November 2009


Del. River and Bay Authority Donates $5,000 to DSU Aviation

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DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith, DSU aviation students Terrance Brown, Ryan Agan, and Frank W. Minor, deputy executive director of the DRBA, hold a display check symbolizing the donation by the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

 

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  The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) recently donated $5,000 to go toward scholarships for Delaware State University aviation students. The DSU Aviation Program (formerly Airway Science) is based at the Delaware Airpark, an airfield facility operated by the DRBA. DSU maintains its 10 aircrafts and conducts its flight training at the airpark.   Capt. Stephen Speed, the director of the DSU Aviation Program, said the donation is greatly appreciated by the University and its aviation students.   “Despite the fact that we provide one of the lowest cost options in the country, the number one obstacle for our Aviation students is the high cost of flight training,” Capt. Speed said.  “The DRBA’s recent gift of $5,000, which will be allocated for the Aviation Retention Scholarship, is a critical component in our ability to remain competitive, attract and retain top-notch aviation students and provide these students with the resources they need to be successful in their aviation careers.”  

Renowned Artist Simmie Knox Shows Portrait Masterpieces at DSU

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(L-r) Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Lori Crawford, associate professor of art, Dr. Donald Blakey, director of the DSU Theatre and Dance Program, portrait artist Simmie Knox and DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith get together after the artist's presentation on Nov. 18.

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  Simmie Knox has come a long way in his art career since his DSU days in the early 1960s. The renowned portrait painter came back to DSU on Nov. 18 to give a presentation in the Education & Humanities Theatre on the progression of his art career. In giving a chronological presentation of his art works and how it has developed into a lucrative portrait commission career, Mr. Knox noted that his move into the art field began at Delaware State College in 1961-62.   Enrolling at DSC initially to pursue a science teaching career, Mr. Knox said that a science faculty member noted his sketching skills and recommended that he consider changing his major to art. Simmie Knox talks about of the First Lady portrait (in the background) he did of Hillary Clinton.   Mr. Knox changed his academic focus to art and the rest is history. Mr. Knox later transferred to the University of Delaware and ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Master of Fine Art from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.   In his presentation, Mr. Knox showed the abstract artwork he created as the focus of his efforts early in his career. He shifted his specialty to portraits in the early 1980s and it has been in painting the likeness of many prominent subjects that he has made a nationally known name for himself.   As Mr. Knox showed a generous sampling of his portraits, he also shared anecdotes about the prominent subjects he has painted. One of his early prominent commissions was to paint a series of portraits for the family of comedian Bill Cosby. “I did the portrait of his mother Anna Cosby and I learned where he got his humor from,” Mr. Knox said. “She left me in stitches numerous times.”   After he landed an opportunity to do a portrait of the legendary Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, which led to numerous of commissions to do portraits of other prominent federal and state jurists throughout the country.   Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was impressed enough with the portrait done of her that she recommended Mr. Knox to then-President Bill Clinton, who commissioned Mr. Knox to do his official White House portrait, as well as one of his wife Hillary Clinton.    Through a power point presentation, Mr. Knox shared many other portraits – Muhammad Ali, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Oprah Winfrey, the late historian Dr. John Hope Franklin, Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland, the late singer Lou Rawls, Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron, numerous jurists and many others.   Simmie Knox's portrait of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Knox was brought to the University for the Nov. 18 event by Dr. Donald Blakey, director of the DSU Theatre and Dance Program. Dr. Blakey was a physical education instructor of Mr. Knox during his Delaware State College years.   After answering questions from the audience, Mr. Knox went to the University’s Art Department where he looked as some of the DSU students’ works and held a more intimate discussion about art technique with them. He then completed his day at the University with a lunch reception with DSU Acting President Claibourne Smith, Provost Harry Williams, other faculty and guests.   Simmie Knox was invited to do the presentation by Dr. Donald A. Blakey, director of the DSU Theatre and Dance Program, who brought the artist in connection with his Harlem Renaissance events taking place during the week. Dr. Blakey was a physical education instructor of Mr. Knox during his Delaware State College years.    

DSU Board Selects Dr. Harry L. Williams as the 10th DSU President

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Dr. Harry Lee Williams has been selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the next president of Delaware State University.

