SID SALTER: Dilbert, Gilbert and Eggbert, a.k.a. Delbert, face roast

SID SALTER

SID SALTER

Far be it for a man whose birth certificate reads “Sidney Leo” to make fun of anyone’s name, but one has to admit that “Delbert Hosemann” is quite the moniker.

Despite a stellar career as primarily a tax lawyer and a man with a truly impressive resume of civic and charitable work, Delbert Hosemann wasn’t exactly a household name.

When he decided to seek the office of secretary of state in 2007, the New Orleans native who spent most of his childhood in Vicksburg was faced with the daunting task of building name identification for a name that was a little hard to say and a little difficult to remember.

Enter a little lady named Dorothy Deavers sitting on a park bench who, over the course of multiple TV commercials, called Hosemann Filbert, Wilbert, Engelbert, Dilbert, Gilbert and Eggbert – basically anything but Delbert – and the rest was history. “Ma’am, it’s Delbert” was Hosemann’s line, and he delivered it repeatedly and well.

Let’s hope Hosemann has held onto his sense of humor. Hosemann will be the main course during the 24th annual Mississippi Press Association Education Foundation Celebrity Roast on Jan. 30 at the Jackson Hilton.

Hosemann was elected to the secretary of state’s office in 2007. He earned his undergraduate degree in business from Notre Dame, a law degree from Ole Miss, and a Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University.

He was presented the George L. Phillips Community Service Award from the U.S. Department of Justice in appreciation for his distinguished service as chairman of Project Safe Neighborhoods and for his efforts in the Hurricane Katrina First Responder Assistance Project. Hosemann was also awarded the J. Tate Thigpen Award for exemplary leadership, support and commitment to the American Red Cross.

Hosemann is an avid hunter and marathoner. He belongs to the National Rifle Association, Delta Wildlife Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. He has completed both the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon and represented Mississippi in the Senior Olympics.

The annual event is held under the auspices of the MPA Education Foundation, which was established in 1983 to provide internships and scholarships for aspiring journalists and grants for instructional programs at in-state universities and colleges.

Prior honorees during the three-decade history of the MPA roast have included Sen. Thad Cochran, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, former Gov. Haley Barbour, Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, the late U.S. Rep. Sonny Montgomery, Tupelo banker and College Board President Aubrey Patterson, former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, journalists W.C. Shoemaker, Rick Cleveland and Bill Minor, the late Choctaw Chief Phillip Martin and the late entertainer Jerry Clower.

“Roasters” include: Clarion-Ledger political writer Geoff Pender; State Rep. Steve Holland, D-Tupelo; Hosemann’s former campaign manager Casey Phillips; friend David Russell; and Pulitzer Prize-nominated Clarion-Ledger editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey.

Tickets are $80 each or a table of eight is available for $600.

For more information, access www.mspress.org or call (601) 981-3060.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist and official spokesman for Mississippi State University. Contact him at (601) 507-8004 or sidsalter@sidsalter.com.