Alumni Relations

You are here

Dr. Maurice Thomasson carried on work during trying times, declined permanent president post

While Dr. Jerome H. Holland is widely known for being one of the most important presidents in the history of Delaware State University, his status was assured by a decision made by Dr. Maurice E. Thomasson, a sociology professor at the time. When the Delaware State College Board of Trustees offered the president’s job to Thomasson in 1952, he declined the post. His decision left the door open for the College to hire Holland as president the following year. Dr. Maurice E. Thomasson Acting President: 1949-1950, 1951-1953 Nevertheless, Thomasson is credited with filling the leadership void and keeping the College going two different times as acting president during the dark years of its history. Born in 1892 in Drew, Ark., Thomasson’s academic journey included earning a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a doctoral degree from Columbia University in New York City. His doctoral dissertation was titled A Study of Special Kinds of Education for Rural Negroes, which the NAACP magazine The Crisis included in its list of Negro authors in 1837, noting it to be “an accurate and significant contribution to the problem of rural life and education.” Thomasson went on to be a faculty member at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., prior to his arrival to the then-State College for Colored Students in Dover circa 1941. La Verne Thomasson, his wife, was twice a graduate of Boston University in her native city. Her maiden name and her graduation year are unknown and it is not clear when exactly they first met or what year they married. What is known is that she and her husband would teach sociology as the sole faculty members in that academic discipline at Delaware State College from the 1940s to the 1960s. Thomasson witnessed the ups and downs of Delaware’s only black college in the 1940s, which saw the College obtain its first provisional accreditation in 1944, only to have it revoked in 1949. The College’s enrollment of 132 students in 1942 tripled by 1948 due largely to the influx of black World War II veterans who possessed the GI Bill provision that paid for their education. While the enrollment increased, the institution — renamed Delaware State College in 1947 — was not able to expand its campus infrastructure to accommodate the student population growth. This contributed greatly to significant student dissatisfaction, leading to a 1949 student strike and a subsequent state hearing to investigate the management of the College by the administration of  President Howard Gregg. The hearings ultimately led to Gregg’s dismissal, and Thomasson was tapped in September 1949 to serve as acting president of the College — two months before a visit by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. In the wake of that visit, the accrediting body issued a scathing report on DSC and revoked the College’s accreditation. With the hiring of Dr. Oscar Chapman as president in April 1950, Thomasson returned to his role as the faculty head of DSC’s sociology studies. However, upon the controversial dismissal of Chapman in mid-1951, Thomasson was once again called upon to serve as acting president. It was during that second acting president period that Thomasson was called to testify in the consolidated Delaware integration court cases Gebhart v. Belton and Bulah v. Gebhart, which challenged and ultimately overturned the state’s segregation laws in public school systems. In an excerpt of his testimony in the 1952 state case in the Court of Chancery, Thomasson gave his sociological perspective on segregation and how its hinders black youths from becoming “a good person.”: Thomasson …I don’t think that in a segregated situation it is possible to produce a person who is fully normal, completely satisfactory. There are some conditions inherent in the segregated situation that just simply warp a person’s personality. Now, for one thing a person who goes to school in a segregated school goes to that school by virtue of the fact that the State of which he is a part has said he is inferior. That is, the State has embodied that in the law, and the law has been sustained by the courts. He is told as he goes there in the school segregated by law that he is inferior. Question Doctor, do you mean to say that the law expressly states that a school system set apart for the compulsory attendance of persons of a certain color is inferior, or do you mean that that is the implication of such a law? Thomasson It is the implication. I can see no reason for setting up a separate system of schools unless the persons who set the schools up think that for some reason or other the persons designated for that school are not quite fit to go to the regular schools. Those cases were ultimately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and consolidated among the other cases that were heard in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. Thomasson’s testimony was submitted as evidence to the country’s high court in those deliberations. Following DSC’s accreditation loss, there were increasing calls from state officials for the College to be closed down. Others were calling for the institution to be reduced to a junior college. Amid its difficulties — which included a dramatic drop in enrollment — the DSC Board of Trustees looked toward Thomasson as a possible leadership solution in 1952. Not only did Thomasson turn down the permanent president post, he also wanted to step down as acting president and return to teaching. The board granted his request on Jan. 15, 1953, and for the rest of his academic career he would teach sociology along with his wife at DSC. Thomasson retired from teaching  in 1967. Memories of the Thomassons Donald Evans ’59 actually began his DSC studies in 1952 only to be interrupted by a few years of Army service. But during that initial freshman year, Evans was in Thomasson’s class. “He was very soft-spoken man. He taught in a voice that was almost a whisper,” Evans said. “He was a very nice man, but I don’t think he had the personality to be a (permanent) president of a University.” Following his retirement from teaching, his wife La Verne would continue as a sociology professor — including being named head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 1968 — and teach until her retirement in 1974, one year after her husband’s death. She would be named professor emeritus in 1975.  “La Verne Thomasson was a dedicated sociologist and I thought she was a really good teacher,” said Dr. Donald A. Blakey ’58. “She was definitely interested in the expansion of education for blacks in Delaware; a lot of the sociology we studied was about the Negro.” Blakey also recalled that she was very dedicated to her husband. “She spoke well of him and referenced him frequently in class,” he said. Shortly after her retirement, La Verne Thomasson moved back to her native state of Massachusetts and lived in Hyannis, Mass., until her death in 2003. -- Story by Carlos Holmes