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The Delaware State University Board of Trustees announced today the selection of Dr. Harry Lee Williams to be the 10th president in the history of the institution. The board unanimously decided on the selection after deliberating over the two finalists – Dr. Williams and Dr. Leroy D. Nunery – during a Nov. 20 executive session.   “DSU is at a place where it needs a leader who can tackle the challenges before us, meet them and find solutions. Dr. Harry Williams has proven in every job he has taken that he focuses on strategic priorities, aligns resources and ensures the institution is on a pathway for success,” said Dr. John Land, acting chairman of the Board of Trustees.   “Equally important, we are at a turning point in history for historically black institutions, and we need a leader who understands that and can expertly merge our historic purpose with the need to be known as an institution of higher education that exceptionally educates all students for a global marketplace. The Board is confident that Dr. Williams will do just that with rigor, enthusiasm and deep commitment.”   Dr. Williams succeeds Dr. Allen L. Sessoms who resigned at the end of August 2008 to accept a president post at the University of the District of Columbia. Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, chairman of the Board of Trustees, has served as the acting president since Dr. Sessoms’ departure.   Dr. Smith, who temporarily stepped down as chairman and member of the board to assume the acting president post, will return to his previous board chairmanship responsibilities. Dr. John Land, who has served as acting board chairman during this 16-month period, will return to his previous post as vice chairman.   Dr. Williams has served as the DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs since July 2008. Under Dr. Williams’ leadership, the University established a new General Education Program, a Distance Education Strategic Plan and a Middle States Monitoring Report Plan. Under his provost leadership, the University successfully completed searches that led to the hiring of a new dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, a director of Distance Learning, a director of the Honors Program and an associate vice president for Sponsored Programs.   Prior to his arrival at DSU, Dr. Williams served at the University of North Carolina General Administration as interim associate vice president for Academic Affairs beginning in September 2007 and was later elevated in March 2008 to interim senior associate vice president for Academic and Student Affairs in which he focused on access and outreach for the 17 campuses of the UNC system. He remained in that latter post until he became the DSU provost.   Dr. Williams also progressed from an associate director to associate vice chancellor posts in the areas of academic affairs, enrollment and diversity at Appalachian State University from 1988 to 2000 and from 2004-2007. In between that tenure he served as an interim director of Admissions for North Carolina A&T University from 2000 to 2004.   In addition, Dr. Williams has also served from 2002-2008 as a national marketing and recruitment associate consultant with Noel-Levitz, the top national consultation firm for enrollment and management solutions in the country. In that capacity, Dr. Williams provided consultation expertise to 14 different institutions of higher education, including Delaware State University.   Dr. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Broadcasting, 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.   He is married to Dr. Robin S. Williams, and they have two children: Austin, age 13 and Gavin, age eight.   DSU began its presidential search process in September 2008 with the selection of a search committee, chaired by DSU Board of Trustees member Wesley E. Perkins. The presidential search process was facilitated by the Hollins Group Inc. of Chicago, Ill.  

Actress Dr. Tonea Stewart Speaks to Freshmen Class

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Actress Dr. Tonea Stewart (2nd from left) spent some time with DSU students (l-r) George Brown, Naomi Gabriel, Ashley Cohen and Desiree Hazzard after she spoke at a Freshmen Forum event.

 

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  Dr. Tonea Stewart, actress, professor and motivational speaker, visited DSU on Oct. 29 to be a guest speaker in front of the entire first-year student class during a Freshmen Forum event. Dr. Stewart, in urging the students not to take their educational opportunity for granted, told them the story of her grandfather. She said he was a former slave in his youth, whose eyes were burned out by whites because he wanted to learn to read. Dr. Tonea Stewart expressed her appreciation of the stage accommodations provided by DSU Theater Manager John Samardza (l) for her guest lecture.   As an actress, Dr. Stewart is best known for her recurring role as Aunt Etta in the television show “In the Heat of the Night.” She has also starred in television show such as “ER,” Touched by an Angel” “Matlock,” as well as in movies such as Mississippi Burning, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and A Time to Kill, the last movie of which she earned a NAACP Image Award nomination.   She has also received a Gold Medal Award for her narration of the Public Radio Internationals Series Remembering Slavery.   In addition to her acting endeavors, Dr. Stewart is currently the director of Theater Arts at Alabama State University.  

DSU Professor Emeritus Receives Maritime History Award

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Dr. William H. Flayhart (left), professor emeritus at DSU, holds his recently presented 2009 C. Bradford Mitchell Award for his research and scholarship that produced the book The American Line 1871-1902, which he holds with Dr. Harry Williams (r), DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
 
 

 

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   Dr William H. Flayhart III, professor emeritus at DSU, has been presented the 2009 C. Bradford Mitchell Award for his research and publication of The American Line 1871-1902.   The award was presented recently by the Steamship Historical Society of America during an event in Chester, Pa. In praise of the recipient, Barry Eager, the organization’s Awards Committee chairman, noted that in Dr. Flayhart’s authorship of The American Line, he has set “an example of the highest scholarship in the field of maritime history.”   The book details the history of the American Line, a transatlantic steamship service that operated from Philadelphia and New York to European ports. The steamship’s service history had been untold until Dr. Flayhart’s research and scholarship on the subject – which produced a definitive historical account within the annals of engine-powered vessels history.   Dr. Flayhart taught history at Delaware State University for 35 years until his retirement in 2005. Shortly afterward he was given the title of professor emeritus at the institution.            

