September 2010


DSU Ph.D Student Wins Car, $10,000 in High-Heel Race!

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Ida Bernstein poses in a Volkswagon Jetta with talk show hosts Regis Philbin (l) and Kelly Ripa after winning the show's High-Heel-A-Thon race.

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  Ida Bernstein of Baltimore recently began her doctoral studies journey at DSU by entering its Ph.D. program in optics. But she had to get through one piece of business first. She had to compete in the morning talk show’s Regis and Kelly Live’s High-Heel-A-Thon 150-yard race in New York’s City’s Central Park on Sept. 22. As whacky as that might sound to some, Ida outran a field of 500 women in the race to cross – or more accurately, to literally fall across the finish line – to win the top prize that included $10,000 as well as a brand new Volkswagon Jetta and a large high heel trophy.   Her time? An incredible 19.12 seconds to run 150 yards – five-hundredth of a second ahead of the second place finisher. Ida Bernstein stand with the biggest trophy she has ever won in her life!   And to boot, her first-place finish rated No. 9 on the ESPN Sports Network Top 10 Plays of the day, which aired that evening. Her winning run was aired on numerous stations across the country and abroad, and a YouTube video clip of the race has attracted a ridiculous number of hits, bringing her some surprising fame.   This particular story started for Ida Marie Bernstein soon after she graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and her mother challenged her to end her summer lounging around her Baltimore home and to “get a job.”   She responded by entering the 2008 Regis and Kelly High-Heel-A-Thon (which she admits was her way of responding as a smart-aleck daughter to her mother’s request).   Apparently running full speed in 3½-inch high heel pumps was one of her callings in life. In very first race, she won second place and took home $5,000 in prize money.   The 2010 first-place prize of a Volkswagon Jetta was timely. Ida said the week before the race, she totaled her car.   The 5-foot-9 inch Baltimore native said part of her secret was to wear the high heels that she wore to help her keep balanced as she stood on the top riser when she sang alto for the Syracuse University Choir.   “I liked those shoes because they had good traction,” Ida said.   The extreme sport of high-heel races is not her only athletic gift. She is also a world-class women’s rugby player who plays on the United States team and has her sights set to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   And, oh yes, she is also a doctoral student at DSU in optics.   “I told Dr. Melikechi (dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Science and Technology) that my goal is to get my Ph.D before the 2016 Olympics,” she said in a phone interview she did while driving back to Dover from her U.S. Rugby Team practice in Washington, D.C.   Ida said that she continues to hold onto her long-held aspiration to become an astronaut. “It would combine my love for science and my passion for athletics,” she said.   The 26-year-old doctoral student said that she will be happy as well if her career takes her to academia as a professor and researcher. Meanwhile, she said plans to retire from rugby when she is 32 – which will coincide hopefully when she competes in the Olympics.   She is the daughter of John Bernstein and Wendy Bozel of Baltimore.  

The Sept. 17 Evening of Inspiration SOLD OUT

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    The Evening of Inspiration, the entertainment gala that will take place on the evening of Friday, Sept. 17 as part of the Inauguration events, has been SOLD OUT. There are no more tickets available for that event that will take place in the Martin Luther King Student Center.   For more information, contact (302) 857-6055.  

Thomas Preston Appointed DSU General Counsel

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  DSU President Harry L. Williams has appointed Thomas P. Preston, an attorney with the Wilmington law firm of Blank Rome LLP, as the new General Counsel for the University.                   Thomas P. Preston, Esq. The new general counsel post has been created to replace DSU’s former assistant vice president of Legal Affairs position, and will provide the University with on-campus legal expertise and guidance.   Mr. Preston has been an attorney with Blank Rome since January 2003. Prior to that he practiced law with the Wilmington firm of Reed Smith LLP from 2000 to 2003. He served as a managing partner and lead counsel for both firms, specializing in corporate and commercial law.   He also worked as a partner and lead counsel for the Wilmington law firm of Duane Morris LLP from 1975 to March 2000.   Mr. Preston currently serves as the president of the Tatnall School Board and as a member of the WSFS Financial Corporation-WSFS Band Board. He is also a former member and chairman of the St. Francis Hospital/Foundation Board.   He has a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia Law School.   He will begin as the DSU general counsel on Oct. 1.    

