Mississippi Valley State University
Motto in English
|Live for Service|
|Students||2,406 (Fall 2018)|
|Colors||Forest green, Red, and White|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I (FCS)|
|Nickname||Delta Devils & Devilettes|
|Affiliations||Southwestern Athletic Conference|
Mississippi Valley State University (commonly referred to as MVSU, The Valley or Valley) is a public, historically black university in Mississippi Valley State, Mississippi. MVSU is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
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The institution, which opened in 1950, was created by the Mississippi Legislature as Mississippi Vocational College. The legislation to form the institution was signed into law by Governor Thomas L. Bailey on April 5, 1946. On February 10, 1950, Governor Fielding L. Wright served as the main speaker at the opening ceremony.
The legislature anticipated that legal segregation of public education was in danger because there were increasing challenges to it through legal suits (in 1954 it was declared unconstitutional in the United States Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education). It created this institution in the hopes that it would attract African American applicants who might otherwise apply to Mississippi's premier whites-only institutions: the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
State leaders hoped that founding separate institutions of higher learning for Mississippi's black population would reduce the pressure to integrate the state's premier universities. To attract the support of those who opposed any government action to provide higher education to blacks, those proposing creation of M.V.C. used the term "vocational" to imply that the institution's main purpose would be to train blacks to take on blue-collar jobs.
The site selection committee appointed by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning had originally selected as a site the former Greenwood Army Air Base, which had many facilities ready for use and thus would have been a very cost-effective choice. The Greenwood Commonwealth celebrated the choice. However, residents of Carroll County, Mississippi objected to having the institution located near their properties.
After further study, the committee selected a site in Itta Bena. Whites of that town also objected to having a black institution nearby, so the final site chosen was away from the downtown area, and on land that was not good for cultivation.
In 1964, Mississippi Vocational College was renamed Mississippi Valley State College. In February 1969, a nonviolent student boycott, which included eight hundred students, male and female, was organized to protest President James Herbert White's administration. The students demanded required courses in black history, more library purchases of works by black writers, remedial courses in English and Math, scheduling of prominent black speakers, and fewer curfew restrictions.
In the early 1970s, civil rights leaders continued to protest the inequalities in higher education opportunities offered to whites and blacks in Mississippi. In an effort to defuse some of the criticism, Gov. Bill Waller proposed changing the names of three black institutions from "colleges" to "universities". Thus, in 1974, the institution was renamed again, as Mississippi Valley State University.
Following President White, Dr. Ernest A. Boykins, Jr. took office in July 1971. Dr. Joe L. Boyer became MVSU's third president in January 1982 and was followed by Dr. William W. Sutton in July 1988. Dr. Lester C. Newman became the fifth president of MVSU on July 1, 1998. Dr. Donna H. Oliver became MVSU's sixth president and first female president on January 1, 2009. On November 6, 2013, Dr. William Bynum took office as MVSU's seventh president.
In May 2017, Bynum departed MVSU to become president of Jackson State University. Dr. Jerryl Briggs, who served as executive vice president and chief operating officer in Bynum's administration, was named interim president of the university shortly afterwards. On October 19, 2017, Briggs was officially named as the university's eighth president.
The campus is on a 450-acre (180 ha) tract of land adjacent to U.S. Highway 82 in unincorporated Leflore County, in the Mississippi Delta region, 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Itta Bena. The university is about 5 miles (8.0 km) from Greenwood, about 50 miles (80 km) from Greenville, about 100-mile (160 km) north of Jackson, and about 120-mile (190 km) south of Memphis, Tennessee.
Mississippi Valley State University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through the following entities:
- College of Art & Sciences
- College of Professional Studies
- College of Education
- Graduate School
MVSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Activities include theater, orchestra, and band. Students may work on the Delvian (yearbook) or the Delta Devil Gazette (student-run newspaper). Leadership opportunities are found in the Student Government Association (SGA) or other organizations such as English Club, Future Teachers of America, and Trades and Industries Club.