The Smiths: Among the 'Coolest' of families, especially on a Greek level

Delaware State College apparently gave Rosa F. Smith, Class of 1976, a good eye for a business opportunity. In 1983 she discovered the market viability of selling Greek-related items to sororities, fraternities and social organizations, and started her own business that focused on those product lines. Chauntel Smith ’02 and ’05, left, and Rosa Smith ’76 Her passion for the business became a part of her husband Cary and her daughter Chauntel —herself twice a DSU graduate — leading them not only to business success, but also to be recognized by Ebony magazine in its October 2013 online edition as “The Coolest Black Family in America, No. 28: The Smiths.” One could say that two critical parts of the path to being the “Coolest” began in 1973 with Rosa’s marriage to Cary, as well as the fact that she was majoring in Business Education at DSC. Following her graduation, she followed her Air Force-enlisted husband to Okinawa, Japan, where she taught for three years as a Department of Defense teacher before she returned to Dover to live, teach and serve as an administrator in several school districts. After a 30-plus-year education career, she retired in 2008. But by that time, the Smiths were well on their way to being the “Coolest.” The third critical part of the family, daughter Chauntel, was born in 1980. Shortly after Rosa pledged with Alpha Kappa Alpha, she attended a sorority conference in Hershey, Pa., and she was astonished to see the success a vendor of Greek products was having in making sales. “I saw people standing in line, paying money for an AKA umbrella that the vendor had run out of,” Rosa recalled. “He was going to have to ship them the umbrella.” She went home and told her husband that she wanted to use their tax refund to start a Greek products business. “He told me if I lost the money, I would have to put it back in the bank,” Rosa said. She started the business in 1984; in July of that first year she made a believer out of her husband when she set up a vendor table at a Greek picnic. “Out of an investment of $1,000 I made between $4,000-$5,000,” she said. Role expansion As she was building up her business and selling her products at Greek events, her daughter was with her. “When she was 4, she slept under the table, and then when she got a little older I showed her how to bag the products and how to restock the table,” Rosa said. “She did everything that a little kid could do; and as she got older, she did more.” Meanwhile Cary retired as a senior master sergeant in 1991 and became fully involved with the business. “He took it to a whole different level,” Rosa said. “He did more networking and found more job venues for us.” After graduating from Dover High School in 1998, Chauntel followed her mother’s footsteps and enrolled at DSU. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2002 and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2005. She also taught for seven years in the Smyrna and the Lake Forest school districts in Delaware. Meanwhile, the family established another business — Transportation Unlimited, which provides transportation for homeless and displaced children to school — in 2006. In 2009, Chauntel left the teaching profession to focus full-time on the family business. By 2012, the family elevated Chauntel as the president/CEO of both businesses. “We work for her now,” Rosa said. While it was a family decision, it was not an easy transition. “It was a struggle for Rosa to relinquish control,” Chauntel said as she looked straight at her mother, who affirmed that statement by nodding. The struggles notwithstanding, like her father before her, Chauntel has taken the business to a new level. She introduced new software to sharpen the accounting practices and used social media to assist in the marketing of their products. The youngest in the family businesses also convinced her parents of the benefit of separately incorporating each business. Today, Rosa’s Greek Boutique boasts of serving more than 20,000. The family notes that since Chauntel took over the leadership of the business, sales have increased by 40 percent. Whereas at one time the family had a physical store in downtown Dover, all sales are now done solely online or by selling the products at Greek events or other venues. Sometimes the family is split up between several simultaneous events in different states. While working together as a family can give rise to some challenging dynamics, the Smiths make it work. “We have always had a strong family,” Chauntel said. Rosa’s Greek Boutique website can be found at -- Story by Carlos Holmes

