March 2014


Anti-Death Penalty Foe Helen Prejean to Speak at DSU March 18

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Sister Helen Prejean is shown on a previous visit to Delaware, a state in which capital punishment is practiced.

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               Sister Helen Prejean Sister Helen Prejean, a nationally known anti-death penalty advocate and book author, will be a guest speaker at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18 in room 139A in the Mishoe Science Center at Delaware State University. The event is free and open to the public. Sister Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun from New Orleans, La., has been a prominent anti-death penalty advocate since she became a spiritual advisor to a number of death row inmates in that state in the 1980s. She authored the 1993 book Dead Man Walking, which details her experiences in ministering to condemned inmates, her time with them during their last days and her witness of their executions. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for 31 weeks and was made into a movie that won an Academy Award for Best Actress for Susan Sarandon who portrayed Sister Prejean. Sister Prejean's book Dead Man Walking was made into an Academy Award winning 1995 movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. In late 2004, Sister Prejean published a second book, The Death of Innocents: And Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, in which she tells the story of condemned inmates who were both executed, but who Sister Prejean also argues were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. In the book she examines how flaws inextricably entwined in the death penalty system inevitably lead to innocent people being executed and render the system unworkable. The Roman Catholic sister has witnessed five executions in Louisiana and travels the world to educate the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. As the founder of “Survive,” a victim’s advocacy group in New Orleans, she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but the families of murder victims, as well. Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1985–1995, and has served as chairperson of the Board from 1993–1995. She is also a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. She presently is the honorary chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty.

Two Students Win iPads, Two More Remain for Survey Completion

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Elaine Johnson, a senior from Baltimore, Md, was the first student to win an iPad for completing the National Survey for Student Engagement. She receives the technology prize from Genevieve Tighe, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs/Institutional Effectiveness, and DSU President Harry L. Williams. The University has given away two iPads, and will give away two more after April 8.

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Two DSU students have been rewarded with new iPads Airs for completing the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), and two more will be given away. Leslie Ebert, a DSU senior, also won an iPad for participating in the NSSE.   Elaine Johnson, a senior movement science major from Baltimore, Md., and Leslie Ebert, a senior nursing major from Wilmington, are the first two recipients of the 32 GB iPads.   DSU students still have a chance to win one of two more iPad that will be given away to a couple of lucky students who take the time to complete the NSSE. The survey collects information about the students’ participation in programs and activities designed to impact their learning and personal development.   Students at DSU have until April 8 to complete the survey and be eligible to win one of the iPads. For instructions on how to access the survey, students should refer to the March emails sent from DSU President Harry L. Williams about the NSSE.   “DSU is thankful to each student who has provided valuable feedback on our programs by completing the NSSE Survey,” said Genevieve Tighe, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs/Institutional Effectiveness.   Two more winners will be selected from among the students who complete the survey by April 8, 2014.  Students who started the survey, but did not complete it, still have time to finish the survey by that date.  

DSU closed in Dover, Georgetown March 17; Wilm. open tonight

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About 4-6 inches has already fallen on Kent and Sussex County by 5:30 a.m.

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Due to the snowfall that is expected to total at least 4-6 inches in Kent and Sussex counties, Delaware State University will close its locations in Dover and Georgetown on Monday, March 17. Only essential personnel should report to work on this day. The DSU@Wilmington location will open at 12 noon and will hold evening classes on Monday evening.

DSU Students Do Spring Break Community Service in Norfolk

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After a week of community service work in Virginia, the students had a good time at the DSU Fan Mixer with DSU President Harry L. Williams and University First Lady Dr. Robin Williams.

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Despite both Hornet basketball teams losing in the first round of the MEAC Tournament in Norfolk Va., a group of DSU students remained there throughout the rest of the Spring Break Week to do a variety of community service projects in that city. For images of the students doing their Norfolk community service work at Good Mojo (a children’s thrift store that benefits the homeless) and the Ronald McDonald House (a facility that provides residential support to families with children who are having surgery at local hospitals), click on the below photo slideshow, followed by more info: The group of 35 students (mostly from the DSU Gospel Choir along with a few other students), who were in the Norfolk area March 8-15, also did community service work at the Dwelling Place Shelter in Norfolk and at the Judeo Christian Outreach Center in nearby Virginia Beach. But it wasn’t all about work, as the students spent some time at some recreation sites such as Virginia Beach and the Navel Museum, and other sites. The DSU Gospel Choir also sang at a few locations. There were accompanied on the trip by Stacey Downing, associate vice president of Student Affairs; Pamela Adams, director of Spiritual Life and University chaplain; and Ebony Ramsey, director of Student Leadership and Activities.