Herbarium to Present Guest Lecture on Medicinal Plants

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  Delaware State University’s Claude E. Phillips Herbarium will host a guest lecture by Dr. James Duke on “Some Medicinal Plants of the Eastern U.S.” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Longwood Auditorium, Bank of America Building on campus.  The event is free and open to the public.  Dr. Duke is a distinguished herbal lecturer with the Tai Sophia Hearing Institute in Laurel, Md., and has written more than 30 books on medicinal plants. A retired 30-year ecologist/botanist with the USDA, Dr. Duke grows hundreds of interesting plants on his six-acre farmette in Maryland. He currently serves as a senior science advisor to Nature’s Herbs and AllHerbs.com.  During the event, an overview of the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium will be presented by Dr. Arthur Tucker, herbarium director, and Dr. Susan Yost, herbarium educator. Following the lecture, there will be a reception and tour at the Herbarium. During the reception there will also be a book signing by Dr. Duke, as well as by D. Tucker and Mr. Francesco DeBaggio of their Encyclopedia of Herbs. Dr. Duke’s wife Peggy will also display some of her botanical art. To attend the free guest lecture, please register online to reserve your seat at http://herbarium.desu.edu; or by phone by calling Ms. Sandy Jacobsen at (302) 857-6415.    

DSU Student Aviators Shine in Regional Flight Competition

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(L-r) The DSU winning aviation team that won the top safety award: Vincent Russ, Marc Anderson, Courtney Walters (instructor/coach) and Kenneth Richie.

 

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  A team of DSU aviation students showed off their aircraft command and took home several top prizes during the Oct. 23-27 National Intercollegiate Flying Association Regional Flight Competition.   The team – Marc Anderson of Felton, Del., Kenneth Ritchie of Ft. Washington, Md., and Vincent Russ of Willingboro, N.J. – won the Top Team Award for Safecon, an award given to the team that demonstrates the most outstanding aviation safety during the competition.   In addition, Mr. Anderson took the 1st place trophies for the Power Off Landing and Short Field Land categories, and also won the Top Male Pilot award.   Mr. Anderson and Mr. Ritchie took jointly took 2nd place in the Message Drop category.   The team was coached by Courtney Walters, a flight instructor and alumnus of the DSU Aviation Program.   “I am particularly proud of the team for winning the team award for safety,” Capt. Stephen R. Speed, director of the DSU Aviation Program. “The other teams emulated many of the precautions that the DSU team put in place in preparation for the competition once they observed how our team approached safety.”   DSU competed in the competition against four other universities.    

Dramatic Play "Top Dog/Underdog Rescheduled for Nov. 13

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Mark Reid (l) as Lincoln and Aaron Bell as Booth star in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Suzan-Lori Parks, “Top Dog/Underdog.”

 

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    Delaware State University will present a drama of sibling rivalry in the play production “Top Dog/Underdog” in two rescheduled performances at 2 p.m. and  7:30 p.m. both on Friday, Nov. 13 in the Education and Humanities Theatre. The Nov. 13 performances is a rescheduled date, as the original October dates had to be postponed due to actor illness. Both Nov. 13 plays are free and open to the public.   The two-actor production is based on the magnus opus work written by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells to story of the adult lives of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, as they deal with women issues, work, poverty, gambling, racism and their dysfunctional upbringing.   Directed by S. Brown, the play features two DSU students – Mark Reid as Lincoln and Aaron Bell as Booth.    “Some people will relate this sibling rivalry to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel or of Esau and Jacob,” said Ms. Brown. “It is the story of two brothers who search for their own identity while trying to escape the ghosts of their pasts.”   The director said social justice is a strong theme of the production. “It asks the question, don’t we hear our brother and sister’s blood crying out from the ground?” Ms. Brown said. “How many times do we walk by someone that’s hurting and turn a blind eye.”   The play has strong adult language and is therefore not considered a family play.    

DSU's Lisa Dunning Receives Rising Star Award

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  Lisa A.Dunning, director of the College of Business Advisement Center, recently received the 2009 Rising Star Award from the American Council of Education Office of Women in Higher Education during the organization’s annual dinner in Lisa Dunning, one of three recipients of the 2009 Rising Star Award. Dover.   The Rising Star Award is presented annually to women in higher education in Delaware who exhibit great potential achieve more and who demonstrate a commitment to higher education, community service and overall leadership.   Ms. Dunning was one of three recipients honored with the Rising Star Award. LeaNora Ruffin, Esq. of Widener University School of Law and Simone George of Wilmington University were the other awardees.    “Each day the opportunity to make a difference in the education and career paths of so many talented individuals renews my energy and uplifts my spirits,” Ms. Dunning told the audience at the awards event. “As I peer through an insightful lens, I see boundless opportunities for all of us in higher education to positively guide, equip, empower and encourage our students to be successful in their future endeavors.”   A 12-year veteran of higher education vocation, she is the director of an Advisement Center that services 600 undergraduate College of Business students. Ms. Dunning has proven herself a leader in fostering the personal growth and professional development of college students, according to her nominators for the award – Genevieve Tighe, director of testing, and Kimberly Sudler, interim assistant vice president of Continuing Education and Institutional Research.   Ms. Dunning is an alumna of DSU, having earned both her Bachelor of Science in Management (Summa Cum Laude) and a Master of Business Administration. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration from Wilmington University.     

Homecoming Photo Gallery

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Delaware State University celebrated Homecoming Oct. 19-24.  Visit the link below to view a photo gallery of just a few of the events that took place that week. www.desu.edu/homecoming-2009-gallery

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