For alumnus Adisa Bakari '95, a career touchdown

Never mind that DSU did not yet have a sport management academic program when Adisa Bakari was a Del State student in the 1990s. Once Bakari decided he would earn a law degree and then go on to represent professional athletes as a sports agent, he would have it no other way. Adisa Bakari '95 chairs the newly formed Sport Entertainment Group (SEG) of the law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren in Washington, D.C. The 1995 Delaware State University graduate has made his aspirations a reality as a veteran sports  and entertainment attorney who recently joined the law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren in Washington, D.C. The firm acquired Bakari to become the chair of its newly formed Sport Entertainment Group (SEG). The SEG represents 34 NFL players — including Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Antoine Bethea of the Indianapolis Colts, Matt Forté of the Chicago Bears and Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers — as well as six professional boxers and one NBA player. Most of the players were represented by Bakari when he was with Dow Lohnes, another Washington law firm where he began his legal career 15 years ago. A merger between Dow Lohnes and another firm prompted Bakari to start a new chapter elsewhere, and when that ended up being at Kelley Drye & Warren, his sports clients followed him there. Bakari has established a reputation as a sports agent who is not only there to represent his clients in salary negotiations and product endorsements, but also in getting his athletes to take a long term view of their futures. “Many NFL players’ careers do not extend beyond that first three-year contract,” Bakari said. “Eighty percent of NFL players end up broke or in financial disarray after their football career is over.” Bakari said he works to drive home the point with his athletes that they are more than just entertainers. “I tell them that being an athlete is their job, but it is not who they are,” he said. “It is important that they understand the athletic business of which they are part.” To put his sports clients in a position to provide for their family in their post-professional sport years, Bakari annually holds a three-day “Life Retreat” that focuses on how they can succeed as athletes and businessmen. Bakari has made his mark in Washington, where he was born as Clinton Tucker and raised, and with the exception of his academic years at DSU, has lived and established his career. Later on during his DSU years, he would permanently change his name to Adisa Bakari as a way of commemorating his ancestry and heritage. “Bakari is Swahili and means the promise of nobility,” he said. Raised in Northwest Washington by his grandmother Evelyn Pitts, Bakari said she was adamant in her belief that he would go to college and become an attorney. “She is a remarkable woman who raised her children and her children’s children,” Bakari said. “She didn’t have a degree or a lot of money, but we always knew that we were going college.” Time at DSU It was playing football for Calvin Coolidge High School that led him to DSU. “Some of my coaches, most notably Robert Sanders, were graduates of DSU,” Bakari said. “Coach Sanders drove me to DSU and introduced me to (Hornet football coach) Bill Collick.” While he performed well as a defensive back in high school, once he arrived at DSU and began competing at the next level, it became crystal clear to him that an NFL playing career would not be in the cards. Nevertheless, Bakari played on the Hornet football team during his first three years at DSU. Soon after he arrived on campus his freshman year, another momentous event took place — he began dating Josephine Carter, who would be his future wife. “I wasn’t doing a lot of dating at the time,” said Josephine, who graduated in 1995 from DSU with Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. “I knew he had my attention, and because of that, I knew he had something.” Bakari, who majored in political science at DSU, believes he made the most of his experience and he reserves his highest praise for a group of professors — Dr Baruti Kapano, Dr. Akwesi Osei, Dr. Demas Kenjyatta and Joyce Breasure — who all impacted him deeply. “It was my experiences with these professors that make me talk reverently about DSU,” Bakari said. “DSU literally saved my life.” Bakari credited Dr. Kenjyatta with challenging him intellectually and showing him the flaws in his arguments without being condescending. He notes that his legal writing skills are what they are due to the tutoring of Dr. Kapano. He points to Dr. Osei as a mentor and considers him a good friend to this day. And in an Art of Argument class, Ms. Breasure helped him to think analytically about his arguments. With warm fondness he recalls being the only student from a Historically Black College or University in 1994 to serve as a summer intern at the United Nations, and also competing in the Harvard University Debates, where he was honored with the “Best Delegate Award.” Upon receiving the honor at the podium, he said in loud and deep voice “D-S-U!!!” “Everything I have been able to do can be traced back to my years at DSU,” Bakari said. “My analytical ability, my view on life is all attributable to DSU.” He stepped away from Hornet football after his junior year to concentrate on preparing himself for law school. Following his cum laude graduation, Bakari went on to earn a law degree at the University of Wisconsin in 1998. Career start and family Before he finished studying law, he was already thinking about becoming a sports agent and broached such possibilities with Len Baxt, chairman of the Washington-based law firm Dow Lohnes, who responded by telling Bakari to get a job with the law firm and maybe such a venture would be possible later. That is exactly what he did. Bakari began at Dow Lohnes as an executive compensation lawyer. After he proved himself with the firm, in his third year he brought up the sports representation idea with his bosses. He was allowed to use one-fifth of his required billable hours toward developing the sport agency pursuit. Zamir Cobb, a former wide receiver and most valuable player awardee with Temple University, became his first client. “He had grown up two blocks from me in Washington, and used to come to Dover to see me play at DSU,” Bakari said. With Bakari representing him, Cobb went on to be a NFL player for two years for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. Cobb is now a manager with the NFL Players Association and remains a client of Bakari. From that point on, Bakari has accomplished exactly what he set out to do. That bodes well for his clients, as it has become his passion to help the athletes he represents to transcend their sport personas and secure long-term inter-generational wealth. As his wife and the mother of their four children, Josephine said she is not surprised by his success, nor by their success as a family. “(At DSU) we knew we were going to be together and because of that, we knew we had to make each other better people,” said Josephine, who originally came to DSU on a track scholarship  but who actually excelled even more on the Lady Hornets volleyball team. Right after their DSU graduation, Adisa and Josephine were married. She would go on to teach biology in a junior high school in Washington for a couple of years. But then, while her husband continued to build up his sport representation work, she became a stay-at-home mom to tend to her growing family. Bakari said Josephine is the anchor of their family. “She maintains the order and stability of our family,” he said. “I would not have been able to build this practice but for her.” -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

