October 2013


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.

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