May 2012


DSU's Planned Early College HS Approved by State Board

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The state's first Early College High School will be located on the campus of Delaware State University.

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The Delaware State Board of Education has notified Delaware State University that it can go ahead with its plans to establish an Early College High School on the campus of DSU. The state Board of Education approved DSU’s application for the charter school during its May 17 meeting. The planned charter high school will be the state’s first Early College High School, which will be designed specifically to serve first generation college-bound students. The Early College High School is a nationally recognized school design brought to Delaware through a partnership between Innovative Schools, a Delaware-based non-profit public school support organization, and EdWorks, DSU and Innovative Schools submitted the charter school application to the Delaware Department of Education in December 2011. After several meetings with the DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee and a May 8 public hearing, the committee recommended the approval of the application. The State Board followed that recommendation and approved the charter school.  “We are excited about the opportunity to provide an exceptional secondary/post-secondary educational experience to Delawareans,” said Dr. Alton Thompson, DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “As the first early college high school in the state, we are partnering with the DOE to implement a rigorous curriculum and other support services to ensure our students are competitive on an international level.” The University has included the Early College High School as part of its development of a new Facilities Master Plan, which is expected to be finalized by the fall of 2012. The location of the charter school will be determined by the master plan. Dr. Thompson said the University plans to enroll students in the school by the 2013-2014 school year.  In the Early College model, high school and college combine to form a coherent educational program in which students work toward a high school diploma and up to two years of college credits in four years of high school.  Located on a college campus, the model directly challenges the belief system of under-prepared poor and minority students about their ability to do college level work and get a postsecondary degree.  Housing a high school on the DSU campus is not unprecedented in the University’s history.  In the 1893-94 school year, the then-State College for Colored Students established a two-year preparatory school to help students get ready for a college education. In 1917, a Model Grade School was established by DSU, which granted a high school diploma to graduates.  Capital improvement donations by philanthropist Pierre du Pont in the 1920s included funding to construct a new school building named the Du Pont Building. That building served as the only high school facility for African Americans in Kent County until 1952. “Adding an Early College High School on DSU’s campus is consistent with the University’s historic mission and would strengthen the University’s ability to serve first generation college-bound students and underrepresented minorities from the greater Dover area,” said Dr. Thompson. Students participating in the Early College High School model launched by EdWorks in Ohio have an average graduation rate of 91% and outperform state averages in high stakes graduation tests for reading, writing, and mathematics.  At the completion of four years of high school, 100% of students attending Early College High Schools have earned a minimum of 30 hours of college credit, and as many as 60% of students earn an associate’s degree, or the equivalent of 45-60 college credits.  The University intends to blend the Early College Charter High School with its existing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Initiative.  “The Early College High School at DSU will be an innovative learning environment designed to inspire students who have the potential and motivation to be the first in their families to graduate from college,” said Dr. Thompson. “We are committed to making this school a good fit for our community.”

Kent County Science Fair Photos and Winners

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U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, co-host of the first-ever Kent County Science Fair, listens while Shawn Tazewell of Smyrna Middle School explains his project "How Caffeine Effects the Physiology of Goldfish," which won 1st Place in the Middle School Biology category.

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The first-ever Kent County Science Fair gave about 60 high school and middle school students an opportunity to show their science skills during the May 2 event held at Delaware State University. The Science Fair was co-hosted by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and DSU, with support also coming from the Boeing Company, the Dow Chemical Company, ILC Dover, and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. See the below slideshow for images from the Science Fair, followed by a list of the winning student projects: The following middle school and high school students and teams received the top honors for science projects in the noted award categories: High School Winners Biology:   1st Place: “Smelling of the Sexes” - Dover High School - Brittany Whitmore, Yasemin Simsek, Mika Heredia, Jada Little 2nd Place: “5-3=2 Super Senses” - Dover High School - Melvin Ross, Damon Butler 3rd Place: “Blondes versus Brunettes” - Dover High School - Tyauna Potts Chemistry: 1st Place: “Chemical Effects 0f Catalysts”  Smyrna High School - Dorothy Johnson, Aliyah Burton, Mary Arkoh, John Arkoh, Anthony Euren   Middle School Winners Physics and Engineering: 1st Place: “Batter Up” - William Henry Middle School - Alexxys Harris, Noah Lanouette, Dale Waite 2nd Place: “No Yolk About It - How to Keep from Cracking Your Eggs” - Sunrize Academy - Lee Ferguson   Physics and Engineering (con’t) 3rd Place (tie): “Rube Goldberg Machine” - William Henry Middle School - Hayley Scheir, Kathryn Suter 3rd Place (tie): “Marble Loop” - Milford Middle School - Dalton Carter, Danny Zang Chemistry: 1st Place: “Biodiesel”- William Henry Middle School - Jacob Harrison 2nd Place: “Chemical Reaction Crystals” - William Henry Middle School - Jing Rue Lin 3rd Place: “ Soda…Rust Remover?” - Central Middle - Carolyn Lewis, Monica Elavarthi Biology: 1st Place: “How Caffeine Effects the Physiology of Goldfish” - Smyrna Middle School -Shawn Tazewell 2nd Place: “The Effects of High Glycemic Foods have on Blood Sugar” - William Henry Middle School - Emily Cook 3rd Place: “ The Effects of Nicotine on the Lungs”- Central Middle School - Anmol Gill    