From the Drew family, a long line of DSU graduates

Dr. Martin A. Drew, Class of 1965, is truly challenged as he tries to recall all the members of his family who have graduated from or are attending Delaware State University. Just when he thinks he has covered everyone, another one comes to mind. “There are a number of us who have been at Del State,” said Drew. The family of Dr. Martin A. Drew ’65, professor of English at DSU, has an extensive legacy. Among the graduates or current students are, seated from left, Dr.  Drew, Loretta Drew Chowdhury ’54 and Theresa Johnson ’02. In the back, from left, are sophomore Brittany Currie, Lisha W. Gist ’89, Robert Johnson ’03, Tywanna Currie ’88, Nika Drew Reid ’94, Chiara Fox ’05 and freshman Tashana Sprattling. The Drew family legacy at DSU began with Loretta Drew Chowdhury, who graduated with a degree in Home Economics from then-Delaware State College in 1954. Martin said that his father Orlando, who was born in 1915, outlived most of his 17 siblings. As such, he became the patriarch of the family and sent his younger sister — Loretta — to DSC. She would be the first of 14 Drew family descendants who would earn degrees at Del State. Loretta would work as a dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan,N.Y., and then she served as a teacher in New York City for 35 years. As the second in the family to earn a degree, Martin also took his DSC diploma in Elementary English to New York City, where he would teach junior high and high school, as well as serve as an assistant principal and principal. Along the way, he would earn two master’s degrees (Education Administration and Philosophy) and a doctorate in Education (Curriculum and Instruction). Martin is also the author of three books: The Chronology of African-American Families of Southeastern Sussex County, Del.; The History of the Blackwater Colored School in Clarksville, Del.; and The History of the Drew Family — A Family Reunion. Currently, Martin is a professor of English at his DSU alma mater. His oldest daughter, Monique Drew Woodley, graduated from DSC with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1990. She is currently a teacher in Dallas, Texas. Anthony Mosley Jr., Monique’s son and Martin’s grandson, graduated from DSU in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications. Loretta and Martin also have a litany of nieces and nephews who have graduated from Del State: • Darryl Drew, who earned a 1990 Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He later completed studies at the University of California Law School in Sacramento, Calif., and currently is a lawyer in Oakland, Calif. • Gregory Drew, who earned a 1994 Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. He is currently in graduate school at Wilmington University. • Patrick Drew, who earned a 2011 Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He works at Delaware Legislative Hall in Dover. • Natasha Pratt Sprattling, who earned a 1988 Bachelor of Science in Business. Her daughter Tashana is currently a DSU freshman majoring in business marketing. • Lisha Walters Gist, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science in 1989. She now works as a financial professional. • Nika Drew Reid, who earned a 1994 Bachelor of Science in Psychology (and later a master’s degree in Education from Wilmington University). She is a teacher in the Indian River School District. • Tywanna Currie, who earned a 1988 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She works for SCI Services at Delaware Express. Her daughter Brittany Currie is a DSU sophomore majoring in biology and pre-health. • Chiara Fox, who earned a 2005 Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She works in the Delaware Children’s Department (of the state of Delaware) and as an instructor at Delaware Technical & Community College. • Robert Johnson, who earned a 2003  Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications. He is a test proctor and education laboratory specialist at Delaware Technical & Community College. • Theresa Johnson, who earned a 2002 Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She currently works in the Finance Department at the Delaware Department of Transportation. Loretta said when she first started her college studies, she didn’t realize that she would be the first in a long line of college graduates in the family. “It is absolutely beautiful,” Loretta said. “I didn’t really realize it until today when some of us came together for this picture.” -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

KaLonna Maull

KaLonna D. Maull  Supervisor, Perdue Farms Inc.'s Further Processing Department BS in Food and Nutritional Sciences, 2010 MS in Food Science, 2012   DSU: What made you decide to major in Food and Nutritional Sciences? KALONNA: I was interested in that major because (a younger family member) was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. My whole family’s focus was on that. At that time, diabetes wasn’t discussed as much, and we as a family had to learn about it. My mom was kind of devastated and I wanted to help her learn how a child with diabetes should deal with it. The biggest challenge is the monitoring of your diet, and that is a lot for a little kid.   DSU: What was your experience like once you started in the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences? KALONNA: I had a great experience as an undergraduate. I was senior class president, and I wanted to work hard to help our students be involved. … Because we were at the back of the campus, and because some of our students commuted, sometimes we weren’t always as well-connected with what was going on with the rest of the campus. So I tried to make sure other students knew about things going on outside of the college. I had a great time in my college and my department.  One of my main goals was to give us more exposure. Many people on campus didn’t know we had a nutrition program in the college. DSU: What other activities were you involved in outside of your college? KALONNA: In addition to being senior class president, I was – and still am – a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. I was also a member of the Alpha Pi Honor Society, Food and Nutrition Club (FAN Club), DSU Chapter of the NAACP, as well as Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). DSU: How would you describe your overall experience at DSU? KALONNA: Overall, it has not only given me two academic degrees, but also a degree in perseverance. It prepared me for life. As a result of my experience at DSU, I make sure I have all my things in line, especially concerning money. I learned the importance of saving documentation, which some students had a problem with. DSU has prepared me for the real world. It was also interesting to be a part of the then-new master’s degree program in Food Science. We were the first graduating class to do our research on campus (we previously did research at a USDA facility in Pennsylvania).  