DSU Fan Mixer at 2014 MEAC Tourney -- Photo Slideshow

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In addition to dancing and eating, the DSU Gospel Choir thrilled the Fan Mixer gathering in Norfolk, Va., with their spirited a cappella rendition of "Ride on King Jesus."

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The DSU Hornet basketball teams might have exited early in the 2014 MEAC Tournament, but you would not have known it by the Del State spirit exhibited at the March 14 DSU Fan Mixer event in the Norfolk Plaza, in Norfolk, Va. For images from the DSU Fan Mixer, click on the below photo slideshow:

Charles Ogletree, Obama mentor, to be May Commencement Speaker

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Charles Ogletree, a prominent legal theorist and a former law professor of both President Barack Obama and his wife Michele, has written a number of books on race and justice.

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Delaware State University will feature Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., prominent legal theorist, civil rights attorney, mentor to President Barack Obama and author, as the keynote speaker                 Charles J. Ogletree Jr. of the 2014 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 11.   The 10 a.m. Commencement will be held outdoors at DSU’s Alumni Stadium (weather permitting).   Charles Ogletree, 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, is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law.   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.   Professor Ogletree is the author of several important books on race and justice, including The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America (2010); his historical memoir All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education (2004); Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct in Minority Communities (1995), as well as others.   Professor Ogletree is a native of Merced, Calif., where he attended public schools. He earned an M.A. and B.A. (with distinction) in Political Science from Stanford University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School.   DSU President Harry L. Williams said that the University is excited that Professor Ogletree will be this year's May Commencement keynote speaker. He also expressed the University's appreciation to two DSU alumni, Frank and Mary Marshall, who are friends of Mr. Ogletree and were instrumental in his acceptance of the invitation to speak at the graduation.

DSU Board of Trustees Approves New Campus Master Plan

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The Board of Trustees approved the latest Campus Master Plan at its March 20 regular meeting.

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The DSU Board of Trustees has approved a new Campus Master Plan that will govern the physical growth of the University over the next 10-20 years.   The Campus Master Plan (CMP) was approved during the board’s March 20 regular quarterly meeting.   The newest CMP is designed to both address the University’s immediate needs while also outlining a set of long-term physical growth and existing building improvement recommendations in support of the University’s Mission Statement and Strategic Plan and consistent with the academic quality of the institution.   The CMP consists of: 1.) “Emerging Urgencies” building projects to be launched within the next five years; 2.) a Mid-Term Plan for building projects over the next 6-10 years; and 3.) a Long-Term Plan for the next 10-20 years.   One of the “Emerging Urgencies” has already begun with the start earlier this year of the construction of the first phase of the Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building.   Also within the next five years, the CMP calls for the construction of a building that will house the University’s new Early College High School, as well as its Department of Education and its Health Services. Once this new building is complete, the University will then turn its attention to renovating the existing Education and Humanities Building.   The Mid-Term and Long-Term aspects of the CMP – encompassing the next 6-20 years – call for the construction of several new academic and department buildings, which would include labs and offices.   Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, chair of the DSU Board of Trustees, said that it is important to ensure DSU's facilities – current and future – are supported and maintained in order to carry out the University’s Mission Statement and Strategic Plan. As such, he said, the Campus Master Plan will be an essential tool to inform the decision-making by the board and the administration over the next two decades.   “This updated Campus Master Plan has input from all sectors of the University, including faculty, staff, students and the community,” Dr. Smith said. “Also, this plan is designed to be evergreen, making it flexible and subject to changing circumstances.”   DSU President Harry L. Williams noted that the growth of DSU is expected to continue.   “This must include provisions for the growth of the campus facilities,” Dr. Williams said. “This Campus Master Plan will guide us in infrastructure improvements that will accommodate the projected increases in enrollment, the new academic offerings that will be added, and the University’s commitment to enhance campus life and its educational experience.”   The CMP Executive Committee was chaired by Amir Mohammadi, executive vice president and University Treasurer. Serving with him on the Executive Committee were:   Wes Perkins, Board of Trustees member and chair of the Board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee Dr. Alton Thompson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, advisor to the CMP Committee and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee Bernice Whaley, deputy director, Delaware Economic Development Office Dr. Teresa Hardee, vice president for Finance and Administration Noureddine Melikechi, vice president for research, innovation and economic development, and dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Kemal Atkins, vice president for Student Affairs Tom Preston, general counsel Dr. Bradley Skelcher, associate provost Zafar Chaudhry, associate vice president Denese Lindsey, associate vice president Dr. Dyremple Marsh, dean of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences Terrell Holmes, registrar Dr. Chandra Aleong, Faculty Senate Finance Committee member Dr. Charlie Wilson, chair of the Faculty Senate (2011-2012) Jessica Horton, SGA president (2011-2012) Shelbe Hudson, SGA president (2012-2013)