Dr. Robin Williams Hosts 2nd Annual First Lady's Tea for Senior Ladies

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Dr. Robin Williams and the graduating senior women who attended her 2nd annual First Lady's Tea take a parting shot moment at the end of the May 18 event.

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Dr. Robin Williams held her 2nd annual First Lady’s Tea on May 18 for the graduating senior ladies in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. The event featured the hat-making skills of the senior ladies, as well as food, gifts, as well as some useful etiquette and interviewing wisdom. See the below photo slideshow for images from the event:  

DSU Named as Tree Campus USA

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(L-r) DSU Provost Alton Thompson, research professor Dr. Arthur Tucker, herbarium educator Dr. Susan Yost, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Gov. Jack Markell, assistant professor of agriculture Dr. Sathya Elavarthi, and Delaware State Forester Michael Valenti, celebrate the award designating DSU as a Tree Campus USA.

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Delaware State University’s observance of Arbor Day included being honored with a new distinction – it has been named a “Tree Campus USA.” As part of the state observance of Arbor Day, Gov. Jack Markell and a local youth plant a new American Holly tree -- the official state tree -- outside of the MLK Jr. Student Center. DSU hosted Gov. Jack Markell’s annual observance of Arbor Day on May 3 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, where the governor announced the honor to DSU. The Tree Campus USA designation goes to schools that have an implemented plan for tree care that is supported by school allocations, an established Campus Tree Advisory Committee, related education outreach, as well as an annual observance of Arbor Day. While being among 148 schools in the country to have the Tree Campus USA designation, DSU is the only school in Delaware with that title and is currently the only Historically Black College or University in the nation to be recognized as such. DSU main campus in Dover currently has hundreds of trees  that are represented by 130 different species. DSU President Harry L. Williams commended the University’s Herbarium staff for their work in identifying the species of trees on our campus. “That work led Dr. Susan Yost, who is the Herbarium educator, to create the Campus Tree Walk and the DSU Tree Map in 2006 on campus,” Dr. Williams said. “The tour – given about seven to eight times a year – gives our students and the public an opportunity to learn more about the different species of trees and other plants on campus.”

DSU Class of 1962 Returns to Alma Mater With $18,250 Donation

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Phil Sadler and DSU President Harry L. Williams hold a display check representing the class of 1962's donation of $18,250 to go toward DSU scholarships. The returning members of the Class of 1962 stand behind him.

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Fifteen members of DSU’s Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th anniversary by returning to their alma mater for the May 19-20 Commencement Weekend. The 1962 class was joined by other alumni and University officials during a May 19 reception in the Bank of America Building on campus. During the event, the 1962 alumni presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a check for $18,250 to go toward scholarships. The next day, the Class of 1962 members donned robes and took part in the May 20 Commencement ceremony. Click on the below slideshow to see images from the Class of 1962 weekend, followed by a group shot and the names of the class members that returned for the weekend:   Seated (l-r): Patricia Snead Minor, Joyce King, Dolores Blakey, Delema Burris-Carter, Phyllis Hayes-Dixon, Janice Knight Boettger, Hortense Swiggett Macon, Juanita Coverdale Williams; (standing) Adele Hill Reed, Peggy Hunter Swygert, Barbara Willis, Patricia Dormaan Randall, Rev. Bill Granville, Alonzo Kittrels, Cleo Pearson, Alex T. Norwood, Phil Sadler, Hewitt Joyner, and J. Frank Marshall              

DSU, First State Manufacturing and Milford sign collaborative accord

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(Seated l-r) Milford Mayor Ronnie Rogers, DSU President Harry L. Williams, FSM co-owner Eli Valenzuela sign collaboration agreement  to develop a business accelerator in the MIlford-area. Standing (l-r): U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Dr. Michael Casson, Dr. Nanda Viswanathan, Sher Valenzuela, and Ashley Wolfe. The collaboration is expected to bring increased economic development and job growth to Kent and Sussex counties.

