April 2014


DSU Awarded Historic $1,050,000 for Osher Reentry Scholarships

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The Bernard Osher Foundation’s grant is also the largest scholarship contribution from a private source in the University’s 123-year history.

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Delaware State University has received a historic $1,050,000 grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation to permanently establish DSU’s Osher Reentry Scholarship Endowment, ensuring that significant scholarships will be annually available to nontraditional students. The Bernard Osher Foundation’s grant is also the largest scholarship contribution from a private source in the University’s 123-year history. The Osher Reentry Program at DSU is the only such program in the state of Delaware benefiting nontraditional students. Nontraditional students are defined as being over the age of 25 and either resuming their higher education after an interruption of five years or beginning the steps toward a degree later in life.  Osher Reentry Scholars – the scholarship recipients – can be full-time or part-time students and receive tuition scholarships of up to $5,000 each. Recipients may be awarded a scholarship again in subsequent years.  Dr. Harry L. Williams, DSU president, announced the gift at the State Capitol during the April 10 DSU Day at the Legislature. The DSU president said The Bernard Osher Foundation and Delaware State University are in agreement when it comes to prompting adults that degree completion is within their reach. “As a state institution, it is important for DSU to be a viable option on the undergraduate level not only for young people who just finished high school, but also for adults who never completed their academic journey or who long to begin their journey at an older age,” Dr. Williams said. “DSU has long had a diverse variety of academic offerings that address the professional dreams of nontraditional students. Thanks to the generosity of the Osher Foundation, the University now has a scholarship pathway to help the students fund what they thought could not be possible. It truly is the push so many may just need.” The Osher Foundation began its relationship with DSU during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years, when it provided grants during each school year for scholarships for nontraditional students. Osher Reentry Scholarships were awarded during those years to adult DSU students from Delaware who demonstrated academic promise and a commitment to complete a degree program.  According to Dr. Mary Bitterman, president of The Bernard Osher Foundation, confidence in DSU’s administration of the first two consecutive grants led to an invitation to apply for an endowment to permanently establish the Osher Reentry Scholarship Program.  “I am delighted that Delaware State University will now have an opportunity to continue supporting an increasing number of nontraditional students in the state of Delaware and the region,” Dr. Bitterman said.  “We have been impressed with DSU’s excellent stewardship of the Osher Reentry Scholars program, including the identification of processes that make the matriculation of nontraditional students easier and more productive. We congratulate the leadership of DSU and hold high hopes for the fine Osher Scholars at the University now and those who will follow them in the years to come.” Redinand Marcos, a junior nursing major at DSU, feels that becoming an Osher Reentry Scholar (2013-2014) means he is not alone in his journey to degree completion at DSU.  “There are times I want to give up, but I gather back my strength knowing that someday I can make a difference in somebody’s life being a nurse,” he said. “The scholarship has given me inspiration to continue on to strive hard for my dream.” Rebecca Sahraoui, a junior biology major, is honored to become an Osher Reentry Scholar (2013-2014).  “My ability to come back to school at my age has affected my life positively; the story of how I ended up at Delaware State University is filled with so many challenges that I have overcome. I am very passionate about the opportunities I was given at such a difficult time in my life.” At present, there are 90 universities and colleges in 50 states participating in this program. The Osher Foundation, founded in 1977, seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts. The Osher Foundation provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, with special attention to reentry students. DSU is currently accepting applications for 2014-2015 Osher Reentry Scholars. Interested students should contact the Office of Development at dsufoundation@desu.edu or (302) 857-6055.  

DSU's Dr. Ladji Sacko named as a Fulbright Scholar for 2nd time

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Dr. Ladji Sacko will serve as a Fulbright scholar by teaching English instruction in West Africa.

