, is among the select ranks of some 1,600 highly esteemed musicians from around the world who have chosen to play exclusively on pianos produced by internationally renowned piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons.

During the Tuesday evening program at The Mill at MSU, President Mark E. Keenum expressed pleasure in having the opportunity to “honor one of the most distinguished members of our Mississippi State University family.”

“For us to have one of very own, Dr. Rose Sebba, recognized as a Steinway Artist exemplifies the quality that we are achieving and going to achieve at Mississippi State,” Keenum said.

Others featured on the prestigious Steinway Artist roster include classical pianist Lang Lang, jazz stars Diane Krall and Harry Connick Jr., pop icon Billy Joel, and legends Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein.

Last spring, MSU formally announced its commitment to make the university’s music department an All-Steinway School with the acquisition of a baby-grand and four vertical Steinway pianos. With the All-Steinway School designation, MSU would join a select group of more than 160 institutions of higher learning and conservatories around the world and become the only Mississippi school holding the prestigious honor.

Alumni and friends of the university may assist with gifts toward the All-Steinway Initiative, To contribute, contact Trish Cunetto at 662-325-6762 or

“We are working hard to become an All-Steinway School, and in working at the university level with our Foundation and with our leaders in Jackson and the legislature, I am very confident that we’ll have a new music department building for all of our faculty and students to enjoy,” Keenum added.

Others sharing words of praise for Sebba during the celebration included:

—Richard Blackbourn, MSU dean of the College of Education, who described Sebba as an accomplished pianist and a great person. “Rose has God-given talent, but she has worked hard to perfect her craft. She loves her students and colleagues and is a true team player, and she is the kind of role model we need for all of our faculty at Mississippi State,” he said.   

—Barry E. Kopetz, MSU professor and music department head, echoed those sentiments, adding, “Dedication, character, integrity, and nothing short of accepting perfection—Rose has all of these traits, yet she is humble about being a recipient of this fine award.”

—Robert Klingbeil, director of institutional sales at Amro Music Stores Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, said after meeting Sebba three years ago, “It didn’t take long for me to recognize her as being a sweet, genuine and exceptionally talented person. It also didn’t take long for me to see her enthusiasm for her students and doing what is best for her department at Mississippi State. Rose’s passion for Steinway pianos is nothing short of infectious.”

A self-proclaimed Bulldog, Sebba said her goal always is “to do what is best for my students and faculty friends.”

“In our department, we are family, and above all, we help each other, so we can help improve the lives of our students. I really want Mississippi State to be an All-Steinway School, and I’m sure that will happen,” she emphasized.  

In addition to a certificate officially distinguishing her as a Steinway Artist, Klingbeil presented Sebba with two framed pieces. One was an image depicting a grand piano on which Sebba’s name and those of other Steinway Artists are listed; the other was a portrait taken of Sebba.

Musical entertainment for the program was provided by Sebba and her fellow colleagues and students. They included professor Jackie Edwards-Henry, on piano; junior civil engineering major and music minor Gabrielle Tran of Pass Christian, piano; senior computer science and music double-major Candace B. Moreau of Florence, South Carolina, piano; junior music and foreign language/Spanish major Sarah E. Jenkins of Brandon, piano; senior music education major Tyler J. Stallings of Pontotoc, alto saxophone; lecturer Jeanette Fontaine, voice; instructor Karen Murphy, piano; magna cum laude music graduate Trent Smith of Noxapater, piano; assistant professor Anthony Kirkland, trumpet; and instructor Sheri Falcone, alto saxophone.

Founder and coordinator of the MSU piano pre-college program and retreat, Sebba currently serves as the Mississippi Music Teachers Association’s vice president for collegiate and national competitions. She also is featured on the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist Roster, and has given recitals, master classes and lectures in the United States, Mexico, Portugal, Costa Rica, England, Spain and her native Brazil.