Class Notes -- Summer 2013

1961/1962 Charles Minor ’61 and his wife, Patricia Snead Minor ’62, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary June 29 in the presence of family and friends. The Minors met while attending Delaware State College and were married June 29, 1963, at New Zion Methodist Church in Laurel, Del. 1971 Esthelda “Stell” Parker Selby was recently appointed a councilwoman in the town of Milton, Del., by Mayor Marion Jones. 1973 Janet Williams-Coger has been elected vice chair of the Delaware Board of Charitable Gaming. She is the first African-American woman to serve in this position. Her term expires in five years. 1976 Ernie Colburn has been named executive director of the Salisbury (Md.) Area Chamber of Commerce. Colburn graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Management from Delaware State University. Jackie Pennick Derricks recently retired from the U.S. Postal Service. After living in Texas for more than 30 years, Derricks plans to spend her retirement in South Boston, Va. 1990 Ellen Chamberlin, a fourth and fifth grade science and social studies teacher at Rock Hall Elementary School, was named Kent County, Md.’s Teacher of the Year. Chamberlin graduated from Delaware State University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and received a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Capella University in 2005. 1993 Dean J. Ivory has been named principal of Glasgow High School in Delaware’s Christina School District. Ivory was most recently principal of Laurel Senior High School since 2006; he also served as principal of Lake Forest High School from 1999 to 2006 and was previously a business teacher at Polytech High School and Woodbridge Junior/Senior High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Delaware State University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Instruction from Wilmington University. 1995 James L. Moore III was recently appointed as the Distinguished Professor of Urban Education in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Moore, an internationally recognized scholar in academic achievement for minority students, focuses particularly on how to ensure success in education and life for African-American boys and men. Moore is also an associate provost in Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and inaugural director of the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African-American Male. He was one of two Ohio State representatives named American Council on Education Fellows for the 2013-14 academic year. Moore received a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Delaware State University and a master’s degree (1997) and a Ph.D. (2000) in Counselor Education, both from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 1996 Sherri (Johnson) Mullen is assistant to the director of the Division of Adult and Continuing Education and Summer Programs at Delaware State University, a position she started in October 2012. She was previously DSU’s IT trainer in the Department of Information Technology. Last year, she gave birth to a son, Noah. 1998/1996 Eric Ames ’98 and Dia (Savage) Ames ’96 plan to open a Zoup! Fresh Soup Company franchise in Wilmington, Del., in September. Eric spent his entire professional career with the Vanguard Group in Malvern, Pa., and will work for the franchise full time. Dia spent the first five years of her career with Deloitte and Touche in Philadelphia and the last 11 years working for Bank of America, where she is a senior vice president in the Corporate Audit Department. Eric and Dia are high school sweethearts and have two children, Ethan, 12, and Drew, 6. 1998 Dr. Michelle Galloway-Hamani has reinvented her expertise as a research chemist into writing children’s science books coupled with hands-on workshops. Her first book, Morning Star, is a family-oriented, educational, interactive book filled with colorful pictures for all ages. Published in 2011, it seeks to address: Is the sun a star? How does the sun create heat and light? Currently, she is working on her second book, Tonight’s Light. Her books’ core mission is to promote the fun in learning the influence of science and math to our everyday lives. Galloway-Hamani received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Johnson C. Smith University in 1996, a master’s degree in Applied Chemistry from Delaware State University and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Louisiana State University in 2004. Morning Star is available from Amazon. Galloway-Hamani lives in Germantown, Md., with her husband and two children. 1999/2007 Brenda F. Farmer and Will Byrd were united in marriage on July 7. Farmer is Delaware State University’s director of Events and Ceremonies. 2001 Chef Lynnette Jackson of Lynnette’s Cakes and Catering in Annandale, Va., competed in May on an episode of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” She and her aunt, Coletta Webster, appeared on the show after submitting an audition video on YouTube to its producers. Teams of bakers on “Cupcake Wars” are given themes and unusual ingredients to incorporate into several rounds of creating cupcakes that are judged by a three-person panel. Jackson opened Lynnette’s Cakes and Catering in 2006 after she decided to follow her passion for cooking. She graduated from Delaware State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Bowie State University with a master’s degree in Human Resource Development. Following graduate school, Jackson enrolled in culinary school at the Art Institute of Washington, where she received an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. John Sell, an English teacher at Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, Del., who was Delaware’s 2013 State Teacher of the Year, has been named an assistant principal at the school. 2003 Jolene Cross and her partner Richard Evans welcomed baby Charli Rose Evans on Jan. 21, 2013. The future DSU student measured in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 21 inches. 2004/2006 Rochelle Knapp was appointed by Gov. Jack Markell to serve as a magistrate judge for the Justice of the Peace Court. She was confirmed by the 142nd Delaware State Senate in May. Knapp is currently the only African-American serving in the capacity of Justice of the Peace judge in Sussex County and the youngest in the state of Delaware. Knapp received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from Delaware State University. 2007/2010 Amystique Y. Harris Church was presented with the 2013 NCTA Service Recognition Award from the National College Testing Association at the organization’s conference in July for service on the state and regional level.  She has also been elected to the 2013 NCTA Governing Board, on which she will serve from August 2013-August 2017. 2009 Shan Green has been appointed as the principal of Central Middle School in Dover. Green graduated with a master’s degree in Special Education from Delaware State University.

