February 2012


DSU Unveils Mobile Entrepreneurial Training Bus

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Participating in the MET Bus ribbon-cutting are (l-r) Bruce Weaver of the USDA; Jayne Armstrong, state director of the Small Business Administration; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, College of Business dean; Dr. Dyremple Marsh, College of Ag & Related Sciences dean; Lillie Crawford, director of the DSU Ctr. for Enterprise Development; Ilona Figat, MET director; DSU President Harry L. Williams, U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper; state Rep. Lincoln Willis, and Dover Mayor Carlton Carey.

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DSU’s Delaware Center for Enterprise Development (DCED) and its College of Agriculture and Related Sciences’ Cooperative Extension have unveiled a new Mobile Entrepreneurial Training Program (MET) that will take business and agriculture-related education to underserved rural areas of Lower Delaware. The Mobile Entrepreneurial Training Bus will take business and agriculture-related workshops to the rural areas of Kent and Sussex counties. DSU President Harry L. Williams was joined by U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper for a ribbon-cutting held at the Martin Luther King Student Center. A central feature of the new program has been the renovation of a DSU bus into a mobile classroom that will allow the DCED and the College of Ag to take workshops into underserved areas in Kent and Sussex counties. The bus is outfitted with computers, lighting, Wi-Fi capability, desktops and seating areas Dr. Williams and Sen. Carper were joined in a ribbon-cutting dedication of the MET Bus by Dr. Dyremple Marsh, dean of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the College of Business; Lillie Crawford, director of the DCED; Jody Raskind, chief of the Small Business Administration; Bruce Weaver, USDA program specialist; and Ilona Figat, MET director. Sen. Carper said that supporting “budding entrepreneurs” is one of the best things that can be done for economic recovery in Delaware and the nation. “This classroom on wheels will bring the resources and tools to those in rural parts of our state who might not ordinarily have easy access to business training,” Sen. Carper said. “As Governor, I supported this type of education through the Delaware Center for Enterprise Development, and I am so thrilled to see this concept ‘hit the road’ to reach potential entrepreneurs in our state.” Dr. Williams noted that such outreach is a strong characteristic of the University’s core values.  “This new community outreach is consistent with the established vision of DSU,” said DSU President Williams. “In taking our business and agriculture workshops out to the underserved rural areas, we are helping the people who access such education to be more successful and thereby invigorate the economy more in Delaware.” The DCED will offer workshops on topics such as financing, marketing, business plan development, and other areas. The College of Ag’s Cooperative Extension will offer workshops that address the needs of the small farmers and other micro-entrepreneurs. Christopher Garland, College of Business IT manager, checks out the MET Bus computers along with U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, DSU President Harry L. Williams, and Ilona Figat, MET director. Ilona Figat, a DCED consultant, is serving as the founding director of the MET Program. She has been with the DCED for 12 years and has been instrumental in the development of various other programs such as the Child Care Business Development and Small Business Institute programs. Ms. Figat said that in the course of scheduling the workshops over the years, it was evident that transportation was a barrier for people in the underserved rural areas.  “We kept hearing ‘we can’t come up to Dover,’ which led to thoughts about how to bring our trainings to them,” she said. “Developing our MET classroom was a great fit, and we are very excited about servicing these areas in a mobile classroom with high-tech computers and Wi-Fi capability.” The MET Bus is also refurbished in ways that are consistent with the University’s “Go Green” environmental sustainability efforts. The bus refurbished features are designed to reduce energy consumption, which includes energy efficient computer workstation that draws less than 25 watts each. Florescent and LED lights have also been installed. The bus is being converted to run on locally produced bio-diesel. The DCED has been supported in this program with funding from a three-year $175,500 Small Business Administration PRIME grant as well as a one-year $72,000 USDA Rural Development grant.

DSU Choir to perform in the Scwartz Center's Journey of the Spirit

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The DSU Chorus will perform with the Wesley College Choir and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra during the Feb. 17 concert.