Two DSU Students to Perform in 105 Voices Concert in D.C. on Sept. 19

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(L-r) DSU Concert Choir members Charles Monroe Murrell III and Marcel J. Sawyer will represent the University as they perform in the 105 Voices of History Concert in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 19.

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    Two DSU Concert Choir members and their director will represent Delaware State University as they perform in the upcoming 3rd annual 105 Voices of History National Choir Concert in the nation’s capital.   The concert will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19 in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The concert – which will have one singer from each of the 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country – will feature the mass choir performing traditional choral works and spirituals, as well as gospel and jazz selections.   Representing DSU at the concert will be:   ·        Marcel Jorden. Sawyer, a second semester DSU freshman from Cherry Hill, N.J. The graduate of Cherry Hill West High School is a music education major.   ·        Charles Monroe Murrell III, a senior from Dover, Del. The graduate of Dover High School is a music major with an emphasis in composition.   ·        Dr. Curtis Everett Powell, director of DSU Choral Activities, who will serves as one of the concert conductors along with Dr. Wayne Barr of Tuskegee University, Jeremy Winston of Wilberforce University, and D’Walla Simmons Burke of     Winston-Salem State University.     In addition, Rear Admiral Helena O. Mishoe, a 1974 biology graduate of DSU, will serve as the grand marshal for this year’s 105 Voices concert. She is currently the associate director for Minority Health Affairs in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for the National Institute of Health. She is married to the Henry Mishoe, the nephew of former Delaware State President Luna I. Mishoe (president from 1960-1987).   It will be the third year in a row that Delaware State University has been represented in that mass choir.   Renowned gospel singer Shirley Caesar will host the concert. Also the choir will be joined by the featured guest vocalist Kim Burrell, a nationally known jazz gospel artist and Stellar Award winner..   Tickets to the concert can be purchased by phone at (800) 444-1324 or in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office in Washington, D.C.    

DSU Inaugurates Dr. Harry L. Williams at 10th President

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Dr. Harry Lee Williams speaks about his aspirations for DSU after he took the Oath of Office to become the University's 10th president.

