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Delta State = Okra Strong

Our hearts are heavy with the violent tragedy that has struck our ACHE South friends and family at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi when American History Professor Ethan Schmidt was shot and killed by his colleague, Shannon Lamb, who then committed suicide. We can hope in the power of community to heal our hearts as we send love, support, and caring to our Delta State friends. Marilyn Read, ACHE South Past Chair, wrote this note and wanted to share with the ACHE South family.

THANK YOU to each of you for reaching out to check on me this week. My Delta State family has gone through a senseless tragedy that should have NEVER happened. We all would like for our respective University’s to gain national attention, just NOT in this way. We have lost not only one colleague/friend but two, Dr. Ethan Schmidt, professor of History and Dr. Shannon Lamb, professor of Geography. I had the privilege to work directly with Ethan in our first year seminar class for freshman. On a personal note, Shannon was a high school classmate of mine. The Shannon that committed this senseless act, is not my childhood friend. Each family lost a father, a son, or a spouse in this tragedy. My heart hurts for both families left to deal with the aftermath.

My Delta State family is slowly healing, as we will be for quite some time.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  My department had a Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy kickoff event scheduled yesterday for 650 high school students to be on our campus for this major food packing service project as part of their program. Of course, the event was cancelled because of everything that happened. However, we decided to utilize the two parts of the program we already had ready to go for the day…the dry good meal packing and hot lunch packing (to be distributed to area children groups/Salvation Army/law enforcement/emergency management). Our faculty/staff/students were given a 2 hour notice that we needed volunteers to pack non- perishable food boxes to be distributed in our state. We had over 170 volunteers that packed 101,000 dry good meals and 65 volunteers that packaged and delivered 2500 hot lunches in the local area. This is how WE started the healing process at Delta State.

Thanks again for your concern for myself and MY DSU. We are staying OKRA STRONG.

Elected to National Board

ACHE South is pleased to announce that two South members have been elected to the ACHE National Board. Amy Johnson, East Tennessee State University, and Patti Spaniola, University of West Florida, were elected as Directors at Large. They each will serve a 3 year term beginning November 2015. Congratulations, Amy and Patti! The South region looks forward to your leadership! Learn more about Amy and Patti.

Meaningful Planning Meeting in Charleston

The ACHE South conference planning committee met June 28 – 29, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, to begin our work on next year’s spring conference to be held at the Francis Marion Hotel. As excited as we are to show you the art, architecture, style and flavors of the Holy City, it would be improper not to pause and acknowledge the sadness we shared with its citizens during our trip. Only days after the murders of 9 members of the Emanuel AME Church, we watched as mourners lined the street in reverent silence with sympathy for their neighbors. Throughout the city we saw banners and signs of support. Charleston is determined to set an example for us: an example of how to grieve without violence, how to be strong for one another and how to find their way forward together.

We all had felt that Charleston would be a great place for us to gather for the Spring Conference, but now we know Charleston is far more than a gracious host city. There are deep roots and strong bonds here. There is much more we can learn from this beautiful place and its vibrant people.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us in Charleston, April 18-20, 2016. Check back here for updates from the planning committee in the coming months.

For information about how to support Mother Emanuel Church see this website: