February 2011


DSU's Dr. Finger Wright Honored for Role in Greensboro Protests

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DSU's Dr. Dolores Finger Wright (center) celebrates her award with the surviving "Greensboro Four": (l-r) Franklin McCain, Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, Jibree Khazan and Donald Brandon.

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    Dr. Dolores Finger Wright, a DSU associate professor of social work, has recently been honored for the role she played in the historic public accommodations demonstrations in Greensboro, N.C. during the early 1960s. Dr. Dolores Finger Wright (l) with award presenter Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, on of the "Greensboro Four."   Dr. Finger Wright received the International Civil Rights Center & Museum Sit-In Hero’s Award on Feb. 5 during the 51st Anniversary Gala Commemorating the Greensboro Sit-ins.   During the tumultuous 1960s in Greensboro, the DSU associate professor was an undergraduate student in Bennett College for Women. Her extracurricular activity from her bachelor’s degree pursuit was working behind the scene during the Greensboro demonstrations and taking part in the picket lines.   Presenting the award to Dr. Finger Wright was Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, one of the “Greensboro Four” that gained worldwide notoriety for their sit-ins protests at segregated lunch counters in Greensboro in 1960.   “Delores would picket during the days to integrate the stores,” said Ret. Maj. Gen. McNeil. “She would work the picket lines at night to integrate the movie theatres, which was dangerous in Greensboro.”   Dr. Finger Wright said that she also worked behind the scenes strategizing with her Bennett College sisters, professors, as well as through her affiliations with the NAACP and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).   The group formed a vanguard that would picket and demonstrate, and many – including Dr. Finger Wright – were arrested in the course of their protests.   “I saw my participation as an epiphany, moving from late adolescence to early adulthood all in the matter of days,” Dr. Finger Wright said. “That’s what my rearing was about – doing what’s right. So I had to be a part of it.”   After her graduation from Bennett College, Dr. Finger Wright would on to earn a Master of Social Work Degree from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University. She has been a social work faculty member at DSU for 21 years.   The Gala was held at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.  

DSU and State Sign Agreement to Enroll "Aged Out" Foster Youths

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and Secretary Vivian Rapposelli of the state Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families sign a formal agreement that will enroll in the University two foster youths a year who have "aged out" of foster care and are academically eligible..

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    Delaware State University and the State Division of Family Services (DFS) announced a new initiative today that will make higher education a reality for eligible foster youths.   DSU President Harry L. Williams and Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, signed a formal agreement today (Feb. 14) that will annually provide an opportunity for two foster youths who reach the age of 18 to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Delaware State University. State Sen. Brian Bushweller, state Rep. Darryl Scott, state Rep. William Carson, state Rep. LIncoln Willis, attended the agreement signing to show their support for the initiative.   Although unable to attend the agreement signing due to a schedule conflict, Gov. Jack Markell today expressed his strong support of the program.   “This is about giving kids who've been dealt a difficult hand a chance for further success. It's about the opportunity to work hard, stay focused and accomplish their dreams,’ Gov. Markell said. “The University and the Department have created a partnership that will bring great students to the school and give them opportunities for the future.” Secretary Rapposelli said that youths who age out of foster care face the same obstacles as other young adults, but often without the support of their families.   “This partnership with DSU provides the students it supports with stability, hope and peace of mind – allowing them to start the next phase of their lives on a solid foundation,” Secretary Rapposelli said. “We are grateful to DSU and excited for the many young men and women who will benefit from this opportunity.”   The DFS will identify two foster youths per year who have aged out (turned 18) of foster care, are academically eligible and personally motivated to attend DSU. The state agency will assist the foster youths in completing the necessary academic and financial paperwork   DSU will give the enrolled foster youths access to year-round on-campus housing and to its student support services, assist them in the completion of the financial aid process and help them identify scholarship opportunities.   “With community and outreach being among DSU’s five core values, this opportunity to help worthy foster youths achieve their dreams is consistent with the University’s standing as a valuable education asset to the state,” President Williams said.   The foster youths will receive state financial support in the form of Educational and Training Vouchers and Housing Vouchers. In the event there is a shortfall of state funds, the foster youths will be expected to apply for student loans or other financial aid opportunities to cover the shortfall.   There are over 700 children in Delaware’s foster care system. In fiscal 2010, there were 94 foster youths that aged out of the system.    