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    Dr. Harry Lee Williams formally took the oath of office Friday morning as the 10th president of Delaware State University during a packed Inauguration Ceremony in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium on campus. Dr. Harry L. Williams received the Presidential Medallion from Dr. John Land (r) and Dr. Claibourne Smith, both of the DSU Board of Trustees.   With his mother, wife, two sons, three brothers, extended family and his native North Carolina friends looking on along with the DSU family and other well-wishers, Dr. Williams received the Presidential Medallion and investiture from Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, chair of the Board of Trustees, who served as acting DSU president from September 2008 to January 2010.   “We must heed the call to be more engaged with Delaware and the nation, demonstrating our capacity to be ever more useful and relevant to a society under stress,” Dr. Williams said in his inauguration address. “We choose the path that capitalizes on our strengths, effectively addresses our shortcomings, and seizes the opportunities before us as we march into the upper echelons of the top Historically Black University’s in the nation.”   “Our students will graduate, and graduate with tools they need to thrive in this ever-shrinking world, improving the lives they touch,” the DSU president said.   Dr. Williams succeeds Dr. Allen L. Sessoms, the 9th DSU president who served from 2003-2008 before leaving to become president of the University of the District of Columbia.   Gov. Jack Markell was joined in the Inauguration Ceremony by Delaware’s entire Congressional Delegation – Gov. Jack Markell will participate in the inauguration, as well as the entire Delaware Congressional Delegation – U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Sen. Ted Kauffman and U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle.   Gov. Markell noted that DSU has a special president. “Dr. Williams is humble, but he has the intellectual resources to know how to take the school to the next level,” the governor said.   Rep. Castle said being a higher education president is a challenge because there are so many constituencies – students, faculty, staff, alumni, elected officials, the public, etc.; but noted that DSU’s 10th president is more than capable.   “Dr. Harry Williams has the ability to lead in ways that are rarely seen in this country,” Rep. Castle said. The Inauguration of Dr. Harry L. Williams brought together the rare gathering of four Delaware higher education presidents. (From l-r) Dr. Patrick T. Harker of the University of Delaware, Dr. Orlando J. George Jr. of Delaware Technical & Community College, Dr. Williams, Gov. Jack Markell and Dr. William N. Johnston of Wesley College.   The Inauguration Ceremony brought together four of the five presidents of Delaware’s institutions of higher education – Dr. Patrick T. Harker, president of University of Delaware; Dr. Orlando J. George Jr., president of Delaware Technical & Community College; and Dr. William N. Johnston, president of Wesley College. Wilmington University President Jack P. Varsalona had a scheduling conflict and could not attend.   Remarks were also given by Dover Mayor Carlton Carey, Sr.; Dr. Charlie Wilson, chair DSU Faculty Senate; Irene C. Hawkins, assistant vice president of DSU Human Resources; Kathleen Charlot, president of the DSU Student Government Association; Dr. K. Bernard Chase, president of the DSU Alumni Association; as well as Dr. Harvey Durham, chancellor and provost emeritus of Appalachian State University, who Dr. Williams calls an important mentor in his higher education career.   The DSU Concert Choir performed Moses Hogan’s arrangement of “My Soul’s Been Anchored,” while the DSU Approaching Storm Band played “Variations of Amazing Grace.” The singers and musician then joined together to lead the gathering in the DSU Alma Mater.   Hired in late November 2009, Dr. Williams officially took the helm of the University on Jan. 10. Shortly after beginning his tenure as president, Dr. Williams established a Blue Ribbon Commission to craft a new vision statement and set of core value to guide the University's future trajectory toward being among the premier HBCUs in the country.   After a little more than four months of work, the commission completed its work and Dr. Williams approved and adopted the following:   Vision Statement As one of America’s most highly respected Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Delaware State University will be renowned for a standard of academic excellence that prepares our graduates to become the first choice of employers in a global market, and invigorates the economy and the culture of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Region.   Core Values Community, integrity, diversity, scholarship and outreach.   Dr. Williams’ first six months as president has been met with great enthusiasm off-campus as well, in large part to his personal outreach to numerous segments – including community groups, alumni, the state General Assembly and Gov. Jack Markell, city and county officials, the business sector and others. The DSU president has met with John Wilson, the executive director of the White House Initiative of HBCUs, and even traveled to Washington, D.C. to hear directly from President Barack Obama concerning the education agenda of the nation’s chief executive and the role that Historically Black Colleges and University should play in that vision. Dr. Harry L. Williams' wife and two sons joined him on stage before he took the oath of office. (l-r) Austin, Dr. Robin Williams and Gavin, along with the DSU President.   In addition, Dr. Williams took a trip in the summer of 2010 to the People’s Republic of China and South Africa with other DSU officials to finalize new agreements with several institutions in those countries to facilitate student/faculty exchanges and other collaborations.   Dr. Williams served as DSU’s provost and vice president of Academic Affairs from July 2008 until he assumed the presidency. His 22-year career in higher education includes serving as an administrator at his alma mater Appalachian State University, North Carolina A&T, University of North Carolina General Administration, as well as a consultant with Noel-Levitz, a top national enrollment management consultation firm.   Dr. Williams has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Broadcasting and a Master of Arts in Educational Media, both from Appalachian State University. He earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University.   As an athlete, Dr. Williams competed as an undergraduate in track and cross country at Appalachian State University. He continues to stay in shape by running four miles at the beginning of each day.   He is married to Dr. Robin S. Williams, the DSU First Lady. Their 18-year union has produced two sons: Austin, age 14 and Gavin, age 10.  

