December 2009


DSU Ranked Among the Top 20 HBCUs

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  Delaware State University has been recently ranked 17th among 80 Historically Black Universities and Colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Under DSU Acting President Claibourne Smith's leadership, the University has maintained its excellent standing among HBCUs. DSU tied with Winston-Salem State University for 17th place in the rankings. Among Mid-Atlantic Region schools, DSU joins Howard University (2nd), Hampton University (6th), Morgan State University (15th) and Virginia State University (19th) in the top 20 HBCUs in the 2009 ranking.   The rankings were based on the following categories to assess academic quality: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.   Spelman College of Atlanta, Ga. was ranked as the number one HBCU in the country by the magazine.   To qualify for the ranking, the HBCU had to be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first-year, first-time students and must have been a school that was part of the magazine’s America’s Best Colleges edition. In addition to the 80 HBCUs that were ranked, there were another 10 HBCUs that were unranked that would have been otherwise eligible. However those schools failed to provide the information that the magazine requested.   The rankings used 2008 enrollment, admissions and tuition and fee figures.      

State Economic Development Chief Speaks at DSU

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(L-r) DSU MBA graduate student Jonas Acquah, Dr. Youngski Kwak, College of Business interim dean, Alan B. Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, Dr. Harry Williams, DSU president-select, and MBA graduate students Carine Kouadam and Suganya Sundar. Mr. Levin spoke on the Delaware economy during a Dec. 7 College of Business event.

 

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  Alan B. Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, gave his perspectives on the state of the economy in the First State as the guest speaker at the Dec. 7 annual dinner of the DSU College of Business MBA program.   Mr. Levin gave an overview of the challenges of the recent past and the present that Delaware faces, especially in light of the departure of three significant automobile industries in the state.   “We are at 8.7% unemployment, the highest unemployment rate in the state in 30 years,” Mr. Levin said. “This is not a good time to be experimenting with what you want to do when you come out of college.”   Mr. Levin noted that Delaware has been able to soften the blow of losing three industries by attracting Fisker Automotive to take over the former General Motors Boxwood Road facility in New Castle County. Fisker will develop and build affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedans vehicles in that facility.   “The Boxwood Road car plant will be the only one (that has stopped operations) to come to life in the United State in the near future,” Mr. Levin said.   The state economic development chief shared how the Markell Administration was able to bring Fisker to Delaware, and noted that it was representative of a mindset that is determined to restore the jobs that have been lost.   “We are in a difficult time and patience is what it is going to take to get through it,” Mr. Levin said. “In this state, we will weather the storm.”  

Dr. Claibourne Smith Honored at Black Achievers Ceremony

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DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith (center) receives congratulations from Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker (l) and Wilmington Bethel AME Pastor Silvester Beaman for being honored as a Black Achiever.

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  DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith was among 28 Delaware African Americans who were honored by the YMCA of Delaware during the 2009 Black Achievers in Business and Industry Dinner and Ceremony. Dr. Claibourne D. Smith and his wife Roseann are all smiles after the acting president received the Black Achiever honor. With the recent selection of Dr. Harry L. Williams as the new president of Delaware State University, Dr. Smith will soon finish a 16-month tenure as acting president of the institution. The stable leadership provided by Dr. Smith allowed DSU to undertake a thorough presidential search process, which culminated in the selection in late November.   During Dr. Smith’s acting president tenure, DSU continued to progress and grow. Under his leadership, the University continued to receive significant research grants such as a $5 million grant for optics research, a $1 million neuroscience grant, in addition to others. During his tenure, DSU expanded its master degree offerings, established new collaborative agreements with institutions of higher educations in China, completed the construction of a new Wellness Center and swimming pool, and is nearing the completion of a new Student Center.   Dr. Smith has been an instrumental part of DSU’s development over the past 22 years through his service on the University’s Board of Trustees. From 1993 to 2003, Dr. Smith served as board chairman. He temporarily stepped down in September 2003 to become acting president. He will resume his chairmanship of the DSU Board of Trustees on Jan. 10 when Dr. Williams takes over as president of the University.   Dr. Smith retired in 1998 as vice president of technology and vice chairman of Corporate Education Aid at DuPont after 34 years of service. He is a former member of the Delaware State Board of Education.   Dr. Smith and the other 27 honorees were recognized as role models to young people and for their enthusiasm about the positive impact they can have on the lives of youth. Keynote speaker Christopher Gardner regaled the Black Achiever audience with his account of his amazing homeless-to-prosperity story.   Dr. Smith joins five other present and former members of DSU to be recognized by the YMCA of Delaware as a Black Achiever – Dr. Henry C. Harper (1993), Dr. Gustav Ofosu (1994), Germaine L. Scott-Cheatham (2005), Dr. Kenneth Bell (2007) and Dr. Michael H. Casson, Jr. (2008)             The ceremony was held at the Chase Center in Wilmington. The keynote speaker of the event was Christopher Gardner, the owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC. Mr. Gardner a period of life as a homeless single-father to become an executive success story. His life story is chronicle in his autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness, which was the inspiration for the 2006 movie of the same name starring Will Smith.      

