October 2013


DSU's Michelle Fisher Named as a Delaware Black Achiever

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DSU and family supporters celebrate Michelle Fisher's Black Achiever honor -- (l-r) Stacey Downing, associate vice president of Student Affair; Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs; Estelle Harding (Ms. Fisher's mother); Ms. Fisher, director of Student Health Services (with her award); Sharon Addison and Mariah Williams (Ms. Fisher's sister and granddaughter, respectively); Gloria Minus, retired Health Services office manager; and Paula Duffy, director of Student Judicial Affairs.

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10/25/13 Actor Hill Harper and Michelle Fisher meet during the VIP reception that preceded the Black Achievers Ceremony in Wilmington.   Michelle Fisher, director of the DSU Student Health Services, has been named among Delaware’s 2013 Black Achievers in Business and Industry, an annual awards ceremony held by the Walnut Street YMCA in Wilmington, Del.   Ms. Fisher was presented her Black Achiever award by Hill Harper, actor/author/role model activist, who was the keynote speaker for the Oct. 24 event. She was among 17 honorees selected this year.   The fall of 2013 has been a season of honors for Ms. Fisher. In September, she received two DSU honors – the Student Affairs Vice President’s Choice Award and the Inspire Excellence Award.   Kemal Atkins, DSU vice president for Student Affairs, called Ms. Fisher a consummate professional who through her excellence and work ethics, leads by example.   "Under Ms. Fisher's leadership, DSU has a Student Heath Service Center that would rival health services provided at institutions twice our size," said Mr. Atkins. "She works hard to keep our students informed on health issues, promote wellness on campus, and to address any medical issues that arise at the University. She also has diligently worked to ensure that students are knowledgeable about the current health insurance laws -- known commonly as part of Obamacare -- and how it impacts them.   Ms. Fisher began at DSU in 1999 as a nurse practitioner and was elevated to her current director of Student Health Services post in 2005. She has a BS in nursing from Adelphi University and a MS in nursing from Wilmington University.  She is currently working on her doctorate at Wilmington University.   Among her community involvement pursuits, Ms. Fisher has served on board of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, has conducted HIV awareness activities with different local organizations, has participated in the American Heart Association Heart Walk, is an active member and former board member of the American College Health Association, and serves as an active member of her church, the New Life Family Worship Center of Camden, Del.  

DSU Dr. Christopher Heckscher Discovers New Species of Firefly

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Dr. Christopher Heckscher, DSU associate professor of environmental sciences, shows his collection of fireflies which he was able to compare with a new firefly species he has discovered in Delaware. While DSU has one scientist (Dr. Noureddine Melikechi) helping NASA determine whether there has been life on Mars, Dr. Heckscher has discovered a new life species on earth.