Vamsi Matta Wins 2nd Annual Brain Bee at DSU

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2011 Delaware Brain Bee winners (l-r) Rathnabushan Mutyala, 3rd place from the Charter School of Wilmington; Carole Linde, 2nd place from Indian River High School; and the 1st place winner Vamsi Matta of the Charter School of Wilmington, who all stand with Dr. Princy Mennella, the competition coordinator. 

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    The Charter School of Wilmington dominated the 2nd annual Delaware Brain Bee sponsored and conducted by Delaware State University, with two of its students placing among to the Vamsi Matta's 1st place finish will send him to compete in the National Brain Bee in Baltimore in March. He poses with his trophy along with Del. Sen. Colin Bonini, who attended the competition. top three winners.   Vamsi Matta of the Charter School of Wilmington took first place in the 2011 state competition that challenges high school contestant’s knowledge about the nervous system.   Carole Linde of Indian River High School took 2nd place and Rathnabushan Mutyala from the Charter School of Wilmington   In this challenging competition, Delaware high school students answered questions about the nervous system. Topics ranged from how the brain functions normally to what goes wrong in the brain in connection with disorders like Alzheimer's disease, addictions, Lou Gehrig’s disease and depression.    This year competition featured contestants from the Charter School of Wilmington, Cab Calloway School of Arts, Cesar Rodney High School, Indian River High School and Polytech High School.   Vamsi Matta’s first place finish in the Delaware Brain Bee will send him to represent the First State in the National Brain Bee, to be held in March 2011 in Baltimore, Md.     A student from the Charter School of Wilmington has won the Delaware Brain Bee in both years of its existence. The 2010 winner was Amy Forster from the same school, who went on to represent the state in the National Brain Bee and placed 17th out of 36 high school competitors across the country.  

Guest Lecture Feb. 24 to Explore Foreign Aid Effectiveness

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    Dr. Claudia Williamson will give a critical analysis of the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid.     The DSU Economics Speaker Series will host Dr. Claudia Williamson from New York University to present “The Trouble with Foreign Aid,” at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in Bank of America, Longwood Auditorium.   Dr. Williamson will discuss the effectiveness of the billions of dollars in annual U.S. foreign aid in reducing worldwide poverty and explore the possible alternatives. The presentation is free and open to the public.   Despite the transfer of billions upon billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid annually, a substantial amount of the world remains in extreme poverty and stagnant growth. Dr. Williams will discuss the pro and con arguments concerning foreign aid and review the most current research statistics on the subject.   Dr. Williamson is a post-doctoral fellow with the Development Research Institute at New York University, where she also teaches as an adjunct faculty member. She has published numerous journal articles on foreign aid, property rights, international trade and other economic issues.   The event is sponsored by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.  

DSU alumnus Aaron Spears Nominated for NAACP Image Award

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    Aaron Spears acting work on The Bold and the Beautiful has earned him a NAACP Image Award nomination.     Aaron D. Spears, DSU class of '94 and a star on the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful, has been nominated for the Best Actor in a Daytime Drama Series by the 2011 NAACP Image Awards.   In that category, Mr. Spears is vying for the award against three other nominees – Cornelius Smith Jr. of All of My Children; Darnell Williams of All of My Children; as well as his Bold and the Beautiful co-star Rodney Saulsberry.   The winners of the 42nd annual NAACP Image Award will be honored during the airing of the show on March 4 on the Fox Network.   Mr. Spears, who first began acting his senior year at DSU in the spring of 1994, has been a regular cast member of The Bold and the Beautiful since 2009. On the soap opera, he portrays the character of Justin Barber, an executive vice president of a publishing company.   In addition to his daytime drama success, Mr. Spears has performed in the movies Mannsfield 12, Babel, Traci Townsend, Blue Hill Avenue and Makin’ Baby. He will be starring in the upcoming crime action film Disrupt/Dismantle.   

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