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  The Delaware State University Chorus will join the Wesley College Chorus and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra in a concert entitled “Journey of the Spirit – A Celebration of African American Heritage Through Music” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at the Schwartz Center for the Arts (226 S. State St.) in downtown Dover.   The three music groups will join together to bring one unforgettable evening of music and song to the Schwartz Center stage. In celebration of Black History Month the program will focus on pieces either composed by or for the African American community, dating back to the seventeen and eighteen hundreds to present.   The program will feature seven compositions, two of which will be performed by the DSU Chorus and two which will be performed by the Wesley Chorus. The two chorus groups will combine for two selections.   In addition, DSU alumnus Rev. John Moore will serve as the narrator in a composition with the Delaware Symphony titled “New Morning of the World (Daybreak for Freedom).” Accompanied by the Orchestra’s music, Rev. Moore will recite the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   The evening will begin with a pre-concert talk begins at 7 p.m. Scholars will discuss the history of vocal and choral music for orchestra by composers of African American descent and how these artists worked on music and their craft as compared to today. Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 senior citizens and military members, $25 for students, and $18 for children age 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the Schwartz Center box office or online at www.schwartzcenter.com.  

DSU Arts Center/Gallery Host Lori Crawford Exhibtion

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Lori Crawford exhibition "Paper Bags, Photographs & Paintings" include this work entitled "Bag Lady: Kicking Out Sexism." Her works will be on display until March 23

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Lori Crawford stand with her "Sugar on the Floor" painting which was inspired by an Etta James song. Delaware State University’s Arts Center/Gallery is currently exhibiting the show “Paper Bags, Photographs & Paintings of Lori Crawford” from Feb 20 to March 23. The artist and her exhibition will be honored in reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the Arts Center/Gallery located inside the main 1st floor entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus. The reception and the run of the exhibition are free and open to the public. Lori Crawford is a DSU associate professor of art who has been at the University since 1996. She said her current exhibition represents the synthesis of art appreciation, music appreciation and social exploration. Paintings, photographs or digital portraits are but a few creative processes in which she used to become energized and pacified in producing this signature collection of works. Ms. Crawford’s work with paper bags began in graduate school and attempts to shock or shed light on the absurdity of a decades old practice within the Black community that implemented the “Brown Paper Bag Test,” which involved comparing ones’ skin color to that of a paper bag. “If ones’ complexion was the same or lighter than the bag then one ‘passed the test’,” Ms. Crawford said. “But if the opposite was so, then one failed and did not gain entrance into that organization, church, school or any other designated function.” Lori Crawford's 28-piece exhibition includes "paper-bag" portraits. She said although this test is no longer used, skin color biases and many other intra-racial biases still plague the world today. The Brown Paper Bag work asks each of us what are “bag issues are,” she added. In addition to teaching art at DSU, Ms. Crawford currently serves as an member of the Delaware State Arts Council, to which was appointed by Gov. Jack Markell in 2010. The Arts Center Gallery is open from 9 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

Dr. Bradley Skelcher Donates Books for Black History Month

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Associate Provost Dr. Bradley Skelcher joins Gov. Jack Markell during the Black History Month proclamation signing for the First State on Feb. 2. Gov. Markell recognized Dr. Skelcher for donating copies of his book African American Education in Delaware to middle school students in attendance at the event.

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DSU Associate Provost Dr. Bradley Skelcher joined Gov. Jack Markell in his annual proclamation of February as Black History Month in the First State, made Feb. 2 at the Delaware State Archives in Downtown Dover. Among the approximately 70 people in attendance for the proclamation signing were about 20 students from the Dover Central Middle School. As part of the event, Dr. Skelcher gave a copy of the his book African American Education in Delaware – History Through Photographs 1865-1990 to each Central Middle student that attended the event.   Dr. Skelcher’s contribution to state African American history also includes his photo compilation for the book Delaware State University, a book that is part of the College History Series  

Del. Black Caucus Holds Historic Public Forum on Campus

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Prior to the public forum, the Black Caucus gathered for a reception at the President’s Residence. Seated (l-r): Councilman Earnest “Trippi” Congo, Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, HW, RW, Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, Councilwoman Pat A. Jones, former Dover City Councilman Rueben Salters. Top (l-r): Rep. James “J.J.” Johnson, Councilman Charles Potter, Councilman Eric Robinson, New Castle County Councilman Jea Street; Rep. Dennis P. Williams; Wilmington Mayor James Baker, Rep. Donald Blakey, and Councilman Justen Wright