This past summer, Sebba served as an examiner for the Taiwan-based International Piano Performance Examination Committee ( The six-week, all-expenses-paid trip to nine cities afforded her the opportunity to speak with more than 100 private piano teachers, as well as instruct more than 1,300 students on technique, style, literature, music history and theory.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, MSU’s music department offers a bachelor’s degree in four areas of music education, as well as a bachelor of arts in music. Learn more at, and

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Service planned for former student affairs VP Robert L. Jones

MSU News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 2:23pm

Robert L. Jones

A celebration of life service for former Mississippi State Vice President for Student Affairs Robert L. Jones will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Stewart Family Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas.

Jones, 87, died on Sept. 10 at Hospice of East Texas. A native of Russellville, Arkansas, he graduated from Arkansas Tech University in 1950, and then pursued a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. He completed his Ph.D at Arkansas in 1966. He served with the Seventh Division Artillery during the Korean War, and was awarded the Bronze Star.

Jones began two decades of service at Mississippi State University in 1967, where he was hired as the first vice president for student affairs and charged with initiating and implementing a modern, professional organization to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and growing student body.

Jones brought a level of professionalism and national networking to MSU, including mentoring of young staff, establishing trained residence hall head residents, a student counseling and career/placement center, collaboration with freshman academic departments, aggressive student recruitment programs, student leadership training programs, freshmen, parent orientation programs and intramural programs.

Jones was challenged immediately to defuse and redirect student activities in the midst of society’s upheavals. Some of the volatile themes included the Civil Rights Movement, the Jackson State and Kent State tragedies, the John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, the Vietnam War protests, and the Women’s Liberation activities, including Title IX implementation.

In April 2013, a new Hall of Honor at Mississippi State paid tribute to Jones and his colleagues who provided sustained and distinguished service at MSU. (See more at

After leaving MSU, Jones served at the University of Texas at Tyler as vice president for administration and as chief student affairs officer from 1984-1994. He resumed full-time graduate teaching in 1994 as professor in higher education leadership at UT-Tyler. He retired in 2000 as professor emeritus.

This past summer, the East Texas Chapter of Mississippi State University Alumni Association announced the naming of the chapter’s scholarships in honor of Dr. Robert L. Jones.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley M. Jones; four children, Sarah Jones Kersch Peterson and husband Brian, Robert Bradford Jones and wife Ronni, Melinda Maxwell Connolly and husband Doug, and Randall E. Maxwell; one brother, Ralph N. Jones and wife Hazel; 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was the father of the late Susan Jones Zachery Swink, and the brother of the late Shirley Jones Townsend.

MSU study reveals positive outcomes of pre-K experiences

MSU News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 2:08pm
A new study reveals the important role that pre-K experiences have upon children’s future academic achievements. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Laure Bell

A new study reveals the important role that pre-K experiences have upon children’s future academic achievements. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE—Mississippi students attending pre-kindergarten programs are more likely to succeed in the K-12 environment than their peers who enter the system without a pre-K experience, researchers at Mississippi State University have found.

For the first time, using student-level data from the Mississippi Department of Education, the study tracks the influence of pre-K experiences on third grade reading achievement in Mississippi. Researchers also examined two additional key markers of success -- the impact of third grade reading on eighth grade reading proficiency, as well as the impact of eighth grade reading on graduation.

Key findings of the study include:

--Mississippi children who attended pre-K (Title I and/or locally-funded programs) were 1.5 times more likely to be proficient in 3rd grade reading,

--Mississippi children who were proficient readers in 3rd grade are 9 times more likely to be proficient readers in 8th grade, and

--Mississippi children who were proficient readers in 8th grade are 3.5 times more likely to graduate on time.

“While Mississippi has relied upon research from across the country regarding the important role that early investments in pre-K have upon children’s future academic achievements, we now have, for the first time, a study that demonstrates that investing early is making a positive difference in children’s academic attainment in Mississippi,” said Linda Southward, coordinator of the Family and Children Research Unit at MSU’s Social Science Research Center.

The research team utilized a retrospective methodology so that analyses could be made on the same cohort of students comparing their 8th grade reading scores to their 3rd grade reading scores. MCT2 language arts test scores were used since data from the recently adopted 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessments were not available.

Ben Walker, lead data analyst for the study, notes that these figures are likely underestimating the effects of pre-K on future academic achievement. “Because MDE’s enrollment data only accounts for students who attended Title I or locally funded pre-K, the effects of pre-K enrollment on achievement scores are best viewed as conservative estimates.”

