October 2013


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.

DSU's Pi Eta of Kappa Alpha Psi wins National Chapter of the Year.

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Brandon Allen, Pi Eta president, and Calvin Carter, advisor, accept the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity's Edward G. Irvin Undergraduate Chapter of the Year Award at the fraternity's national gathering in Houston, Tx.

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The Pi Eta Chapter (Delaware State University) of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., has been honored as the Edward G. Irvin Undergraduate Chapter of the Year Award recipient by the national Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.   The Edward G. Irvin Undergraduate Chapter of the Year Award is the highest Grand Chapter award available to undergraduate chapters for outstanding achievement in the community and at their respective university. Pi Eta was able to win this award among 700-plus chapters in the fraternity. Pi Eta has not only represented Kappa Alpha Psi very well in their achievements, but also Delaware State University. It is the first time in the chapter's history that it has won that national honor.   The award was presented to the Pi Eta Chapter at the national fraternity’s 81st Grand Chapter Meeting on Aug. 6-11 in Houston, Texas. 2013.

Filmmaker Lee Daniels Tells His Story at DSU

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Dr. Dolores Finger Wright, associate professor of sociology, gets some love from Lee Daniels follow his Oct. 17 guest speaking engagement in the Education and Humanities Theater on campus.

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Filmmaker Lee Daniels kept it “real” at DSU Education & Humanities Theater on Oct. 17 The director of the critically acclaimed and box office hit Lee Daniel’s The Butler was the guest speaker as part of the DSU Office of Student Affairs’ Make Your Mark Speakers Series. Mr. Daniel shared with the well-attended gathering his life story from his youth to his successful career in the film industry. For images of Mr. Daniels’ visit, click on the below photo slideshow, followed by more information on the event. At the end of the article, there is also a link to a video clip of a DSU Inside Perspective interview of the filmmaker. To see an interview on DSU Inside Perspective, click on the following DSU YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozItw74Dsf4 Mr. Daniels began by noting that he did not finish college, and told the students in attendance that they are blessed. “You should enjoy your tenure here at Delaware State University,” he said. The Philadelphia native noted that he became involved in the film industry at a time before black directors began to have some success. “There weren’t any mentors, no Spike Lee yet, no blacks working behind the scene,” Mr. Daniels said. “Survival instincts took me from early college to Hollywood.” While he began by directing small theatre ensembles in Baldwin Hills, Ca., he also took a job as a receptionist for a nursing agency. Then with a keen sense of opportunity, Mr. Daniels started his own nursing agency. “I stole five of their clients and took all the black girls (nurses) with me,” he said, to the humor of the gathering. After making what he said “an enormous amount of money” he sold his business and refocused his efforts on the film industry. He went to work as a casting director and an actors’ agent, contributing to the casting of films such as Prince’s Purple Rain and Under the Cherry Moon. Lee Daniels gave a frank account of his life and career at a well-attended gathering in the E&H Theater on campus. “I learned from the ground up what it was like to be on the (filming) set,” Mr. Daniels said. “That was my school.” He was later hired by Warner Brothers to be its head of minority talent, a post that brought him in contact with a lot of talented black actors. He was later inspired by the Broadway show “Dreamgirls,” which inspired him to launch his own casting agency. However, he said, there was still not an abundance of significant acting jobs for African American performers. “Then I got the idea for (the 2001 film) Monster’s Ball and produced it,” Mr. Daniels said. He added that there were many who predicted that the film would not do well. “I am very proud of the fact that Halle Berry was the first black woman to win the Academy Award (for Best Actress),” he said. He eluded to his past drug problem, he noted that night Ms. Berry received the Award, he could not attend the celebration party afterward because he was at home “with his crack pipe.” He said his responsibility to raise his adopted children prompted him to give up drugs for good soon thereafter. “I thought I was saving them, and they ended up saving me,” said the filmmaker, who noted that he has been drug-free from illegal substances for 17 years. Mr. Daniel detail there rest of his filmography journey: The Woodsman, a 2004 film he produced about a pedophile trying to assimilate back into society after serving a jail sentence; Shadowboxer (2005), his first directorial effort; Tennessee (2008), which he produced starring singer Mariah Carey; Precious (2009), which he directed and produced and resulted in a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Mo’Nique; The Paperboy (2012); as well as The Butler. “When Halle Berry won the Oscar, I thought it doesn’t get any better than this,” Mr. Daniels said. “But God said, ‘no Negro, it does’ .” As he shared his life story, he quite frankly talked about his gay sexual orientation and the challenges it has caused for him. At the end of his presentation, he took numerous questions from the audience and gave some advice to those who aspire to make it in the film industry, noting toughness is required. “It is a cutthroat business,” Mr. Daniels said. Watch a video interview with Mr. Daniels on a segment of DSU Inside Perspective.  

GIMPA Group from Ghana Visits DSU

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The Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) receives a cooking demonstration from Donna Pinkett Brown, a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the DSU Cooperative Extension.

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10/22/13 The Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration receives a tour of the College of Business' kitchen incubator.   DSU has once again hosted a group of students from the Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)   The Ghanaian students visited DSU and sites in Wilmington on Oct. 16-22. On the DSU campus, the group spent time with officials of the University’s Delaware Center for Enterprise Development learning about business marketing and receiving demonstrations in the Food Business Incubator Center in the Bank of America Building.   The group also paid a visit to the city of Wilmington’s Economic Development Office and toured the commercial  Wilmington Riverfront area.   DSU and GIMPA have been engaged in international collaboration for several years, with DSU hosting students from GIMPA on study tours as well as DSU faculty and administrators being hosted by GIMPA during trips to Ghana. The GIMPA group pause for a photo during the first-day reception DSU held for them.          