Dr. Jerome H. Holland, 6th president: Leadership a turning point for DSC

Dr. Jerome H. Holland Tenure: 1953-1960 Among those familiar with the 122-year history of Delaware State University, Dr. Jerome H. Holland is commonly known to be the most pivotal president in the institution’s history. That historical characterization is substantiated by his 1953-1960 tenure at then-Delaware State College, in which under his leadership the College was pulled from the brink of institutional extinction and onto firm footing as an accredited HBCU. While clearly deserving of the accolades for how his leadership reversed the fortunes of Delaware State College toward a positive direction of continuous growth and increasing prosperity, a newly published book is shedding new light on how Holland and DSC benefited from the desegregation battles of the 1950s. Born Jan. 9, 1916, in Auburn, N.Y., Holland was the first African-American to play football for Cornell University in 1939. He went on to be a two-time All-American end. At Cornell, he earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Sociology, and later he received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950. Holland was working as a social research consultant for the Pew Memorial Foundation in Philadelphia when he was approached about the DSU president’s post by then-newly elected Gov. J. Caleb Boggs. Clearly Holland merits a lot of credit for simply agreeing to become president of DSC in 1953 and squarely confronting the challenges facing the institution headlong. The College had lost its accreditation in 1949 — after having possessed it only five years — which resulted in dwindling enrollment and calls from many for its permanent closure. Nevertheless, Holland was undaunted by the tall challenges facing the institution. Court case After decades of receiving woefully less-than-adequate financial support from the state, DSC had become the stark poster child for why separate but equal segregation was in fact abjectly unequal, especially to the detriment of minorities, their institutions and public accommodations. The stage where the College’s abundant shortcomings were on widespread display was the Delaware Court of Chancery, the site of a nationally precedent-setting 1950 civil case challenging the segregation of the University of Delaware. After the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools’ revocation in 1949 of DSC’s initial accreditation, 10 African-American students tried to obtain applications to enroll at the University of Delaware, but were refused. This resulted in a legal showdown in the Delaware Court of Chancery in which the students — represented by Delaware legal legend Louis L. Redding and NAACP attorney Jack Greenberg — were victorious. In making their effective case for the 10 plaintiffs, Redding and Greenberg used comparisons between DSC and the University of Delaware to drive home the stark inadequacies of Delaware’s only historically black college. They could be found in virtually every area, including infrastructure, academic offerings, financial resources, salaries and student services. The state’s insufficient financial support of DSC had been a shameful constant throughout the College’s then-60 year history and was a major factor in its loss of accreditation. The vast differences in higher education quality and resources between DSC and UD led to the court’s ruling that ultimately unlocked the segregated doors of the University of Delaware and became a part of the growing body of evidence that would eventually dismantle the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson “separate but equal” doctrine where educational systems were concerned. The court victory notwithstanding, a convergence between the opponents of desegregation in higher education and the proponents for the continuation of DSC combined with the arrival of Holland in 1953 to result in the survival of DSC. A 1951 state task force recommended that DSC be converted to a junior college and merged with the University of Delaware, which the northern school opposed. Despite the Chancery Court ruling, many in the state government were opposed to desegregation. Dr. Brett Gadsden, author of the 2013 book Between North and South — Delaware, Desegregation, and the Myth of American Sectionalism, notes as it became clear that the legal grounds for segregation in schools was fast beginning to crumble, Delaware officials began to slow desegregation by providing long overdue financial resources to DSC as well as to other black public schools throughout the state. “White officials mobilized in such a manner, not in response to the efforts of black activists committed to vitalizing historically black institutions; they moved only after it became apparent that more and more blacks looked to white schools as the means to escape the deprivations endemic to black schools and only after school desegregation proponents began winning in the courts,” Gadsden said in the book’s introduction. “The state then devoted greater resources to Delaware State College, enriching educational opportunities at this historically black institution.” Holland’s work Thus was the good timing when Holland assumed the DSC presidency in 1953. However, the financial resources of the state didn’t simply drop in his lap. Against the parallel backdrop of the UD desegregation ruling and the still-strong calls for the College to be closed, Holland still had to make a case for the continued existence of the College as a four-year institution. Holland submitted a 1954 report to then-Gov. Boggs which charted the history of DSU, the state’s track record of inadequate funding of the College, as well as how the state could atone for its longtime neglect. Simply put, Holland stated that if the state planned to leave its low levels of financial support of DSC unchanged while at the same time continuing the debate as to whether the HBCU should remain open, then without a doubt DSC should be closed. However, Holland also forcefully stated that if the state decided it would change its attitude toward DSU for the better, there were many needs on campus that should be addressed, which he went on to list categorically in the report. “He made a compelling case concerning DSC’s continued importance to serve black students in Delaware and steered the institution through a very stormy period,” Gadsden said in a recent phone interview. While noting the importance of DSC’s continuation to African-Americans, he also took a visionary view of the institution’s future diversity potential. “There is no reason why Delaware State cannot serve all citizens; they pay for it,” Holland said in a 1953 interview with the Delaware State News. “We will do everything possible to secure an accredited standing, and the guiding philosophy will be for a state education institution.” Within a matter of a few years, DSC received $2.5 million in state funding that resulted in the construction of three new buildings (Memorial Hall, Conwell Hall and Grossley Hall) and the renovation of six other buildings. That compared positively to the period of 1931-1953 in which state funding for major construction only took place once — a major capital improvement allocation in 1949 for the construction of Tubman Hall a few years later.   In addition, the state funding for the DSC operating budget increased from $307,000 in 1953-54 to $400,000 in 1959. While it is clear that the increase in funding had a strongly sustaining effect on DSC, it is also clear that Holland’s leadership was indispensable. To receive the funding that DSU obtained involved countless meetings and negotiations between the DSC president, legislators and the state governor’s office. To gain their confidence, the College had to show appreciable improvement, which it did throughout Holland’s tenure. The enrollment — which was only 167 students in 1953 — more than doubled within the next six years. Significant improvements were made to the College’s academic structure and student services. Holland was also able to broker legislation with the state politicians that changed the composition of the College’s Board of Trustees, expanding it from six to 11 members — with for the first time five members being appointed by the board while six continued to be appointed by the governor, reducing the impact of politics on board selections. Most importantly to the University’s survival, it was under Holland’s strong leadership that Middle States reaccredited DSC in 1957. “The legal victories of Louis Redding (in Parker vs. University of Delaware and Brown vs. Board of Education) were instrumental in opening the door of segregated institutions and in an unintended consequence, also in spurring public investments in previously neglected black institutions such as Delaware State College,” Gadsden said. “To his credit, Dr. Holland took advantage of that opportunity and DSC was able to rise as a modern, better resourced college as a result.” Holland’s transformational work as DSC president made him extremely marketable. In 1960, Hampton Institute (later University) was able to lure him away from DSC to assume that presidency until 1970. Like his time at DSC, his tenure at Hampton also reflected tremendous growth at that institution. He would go on to write a number of economic and sociological studies of African-Americans, serve as ambassador of Sweden, chairman of the American Red Cross and sit as a board member of nine major U.S. companies, as well as becoming the first African-American to serve on the board of the U.S. Stock Exchange. Holland was also elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1965. Known throughout his life from his Cornell years by his nickname “Brud,” Holland passed away in 1985 in New York City. -- Story by Carlos Holmes