Alumna to hold 2nd Annual 5K Walk/Run for Domestic Viol. Awareness

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Witney's LIghts 5K Walk/Run organizer Quincy Lucas presented Dr. Bradley Skelcher, DSU association provost, with a Corporate Citizenship Award for the University's support of the 2009 event.

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DSU alumnus Quincy Lucas, class of 2004 and 2007, is once again engaging the entire state of Delaware in her fight against domestic violence by holding the second annual 5K Walk/Run to bring awareness to the issue.   To be held on the morning Saturday, Oct. 9, the Witney’s Lights Walk/5K Run event will begin with registration at 8 a.m. followed by the walk/run start time of 9:30 a.m. The 5K route will be a double-loop walk or run beginning at Silver Lake Park in Dover and coursing twice through Downtown Dover and back to the park.   Throughout the morning there will be music and festivities at Silver Lake in connection with the Witney’s Lights event, and there will be an awards ceremony there also at 11 a.m.    Mrs. Lucas has been a longtime advocate against domestic violence since the murder of her sister Witney Holland Rose in 2003. Witney was senselessly killed by her ex-boyfriend in Baltimore, and ever since Mrs. Lucas has made it her mission in life to raise awareness about domestic violence.   Mrs. Lucas and her husband Dr. Kevin Lucas have created a non-profit organization named after her sister – Witney’s Lights, Inc. – that is dedicated to raising awareness and spreading education about the issue of domestic violence. Her advocacy was given great momentum when it caught the attention of then-U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as Mrs. Lucas’ work on the issue related greatly to the then-legislator’s Violence Against Women Act of 1994.   That connection later resulted in an invitation for Ms. Lucas to give the official nomination of Sen. Biden as the running mate for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Following the Obama-Biden victory in November, Ms. Lucas and family were asked to accompany the president on the historic Inauguration Train, during which she was asked to introduce the then-president-elect during the journey stop in Baltimore.   All this has served to focus more attention on Mrs. Lucas’ advocacy against Domestic Violence, which she has parlayed in more active work on this issue – including the planned Oct. 9 awareness walk.   Mrs. Lucas says that with 2,800 reported cases of domestic violence last year in a relatively small state such as Delaware, there is a tremendous need for greater awareness and attention to the issue in the First State.   “The Witney’s Lights Walk/5K Run is not the answer to ending domestic violence, but it a strong way to bring awareness to it,” Mrs. Lucas said. “The problem is people don’t talk about it.”   During the 2009 Witney’s Light 5K Walk/Run, Delaware State University received the Corporate Citizenship Award for its support of the event, and DSU organizations are gearing up to support again this year.   Call (302) 382-7308 or email Quincy@witneyslights.com.  