Filmmaker Lee Daniels to Speak at DSU Oct. 17

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10/4/13                Lee Daniels   Delaware State University will present award-winning filmmaker Lee Daniels – producer and director of the recently released The Butler and other critically acclaimed films – as guest speaker at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus.   The event – which is part of the DSU Office of Student Affairs’ Make Your Mark Speakers Series – is free and open to the public.  Mr. Daniels’ filmography includes: screenwriter and director of the 2009 film Precious, which was Academy Award nominated for Best Director and Best Motion Picture; and producer of the 2001 film Monster Ball, of which Halle Berry became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress.   His latest project The Butler – which has grossed over $110 million at the box office since its mid-August release – is a film inspired by the life of Eugene Gaines, who served as a White House butler through eight different presidential administrations. The powerful cast ensemble includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, as well as the presidents’ portrayals by Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, John Cusak, Alan Rickman and others. The movie has created significant buzz among Academy Award watchers.   In addition, Mr. Daniels produced the critically acclaimed  The Woodsman, Tennessee, and produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for The Paperboy.   Lee Daniels’ background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates.  By the age of 21, Mr. Daniels founded and ran his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; simultaneously, he was  trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. Mr. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.

Gov. Markell Meets with Education Majors on Teacher Preparation

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Delaware Gov. Jack Markell share his vision for teacher preparedness with education majors during an Oct. 22 meeting in the MLK Jr. Student Center.

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10/22/13 Gov. Jack Markell challenged the DSU education majors to aim high, work exceptionally hard and become teachers in Delaware. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell met Oct. 22 with about 150 education majors to share the state’s direction with its new teacher preparedness requirements and emphasis their importance for the state and especially for young elementary and high school students. In his address in the MLK Jr. Student Center, Gov. Markell noted that a recent state report done in collaboration with Harvard University showed that only three out of 10 Delaware students make it from ninth grade to their second year of college. He further noted that 65% of the jobs in Delaware will require college graduates by 2025. “We can’t sugarcoat the challenges we face,” he said. Gov. Markell said that the research clearly shows that teacher quality is the most important school-related factor in a student’s academic success.   Toward ensuring that success, Gov. Markell told DSU’s education majors that the state wants to make a deal with them. “We are asking you to work exceptionally hard, to meet higher standards than ever and to become a teacher in Delaware,” he said. “We need you to aim high. You will be evaluated more rigorously than those who sat in these seats before you.” Gov. Jack Markell (far right) poses with student members of the DSEA/NEA Student Association. (L-r) Nefertiti Washington, Devon Conventry, Diogenin Matos, Jessica Brower, Justine Jenkins, Renee Horne, Raykeem Ward, Jasmine Manley, Davon Lewis and Rayshaun Ward.   Earlier this year, Gov. Markell signed Senate Bill 51 that established a more rigorous standard for teacher preparations in the state. "It raises the requirements for what it takes to teach in Delaware," he said. Among the new requirements, all teacher preparation programs will be required to conduct regular reviews of candidates, followed by exit assessments. All new educators must then pass a state performance assessment in addition to a written exam to ensure that they understand and can apply the content they will teach. Gov. Markell told the DSU education majors that if they make the commitment to qualify for and pursue a teaching jobs in Delaware’s schools, they will find that the state is determined to provide the resources and other support they will need to have a successful and fulfilling career.   The governor noted the following state education initiatives that are either already underway or being worked toward:   The state has recently launched www.joindelawareschools.org as a one-stop easy-to-use resource to find and learn more about education jobs throughout the state. The governor said his administration is committed to reworking the teacher pay structure, which  would include raising starting salaries and rewarding educators who provide leadership to their peers, as well as those who teach high-need students or hard-to-staff subject areas such as math and science. The state has established “professional learning communities” to provide interactive opportunities for educators to learn from each other. Gov. Markell gave the DSU education majors an opportunity to ask questions. He fields a question from Aqsa Siddiqi. “This is an exciting time to be involved in education in Delaware,” Gov. Markell said. “I am realistic about the challenges we face, but also extremely optimistic that we will continue to see great progress.” He added that to make that progress a reality, the state needs high-quality students like the education majors at DSU to stay and teach in the First State. The governor ended the meeting by fielding a number of questions from the education majors.

Finance and Administration Staff Unite to "Think Pink"

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The staff of the Division of Finance and Administration donned "Go Pink" t-shirts on Oct. 4 in support of breast cancer awareness.

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10/4/13 (L-r) Regina Deavens, Cheryl Lolley (with back turned) and Philomena Dolbow show off the Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirts.   After becoming aware of the BayHealth Foundation initiative to honor Breast Cancer Awareness on Friday, October 4, 2013, Dr. Teresa Hardee (vice-president of Finance and Administration) immediately offered her full support.    Not stopping with the purchase of t-shirts for her daughter, mother, sister, and herself, Dr. Hardee garnered the participation of her entire staff by generously agreeing to personally pay 50% of the purchase amount for each shirt.   This leadership and benevolence generated a contribution of $1,000 to the BayHealth Foundation and created an atmosphere of awareness and unity for her family and the Finance Team.

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