David Abney, chairman and chief executive officer of United Parcel Service and a Pillow Academy graduate, will give the keynote address at the 84th Annual Meeting of Delta Council.

The meeting will be held June 7 at Delta State University’s Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) in Cleveland.

“Delta Council is pleased that our keynote speaker is a native son of the Mississippi Delta who has climbed the heights of business and commerce,” said Delta Council President Woods Eastland. “David Abney’s story is one of hard work, dedication and inspiration, especially to those of us who live in the Mississippi Delta. All of us are proud to see one of us reach such heights of business achievement.”

Abney was born in Cleveland and lived in Clarksdale, Leland, and Oxford before his family settled in Greenwood when he was 11 years old. After graduating from Pillow, he became the first in his family to attend college.

As a 19-year-old Delta State University student, Abney started working night shift for UPS, loading packages onto vans. After graduating from DSU in 1976, he decided to go full-time with his low-level UPS job and quickly became fascinated with the business. Over the next 40 years, he continued to move up through UPS until he was appointed chief executive officer in 2014 and chairman in 2016.

He regularly returns to Delta State, where he is a member of the board of directors for the university's foundation and sponsors an annual business conference at the college. David Abney is married to his college sweetheart, Sherry Tharp, and they reside in Atlanta.

The 2019 Delta Council Day will commence with the 16th annual Salute to Delta Honor Graduates Event at 9:15 a.m., held outside the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the lawn. These graduates are exemplary students from public, parochial and private high schools throughout the Mississippi Delta. Delta leaders will welcome the graduates, their families and school officials and present the graduates with certificates.

In addition, a $2,500 scholarship will be awarded to the top Delta Honor Graduate as selected by higher education officials. The top Delta Honor Graduate will be recognized on stage at the annual meeting during the business session.

At 10:30 a.m. in the BPAC auditorium, after the inaugural presentation of the colors and God and Country, the business session will proceed into the recognition of the 2019 Good Middling Community Service Award and the tradition of the Wear Cotton contest, followed by a special message from Abney, who will be introduced by Gov. Phil Bryant.

The tradition of a fried catfish luncheon and Achievement Awards Ceremony will wrap up Delta Council Day on the grounds of the Quadrangle on the Delta State cam-pus.

Sponsors for the meeting are BankPlus, Catfish Farmers of Mississippi, Cotton Inc., Delta State University, Mississippi Corn Promotion Board, Mississippi Land Bank, Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, Sanders, and Southern Ag Credit.

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