Rape Documentary to be Screened with Filmmaker at DSU March 24

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Delaware State University will present a film screening of NO! The Rape Documentary and a discussion with filmmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons at 7 p.m. Monday, March 24 in   Aishah Shahidah Simmons the upstairs parlor of the Martin Luther King Student Center on campus. The event – sponsored by the DSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – is free and open to the public. Aishah Shahidah Simmons – the producer, writer, and director of the film – is an award-winning African-American feminist lesbian independent documentary filmmaker, television and radio producer, published writer, international lecturer, and activist based in Philadelphia, Pa. She is presently an adjunct faculty member in the Women’s Studies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Studies programs at Temple University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, which examine the her/histories and contemporary realities of cisgender women and/or LGBT people – as well as those who question their gender – in all of their diversity. Her classes include unique courses such as Gay and Lesbian Lives, Audre Lorde: The Life and Work of a Silence Breaker, and Graduate Introduction to Feminist Studies.  She has also moderated and participated on several Temple University sponsored roundtables and panels; personally inviting and hosting a wide range of nationally and internationally renowned scholars, cultural workers, filmmakers and activists to be a part of the events. Ms. Simmons is currently an Erma Taylor O’Brien Distinguished Visiting Professor at Scripps College during their spring semester of the 2013-2014 academic year.

DSU to Closes Operations/Classes Monday, March 3

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DSU's Mishoe Science Center may look worse than this snow-wise on Monday, March 3

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Due to the approaching Winter Storm Titan that is projected to dump anywhere from 5 to 10 inches of snow throughout the entire state, Delaware State University will close its normal operations and cancel day and evening classes on Monday, March 3 at all three of its locations in Dover, Wilmington and Georgetown. Only essential personnel should report to work on Monday. DSU officials will monitor snowstorm and at some point make a decision concerning the status of operations and classes on Tuesday, March 4. DSU community member are urged to monitor the University’s website, email and the DSU Snowline (302) 857-SNOW (7669).

John Ridgeway '75 Named DSU's Distinguished MEAC Alum

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John Ridgeway, DSC Class of 1975, is shown (center) posing with his Alumni of the Year Award along with a couple of MEAC officials after receiving the award on March 13.

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DSU alumnus John Ridgeway recently added a new honor to his list of life achievements as he was recognized by the Mid-Eastern Athletics Conference (MEAC) as the DSU Alumni of the Year. The Conference annually recognizes Alumni of the Year honorees from all of its member institutions during its MEAC Basketball Tournament, which this year took place in Norfolk, Va. Ridgeway was recognized along with the other honorees, during halftime of the March 13 evening men’s quarterfinal games. Ridgeway earned his bachelor’s degree from then-Delaware State College in 1975.  For more than 10 years, he has served on DSU’s Business Advisory Council for the College of Business and as chair until March 2013. He is an inducted member of the DSU College of Business Hall of Fame. He serves as the Corporate Manager of Toyota Financial Services (TFS) in Owings Mills, Maryland.  His primary responsibility is managing over 350 associates, who provide services to both Toyota and Lexus customers and approximately 1,100 dealers on the East Coast. John has over 30-years of executive management experience in operations. He is responsible for charitable giving in the area and championed launching the Kaizen continuous improvement programs at TFS. In the community, John supports ongoing TFS community service initiatives in the Baltimore area. Some of these initiatives include Northwest Hospital Cancer Center, Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore, and Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland.  John is a lifetime member of the DSU Alumni Association, a member of the DSUAA Alumni Legacy Hall of Fame and has been recognized by the New Castle County (DE) Chapter of the DSUAA. In addition to supporting his alma mater, he has supported several HBCUs to include Bowie State University, Coppin State University, and Morgan State University. He currently serves on the president’s Advisory Council for Stevenson University in Stevenson, Md.  John is a member of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc. and chairs the organization’s philanthropic arm, the Groove Fund. Over the past two years, he has supported the efforts of Groove Phi Groove to award $50K to Morgan State and 25K to Delaware State. He also holds memberships in--and has been recognized by--several other professional organizations, including the Union Masonic Lodge #21, Boys & Girls Club of Baltimore, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and the Monday Club of Wilmington, Del. He is also a NAACP lifetime member.  

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