DSU to Hold Sept. 29-30 Symposium on Hurricane Katrina, 5 Yrs. Later

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    Delaware State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will host a day and a half symposium entitled “Five Years Later: Hurricane Katrina and Global Disasters in the 21st Century” on Sept. 29-30 in the 2nd floor parlor of the Martin Luther King Student Center on campus. Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc, a compelling central figure in the 2006 Spike Lee Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke, will be a featured speaker at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29 symposium session.   The event is free and open to the public   The destruction and devastation wrought by the hurricane along the Gulf Coast and the breaking of the levees in New Orleans represents one of the most important events in American history to occur during the first decade of the 21st century. The symposium will be presented to highlight the impact of Katrina, but also the increasing frequency of both natural and man-made disasters throughout the world.              “Listening and engaging in dialogue with scholars and artists about the significance of such transforming events as Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the flooding in Pakistan, and of course the Gulf oil spill will better prepare our students to confront the ever-growing challenges of a complex and dangerous world,” said Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the DSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.   The symposium will feature documentaries, artwork from Louisiana native Nina Spencer, presentations by Wilmington News journalist Molly Murray, Dr. Jerry Ward and Dr. Robert Collins from Dillard University in New Orleans, and Ms. Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc, a central figure in the Spike Lee documentary about When the Levees Broke.   The schedule of events – which will all take place in the Martin Luther King Student Center – is as follows:   Wednesday, Sept. 29   4 p.m. – Opening Remarks by DSU President Harry L. Williams 4:15 p.m. – Introduction by Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the DSU College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, “Why Katrina is Important.” 5 p.m. – Presentation by Molly Murray, News Journal journalist, on “Delaware’s Perfect Storm.” 5:45 p.m. – Featured speaker, Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc, a central figure in the Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke. 7 p.m. – Film documentary: The Storm that Drowned a City.   Thursday, Sept. 30   ·        11 a.m. – Presentation by Dr. Robert Collins, professor of urban studies at Dillard University, New Orleans, “New Orleans at Five Years: Recovery and Resilience after Hurricane Katrina.” ·        12 noon – Film: Axe in the Attic, a film by Ed Pincus and Lucia Small. ·        2:30 p.m. – Dr. Jerry Ward, professor of English, Dillard University, New Orleans, and the author of The Katrina Papers, to give a presentation “The Evidence and Art of Katrina Narratives.” ·        4 p.m. – DSU reflections on Hurricanes. Perspectives from DSU members who were involved with the people of the impacted region. ·        5 p.m. – Film documentary: A Village called Versailles. A film about Vietnamese “boat people” immigrants who had settled in the Versailles section of New Orleans only to have their neighborhood destroyed by the storm. Although those people were among the first to rebuild their neighborhood, their community was then threatened by the dumping of toxic waste nearby.   For more information on the two-day symposium, call the DSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at (302) 857-6628.   -0-  

State Senate Unanimously Passes DSU Inspire Scholarship Bill

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Congratulations abound as HB 399 lead sponsor Rep. Darryl M. Scott (r) and DSU President Harry L. Williams celebrate the state Senate passage of the DSU Inspire Scholarship legislation.

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Nearly 150 Delawarean students will benefit from a scholarship at Delaware State University thanks to a scholarship the state Senate unanimously approved on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in a special session. Created by House Bill 399, the DSU Inspire Scholarship program is modeled after the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) program, which provides scholarships for students to attend Delaware Technical & Community College or University of Delaware to obtain an associate’s degree. DSU was excluded from the original program because it does not offer an associate’s degree. The new DSU program would provide financial assistance to 140 students in the same amount that SEED scholars receive. DSU President Harry L. Williams (r) thanks Sen. Nancy W. Cook for her support of HB 399. Dr. Dolores Finger-Wright (center), DSU associate professor of social work, looks on.   Rep. Darryl M. Scott took up the issue this year after several conversations with DSU officials about how the SEED scholarship program was affecting the Dover-based college’s enrollment. Rep. Scott said providing opportunities for Delaware students to attend DSU is critical to their continuing education and sends the right message to students, families and the university community.   “It is important to continue to invest in our future – our children,” said Rep. Scott, D-Dover. “I truly believe the small investment we make today will pay huge dividends, not only for the students, but also for our state. Having a qualified work force is a key criteria companies use to select where they start or move their business.”   Under the program, DSU Inspire scholarship recipients would receive the same amount of funding as SEED recipients for six semesters – the same length as the SEED scholarship. Eligible students must have and maintain a 2.75 GPA and perform 10 hours of community service per semester. SEED students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and do not have a community service requirement.   DSU President Harry L. Williams said that the state Senate’s passage of HB 399 represents a great day for the University. Dr. Harry L. Williams (l) and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry share the happiness over DSU Inspire Bill Senate success.   “The legislature has made a statement that reflects the importance it attaches to investing in higher education and the understanding of the economic impact that it will have on the state,” Dr. Williams said. “You can’t go wrong in investing in education and making it more affordable for Delawareans. Today’s vote by the Delaware Senate clearly shows that consensus among these state elected legislators.”   HB 399, which passed the House unanimously in June, now goes to Gov. Jack Markell for his signature.          

