Kent Wyatt, president emeritus of Delta State University, will serve as president of the Delta Council in 2005-06. Wyatt's election was announced at the Delta Council's 70th annual meeting on the Delta State campus, May 6.
Serving with Wyatt as vice presidents will be Buddy Bass, Clarksdale, Miss.; Tom Gresham, Indianola, Miss.; Jimmy Hollingsworth, Hollandale, Miss.; Campbell F. Melton, Tunica, Miss.; Moses Newsome, Itta Bena, Miss.; and Ann Shackelford, Scott, Miss. Joe Ricotta, Indianola, Miss., will be treasurer.
The new president succeeds Ken Murphree of Tunica, Miss. Murphree becomes chairman of the Delta Council's executive committee.
Wyatt said it was a “distinct honor” to be named the 71st president of Delta Council, the chamber of commerce-type organization that plays a role in almost every aspect of life in the Mississippi Delta.
“There are probably few people in the audience who have attended as many annual meetings of the Delta Council as I have,” said Wyatt to a round of laughter. (The president of Delta State University traditionally welcomes the Council members to the campus on Delta Council days as Wyatt did for 24 years.)
“I have been amazed during all those years at the quiet, but effective ways the Delta Council takes care of its No. 1 priority — the Mississippi Delta region. It's been said you can accomplish anything if you don't care who gets the credit and that could be the theme song of the Delta Council.
A native of Kentucky, Wyatt served as president of Delta State from 1975 to 1999 and has held the rank of professor of education at the university from 1969 to the present. He graduated from Delta State and received his master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and doctorate from the University of Mississippi.
A high school teacher and principal before his appointment as a professor at Delta State, Wyatt has also completed advanced studies at Harvard University.
He was elected president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the board of directors of the Grenada Banking System and the Bolivar Medical Center Foundation. He is a deacon at Cleveland's First Baptist Church.
He received the Herman Glazier Award for Mississippi Administrator of the Year and was named the All-American Football Foundation's Outstanding College President Award.
He is married to the former Janice Collins of Rolling Fork, Miss. They have two daughters, Mrs. Tara Mounger and Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, both of Jackson, Miss., and three grandchildren.
The Delta Council also recognized several outstanding farmers, researchers and businessmen at the annual meeting:
Outstanding Rice Producer, Donald Gant, Merigold, Miss.
Outstanding Soybean Producer, Floyd Anderson Jr., Inverness, Miss.
Outstanding Cotton Ginner, Celeste Malatesta, Columbus Gin, Shaw, Miss.
Conservation Farmer, Harvey “Rodge” Rodgers, Clarksdale, Miss.
Outstanding Contributions to Hardwood Forestry, Sam Land, Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University.
Outstanding Contribution to Aquaculture, John Dillard, Leland, Miss.
Researcher of the Year, Stanley Anthony, USDA Cotton Ginning Laboratory, Stoneville, Miss.
Membership Chairman of the Year, Clifton Porter, Filter, Miss., and Clark Carter, Rolling Fork, Miss.