NPHC Greek-letter organizations
- Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Epsilon Pi chapter
- Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Zeta Phi chapter
- Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Eta Alpha chapter
- Iota Phi Theta fraternity, Eta Kappa chapter
- Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Zeta Zeta chapter
- Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Beta Theta chapter
- Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Delta Phi chapter
- Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, Kappa Chi chapter
- Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Psi Gamma chapter
Non-NPHC Greek-letter organizations
- Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter
- Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority, Zeta Psi chapter
- Alpha Phi Sigma national criminal justice honor society, Zeta Tau chapter.
- Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity, Delta Pi chapter
- Tau Beta Sigma national honorary band sorority, Gamma Eta chapter
Mean Green Marching Machine
Mississippi Valley State University's marching band is known as the "Mean Green Marching Machine" (also goes by the moniker of "The Mack Of The SWAC") and the "Satin Dolls" are the featured dance squad. The band holds the distinction of being the first African-American band to participate in the Tournament of Roses parade, which it achieved in 1965.
MVSU's colors are forest green and white. Their nickname is the Delta Devils for men's teams and Devilettes for women's teams. MVSU sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (I-AA for football) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Famous alumni include NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice of the 1984 football team.
The Mississippi Valley State University Department of Athletics currently sponsors intercollegiate:
- Cross country
- Cross country
In 1986, the men's basketball team received a 16 seed in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. There, they faced #1 ranked Duke on national television in the first round. The Delta Devils almost became the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history. They forced 23 turnovers and led 40-37 at the half before falling 85-78.
In 2016, MVSU completed $17.5 million worth of renovations to the Harrison HPER Complex. The 87,042 square foot multi-purpose arena is home to MVSU men's basketball, women's basketball, volleyball, and commencement ceremonies. The facility includes features such as fitness centers, an indoor walking track, and three technology HPER classrooms.
WVSD 91.7 FM
MVSU's on-campus public radio station is WVSD 91.7 FM. The station offers a variety of programming involving MVSU, current events, and music.
|Katie Hall||1960||Former U.S. Representative from Indiana from 1982 to 1985, and former city clerk of Gary, Indiana|
|David Lee Jordan||N/A||Democratic Mississippi State Senator since 1993|||
|Ferr Smith||1964||Democratic Mississippi state representative since 1993|||
|Bryant Clark||1998||Democratic Mississippi state representative since 2004, and a Mississippi Attorney|||
|Chris Epps||1982?||Longest-serving commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections|||
|Dr. Gary A. McGaha, Ph.D.||1971||President of Atlanta Metropolitan State College|
|Jerry Rice||1985||Former NFL wide receiver; member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|Dr. Claude Perkins||1964||12th President of Virginia Union University|
|Willie Totten||1985||Former Head coach of the Delta Devils football team|
|Patricia Hoskins||1991||former player for the women's basketball team, the Devilletes, who once held the record for NCAA Division I women's basketball points scored in a career|
|Carl Byrum||N/A||NFL running back|
|Ashley Ambrose||1992||NFL cornerback|
|Fred Bohannon||1982||Former NFL defensive back|||
|Vincent Brown||1987||Former NFL linebacker and current college football coach|
|Cadillac Don & J-Money||Rappers|||
|Parnell Dickinson||1975||Former NFL quarterback|
|Ricky Feacher||1975||Former NFL wide receiver and member|
|Alphonso Ford||1992||Former NBA and Euroleague basketball player|
|James Haynes||1984||Former NFL linebacker (1984-1989) for the New Orleans Saints|
|Corey Holmes||2000||Mayor of Metcalfe, Mississippi; former CFL running back|
|Jason Holmes||first born-and-raised American to debut in the Australian Football League with St Kilda Football Club|||
|George Ivory||1988||Current men's head basketball coach at University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff|
|Dewayne Jefferson||2001||Former professional basketball player|
|Deacon Jones||1960||Former NFL defensive end; member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|Ronald Kirklin||1987||Major General in the United States Army. Former Quartermaster General and Commandant of the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee|
|Dave McDaniels||1967||Former NFL wide receiver|
|Melvin Morgan||1976||Former NFL defensive back|
|Zach Penprase||Israeli-American baseball player for the Israel National Baseball Team|
|Tyrone Timmons||2006||Arena Football wide receiver|
|Sam Washington||1981||Former NFL cornerback|
|Ted Washington, Sr.||1972||Former NFL linebacker|
|Danta Whitaker||1989||Former NFL tight end|
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