In 2013, the Mississippi legislature passed the Early Learning Collaborative Act, marking the beginning of a state-funded pre-K investment. As a result, 11 pre-K collaborative programs, located around the state began operation in the 2014-2015 school year, serving approximately 1,700 students. The study however examined the approximately 4,100 children enrolled in Title I and/or locally funded pre-K programs. Combined, children enrolled in the collaborative programs, Title I and locally funded pre-K programs represent less than 14 percent of Mississippi’s 44,000 four-year-olds.

A division of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University, the Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU) conducts research on issues affecting the health, safety, education and well-being of children and families. The study noted above was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. To access the policy brief, “Increasing the Odds: Predictors of Academic Success for Mississippi’s Children,” go to

Sports Hall of Fame to celebrate 1980 upset of Bama

MSU News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 1:21pm
An iconic photo of the scoreboard at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson shows the final tally in the Mississippi State University football team’s improbable 6-3 upset of No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 1, 1980. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Bulldogs’ victory with a banquet and dinner Wednesday [Sept. 23].

An iconic photo of the scoreboard at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson shows the final tally in the Mississippi State University football team’s improbable 6-3 upset of No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 1, 1980. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Bulldogs’ victory with a banquet and dinner Wednesday [Sept. 23].

Contact: Zack Plair

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Of all Mississippi State football traditions that have developed since the land-grant university first fielded a team in 1895, one game has come to represent a pinnacle of the program’s heritage.

On Nov. 1, 1980, the Bulldogs shocked the sports world with a 6-3 upset victory over top-ranked Alabama at Jackson’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Emory Bellard was the Bulldogs’ head coach, while the Crimson Tide was headed by the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant.

The MSU victory both snapped a 28-game Tide winning streak and broke State’s 22-game losing streak to their cross-border Southeastern Conference rival. It also helped MSU to a 9-3 season record, including a 5-1 mark in SEC play.

To help celebrate the game’s 35th anniversary and the 1980 season, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson is sponsoring a Wednesday [Sept. 23] banquet at its 1152 Lakeland Dr. facility. The event will kick off with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner program at 7.

Tickets are $100 each and may be reserved at or by calling 601-982-8264.

“I still get chills when I think of some of the things that happened that day; I believe it’s the greatest victory in Mississippi State history,” said Rick Cleveland, a retired Clarion-Ledger sports reporter now serving as the Hall of Fame executive director. “I can’t believe it’s been 35 years. To me, the memories are as fresh as they can be.”

Now is in his fourth year with the Hall of Fame, Cleveland said fall fundraising events such as this are critical to help cover operating and program costs for the only venue of its kind in Mississippi.

He recalled how a crowd of 50,891—the largest at the time ever to attend a Mississippi sporting event—had seen the Bulldogs take the game’s lead early in the fourth quarter and hang on until the clock ran out.

Bellard, credited with inventing the then-widely popular wishbone offense that Alabama also ran, had worked throughout the preceding week to teach his defensive coaches and players how best to stop it, Cleveland said.

MSU’s defense stifled the Tide for most of the game, but the previously unstoppable team from Tuscaloosa successfully drove down the field in game’s final minutes and reached the Bulldog four-yard line with only seconds to play.

Happily for MSU, defensive end Tyrone Keys forced a fumble that his maroon-and-white-clad teammates recovered to secure the victory.

Cleveland said the 35th anniversary celebration will feature video highlights from the epic upset as described by Jack Cristil, legendary Voice of the Bulldogs.

The evening also will feature a panel of four former players, including Keys, defensive tackle Glen Collins, middle linebacker Johnie Cooks and freshman starting quarterback John Bond. Cleveland will serve as panel moderator.

All names in MSU’s pantheon of football heroes, the panelists will share personal perspectives of that long, hot afternoon struggle and take questions from the audience.

Cooks, a longtime Starkville resident, went on to a 10-year career in the National Football League and played for the Super Bowl XXV champion New York Giants in 1990. He said he relishes the opportunity to gather again with former teammates and recall the Bulldogs’ victory over Alabama.

“What I really got out of that game was what it did for the MSU family,” Cooks said. “I got more pleasure from that than I got for myself in winning the game.”

Keys also enjoyed a long NFL career and helped the Chicago Bears win the 1985 Super Bowl. He said he regularly utilizes the 1980 experience against Alabama in his current role as director of the All Sports Community Service in Tampa, Florida. The organization helps high school students develop a successful “game plan” for their adult years, he explained.

“It will be great to go down memory lane to see how a group of guys and the coaching staff came together to be a part of history,” Keys said. “We’re still talking about this game 35 years later, and that shows how important it was.”

Another longtime NFL player who also starred for the Bulldogs in 1980 was offensive lineman Kent Hull. A Pontotoc native who died in 2011 in Greenwood, he went on to become an all-time great center for the Buffalo Bills and was key to the team’s four Super Bowl appearances.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Mississippi State hosts UAS alliance, FAA

MSU News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 1:01pm
FAA Southern Region Administrator Dennis Roberts was at Mississippi State Tuesday [Sept. 15] for a meeting of the MSU-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Jim Laird

FAA Southern Region Administrator Dennis Roberts was at Mississippi State Tuesday [Sept. 15] for a meeting of the MSU-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.--The Mississippi State-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) and the Federal Aviation Administration met Tuesday [Sept. 15] for a press conference and public meeting, and officials are excited about the future of unmanned aerial systems.

“Our best days are just starting,” said David Shaw, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development, as the meeting’s focus turned to the initial challenges ASSURE’s researchers are tackling.

He credited the team for their commitment over the past six years to arrive at this week’s gathering of regulators, scientists and industry representatives who are working together to integrate unmanned aircraft safely into the nation’s airspace.

The opening round of research funding of approximately $5 million appropriated by Congress will address the following scope of work:

--Air to air impact of UAS and manned aircraft will model what happens when UAS and manned aircraft collide. Includes computer studies to find out what happens when a UAS gets ingested into a jet engine or impacts the aircraft itself. Wichita State University is the lead institution with support from Ohio State University and Mississippi State.

 --Air to ground UAS impact uses computer modeling to research what happens when a variety of different UAS impact objects on the ground. The University of Alabama-Huntsville is the lead with MSU, the University of Kansas and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University support.

 --Airworthiness standards validation will test industry-developed UAS airworthiness standards to determine if they make UAS safer. Kansas State University is the lead with support from the University of North Dakota and Wichita State.

 --UAS maintenance standards development will develop training and certification standards for UAS maintenance and UAS maintenance personnel. Kansas State is the lead with Embry Riddle and Montana State University support.

--Beyond visual line of sight procedures will research methods to allow safe beyond visual line of sight conditions using proven safety methods, such as NASA Ames’s unmanned traffic management system. North Dakota and New Mexico State University are working on this facet.

--Surveillance criticality will research if detect-and-avoid technology used for manned aircraft can be used in unmanned aircraft. Given that unmanned vehicles do not have a crew on board to repair or reset navigation aids, this research will investigate what happens if the UAS loses its detect and avoid systems. North Carolina State is the lead with MSU, Embry Riddle, North Dakota and Oregon State support.

--Human factors will research the unique differences in human factors -- ground station layout, information displays and emergency actions -- between manned and unmanned aircraft. This research also will address training impacts for pilots and visual observers of improved human machine interfaces. Drexel University is the lead with Embry Riddle, Ohio State and New Mexico State support.

According to ASSURE’s executive director at MSU James Poss, the center is working to provide the agency and industry with research to maximize the potential of commercial unmanned systems with minimal changes to the current system regulating manned aircraft.

 â€śI’ve been very impressed by how fast the FAA moved to get us researching the information they need to safely integrate UAS into our national airspace. Normally it takes 15 months to allocate and evaluate research. With the FAA’s support, our team did it in 15 weeks.” Poss said.

ASSURE research will take place at the 21 member universities throughout the U.S. and globally.

 â€śThe UAS market is going to be huge -- in many ways it will change the way we live. However, we need research like this to make sure we enable this market safely,” Poss said.

