February 2011


DSU to Present the Dramatic "Fannie Lou Hamer Story" on Stage

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    Delaware State University will present the powerful Mzuri Moyo one-woman dramatic production “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story: Songs on a Rugged Road” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus. Mzuri Moyo in her portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer.   The dramatic play – which is being presented by the DSU Office of Student Affairs as part of the Black History Month observance – is free and open to the public.   Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the most talked about activists of the golden age of civil rights, was a prominent Mississippi freedom fighter during the 1960s. Her work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to promote voter registration in the South and her deep commitment to grass-roots anti-poverty projects made her a force to be reckoned with.   Ms. Moyo has traveled the country with her signature performance in the one-woman musical play on the life of the 1960s civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. The play, first showcased in 2001, has become the backdrop for voter registration wherever it is performed.   In 2002, Ms. Moyo received an AUDELCO Award – given annually to honor New York City African American Theatre works and thespians – for the Best Solo Performance.     A talented vocalist, the native of Patterson, N.J., has been enthusiastically received on cabaret and concert stages internationally. Ms. Moyo recently sang in Paraguay with the Opera for Peace, performing as one of three sopranos in a performance with the New York City Symphony.  

DSU's Feb. 26 "A Tribute to Donald Byrd" to Honor the Famed Musician

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DSU will celebrate the famed musician and artist-in-residence with performances of prose and gospel-jazz.

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    The Delaware State University Foundation, Inc., will celebrate a legendary jazz musician as it presents “Amazing Grace – A Tribute to Dr. Donaldson T.L. Byrd” from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Legendary jazz musician and DSU artist-in-residence Dr. Donald Byrd.   The Tribute to Dr. Byrd will feature an exciting afternoon of prose and gospel jazz highlighted by jazz artist and DSU alumnus Dr. Carlton Cannon and his group JABARI, which has performed with the legendary musician in the past.   JABARI features Mr. Cannon on sax (who as a DSU student was mentored by Dr. Byrd in the 1990s), longtime Philadelphia pianist Dennis Fortune, Baltimore guitarist Ron Smith, world traveled bassist Karl McNeil, master percussionist Kenyatta Henry, renowned drummer Vernell “Dooder” Mincey, as well as vocalist/trumpet player Crystal J. Torres, who is billed as a “modern-day musical trailblazer who has performed with Roy Hargrove, Beyonce Knowles, Paquito D’Rivera and other renowned performers.   The Tribute event will also feature performances by some of DSU’s top student musicians.   In addition to being renowned in the jazz world as a stellar trumpet musician and composer, Dr. Byrd is also an Artist-in-Residence at DSU.   Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for DSU students and can be purchased online at www.desu.edu/drbyrdtribute. The proceeds from the Dr. Donaldson T.L. Byrd Endowed Scholarship will benefit music students.   Dr. Byrd, a professional jazz musician since the 1950s, became known as one of the top trumpeters of the jazz “hard-bop” genre as he performed with musicians such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. Ironically at one point in the 1950s, Dr. Byrd actually replaced Clifford Brown in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers band.   In the 1970s, Dr. Byrd began to record jazz fusion that combined jazz with funk, soul and R&B. While teaching music at Howard University in 1974, Dr. Byrd formed a jazz fusion group that consisted of his best students and called them the Blackbyrds. The group produced the 1972 album Black Byrd, which became Blue Notes Records’ highest-ever selling album. In the 1990s, Dr. Byrd jazz fusion explorations expanded to the hip-hop genre.   Dr. Byrd has recorded 38 jazz albums and performed on countless other musicians’ recording projects. In 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Dr. Byrd as one of its NEA Jazz Masters. As an educator, Dr. Byrd has developed a “Music + Math = Art” education program that he has introduced to youth across the country.   A native of Detroit, Mich., Dr. Byrd is an alumnus of Wayne State University and the Manhattan School of Music. In 1982 he earned an Ed.D from Columbia Teachers College of New York City.   For more information about the Tribute to Dr. Byrd, call (302) 857-6055.  

Kermit Blount Named as New Hornet Head Football Coach

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Hornet Head Football Coach Kermit W. Blount and Athletics Director Derek Carter pose after the new coach was named to take the helm of the football program.