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10/9/13 The Photuris Mysticalampas is the new firefly genus species previously unknown to science that Dr. Christopher Heckscher has discovered in Delaware.   As far as anyone at DSU can remember, there has never been a scientist at the University (or for that matter, when it was a College) that could lay claim to the discovery of a new animal species.   That is, until recently.   Dr. Christopher Heckscher, associate professor of environmental science in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has become a DSU first with his discovery of a new species of firefly that had never been identified before in the world.   The firefly is a new species among the Photuris genus of fireflies, and Dr. Heckscher has named the newly identified illuminating insect Photuris mysticalampas. His discovery is substantiated in a published peer reviewed paper entitled “Photuris Mysticalampas (Coleoptera Lampyridae): A New Firefly from Peatland Floodplain Forests of the Delmarva Peninsula.”   Dr. Heckscher originally discovered the new firefly in 2004 when he was working as the state zoologist for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. As he was doing a survey of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge along the Delaware Bay in Sussex County Delaware, he had what he believed was his first encounter with the insect.   “I collected a firefly at Prime Hook I couldn’t identify and thought it was just a rare species I wasn’t familiar with,” he said. “Then a couple of years later I was doing a field survey in the Nanticoke wildlife area (also in Sussex County) and I came across it again.  At that point, I realized it might be a new species.”   To satisfy his scientific curiosity, Dr. Heckscher took the firefly to Florida to consult with the then-foremost authority in the country on firefly species – Dr. James Lloyd.   “(Dr. Lloyd) wasn’t familiar with it either,” Dr. Heckscher said. “I knew that if he didn’t know it, then it had to be an unknown species.”   Dr. Heckscher began teaching full-time at DSU in 2008, and it has been during his tenure at the University that he did the bulk of the research work to prove that the firefly  was a new  species.   He studied the unidentified firefly using a “dichotomous key” that compared specific characteristics of the firefly with known firefly species . The more the DSU associate professor studied the firefly, the more he became convinced that he had discovered a species unknown to science.   Dr Christopher Heckscher   “This discovery was unique because this firefly was found in this region, which has been well studied,” Dr. Heckscher said, “I think it’s a great example of how much we still have to learn about our natural world.  If a firefly can go undiscovered how much else are we missing?”. He added, however, the firefly he discovered was found in remote sections of Delaware wildlife areas largely untouched by man.   In comparing his find to other fireflies, the newly discovered firefly was distinguished from other  species by its distinct oval body, small size, flash pattern, and dense pubescent elytra (forewing).   This year, Dr. Heckscher submitted his paper to Entomological News, which had his work peer reviewed by a number of anonymous scientists. After none of the reviewers took any exceptions with any of Dr. Heckscher’s research , his paper was published in the scientific journal in its July-August 2013 issue, which was released in the last week of September.   Dr. Heckscher’s work in discovering the Photuris mysticalampas is far from the end of the story where his research is concerned. “Nothing is known about this species,” he said. “So everything I find out will be new.”   Dr. Heckscher is both an entomologist (one who studies insects) and an ornithologist (one who studies birds). In addition to his firefly research, he has also broken new ground in the study of the previously unknown migration patterns of the Veery songbird.   Sometimes when he takes his wife and two daughters camping, Dr. Heckscher often makes his research work a part of the outing. Fortunately his wife Jennie, is an entomologist who teaches at Waters Middle School in Middletown, Del., shares his never-ending scientific curiosity.   “When we go camping, I may plan to be somewhere in the area of fireflies,” Dr. Heckscher said. “If I can collect data while on vacation… why not?”

Oct. 22 Guest Lecture by Dr. Michael Mackay CANCELLED

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The guest lecture by nationally recognized nanotechnology expert Dr. Michael E. Mackay scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 the Mishoe Science Center South has been CANCELLED.   There is currently no information concerning any possible rescheduling of this guest lecturer.  

DSU Dedicates "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve" Arch on Campus

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Three DSU students -- (l-r) Christina Gomez, her brother Nicholas Gomez, and Ashley Rumph -- stand outside of the new arch in front of Loockerman Hall that bears the campus expectation of them -- "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve."

