By Rory Doyle/The Bolivar Commercial
CLEVELAND — Delta State University President Bill LaForge doesn’t go anywhere without a spirited green tie.
LaForge’s green tie collection started forming before he became the new president of Delta State University on April 15.
“It started with my family when they gave me several for Christmas in anticipation,” said LaForge. “They were sort of a hopeful wish.”
At the time, LaForge was campaigning to become DSU’s eighth president after the retirement of Dr. John Hilpert.
“Whenever I came before the IHL board for interviews I would have on a green tie,” LaForge said. “People would always comment on them.”
And now that LaForge is more than two months into his new role, the green ties have taken on a special symbolic meaning.
“To this date I’ve worn a green tie to work every day. It’s another way to show the flag and create visibility for Delta State. Anywhere I go, this is my uniform.”
True to his word, LaForge’s ties have symbolized the school’s color every time he’s in business attire.
“Some of them are different shades of green but they all have green in them,” he said.
Friends, family and old acquaintances in town continue to contribute to his collection so he doesn’t have to wear the same ties too often.
“In context, it’s just a small thing in my job to show support and solidarity,” LaForge added. “As an ambassador of the university, it just makes sense. It’s green. It’s Delta State. It just works.”
The extra touch to his wardrobe has not gone unnoticed as LaForge continues his effort to connect with groups across the city, state and region.
“The first few weeks have been truly incredible fast-paced and high energy. We’re getting ready for the coming year and we’re on the road promoting the university and advancing interest.”
LaForge has attended numerous DSU functions and alumni events across the region and even Mississippi gatherings in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
“We want to ensure the university remains on solid financial ground,” he said. “Our twin sister challenge is boosting and stabilizing enrollment.
“I am optimistic that we’ll attract new and more students. Delta State has a great message with all of its programs and we’re working hard to get the word out.”
For now, the green ties are the additional symbolic step “tying” everything together.
“The ties, for me, tie everything together as we keep Delta State on the road to remaining a Mississippi university of national distinction,” said LaForge.
“In a quirky way, I wouldn’t want to play the game at a high level without wearing the right uniform. The symbolism pushes it over the top.
“I wouldn’t want to be picked off at first base without a green tie on.”
Information from: Bolivar Commercial, http://www.bolivarcom.com