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DSU President Harry Lee Williams announced Kermit W. Blount as the new Head Football Coach of the Hornet football program during a Feb. 4 media event in the MLK Student Center. Coach Blount brings 27 years of intercollegiate football coaching experience to Delaware State University – including the last 16 years as the head football coach for Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Coach Kermit Blount fields questions from the media after the Feb. 4 press conference that introduced him as the new head football coach.   During his 1993 to 2010 tenure at Winston-Salem, Coach Blount had a career record 91-87-3. He guided the Rams to two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championships and a total of three CIAA Championship game appearances. He also led Winston-Salem to two Pioneer Bowl appearances, one of which the team emerged as the victor (1999).      Coach Blount was honored as the CIAA Coach of the Year and as the Washington D.C. Pigskin Coach of the Year, as well as the 100% Wrong Club Coach of the Year – each award in both 1999 and 2000.   In addition to his on-the-field successes, Coach Blount increased the Winston-Salem players’ graduation rate from 42% in 1993 to 80% by 2009.   Prior to his Winston-Salem tenure, he served from 1983-1992 in assistant coach posts with South Carolina State University, Howard University and East Carolina University. During all three coaching stints, he coached quarterbacks and receivers; Coach Blount also served as the offensive coordinator for S.C. State.   Throughout his career, a number of players from his teams have gone to play professionally in the NFL, CFL and the Arena Football League, including William Hayes, a starting third-year defensive end for the Tennessee Titans.   President Williams said that Coach Blount’s record speaks for itself.   “Coach Blount has proven he knows how to guide student-athletes to championship-level seasons as well as accomplish high standards of academic success,” Dr. Williams said. “The Search Committee is to be commended for its diligence in reviewing the candidates, in engaging in earnest deliberations and arriving at its recommendation.”  DSU President Harry L. Williams, Search Committee Chair Candy Young, Coach Kermit Blount and Athletics Director Derek Carter come together for a photo op at the end of the press conference.   The selection of Coach Blount was the culmination of DSU’s nationwide search process that resulted in the attraction of more than 50 candidates, said Candy Young, the chair of the DSU Search Committee and associate athletics director/senior women’s administrator.   President Williams appointed the members of the diverse search committee, which in addition to Ms. Young included: Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs; Dr. Jan Blade, associate professor of sports sciences, Carolyn Curry, vice president of Institutional Advancement and chief of staff, Barry Granger, DSU Board of Trustees member; Eric Hart, associate athletics director/Student Services; Frank Marshall, founder/longtime president of the DSU Boosters and alumnus (’62); Calvin Miner, DSU student athlete; Alfred Outlaw, DSU Alumni Association representative and class of 1971; Edna Piper, athletics administrative assistant; and Joseph Purczyki, former DSU head football coach (1981-84).   Coach Kermit Blount was accompanied by his wife Ava for the press conference. Ms. Young said the committee reviewed the resumes and interviewed a selected pool of candidates who emerged as strong contenders. “The search process was extensive, thorough and very fair,” Ms. Young said.   Athletics Director Derek Carter said that the new coach will fit in well at DSU.   “Kermit Blount stood out among the many outstanding candidates for the position because of his broad experience, proven leadership and vision for Delaware State University football,” AD Carter said. “His record of leading young men to success on the field and in the classroom makes him an ideal fit for the university and the football program.”   Coach Blount said he has always admired DSU from afar, and now he is excited to be a part of the institution. He said while he is interested in winning football games, he is especially interested in his players’ academic successes.   “The no. 1 thing we have to have players to understand is the vision and the mission of the University,” Coach Blount said. “I am very interested in our players graduating.”   A native of Richmond, Va., Coach Blount has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from Winston-Salem State University.   He will be joined in his move to Delaware by his wife Ava. Their union of 25 years has produced two grown children, April and Bryan.  

DSU Announces First-Ever Intellectual Property Transfer

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DSU President Harry L. Williams, shakes hands with Dr. Steve Buckley, co-founder and president of Photon Machines, Inc. after the Feb. 24 announcement. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, DSU vice president of research, looks on. 