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Delaware State University joined with First State Manufacturing (FSM) and the City of Milford, Del., to announce a new public-private partnership that is expected to stimulate economic development efforts in Kent and Sussex counties. With U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, DSU President Harry L. Williams and Milford Mayor Ronnie Rogers taking part in the media event held May 4 at the FSM facility in Milford, the Small Business Administration announced the launching of the “First State Moves the Nation” Small Business Accelerator. DSU's Dr. Michael Casson said the collaboration will leverage the resources of the partners. Sen. Carper noted the growth of DSU over the years. “Look at it now, with record enrollment and retention, and now DSU is on its way to be an economic engine in Delaware,” he said. As partners in the Small Business Accelerator initiative: DSU’s Center for Economic Development and International Trade (DSU CEDIT) will provide intellectual resources such as economic development forecast data, empirical analyses based on models of the state’s economy, as well as incubator-type services such as marketing research, accounting, project management and IT services. First State Manufacturing will provide 10,000 square feet of physical space at its Milford facility, which will service as an on-site business accelerator. The leadership of FSM will also work with DSU CEDIT to provide a standard and vision for its economic development model, and also serve as part of a  Solutions Group that will contribute information on business solutions and best practices in the area of manufacturing. The City of Milford will commit to leveraging  its economic development resources to provide opportunity and training, oversee the continuation of its Strategic Plan goals and initiatives that will support business development in the city, and actively promote partnerships among business, government and nonprofit sectors in support of job growth in the city. The DSU president noted that this is the type of initiative to which DSU desires to apply its expertise. “After I became president, we looked at how DSU can be a player in this state; and in the vision statement we developed in my first year, it was noted that DSU’s goal is to invigorate the economy of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Region,” Dr. Williams said. “This partnership actualizes that vision.” FSM – owned by Eli Valenzuela (president), his wife Sher Valenzuela (vice president), and Ashley Wolfe (executive director) – is an industrial upholstery manufacturing and solutions business in Milford that brings to the business accelerator initiative its experience starting as a small business operated out of a one-car garage in 1998 and developing into a highly successful award-winning company that carries out its work in a 70,000 square-foot facility and employs 70 people. (L-r) FSM's Ashley Wolfe, Eli and Sher Valenzuela; Milford Mayor Ronnie Rogers; Dr. Michael Casson, DSU CEDIT co-director; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Tony Leta, Del. director of the Small Business Administration; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the DSU College of Business; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; Dr. Nanda Viswanathan, co-director of DSU CEDIT; and DSU Provost Alton Thompson. “Our story is a Delaware story, and we believe it be the story of others as well,” Mrs. Valenzuela said. She said the business accelerator can bring about an economic ecosystem that will result in “intelligent consumers” of resources. “This business accelerator is going to support the four sectors of business – manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and health care,” Mrs. Valenzuela said. Dr. Michael Casson, who along with Dr. Nanda Viswanathan serves as DSU CEDIT co-directors, noted that the state of the economy and the needed commitment to Delaware’s citizens are addressed by this initiative. “The accelerator will be home to the expertise and resources of DSU, the City of Milford and FSM, all working collaboratively to support entrepreneurship and job growth,” Dr. Casson said.  

DSU's 2012 Commencement has Record 656 Graduates

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The DSU class of 2012 was glad that  University officials decided to return the Commencement ceremony back outdoors for their graduation.