Photo slideshow of DSU Inauguration Ceremony

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The below photo slide show captures some of the moments from the Inauguration Ceremony that installed Dr. Harry Lee Williams as the 10th president of Delaware State University.  

DSU Presents Employee "Inspire Awards"

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Cecilia B. Dunning and Dianne R. Scott were two of the Inspire Award honorees at a Sept. 16 ceremony and dinner for University employees.

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    Delaware State University presented its first-ever Inspire Awards during its 2010 Employee Ceremony held at Dover Downs.   During the combined ceremony and dinner the University’s Inspire Award Committee announced the following three employees to be recipients of the honor: Inspire Award recipient George H. Jones, Sr., could not be at the Sept. 16 Awards Ceremony because he was faithfully working to ensure everything was in place at Memorial Hall where the DSU Presidential Inauguration was taking place the next morning.   Mrs. Cecelia B. Dunning, financial data analyst, Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs An employee of DSU for more than 35 years and an alumna of DSU, Ms. Dunning has been a faithful source of guidance for 15 different incoming provosts and vice presidents of Academic Affairs, educating and orienting them in issues pertaining to hiring, employment contracts, as well as the administrative side of the academic calendar year. She is a reliable source of information for all segments of the DSU community. “A wealth of knowledge and generosity, she is an inspiration because she illuminates the space she occupies, in her own kind and regal manner,” according to the committee.   Ms. Dianne R. Scott, administrative secretary to the dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences A five-year employee and a DSU alumna, Ms. Scott truly embodies what perseverance means. Despite having a disability that requires her to use a walker, she has distinguished herself as a student and is close to completing her degree. She has also made her mark at this institution as a valuable administrative assistant who represents her office with outstanding customer service skills, conscientious work ethic and a wealth of knowledge. Ms. Scott motivates others by her example of “pushing past biases about disabilities and physical limitations, and tapping into a deeper sense of personal strength,” according to the committee.   Mr. George H. Jones Sr., grounds and general services supervisor, Department of Facilities A 21- year employees, Mr. Jones has a pleasant demeanor and a quiet leadership quality that makes him a well-respected supervisor. He employs a level of thoughtfulness and conscientious skill that puts a non-technical person at ease when facing logistical challenges.“While others might be tempted to cut corners on doing the job right… he holds his people accountable to themselves by displaying a high level of integrity as a team leader,” according to the committee.   In addition, a special Inspire Award was presented by Dr. Claibourne Smith to DSU President Harry Lee Williams, recognizing him for the inspirational enthusiasm he has injected into the campus during the first year of his tenure. The Inspire Award Committee was comprised of DSU staff members Brenda Farmer, Terry Blaha, Vanessa Nesbit and Irene Hawkins.   During the event, DSU honored the following employees who have accumulated 35 or more years of services for the University:   Dr. Paul Gibson, associate professor of mathematics (35 years) Gerre Depp, admin. asst./budget analyst (37 years) Dr. Richard Bieker, professor of accounting (38 years) Anita Brinkley, asst. to Title III coordinator, (39 years) Ernestine Brittingham-Brown, asst. professor of social work (39 years) Dr. Yvonne Johnson, associate professor of music (39 years) Dr. Harry L. Williams received a special Inspire Award from Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, chairman of the DSU Board of Trustees. Cecelia Dunning, financial data analyst (40 years) Dr. Ehsan Helmy, professor and chair of physics (40 years) Mable Morrison, associate professor (48 years)   In addition, the following four Faculty Excellence Awardees were recognized (the honors were originally announced in June):   Dr. Sam Hoff – Faculty Excellence Award for Service Dr. Elizabeth Mansley – Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay – Faculty Excellence Award for Advising Dr. Draboljub Pokrajac – Faculty Excellence Award for Research   The following DSU employees with 35-plus years of service were also recognized: (l-r) Dr. Paul Gibson, Gerre Depp, Ernestine Brittingham, Anita Brinkley, Dr. Yvonne Johnson, Cecelia Dunning, Mabel Morrison, who were all joined by DSU President Harry L. Williams.                        

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