After the Procession of the Nobles, introductions of special guests including the LaForge family, and greetings from the state, the city, the foundation, the alumni, and the staff, Don Allan Mitchell, president of the Faculty Senate spoke to the Honorable U.S. Senator Thad Cochran during his greetings.
"Delta author Walker Percy wrote a great novel called ‘The Last Gentleman.’ I'm beginning to think that you, Sen. Cochran, the quiet persuader, as you are sometimes known, just might be the last gentleman in the United States Senate," he said.
Cochran then gave the inaugural address "on behalf of one of his brightest pupils."
"This is a special day for me because it is special on the basis of friendship. Wherever he has been he has always made it clear his affection for Delta State. Green is his favorite color," he said.
"One of his top priorities is to expand Delta State's influence beyond this region and this state."
Cochran expressed his support of LaForge's initiative to create an even more multi-cultural environment on Delta State's campus.
"Students, faculty, and the entire Mississippi Delta can benefit from this initiative. In some cases that might mean studying or traveling abroad, in others it might be befriending international students that are already living and studying here. Bill has the benefit of world traveling and experience as a professor of law in Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria.
"These experiences and his leadership capability and his dedication to Delta State make him an ideal fit for this challenge and for enhancing Delta State's role in the international arena," he said.
After giving a thumb up to the Delta State University Chorale for their performance of “In My Life” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, LaForge then took the oath of office.
"Mr. LaForge, I charge you to preside with fairness, humility and strength, striving always for excellence, knowledge and truth. I charge you to serve the university with good stewardship, protect and defend the university, and build the university to new heights. Mr. LaForge do you accept this charge," said Dr. Hank Bounds, commissioner of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Education.
With the words "I do," and the presidential medallion around his neck, Delta State's eighth president thanked those that stood before him, giving a standing ovation.
"I grew up on this campus … came of age here … and met many of my best friends on this campus," he said.
After accrediting his "early and deep love" for Delta State to his parents, LaForge revealed the Campaign for Delta State, which has a fundraising goal of $40 million.
"This campaign will transform Delta State for years to come," he said.
LaForge ended his response with expressing six points of vision as well as emphasizing his commitment to excellence for the university.
Lovers and supporters of the green and white surrounded Delta State's new president on Friday as the future of the school was placed on his shoulders.
During his greeting Mitchell left advice for everyone, including the new president in the words of John Wesleyan.
"It is great advice to you, and to all of us assembled here today. 'Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.'”