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    DSU has announced the transfer of an intellectual property created by its optics scientists to a technology company for the development of a device for use in hospitals and laboratories. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi said Dr. Yuri Markushin, DSU senior research scientist, has been instrumental in the work that has led to the intellectual property transfer from DSU to Photon Machines.   DSU has reached an agreement with Photon Machines, Inc., in which a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy-Tag Method (LIB-Tag) developed from the University’s optics research work will used in the creation of laser technology that can be used in hospitals and labs for diagnostic work.   DSU President Harry L. Williams made the announcement during a Feb. 23 media event held in the Hardcastle/Selby Conference Room in the Administration Building on campus.   This breakthrough is an innovative development in the evolving area of proteomic – the large-scale study of proteins, their structure and functions. The DSU optics-method addresses the need in proteomics to be able to rapidly identify proteins and enzymes.   This development represents the first-ever transfer of intellectual property by DSU in the institution’s history.   “This is reflective of not only the great strides we have made in our diverse research endeavors at this University, but of the purposeful direction that DSU’s scientific agenda is moving toward,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams.   Through the DSU LIB-Tag Method, individual proteins and molecules can be detected and analyzed, and this can be instrumental in the diagnosis of medical conditions. The spectroscopy-based method is faster, more advanced and efficient than the biotechnology method currently used, said Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, DSU vice president of research and dean of the University’s College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology.   “This is a significant major step in our scientific and technological pursuits,” Dr. Melikechi said. “It is a strong indication that with a little help and support, DSU can play a major role in enhancing knowledge-based economic growth locally, regionally and nationally.”   Dr. Melikechi said he is particularly proud of the contribution of students in the research work of the Optics Program. “Our students are part of the future, and they have to be a part of designing it,” he said.   The research in the DSU Optics Program allows graduate students like Franz Delima to contribute work toward the science accomplishment like the one announced on Feb. 24. Photon Machines has the exclusive worldwide license from DSU to develop the LIBS-Tag technology. The University is in the process of getting a patent finalized for this intellectual property.   “Photon Machines is excited to be licensing this innovative technology from DSU which both plays to one of our core technologies, and also promises to be an important innovation in biomedical diagnostics,” said Dr. Steve Buckley, co-founder and president of Photon Machine.   Dr. Buckley this new advancement has the potential to make a tremendous change in the lives of people through this advance method of analyzing individual proteins. “Protein in your blood has a lot of information about one’s health,” Dr. Buckley said. “This can be a game changer in health care.”   The Redmond, Washington-based Photon Machines specializes in the development of advanced, laser-based instrumentation. Its series of Analyte™ laser ablation systems are used worldwide in chemistry and geochemistry laboratories, and its new Insight™ LIBS systems allow rapid elemental analysis. The company specializes in the rapid integration of unique laser-based technologies and spectroscopies into new instruments, and software that facilitates method development and data reduction.   Dr. Melikechi, who founded the University’s first Applied Optics Center in 1997, credits then-Gov. Thomas R. Carper (now U.S. Senator from Delaware) for “planting the seed” with his support of that first optics facility.   Under Dr. Melikechi leadership, the DSU Optics Program has been awarded two separate $5 million research grants – in 2006 from the National Science Foundation and in 2009 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA.   Several state legislators were in attendance for the announcement. "DSU is enhancing our youth, because they are getting a world-class education," said state Rep. William Carson.    

DSU Announces New Appointments

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    DSU has recently made new appointments to its Department of Public Safety and Office of Development. Interim Police Chief Willie Bell, Jr.   DSU has named Willie Bell, Jr., a retired 34-year enforcement officer and public safety administrator, as the interim University Police Chief. More than 28 of those years were spent in higher education at three different universities, including 17 years as director of public safety and chief of police for two HBCUs (North Fayetteville State University and Winston Salem State University).    Interim Chief Bell holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Fayetteville State University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Central University and is also a graduate of the Law Enforcement Executive Program of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.    He is now the principal of Bell Consulting Group, which specializes in law enforcement and parking and transportation consulting services for higher education.                     Al Lavan   Interim Chief Bell takes over for former DSU Police Chief James T. Overton, who has left the University to become the police chief at the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus. Chief Overton’s last day was Feb. 2.     DSU has also further strengthened its development staff with the naming of Al Lavan and Bryan T.T. Bell as it newest development officers.   Al Lavan moves into the development field after more than 35 years as a collegiate and professional football coach. Mr. Lavan served as the DSU head coach from 2004-2010, and prior to that his football career included 18 years as an assistant coach with several NFL football teams. He is a graduate of Colorado State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.             Bryant T.T. Bell   Bryant T.T. Bell will join the development officer team as an alumnus of DSU from the classes of 1975 and 1994. Mr. Bell, who earned a BS in Business Administration and a MBA with DSU, previously worked as a senior brokerage officer and senior client advisor for Wilmington Trust and as an assistant to the director of Continuing Education for Delaware Technical and Community College.    