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In a historic first, a strong representation of the Delaware Black Caucus – made up of African American elected officials on the state and local levels – gathered at DSU on Feb. 22 to hold a public forum in the Longwood Auditorium in the Bank of America Building. The Public Forum – co-sponsored by the DSU Young Democrats and the Delaware Black Caucus – was moderated by state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry. Black Caucus panelists included state Rep. James J.J. Johnson, state Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, state Rep. Dennis P. Williams, State Treasurer Chip Flowers, New Castle County Councilman Jea Street, Wilmington Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, Wilmington Councilman Charles Potter., Jr., Wilmington Councilman Eric Robinson, and Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker. See the below slideshow for photos from the Public Forum and the preceding reception hosted by DSU President Harry L. Williams and his wife Dr. Robin Williams at their home. The slideshow is followed by additional information about the events. Dr. Harry L. Williams extolled the gathering as an historic event for the DSU campus "It is significant to have the Delaware Black Caucus on this campus, because it shows the support the University is receiving not only in the community at-large around the state, but also in the black community," Dr. Williams said. "As an HBCU, that is critical." Following the reception at the President's Residence, the evening public forum began as the panelist discussed a wide range of topics that included education, labor issues, healthcare, incarceration/re-entry, the economy, public safety, crime, and voter registration. Other Delaware Black Caucus members who attended the Feb. 22 DSU events included state Rep. Donald A. Blakey (also DSU alumnus); from the Wilmington City Council, Councilmen Earnest “Trippi” Congo and Justen Wright; Seaford Councilwoman Pat A. Wright; and former Dover City Council member Rueben Salters. 

Nationals-bound Flying Hornet Team honors Tuskegee Airmen

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(L-r) DSU Flying Hornets team members Will Jester, Isaac Shellenberger, Marc Anderson (faculty advisor/coach), Kenneth Ritchie, and Willie Gonzalez, stand with one of the DSU aircraft adorned with a red tail in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen and the film about them that is being screened in Dover.

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    The DSU Aviation Program – which will be sending a team to compete in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s National Flight Competition in May – is getting really excited about the new film Red Tails that tells the stories of the WWII exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen.   The students are so excited, they have applied a new coat of paint to a number of their aircraft that they maintain at the Delaware Air Park.   In honor of the African American flyers and the new film, the DSU Aviation Program members have painted the tail section of several of its planes red. Aviation students plan to go to the movies to see the opening of Red Tails. James Otis Handy, an aeronautical technical engineer with the original Tuskegee Airmen, is honored with a cake on the occasion of his 92nd birthday during a Jan. 20 Aviation Program celebration at the Delaware Air Park hangar. To his right is retired Brig. Gen. Ernest G. Talbert Jr.   “It is our way of honoring the Tuskegee airman,” said Hans Riegle, assistant director of the Aviation Program.   The Aviation Program has also invited Tuskegee Airman mechanic Otis Handy to the Delaware Air Park where the students will celebrate his 92th birthday with a pizza luncheon party on Jan. 20.   The program’s Flying Hornets team was among the top three scoring teams at the NIFA Regional Flight Competition in October, and that performance guaranteed the Hornet flyers an invitation to compete in the NIFA National Flight Competition on May 13-17 in Kansas City, Mo.   The Flying Hornets, led by their faculty advisor and coach Marc Anderson, include sophomore Willie Gonzalez, junior Will Jester, senior Kenneth Ritchie, and junior Isaac Shellenberger. All four team members are DSU aviation majors, and Mr. Anderson is a 2011 graduate of the program.     During the October regional competition, the Flying Hornets finished third in the competition. Mr. Gonzalez finished fourth overall, competing against juniors and senior who already hold commercial and flight instructor ratings.   “The fact that our team finished third is amazing and a testament to the talent of our students and the effort they exerted in preparation for the competition, because we had only four team members competing against teams that had eight or nine participants,” said Capt. Stephen Speed, DSU Aviation Program director.   Capt. Speed noted that because the team awards were cumulative, the DSU students were at a disadvantage. “If we had one more team member, we would have finished in second place,” he said.      

