May 2014


Gov. Markell Appoints DSU's Dr. Heckscher to Natural Areas Council

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Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has appointed Dr. Christopher Heckscher, DSU assistant professor of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, to serve as a member of the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council (DNAAC).   As an eight-member council created by state law, the DNAAC advises the cabinet secretary of the Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) on the administration of nature preserves and the preservation of natural areas.   As a governor’s appointment, Dr. Heckscher had to go through a state Senate confirmation hearing on March 26, during which time he received the legislators’ approval to serve on the council.   “In the field of conservation and the environment, it is a prestigious appointment,” Dr. Heckscher said, adding that he believes he is the first DSU faculty member to be appointed to the DNAAC.   Dr. Heckscher is both an entomologist (one who studies insects) and an ornithologist (one who studies birds).  Last year, he gained some notoriety within the entomology science community when he discovered a new species of firefly – Photuris mysticalampas –  which he substantiated in a published peer-reviewed paper.   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.   Dr. Heckscher has been a DSU faculty member since 2008.

2014 President's Society Reception -- Photo Slideshow

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A group of DSU alumni pose in front of a NASCAR racer that was parked in front of the MLK Student Center where the President's Society Reception took place.

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Delaware State University honored its President’s Society-level donors – who contribute $1,000 or more annually to the University for scholarships – during a May 29 reception in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.For images from the President’s Society Reception, click on the below photo slideshow:

DSU Receives $1.4M Grant for West Africa Project

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The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has enlisted a team of DSU faculty members to provide technical expertise in researching and evaluating ongoing USDA projects in the West Africa region DSU ASSESS Team: (l-r) Dr. Hankoua Bertrand, Dr. Samuel Besong, Dr. Marikis Alvarez (principal investigator) Dr. Albert Essel and Dr. Michael Casson. The team has been awarded a five-year, $1.4 million USDA grant to evaluate U.S. government agriculture, environmental and trade programs in 21 countries of West Africa. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing the DSU faculty team with a $1.4 million grant over five years as part of its “Analytical Support Services and Evaluations for Sustainable Systems in Agriculture, Environment and Trade (ASSESS)” program. The program is a partnership between DSU, University of Rhode Island and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Dr. Marikis Alvarez, associate dean for research in the DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, is the principal investigator, heading a DSU team that includes: Dr. Albert Essel, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the Department of Human Ecology; Dr. Hankoua Bertrand, senior research scientist; and Dr. Michael Casson, director of the University Center for Economic Development and International Trade. As part of the ASSESS Program, the DSU team will evaluate the impact of U.S. government projects related to agriculture, the environment and trade in 21 countries of West Africa.  The team will assist in the development of a Regional Center of Excellence, which will be a facility in Ghana where monitoring and evaluation training will be given to West African countries. Dr. Alvarez said the information gathered through the evaluation process will be used in future USDA Foreign Agricultural Service decisions and policy making. “This project is catalyzing an interdisciplinary approach in its implementation by using DSU’s relevant expertise from diverse areas,” Dr. Alvarez said. He added that the project will help DSU build additional internal capacity for such activities, as well as provide the University some leverage that could result in future significant grants.

1st Lady's Tea for May 2014 Graduating Women -- Photos

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Dr. Robin Williams (center) takes a pose with some of the graduating women that attended her First Lady's Tea in the MLK Jr. Student Center.

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Dr. Robin Williams held the May Commencement Weekend 1st Lady Tea for about 50 graduating senior women in a May 9 event that was a rich mix of professional etiquette tips, gifts, food and fellowship in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center For images from the event, click on the below photo slide show:

The 2014 May Commencement -- Photo Slideshow and Article

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There were many expressions of estatic joy among graduates during the May 11 Commencement Ceremony.

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More than 550 graduates walked across the stage to celebrate the completion of their degrees during the May 11 Commencement Ceremony at Delaware State University’s Alumni Stadium.To see images from the 2014 May Commencement, click on the below photo slideshow, followed by more information about the graduation.Because DSU’s Finals Week just ended on Friday, May 9, the spring semester 2014 grades and the final graduation totals will not be finalized until the coming week.However, the projected total number of graduates – combining the December Commencement confirmed total with the May total – is well above the DSU record of 671 set during the 2012-2013 school year. There were 193 graduates during the Dec. 14 Commencement.The Commencement Ceremony, held outdoor at the University’s Alumni Stadium, was presided over by DSU President Harry L. Williams. Also in attendance were U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, DSU Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Claibourne Smith, as well as a number of other elected state officials.Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to Noah Link of Dover, Del., and Roderick King of Wilmington, Del., who both earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics education and biological science, respectively, and maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout their undergraduate years.The DSU president also presented the 2014 Presidential Leadership Award to Clarence J. Banks, of Wilmington, who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Banking. Mr. Banks was a senior resident  assistant, president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, part of the Student Advisory Council for the College of Business, a member of the Men’s Council, and a DSU peer mentor.The keynote speaker was Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., prominent legal theorist, civil rights attorney and author. He is also a Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.Both President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were students of Professor Ogletree when they attended Harvard Law School. He has continued to be a close friend of the First Couple and a confidant for the chief executive on a number of issues.Dr. Ogletree told the assembled graduates that they should not forget the sacrifices of those who made their degrees possible. He added that just like those who fought to open the doors of education for all, today’s graduates will be confronted with societal challenges that will need to be addressed as well.“The class of 2014 needs to understand that it is not just about going out to get a job as you leave DSU, but it is also about doing something to make a difference,” the keynote speaker said.Dr. Williams presented Dr. Ogletree and Bythema Byrd Bagley – a longtime educator and supporter of DSU – with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees.

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