Chinese alumni make their mark on a global scale

From left, Bing Han, President Harry L. Williams and Chao Yu. Han and Yu both received Master of Science degrees in Applied Optics and Ph.Ds. in Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics from DSU. Halfway across the world, a product of Delaware State University’s master’s and doctoral degree programs is managing a multimillion dollar company while his wife  — also a graduate of the same programs — is teaching university-level mathematics. Bing Han and his wife, Chao Yu, are using the advanced degrees they earned at DSU to propel their careers in business and higher education, respectively. Both earned Master of Science degrees in Applied Optics and Ph.Ds. in Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics. Yu completed her doctoral degree in 2009, while Han finished his in 2012. Both have returned to their native China to make their country a beneficiary of the knowledge they attained at DSU. Han is the general manager of Jinxing Automotive Interior Decoration Inc., a designer and manufacturer of car interior elements for 15 different automobile manufacturers, including General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen, Fiat, as well Inteva, one of the world’s largest global automotive suppliers. The company, which employs more than 1,300 people, brought in more than $19 billion in revenue in 2012. Yu teaches mathematics at Liaoning University in the Chinese city of Shenyang. Han said both he and his wife enjoyed their time at DSU. “We had a lot of support and help from the faculty at DSU, and not just with the courses, but with everything else concerning our time in the U.S.,” Han said. “Dr. Fengshan Liu (DSU vice president of International Affairs) was very important to us.” Han, 32, said his degree work at DSU has made him a more valuable executive at Jinxing. “The mathematics courses helped me to deal better with problems and how to arrive at solutions,” Han said. Not only an advanced student at DSU, Han was also a mathematics instructor and was the University’s first-ever Chinese language teacher. “Teaching classes at DSU helped me greatly with my English,” Han said. “Because a lot of Jinxing’s customers are international, my improved English has helped me to communicate with a lot of them.” Han and Yu have two children, a son named Jiaxu and a daughter, Catherine, who was actually born during their time in the United States, giving the child citizenship in both the U.S. and China. In China, Han said he and his wife get to meet some Chinese students destined to attend DSU. “I tell them to talk with Americans and get to know American society,” he said. “I tell them to learn the culture because the current America is the future of China.” Han and Yu were recently reunited in China with Dr. Liu and President Harry L. Williams, who traveled to the country in June to meet with some university collaborators of DSU. He said he thinks highly of Dr. Williams. “(Dr. Williams) is a nice person who cares about the Chinese people,” Han said. “I believe he will bring a bright future for DSU.” -- Story by Carlos Holmes