Bank of America Donates $100,000 to DSU

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(L-r) DSU President-select Harry L. Williams, DSU Acting President Claibourne Smith, Tim Huval, Bank of America’s Delaware Market president, David Turner, Bank of America executive and DSU Board of Trustees member, and Carolyn Curry, vice president of DSU Institutional Advancement hold a display check symbolizing the BoA’s $100,000 donation to DSU.

 

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    The Bank of America continued its strong support of DSU recently with the donation of $100,000 that will go toward several University programs.   Including the recent $100,000 donation, Bank of American has donated a total of $427,350 over the last three years in support of the Delaware State University.   The donation will go toward several Wall Street programs on campus, such as camps for teachers and youths, as well as Saturday Academies. The donation will also support Financial Aid Workshops for students and parents and SAT Prep Workshops.   The funding will also go toward the Small Business Institute at DSU, in which student-led teams provide high-quality business consulting to small businesses clients in the state and also provide an extraordinary learning experience for University students.  

DSU Launches "Go Green" Initiative

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Environmentally friendly features of the soon-to-be completed MLK Student Center reflects the University commitment to "Go Green."

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  Delaware State University has launched its “Go Green” initiative through which the institution will take coordinated steps to reduce energy cost on campus and its impact on sustainable resources.  “The goal is to make our campus more sustainable and to eliminate its contribution to global warming over time,” said Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, DSU acting president. “Our vision is that DSU’s Go Green initiative will be a model for all Historically Black Universities and Colleges.”   To implement the initiative, DSU has established a 15-member task force that is composed of members from the University’s Board of Trustees, executive administrative leadership, faculty, Student Government Association and others.   Through subcommittees, the initiative will focus on “green” environmentally friendly and climate neutral measures that will relate to the university’s procurement and fundraising activities, its buildings and facilities, as well as utilize its public relations/marketing to educate and energize the campus community and inform the surrounding communities of its efforts.   All of these green measures will be developed in a DSU Climate Action Plan designed to govern the University in environmentally sound practices.    “Though such an initiative is often described in terms of environmental benefits, the positive outcomes of going green can go beyond that,” said Vita Pickrum, chairwoman of the DSU Go Green Initiative and interim assistant vice president for development. “Benefits also include increased productivity, resource efficiencies and improved community relations.”   DSU joins over 620 Universities as supporters of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. To further strengthen its capacity to successfully achieve its environmental goals, DSU has also recently become a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, an organization of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to promote sustainability in all sector of higher education.   “DSU’s Go Green initiative will contribute to the development of the social, economic and technological solution to reverse global warming,” Ms. Pickrum said.   In advance of the launching of the Go Green initiative, DSU’s soon to be completed construction of its new MLK Student Center already incorporated environmentally responsible features. The new facility includes a natural ventilation system for the lounge and dining areas, large overhangs to reduce heat consumption, light colored roofs to reduce solar gain, as well as the use of salvaged bricks.  

Dr. Lisa Barkley Appointed Associate VP of Health and Wellness

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Dr. Lisa Barkley, who has been appointed the new associate vice president of health and wellness, has been at DSU since October 2004.

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    Dr. Harry L. Williams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lisa Barkley as the new associate vice president of health and wellness for the University. Dr. Barkley will assume her new position on a full-time basis.    Dr. Barkley moves to her new duties after serving as the dean of the College of Health and Public Policy since late 2004. She will assume her new associate vice president post on Jan. 6.   Dr. John Austin will assume the position of interim dean of the College of Health and Public Policy while continuing to serve in his current post as associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs.     Dr. Barkley will plan and direct all aspects of the University’s medical programs and policies. She will also oversee the development of clinical programs focusing on the health care needs of students while engaging in research and publications appropriate to support clinical services.    Also critical in her new role, Dr. Barkley will build and sustain relationships with college health, public health, the local medical community and other external colleagues and constituencies. The directors of Wellness Programs, Student Health Center, Sports Medicine, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention, Behavior of Health Center, and Athletic Training Center will report to Dr. Barkley.   A search for a permanent dean of the College of Health and Public Policy will be initiated on a future date to be announced.    