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10/14/13 (L-r) Dr. Gladys Motley, former DSU vice president of Student Affairs; DSU President Harry L. Williams, and alumni couple Dolores and Donald Blakey, stand at the unveiled arch bearing the words Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve. Delaware State University has brought back a once prominent motto that greeted all who entered the front gate of the institution from the 1950s to the 1990s. While the current “Making Our Mark on the World” continues to be a guiding motto of expectation, the University has also brought back another motto that guided students for more than 40 years – “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.” That latter motto has been reincarnated in a 10-foot high black iron arch installed at the front entrance of the gate that surrounds historic Loockerman Hall. DSU President Harry L. Williams led an Oct. 11 dedication ceremony at the historic building for the new physical manifestation of restored motto. “We have chosen to install it outside Loockerman Hall because this building was the main place on a very fledgling campus where early students “entered to learn” ---it served as the Main College Building for this institution’s first 37 years of existence,” Dr. Williams said, “The unveiling of the famous words at the entrance of this historic building establishes a landmark that will be just as meaningful to our present and future DSU students as it was to many of DSU’s alumni in the latter half of the 1900s.” The restored motto was first established 1952 when the late Felmon Motley, a 1948 graduate of then-Delaware State College, constructed a sign for the front entrance of the campus which stated “May All Who Enter Here, Enter to Learn and Go Forth to Serve.” DSU President Harry L. Williams stands at the arch with DSU alumnus Samuel Guy, who made the current administration aware of the beloved motto. Dr. Gladys Motley, the widow of Mr. Motley, and the former longtime vice president of Student Affairs at DSU, shared with the dedication gathering the story of her late husband’s work in making the sign and his dedication in staying actively connected to his alma mater. “Felmon loved Delaware State, and Delaware State loved Felmon,” Dr. Motley said. The motto was a part of the front gate of the campus for 45 years; however, the sign was removed when the University launched a project in 1997 to eliminate the two one-way streets that formerly stretched from the main gate to the center of the campus and replace them with the current pedestrian mall. When the project was completed in 1997, the sign was never restored. Many alumni never forgot the motto; however, without the physical sign bearing its words incoming students from that point on never knew it existed. DSU alumnus Dr. Donald A. Blakey said it was invigorating to see the University bring back the motto, and noted that both mottos complement each other well. “Students come to DSU be educated and then they are expected to go out and serve,” said Dr. Blakey, class of 1958. “While they are doing that, they are making their mark on the world in a positive way.” Leonard Hudson, a 1971 graduate of DSC who went on use his BS in Business Administration to work for AT&T and Verizon, said the motto encouraged him to continue to serve his alma mater. “I had a strong motivation to send students to Delaware State,” Mr. Hudson said. “I believe the motto had a strong impact on a lot of people that went to school here in those years.” Wilmington attorney Samuel L. Guy, who graduated from DSC in 1981, is credited for being a catalyst in bringing that motto to the attention of the current administration about a year ago. “Everyday students were reminded of it; when their parents brought them back to school, they saw what was expected of their sons and daughters here at Delaware State,” Mr. Guy said. “And it was all because there was a physical manifestation of the motto there.” In addition to the dedication of the arch, a new historical item was also unveiled to the gathering at Loockerman Hall. Earlier this year while doing research at the Kent County Record of Deeds, Carlos Holmes, DSU director of News Services, was able to unearth a copy of the original 1891 deed that legally documents the purchase of first 95¼ acres by the Board of Trustees of the then-State College for Colored Students from Catharine McKaine, a widow, for the establishment of the College. The three-page deed – which reflects that the original property was purchased for $4,400 – now hangs in the entrance foyer of Loockerman Hall. About 50 people attended the Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve arch dedication ceremony at Loockerman Hall. While the dedication program was held inside the historic building due to the rain, many of the attendees posed for a picture outside in front of the arch, rainy conditions notwithstanding (see below).   Many of the Arch Dedication Ceremony attendees braved the pelting rain for a photo opp in front of the new arch.    

AKAs Win DSU's 2013 Divine 9 Challenge

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Tha ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrate their Divine 9 Challenge victory on the field during halftime of the Oct. 12 Homecoming game.

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10/14/13 The Ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., celebrate their victory on the Alumni Stadium football field during the halftime of the Homecoming game.   The Divine Nine Challenge has recognized the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Inc., as the 2013 Most Divine Among the Nine at Delaware State University.   The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha raised $1,720 during the online challenge with a thrilling late push.   DSU’s Divine 9 Challenge engages fraternities and sororities in a competition to raise scholarship dollars for DSU students.  The online giving challenge took place from Oct. 4-12.   In addition to being recognized during the Oct. 12 Homecoming football game, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority will also be honored for their winning effort during the Dec. 14 President’s Scholarship Ball and as well as in future publications.   Omega Psi Phi and Delta Sigma Theta finished second and third, respectively, in the Divine 9 Challenge. The total amount raise was $3,715.

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