Kent Amos '70 focuses life on helping children succeed

Kent Amos was the first African-American vice president of Xerox. He left his position in the 1980s to focus full-time on family and youths, going on to establish the Urban Family Institute, the Kids House after-school program and the Dorothy Height Community Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Kent B. Amos, Class of 1970, describes his undergraduate years at then-Delaware State College as a coming of age story. “I went in as a colored boy, and I graduated as a black man,” said the former Xerox corporate executive and currently nationally renowned educator and Washington, D.C., charter school founder. A significant part of his eternal love for his alma mater stems from the way it embraced him. Raised in Washington by his parents Benjamin F. and Gladys Mae Amos and a Calvin Coolidge High School track star, Amos won an athletic scholarship to attend American University. However, possessing a less-than-adequate focus on academics led him to leave the school after 1½ years. He would subsequently join the Air Force and then switch over to the Army, through which he went to Officers Candidate School. Although he momentarily entertained the idea of a military career, he decided he wanted to give college another shot. His brother Ben recommended DSC. “So with my brother and my father Benjamin F. Amos, we drove onto the campus. … It was a farm … it had cornfields, pigs and cows!” Amos said. “And as we were driving around, I kept saying, “I ain’t going to school on no farm!” His concerns notwithstanding, the Amos trio met with then-DSU President Luna I. Mishoe in his office, where he reviewed young Kent’s American University transcripts. After looking through it, “he looked at the three of us, laid my transcript face down on his desk, slid it to the side and said, ‘Why don’t we just forget that. You are now going to be a freshman at Delaware State.’ ” After the meeting, Amos said he continued to complain to his father about the farm atmosphere of the college. His father, an attorney, reminded him about his AU transcripts. “Nobody but Del State will accept you but for what you are,” his father told him. “They accepted a failure, because they think they can make something out of you. So you don’t have a choice.” Military and time on campus Arriving as a 22-year-old freshman and as a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard, Amos immediately became the freshman class president and would go on to serve as the president of the Men’s Council, the Pan-Hellenic Council and ultimately as the Student Government Association president during his senior year. Because of his greater maturity, he would provide a needed counter balance in contrast to the rebelliousness of others in the Del State student body in the mid- to late 1960s. Noting that period’s nationwide thrust of “I’m Black and I’m Proud” sentiments, student rebellions and anti-establishment sensibilities, Amos said that his perspective was typically different from his college peers. “Having worked in the military police in the Army and having worked in the U.S. Marshal’s Office in the court system, I understood violence at a level they didn’t understand,” he said. “So in the conversations we would have in the dormitory, my roommate and I would always be the odd men out.” Amos vividly recalls driving back to his hometown following the April 4, 1968, assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and seeing billows of smoke rising from different sections of the city from the riotous response to the tragedy. Still serving in the National Guard as a second lieutenant, he was pressed into service and led a unit into the city to help restore the peace. Then a 23-year-old DSC sophomore, Amos — who had served in Vietnam — was the only one in his quickly formed Guard unit that had any combat experience. One of the first things the men under him wanted to know was if they would receive ammunition to quell the riots. “I said, ‘Never, because you ’all are not killing anybody. My goal is to keep you alive and the people alive,’ ” Amos said. By the following month, he had returned to campus in time to serve as a voice of reason during the May 1968 rebellion in which students took over the Grossley Administration Building, prompting the deployment of the Delaware National Guard and State Police to the campus. During the one-day standoff, Amos said he stood with Dr. Mishoe outside of his president’s office window talking to the occupying students, which included then-recently suspended SGA president Leroy Tate. The reasoning of Amos and the president along with others eventually defused the situation, and the students relinquished the building. Amos would later be a part of a Faculty-Administrators-Student Committee that developed recommendations to address the points of contention that brought about the demonstration. One year later, Amos would be the first-ever SGA president to address the DSC Board of Trustees during its regular meeting, at which time he detailed what he planned to accomplish as the top student leader during his 1969-70 senior year. Careers and family Amos would graduate in 1970, but he would miss that year’s Commencement because he was serving the Guard in Cambodia. When he returned stateside, he would make his mark with Xerox, eventually becoming the first-ever African-American vice president of the corporation. He credits his DSC experience with making him comfortable with the ascending leadership positions he would assume as well as in competing intellectually at the highest levels of his domain. “I became a confident black man in the true tradition of confident black men in American history who were exemplified by the DSC (faculty and administrators) I was exposed to — Dr. Mishoe, Earnest Talbert, Dr. Richard Wynder, John Price, U.S. Washington, Harry Washington — all class acts who were able to model for me what my father showed me,” Amos said. In 1982, Amos married his current wife Carmen and became a father to her son and daughter, Wesley and Deborah. In becoming a family man, he learned what the challenges entailed when his son came home one day with three new friends from his high school. “We knew then that if we didn’t change that relationship, they were going to change him. Of course the easy answer was (to send him to) private school,” Amos said. “The more challenging and appropriate answer was to fix them. That is what we did.” So Mr. and Mrs. Amos got to know those boys, opened their home to them and helped provide them with opportunities for positive life outcomes. This led the couple to open their home to many other at-risk youths, offering them a home environment, financial support and a nurturing environment. Amos estimates that he and his wife have taken in about 85 children under their wing in their home. It ultimately led Amos to leave his Xerox executive job in the 1980s to focus full-time on family and youths. When asked about the inspiration for such an undertaking, Amos pointed to his alma mater. “Delaware State looked out for me, so how was I going to turn my back on these kids. DSC didn’t turn its back on me,” he said. The Amoses went on to establish the Urban Family Institute, which provided structure for their initiatives; the Kids House, which was an after-school program modeled on what they did for youth in their home that has expanded to 22 states; and finally the Dorothy Height Community Academy Public Charter School, one of the leading charter schools in Washington. He has shared his story and perspectives on youths, family and education on many local and national radio and television shows, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless newspapers, magazines and books. As Amos approaches age 70 next May, with all he has accomplished, he is still not satisfied. “I ended up being the first black vice president in Xerox history, made my money and all of those things,” Amos said. “But what I want to do now is far more important — to build structures to give children who have been shunted to the side an opportunity to be a success, in a much broader way than the narrow view that too many people have today about education. “My goal is to change the systems nationally,” he said. “We are still not there yet.” For Amos, giving back is as a fundamental part of his being as the blood that courses through his body. He said that goes back to his Delaware State connection where so many people made a difference in his life. “To this day, I operate my business and run my life on the principle that it is not just a nice idea to give back to that which made you who you are. It is an obligation and a responsibility,” he said. “So I don’t have to be told by anyone in the alumni office or administration of DSU or Coolidge that it would be a nice idea to give back. I have no choice. They made it possible for me to be who I am, in addition obviously to my family. My life was changed forever.” -- Story and photos by Carlos Holmes