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Delaware State University awarded 656 diplomas during its 2012 Commencement ceremony – a record number of graduates in the institution’s 121-year history, surpassing the previous record of 646 in 2009. After moving the graduation ceremony indoors during the last two years, the May 20 Commencement returned to the outdoor confines of DSU’s Alumni Stadium. Among DSU’s 2012 graduating class’ 656 degrees – 496 bachelor’s degrees, a record 145 master’s degrees (surpassing the then-record 143 in 2008) and 15 doctoral degrees. This graduating class produced 136 honors students, which included 21 Summa Cum Laudes (3.75 GPA or above), 54 Magna Cum Laudes (3.5 to 3.74), 48 Cum Laudes (3.25 to 3.49) and 13 honorable mentions. DSU President Harry L. Williams congratulates Dr. Mable Morrison after she was awarded an honorary doctorate. Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to Jazmyne C. Hefflefinger, a movement science major from Harrisburg, Pa. who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her undergraduate years. In addition to her academic success, Ms. Hefflefinger was a member of the DSU Women’s Bowling Team. The DSU president also presented a Presidential Leadership Award to J. Jamel D. Smiley, who came to DSU from Augusta, Georgia. He worked as a residential assistant and senior residential assistant from 2009 to 2012, twice winner the Residential Assistant of the Year Award (2010 and 2011). During his undergraduate journey, he served as the vice president and then president of the DSU Rotaract Club. He was a McNair Research Program inductee, a member of the DSU Concert Choir, and also served as the president in 2012 of the Alpha Eta Rho Aviation Fraternity. As an aviation major Mr. Smiley maintained a 3.2 GPA. Darrell Peebles, Jr., a graduating aviation major and ROTC cadet, was also commissioned as an U.S. Air Force Officer during a DSU Commencement Ceremony. Mable R. Morrison, an associate professor of music and a 50-year faculty member of DSU, was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in honor her half-century of dedication and music instruction at DSU. During the DSU Commencement weekend, the University honored the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1962 during a reception on Saturday, May 21 in the Bank of America Building on campus. Fifteen 1962 graduates of then-Delaware State College returned to their alma mater this weekend, donned robes and took part in the Commencement ceremony. The Class of 1962 didn't show up empty-handed as they presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a donation of $18,250 to go toward scholarships. Warren Brown, the 2012 keynote speaker The Commencement ceremonies featured Warren Brown, a nationally known entrepreneur, as this year’s keynote speaker. He told the graduates that when it comes to their life’s direction, to follow their heart. “Once you have identified your passion, you should do three things: first direct yourself to greatness, second answer to your call, and thirdly, answer to yourself,” Mr. Brown said. Warren Brown left a career practicing law as a litigator for the federal government to found CakeLove bakery in 2002. He has grown his organization to include six retail storefronts and has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit by local and national media including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, NPR, and national advertisement campaigns for American Express and Dell computers. From 2005 to 2007 Mr. Brown was the host of the television show Sugar Rush on the Food Network. He enjoys sharing the joys of baking and has authored three cookbooks to encourage others to bake from scratch: CakeLove in the Morning which celebrates weekend brunch (May 1, 2012), United Cakes of America featuring recipes from every state in the Union (2010), and CakeLove-How to bake cakes from scratch (2008).     

Hornet Editor-in-Chief Recipient of William P. Frank Scholarship

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Synquette K. Wilks, editor-in-chief of The DSU Hornet student newspaper, is the 2012 recipient of the $10,000 William P. Frank Scholarship.

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Synquette K. Wilks, a junior mass communications major at Delaware State University, has been awarded a $10,000 William P. Frank Scholarship. The scholarship was presented during the May 5 annual First State Gridiron Dinner in Wilmington. Ms. Wilks is majoring in the convergence (journalism) concentration of mass communications undergraduate degree program. Since the fall of 2011 she has served as the editor-in-chief of The DSU Hornet student newspaper and has written for the campus publication since her freshman year. She is also in the McNair Research Program at DSU. Ms. Wilks, of Wilmington, said that the Frank Scholarship will greatly help her development as a journalist. “It will enable me to continue my education as well as learn more about print and internet journalism,” Ms. Wilks said. “I believe this opportunity will provide me with the foundation to build up my journalism career and give me the skills that I will need to compete in the journalism world.” A graduate of Newark High School, Ms. Wilks is the daughter of Kevin Moore and  Shavon Wilks-Taylor William P. Frank (1905-1989) was one of Delaware’s best-known journalists of the 20th century. His career spanned 65 years, during which he became a prominent newspaper columnist and radio commentator. He was also a Delaware historian, a Judaic scholar, a Shakespearean actor and a social activist. Although he was listened to by powerful people, he made the concerns of ordinary people his concerns, according to the Gridiron event program. In 2011, three DSU students were awarded the William P. Frank Scholarship – Deborah Miller ($10,000) from New Castle, Del.; Krystina Muhammad ($5,000) from Newark, Del.; and Desiree Williams ($5,000) from Dover.

2012 DSU Commencement -- Photo Slideshow

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The 2012 Commencement presented diplomas to a record 656 graduates during the May 20 ceremony. Click on the below photo slideshow to see images from the event:

DSU's Vita Pickrum Named Certified Fund Raising Executive

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CFRE International has named Vita Pickrum, associate vice president of development at DSU, as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Ms. Pickrum joins more than 5,299 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation. Vita Pickrum, associate vice president of Development and a Certified Fund Raising Executive Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International, which include tenure in the profession, demonstrated fundraising achievement, and  a commitment to service to not-for-profit organizations. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skill and abilities required of a fundraising executive; they have also agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and Donor Bill of Rights. CFRE recipients are awarded certification for a three-year period. In order to maintain certification status, such fundraising executives must demonstrate ongoing fundraising employment and fundraising results, as well as continue their professional education. CFRE International is an independent organization dedicated to the certification of fundraising executives by setting standards in philanthropic practice. Consistently meeting the highest standard of certification excellence, the CFRE International is itself accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies. Ms. Pickrum has been a fundraising executive at Delaware State University since September 2008.  

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