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Dr. Ladji Sacko, associate professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages, is DSU’s latest recipient of the J. William Fulbright Award. It is the second time that Dr. Sacko has been named as a Fulbright scholar. He previously received the award during the 2001-2002 school year, leading to his work in teaching English in Senegal that year. In connection with the current award, Dr. Sacko will spend the 2014-2015 school year at the University of Abidjan, in the country of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in West Africa. During his time there, he will be training teachers to give English instruction in secondary schools. Dr. Sacko has been a DSU faculty member since 2004.

Keith Walker Named DSU Men's Basketball Head Coach

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Newly named Hornet men's Head Coach Keith Walker and DSU President Harry L. Williams pose for the camera after the coaching announcement.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams today announced the hiring of Keith Walker – who served as the interim Delaware State men’s head coach for the last third of the 2013-2014 season – as the permanent Hornet men’s head basketball coach. Hornet Men's Head Coach Keith Walker said his goal is to restore the team to the level it was at during its MEAC championship years.   In announcing the head coaching appointment during a April 15 press conference, Dr. Williams said that Coach Walker made a strong case for himself by the way he took over the leadership of the team and energized the players as the Hornet men’s interim coach.   “Coach Walker did everything we asked of him when he agreed to be the interim head coach in last 1½ months of the past season,” Dr. Williams said. “He stabilized the team, resulting in a more competitive unit on the court and a higher winning percentage.”   The DSU president commended the Head Basketball Coach Search Committee, noting that it ultimately came up with a group of strong finalists for the post. “The fact that Walker emerged from this tough search process as the head coach selection reflects well on his most recent interim performance as well as on his long-time dedicated service as assistant coach,” Dr. Williams added.   DSU Director of Athletics Candy Young said the team’s performance under his interim leadership has led to the conclusion that he can move the men’s basketball program in the right direction. “The players responded positively to his coaching during his interim tenure and we believe that trend will continue and result in greater success for the Hornet men’s basketball program with Walker at the helm,” she said.   Walker said that he is “very appreciative” of the head coaching opportunity. “I look forward to getting this men’s basketball program back to the championship level where it used to be,” the new head coach said.   Walker, a DSU men’s basketball assistant coach since July 2000, was appointed as interim Hornet head coach on Jan. 30, 2014. In the subsequent 11 games, Walker led the Hornets to a 5-6 overall record and 5-5 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Prior to the appointment, the team was 4-15 overall and 0-6 in the conference.   During Walker’s interim tenure, Delaware State posted a season-high three-game win streak and later achieved an upset victory over the 2014 MEAC Tournament runner-up Morgan State.      As an assistant coach, Walker worked primarily with the DSU forwards and centers. During the 2013-14 season, Walker’s work with 3rd-year player Kendall Gray was instrumental in the Hornet center’s team record of 81 blocks that year and being named on the All-MEAC Second Team. Walker’s defensive coaching was also validated during the 2011-12 season when the Hornets had a school-record 192 blocks, leading the MEAC in that category.   Walker was a part of the coaching staff that helped lead the Hornets to three consecutive MEAC regular season titles from 2004-2007, during which the Hornets posted a league record of 46-8 (.850). The Hornets appeared in three consecutive MEAC Tournament championship games, capturing the title and accompanying NCAA Tournament berth in 2005. The following year, Delaware State defeated Northern Arizona on the road in the National Invitation Tournament for the team's only national post-season win.   Prior to his arrival at DSU, Walker served as head coach at Division II Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., from 1993 to 2000. He posted a 91-102 overall record at Shaw, including a 21-9 mark and the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth during the 1994-95 season.   Before entering the coaching ranks, he enjoyed a playing career of seven years with various European and U.S. professional basketball leagues, including a brief stint with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers during the 1985-86 season.   As a three-year collegiate player at Clemson, he helped lead the Tigers to a 23-9 overall record and an Elite Eight appearance in the 1980 NCAA Tournament.   Walker has a 1981 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Clemson and a 1991 master’s degree in Student Personnel Services from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.   The newly appointed head coach and wife Kim have three children – Dockery, Zachary and Sawyer. Dockery is a member of the Brown University men’s basketball team.

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