BEEP Professionals Show Students Perseverance Roadmap to Success

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DSU Alumni BEEP professionals (l-r): Alfonso Jones, Ronald Pinkett, LaCresha Millner, John Ridgeway, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Jonas Acquah, Melissa Carpenter, Kevin Washington and Malachi Allen. The eight alums returned to their alma mater to participate in the Feb. 24 BEEP event.

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    The DSU College of Business held its annual Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) and Alumni Open House on Feb. 22 under the theme “Perseverance – A Roadmap to Success. DSU alumnus Kevin Washington, regional vice president of Primerica Financial Service, gives DSU student his thoughts during a BEEP forum  panel discussion on the "Challenges in Today's Economy".   Nineteen BEEP professionals – recognize during this event as “visiting professors” – participated in the daylong event that feature workshops, roundtable and forum discussions, mock interviews and a wealth of interaction between DSU College of Business students and the visiting professionals.   The group included eight DSU alumni (listed below with an asterisk*).   The event culminated with a case study competition between four teams of DSU students. The teams each presented their case study on Starbucks and Conservation International, with the winning group being Team 3 whose members were Stephen Bowe, Erika Grant, Kiara Watts and Victoria Williams. Each winning member was awarded a $300 book scholarship.   The visiting professors were:   Jonas Acquah* – financial control analyst, J.P. Morgan Malachi Allen* – senior accountant, BNY Mellon Asset Servicing Roxanne Allen – human resource manager, UPS Sheldon Allen – director of sales, UPS Kevin Bankett – division manager, UPS Melissa Carpenter* special agent, UPS Larry Chamberlain – division manager, UPS Anthony Heath, UPS Valerie James, assistant vice president, CIGNA HealthCare Jimmie Jennings, division manager, UPS Alfonso Jones* youth aid officer, Delaware State Police LaCresha Milner* senior audit associate, KPMG LLP Ronald Pinkett* chief financial officer, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services John Ridgeway* corporate manager, Toyota Damond Thorington, area safety manager, Supervalu Kevin Washington* regional vice president, Primerica Financial Services Thomas White, UPS Myron Williams, UPS Charles Wright III, vice president of Institutional Advancement, Peirce College.  

DSU Student Selected to be NASA Ambassador

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  A Delaware State University undergraduate student has been selected to be among a nationwide group of top interns that will serve as ambassadors for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). DSU senior Harry N. Burton III will serve as a NASA ambassador.   Harry N. Burton III, a senior physics/pre-engineering major at DSU, has been selected for the NASA ambassadorship, which he hopes will pay future professional dividends.   “I applied to get connected with NASA and possibly get a job with them,” said Mr. Burton, who is a resident of Dover and a 2007 graduate of Dover High School. “I think their mission is significant in science.”   As one of the 105 NASA ambassadors selected nationwide, Mr. Burton will give presentations in the Delmarva region, work at job fairs and conduct other outreach endeavors on behalf of the space agency.   Mr. Burton is the second DSU student to be selected for the NASA ambassadorship. In 2010 Bryan E. Greenly, currently senior physics major, was the first-ever DSU student selected for the honor.  

DSU's Dr. Kevina Vulinec Named as Fulbright Scholar

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Dr. Kevina Vulinec and graduate student Megan Wallrichs take data from a red bat in a DSU lab. Dr. Vulinec will continue her bat research as a Fulbright scholar in the rainforests of Brazil.

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    Dr. Kevina Vulinec, a DSU associate professors in natural resources, has been awarded a competitive Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and do research in the South American country of Brazil as part of her ongoing work on bat species.   Specifically Dr. Vulinec will work with Dr. Paulo Estefano Dineli Bobrowiec from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazonia in Brazil. She will teach and conduct research on seed-dispersing bats in Brazil’s fragmented tropical rainforest.   A large amount of Brazil’s rainforests have been lost to human activities such as logging, reducing it to one-eighth of the size it was 1½ centuries ago. Because it is home to an impressive number of endangered plants and animal species, the rainforest is considered to be a threatened biodiversity area.   Dr. Vulinec’s research will focus on the impact of rainforest fragmentation on the seed-dispersing bats – a species that disperse the seeds from fruits it eats, and thereby replenishing the rainforest with seeds that grow into new plants and fruits.   In addition, Dr. Vulinec will conduct a workshop for the Instituto Nacional’s students on nocturnal wildlife audio-video technology.   Dr. Vulinec will arrive in Brazil to begin her work on Feb. 21. The Fulbright research and teaching experience will continue until late May.   “It is an incredible opportunity,” Dr. Vulinec said. “It is the best award for getting people out for scholarship purposes.”   Dr. Vulinec’s findings will be accessed by the Biological Fragmentation Project, the world largest-scale and longest-running study of habitat fragmentation, operated cooperatively by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research.   The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.    