DSU Appoints Dr. Ronald H. Blackmon Interim Provost

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Dr. Ronald H. Blackmon, a 1980 alumnus of DSU,  will serve as the University's interim provost while a search process is implemented for a permanent provost successor to Dr. Harry L. Williams, who has been selected to be the 10th president of Delaware State University.

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  Delaware State University has announced the appointment of Dr. Ronald H. Blackmon as the interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs Dr. Blackmon will take over the Provost Office on Jan. 6 as result of the selection of current Provost Harry L. Williams to be the 10th president of Delaware State University. The interim provost will fill that position while a national search process is implemented for a permanent provost. DSU is not entirely new to Dr. Blackmon who graduated from then-Delaware State College in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology both from Howard University.   He comes to DSU after serving as the provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina from 2005-2008. He has also served as dean at that university’s School of Mathematics, Science & Technology from 2002-2005, and as the chair of its Department of Biology from 1995-2002. During his time at that institution he progressed from assistant professor to full professor from 1989-2008.   In addition to being a DSU alumnus, Dr. Blackmon is also familiar with the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program that exists at DSU. He was enrolled in the MARC program at Howard University during his graduate studies in 1985.   “Dr. Blackmon not only comes to the University with an already established background as a provost overseeing academic affairs, but he also has a strong connection to this institution as an alumnus of DSU and also the MARC program,” said President-select Harry L. Williams. “For those reasons, I am confident that his work at DSU will be reflective of his leadership experience and his love for his alma mater.”   Dr. Blackmon said he is excited about returning home. “As an alumnus, I can personally attest to the high quality of the education offered by Delaware State University and look forward to joining the exceptional faculty, staff and administrators who will be moving the University to the next level,” he said.  

DSU, Other Agencies Celebrate Home Completions in Coverdale Crossroads

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Celebrating affordable home construction completion -- (l-r) Nadeb Bynum, regional HUD director, Roland Ridgeway, project director, residents Rene Brown and LaToya Bruce, Evelyn Wilson, head of the Coverdale Crossroads Civic Association, and Dr. John Austin, director of DSU Office of Sponsored Programs. Not pictured is Amanda Sheppard, one of the new homeowners.

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Delaware State University, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and nine other Delaware social agencies recently celebrated the construction completion of three new homes in the Coverdale Crossroads community in Sussex Country.  During a Dec. 17 media event at the Coverdale Crossroad Community Center, representatives of the partner agencies celebrated the joint initiatives that made the dream of home ownership possible in an affordable way for the residents.   Under the direction of Milford Housing Corporation, three single females – two of whom also have children – were trained and supervised to build their own homes. These homes include three bedrooms, two baths, porches and two-car garages. The families – a led by single female household heads – have low 30-year mortgages financed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At closing and move-in, each family possessed approximately $50,000 of equity in their homes.  Rene Brown stands in front her new home that she helped build.   In addition to the home construction, DSU has worked with its partners and the Coverdale Crossroads Civic Association to provide services to the youth and families (Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club) and entrepreneurial training opportunities (DSU Center for Enterprise Development). Additionally, the partnership has provided pre- and post-homeownership counseling, financial literacy workshops and assistance with credit restoration for members of the community.    The new residents of the three new homes in Coverdale Crossroads are Rene Brown, LaToya Bruce and Amanda Sheppard.   “It taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to do,” said Ms. Brown, a homeowner of one of the newly built houses.   The partners – led by DSU – consisted of the following agencies and organizations: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency, Milford Housing Development Corporation, Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Delaware State Housing Authority, Boy & Girls Clubs of Delaware (Western Sussex Club), The Coverdale Crossroads Community Council, Inc. and First State Community Action Agency.   Dr. John Austin, director of the DSU Office of Sponsored Programs who conceived the project, was instrumental in bringing together the partner agencies and crafting the successful competitive grant application that resulted in about $600,000 to support the project. The partners -- including DSU -- added another $1 million.