2003 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Hamilton

Senate Concurrent Resolution 597


     WHEREAS, longtime Executive Director of VSA Arts of Mississippi, Inc. (formerly Very Special Arts of Mississippi) and Professor Emerita at Mississippi State University, Dr. Jorja Pound Turnipseed of Starkville, Mississippi, has announced her retirement after many years of dedicated service to people with disabilities; and

     WHEREAS, "VSA" stands for "Vision, Strength and Artistic Expression"; the national organization was founded in 1974 as an affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and is an international organization that creates learning opportunities through the arts for people with disabilities.  The organization serves 4.3 million Americans by offering arts-based programs in creative writing, dance, drama, music and the visual arts implemented primarily through a vast network in 39 states, which includes VSA Arts of Mississippi; and

     WHEREAS, Dr. Turnipseed's professional activities and dedicated service are a matter of record:  for many years she taught the only teacher-training component dealing with music-based arts education for special learners in the state; member of the first Advisory Board for Very Special Arts, Washington, D.C. (1985-1988); Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Governor's Office of Handicapped Services (1981-1984); teacher-training programs listed as "Exemplary Training Program Activities/Mississippi State University" in the Arts Resource and Training Guide, published by the National Committee, Arts for the Handicapped (1981); Project Director of several research/development projects involving music-based arts education programs and children in Grades K-4; inducted into the Educational Hall of Fame, Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce, 1992; selected as "Outstanding Mississippi Woman 1988-1989", Mississippi State University (1989); honored with the "Outstanding Community Service Award", Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce (1986); recipient of the "Outstanding Professional Woman in Service Award", in 1981, and the first "Outstanding Faculty Woman Award" by Mississippi State University (1972); recipient of a Special Award for "Dedication and Leadership in Bringing Arts to the Lives of Disabled People", the first such award given, presented by the National Committee, Arts for the Handicapped (1985) presented sessions at professional meetings and conferences, including, but not limited to, Music Educators National Conference, Music Education for the Handicapped International Symposium, Council for Exceptional Children International Conference, Mid-South Educational Research Conference, Southern Arts Federation Arts Accessibility Conference, National School Board Association Presidents' Conference, and International President, Pilot Club International, a worldwide classified service organization for executives and professionals (1986-1987); and

     WHEREAS, from the beginning of a child's education to the time when he or she becomes an adult and pursues a career, research shows that the arts enhance both personal and academic success.  For people with disabilities, the arts represent a world of resources and opportunities for creative expression and success, enabling these individuals to contribute to our workplaces and communities; and

     WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we recognize the contributions of this Mississippi citizen whose dedicated research and service has broken new ground for people with disabilities through the arts, and brought honor to her university and community and to the State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the career of Dr. Jorja Pound Turnipseed, Executive Director of VSA Arts of Mississippi (formerly Very Special Arts of Mississippi) upon the occasion of her retirement, and extend the thanks of the Legislature for her dedicated service to people with disabilities through the arts, and the best wishes to her and her family for success in their future endeavors.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Dr. Turnipseed and be made available to the President of Mississippi State University and the Capitol Press Corps.