Dr. Donald Parks Named Professor Emeritus

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Dr. Donald Parks has been named professor emeritus.

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The Delaware State University Board of Trustees has granted faculty emeritus status to Dr. Donald Parks, retired DSU professor of art. The Board unanimously approved the naming of Dr. Parks as professor emeritus during its Jan. 12 regular board meeting. Dr. Parks was a professor of art who began his tenure at DSU (then-Delaware State College) in 1981 after stints as several other schools and art institutions. He achieved the rank of full professor in 1994. During his tenure, he service on numerous committees and work groups. He retired from the University 2010. Dr. Parks was the founding executive director of the DSU Arts Center/Gallery, beginning with its establishment in 1990 to 2008. He served as the associate dean of the DSU College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, and was the director of the University Cultural Programming from 1997 to 2008. When DSU and Wesley College entered into a consortium agreement with the Schwartz Center for the Arts, Dr. Park became the director of development and programming for the Schwartz. In connection with DSU outreach, Dr. Parks served as the regional director of the regional director of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Program, on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, as director of the Congressional Art Awards Program for Delaware,  In 2004, Dr. Parks was honored with the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Delaware. He was awarded Art Educator of the Year awards for Delaware in 1992 and 1995; the DSU Excellence in Service Award in 1993, 1994 and 2004; DSU Excellence in Community Service Award in 2004; and the Presidential Medal of Honor Award for Excellence in Service. Dr. Parks has an A.S. in Art from Corning Community College, N.Y.; a B.A. in Art History from Oneonta State University, N.Y.; an M.S. in Art Education from Elmira College, N.Y.; and Ed.D in Art and Art Education from Syracuse University, N.Y.

DSU President Harry L. Williams, Wilmington MLK Event photos

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State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, DSU President Harry L. Williams and state Rep. Stephanie Bolden get together just prior to the beginning of the Organization of Minority Women's MLK Breakfast in Wilmington on Jan.16.

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DSU President Harry Lee Williams made a strong case for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and for Delaware State University as the keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast sponsored by the Organization of Minority Women, Inc., in Wilmington on Jan. 16. Click the below slideshow for photos from the event, followed by more text information.   During the Jan. 16 breakfast, Dr. Williams pointed out that there would not have been a Martin Luther King Jr. if he hadn’t attended Morehouse College – an HBCU – and been exposed to that institution’s president, Dr. Benjamin Mays. He also touched on a piece of valuable Wilmington history, sharing the details surrounding Dr. King’s address at the city’s Howard High School in 1960.   The DSU president’s address was well-received MLK breakfast crowd gathered at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. He was introduced by Ned Brown, president of the New Castle County DSU Alumni Association. Also during the event, DSU student Lentasha J. Jones was awarded a OMW Scholarship   Dr. Williams shared the dignitary stage during the event with Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Rep. John Carney; state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry; state Reps. Dennis Williams, James Johnson and Stephanie Bolden (also DSU alumna); New Castle County Executive Paul Clark; Rev. Christopher Bullock and his wife and the event’s mistress of ceremony Dr. Debbie Bullock; and Lincoln University President Bob Jennings.      

DSU Holds its First-Ever Parent University

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DSU President Harry L. Williams meets two parents just before the opening session of the inaugural DSU Parent University commenced on Feb. 25.

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About 140 parents and other family members attended the institution’s first-ever DSU Parent University on Feb. 25. Held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center on campus, the event gave parents the opportunity to attend sessions about study-abroad opportunities, the University’s health emphasis, the DSU programs that develop leadership skills, and financial aid. The parents were also able to participate in roundtable discussions with DSU officials on the topics of public safety, advising and housing. Dr. Robin Williams, DSU's First Lady, gave the keynote address, in which she affirmed the important role that parents can play in their children's academic journey. Click on the below slideshow for photos from the inaugural DSU Parent University:

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