For more about ASSURE, see

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Southaven rodeo ready for action

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 11:16am

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – After years apart, the Mid-South Fair and the Rodeo of the Mid-South are together again.

That’s a major plus for fair-goers and rodeo fans, which can enjoy all the family fun that comes with the overall experience.

PeteCarrsClassicLogo“One of the things that makes our rodeo special is the fact that this year its back with the fair,” said Lecile Harris, organizer of the annual rodeo, set for set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Landers Center in Southaven. “I moved the dates of the rodeo from April back to September so it could be with the fair.

“It’s indoors at one of the most up-to-date venues. It’s a beautiful coliseum, and it’s got all the sound, electronics and light show to help make for great production of the rodeo.”

It all adds to the mix of the rodeo, which will be produced by the crew of Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, one of the top companies in professional rodeo. Each of the past two seasons, the Carr firm has been nominated as stock contractor of the year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Last year, Carr earned contractor of the year honors in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

“I have so much confidence in Pete Carr and his company that once they drive up and once the crew goes to work, I don’t have to worry about that part of the rodeo,” said Harris, a longtime rodeo clown that has been named PRCA clown of the year four times; he also is enshrined in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“I don’t have to worry about the production of the rodeo once. I never have to worry about his crew, and I don’t have to worry about the stock. He’s got some of the best livestock in rodeo. I know when Pete and his crew get here, it’s going to be first class and everything’s going to be done right.”

That is a winning formula for rodeo fans and the cowboys and cowgirls who make a living in the sport. The Mid-South Rodeo falls on the final weekend of the 2015 regular season, making Southaven an even bigger destination for contestants all vying to finish among the top 15 in each event to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“I think a lot of the cowboys that are on the bubble (for making the NFR) will show up in Southaven,” Harris said.

Heith DeMoss

Heith DeMoss

A key ingredient will be the Carr animals. Each of the past two season, no other stock contractor in the PRCA has had more animals selected to the year-end championship, which takes place in December in Las Vegas.

That kind of animal athletes makes rodeos like Southaven an important stop along the rodeo trail.

“Pete’s got an eye for horses, and he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they’re talking about,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a six-time NFR from Heflin, La. “You want to go to Pete’s rodeos, because you’re going to get on something.”

When it’s mixed in with a strong production, a modern facility and great rodeo action, it’s the perfect home for fans.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

How to Display Proper Hygiene in Public

Lifestyles - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 10:51am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - You would think that public hygiene protocol would be a standard, taught in kindergarten, reviewed in middle school, and essential for your college diploma. Yet, more often than we care to admit, both knowing and remembering social "dos" and "don'ts" proves a challenge for even the best of us.

Stay classy and clean with a few simple tips on how to display good public hygiene.

Cover your mouth

This one is so simple we feel it deserves the first spot on the list. Hearing you sneeze or hearing you cough is one thing. Asking someone to feel you sneeze or feel you cough is entirely another. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Keep your hands clean by using your upper arm as your shield.

One tissue does not conquer all

Feeling under the weather? Looking and feeling your best can be truly difficult when your sinuses are working against you. Do your best to show your care for public hygiene by following the little guidelines you can still muster doing, like washing your hands regularly, using hand sanitizer, and refusing to reuse and reuse the same tissue while public.

Watch for bad habits

Unfortunate habits, like biting your nails, playing with your hair, or picking at your face can work against that clean, sophisticated image you desire. These habits are also a way that unwanted grime, oils and bacteria can spread from different areas on your body and eventually onto any object you touch. Do your best to keep your hands away from the top half of your body whenever possible.


Laundry is no fun, but there are few public hygiene no-nos worse than dirty clothes. Pick one day of the week to be laundry day and stick to it. Invest in a dependable iron and ironing board, and carry a stain remover in your purse or bag.


For smokeless tobacco users, a small, spill-proof portable spittoon is an essential and the ultimate display of good public hygiene. Fortunately, for these individuals, there's FLASR, an Atlanta-based company that specializes in exactly that. The FLASR spittoon has a chic design that is pocket-size and features a secure locking mechanism to avoid messy mishaps.

For more information about FLASR, visit

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