DSU's Dr. Finger Wright Honored for Role in Greensboro Protests

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DSU's Dr. Dolores Finger Wright (center) celebrates her award with the surviving "Greensboro Four": (l-r) Franklin McCain, Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, Jibree Khazan and Donald Brandon.

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    Dr. Dolores Finger Wright, a DSU associate professor of social work, has recently been honored for the role she played in the historic public accommodations demonstrations in Greensboro, N.C. during the early 1960s. Dr. Dolores Finger Wright (l) with award presenter Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, on of the "Greensboro Four."   Dr. Finger Wright received the International Civil Rights Center & Museum Sit-In Hero’s Award on Feb. 5 during the 51st Anniversary Gala Commemorating the Greensboro Sit-ins.   During the tumultuous 1960s in Greensboro, the DSU associate professor was an undergraduate student in Bennett College for Women. Her extracurricular activity from her bachelor’s degree pursuit was working behind the scene during the Greensboro demonstrations and taking part in the picket lines.   Presenting the award to Dr. Finger Wright was Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, one of the “Greensboro Four” that gained worldwide notoriety for their sit-ins protests at segregated lunch counters in Greensboro in 1960.   “Delores would picket during the days to integrate the stores,” said Ret. Maj. Gen. McNeil. “She would work the picket lines at night to integrate the movie theatres, which was dangerous in Greensboro.”   Dr. Finger Wright said that she also worked behind the scenes strategizing with her Bennett College sisters, professors, as well as through her affiliations with the NAACP and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).   The group formed a vanguard that would picket and demonstrate, and many – including Dr. Finger Wright – were arrested in the course of their protests.   “I saw my participation as an epiphany, moving from late adolescence to early adulthood all in the matter of days,” Dr. Finger Wright said. “That’s what my rearing was about – doing what’s right. So I had to be a part of it.”   After her graduation from Bennett College, Dr. Finger Wright would on to earn a Master of Social Work Degree from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University. She has been a social work faculty member at DSU for 21 years.   The Gala was held at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.  

DSU and State Sign Agreement to Enroll "Aged Out" Foster Youths

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and Secretary Vivian Rapposelli of the state Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families sign a formal agreement that will enroll in the University two foster youths a year who have "aged out" of foster care and are academically eligible..

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    Delaware State University and the State Division of Family Services (DFS) announced a new initiative today that will make higher education a reality for eligible foster youths.   DSU President Harry L. Williams and Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, signed a formal agreement today (Feb. 14) that will annually provide an opportunity for two foster youths who reach the age of 18 to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Delaware State University. State Sen. Brian Bushweller, state Rep. Darryl Scott, state Rep. William Carson, state Rep. LIncoln Willis, attended the agreement signing to show their support for the initiative.   Although unable to attend the agreement signing due to a schedule conflict, Gov. Jack Markell today expressed his strong support of the program.   “This is about giving kids who've been dealt a difficult hand a chance for further success. It's about the opportunity to work hard, stay focused and accomplish their dreams,’ Gov. Markell said. “The University and the Department have created a partnership that will bring great students to the school and give them opportunities for the future.” Secretary Rapposelli said that youths who age out of foster care face the same obstacles as other young adults, but often without the support of their families.   “This partnership with DSU provides the students it supports with stability, hope and peace of mind – allowing them to start the next phase of their lives on a solid foundation,” Secretary Rapposelli said. “We are grateful to DSU and excited for the many young men and women who will benefit from this opportunity.”   The DFS will identify two foster youths per year who have aged out (turned 18) of foster care, are academically eligible and personally motivated to attend DSU. The state agency will assist the foster youths in completing the necessary academic and financial paperwork   DSU will give the enrolled foster youths access to year-round on-campus housing and to its student support services, assist them in the completion of the financial aid process and help them identify scholarship opportunities.   “With community and outreach being among DSU’s five core values, this opportunity to help worthy foster youths achieve their dreams is consistent with the University’s standing as a valuable education asset to the state,” President Williams said.   The foster youths will receive state financial support in the form of Educational and Training Vouchers and Housing Vouchers. In the event there is a shortfall of state funds, the foster youths will be expected to apply for student loans or other financial aid opportunities to cover the shortfall.   There are over 700 children in Delaware’s foster care system. In fiscal 2010, there were 94 foster youths that aged out of the system.    

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