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The Early College High School Ribbon Cutting Held by DSU

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(L-r) U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper; ECHS Director Judi Coffield; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Provost Alton Thompson; Dr. Claibourne Smith, chairman of the DSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Teresa Hardee, ECHS Board of Directors member and vice president of Finance, all join in on the cutting of the ribbon at the Early College High School.

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The Early College High School (ECHS) at Delaware State University was officially christened on Sept. 2 as DSU President Harry L. Williams, Provost Alton Thompson and ECHS Director Judi The Early College High School is the second secondary school in DSU history. The Delaware State College Laboratory High School existed from 1921-1952. Dr. Harry L. Williams (far left) and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (3rd from left), stand with (l-r) Lab HS alumni Reba Hollingsworth and Mildred Holmes, who both graduated from the high school and the college in the 1940s. Coffield were joined by U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons along with a host of others in celebrating the launching of the only such college preparatory school in the state. With Dr. Williams, Dr. Thompson and Dr. Coffield equipped with the scissors, the ribbon for the new facility was cut, symbolizing the brand new opening of the school based in the DSU Living and Learning Commons. The first ninth-grade class of ECHS began its classes on Aug. 25, totaling 132 students in its inaugural semester. “The Early College High School is a historic development for both the First State and Delaware State University,” Dr. Williams said. “We are excited that several years of planning has finally resulted in the opening of the school and the arrival of this first class of ninth-graders.” Sen. Carper said he was excited to be part of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. “It wasn't long ago that I sat in Dr. Williams’ office at Delaware State University and we discussed launching an Early High College High School where students could earn 30 to 60 college credits before they graduate,” said U.S. Sen. Carper.  “This will help make college more affordable and increase college enrollment – a win-win for Delaware students.” U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said it is an impressive idea whose time has come. “It will allow highly motivated and focused young people to not only get a high school education, but also get a head start on their college education,” Sen. Coons said. “And that is going to deal with all sorts of challenges and issues such as access to the education, how to afford college education and how to make it relevant.” The Early College High School’s curriculum has a strong emphasis in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The school is beginning with a ninth-grade class of students, and each subsequent year a grade level of instruction will be added. Within the next four years the ECHS will be a 9th through 12th grade charter high school.

The 1st Day of the Early College HS -- Photo Slideshow

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After an opening day assembly, the inaugural students of the Early College High School quickly got down to academic business.

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The Early College High School at Delaware State University is now a reality! After several years of planning, the DSU Early College High School opened its doors on Aug. 25 to its first class of 132 ninth-graders, who began their first day of the new school year. For images from the first day, click on the below photo slideshow followed by additional information about the first day of ECHS classes. Some students arrived by school bus while others were brought by their parents to the current ECHS site within the DSU Living and Learning Commons, just north of the DSU main campus. The students and some parents attended a morning special opening assembly in which Dr. Judi Coffield, ECHS director, welcomed them and introduced the school’s five faculty members, as well as the guidance counselor and school nurse. The first semester course load for the students includes University Seminar, Micro-Computer Application, Chorus and/or Band, Student Leadership, Intro to Art, and Animal Science. Through those dual-credit courses, the students will be earning both high school and college credits. The ECHS provides a curriculum with a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) emphasis. Students will be able to earn as many as 60 college credit hours while they are completing their high school requirement. Joining Dr. Coffield in the inaugural year of the ECHS are Nancey Cannon, science teacher Antoinette Cheek, mathematics teacher Robert Grimm – social studies and special education Grace Parfitt – English teacher Alyssa Wright – STEM and Science Michael Roscoe – guidance counselor Kathryn Krieger – school nurse Nikeia Thompson – administrative assistant Several volunteers are also donating their time to assist with the school’s operation – Lavonne Barnett, Thomasa Brewington, Shanika Martin, Letitia Williams and Joyce M. Wilson.

DSU Freshmen Begin Academic Journey -- Photo Slideshow

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The freshmen class is estimated to be about 900 students strong at DSU.

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About 900 freshmen students began their academic journey during the Aug. 20-24 DSU Welcome Week, as they got to know their class contemporaries, student leaders some DSU officials and their new campus home and surroundings.Welcome Week was culminated with the Freshmen Induction Ceremony on Aug. 25 in the E&H Theatre. For photos of some of the freshmen, click on the below photo slideshow:

Susan Johnston, Wesley College 1st Lady, Shows Art at DSU

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Susan Johnston, the wife of Wesley College President William Johnston, stands between her paintings (l-r) “Full Basket” and “Tractor,” which are among 28 of her watercolor artworks on exhibition at the DSU Art Center/Gallery until Sept. 12.

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The Delaware State University Art Center/Gallery is currently exhibiting a show of watercolor works entitled “Chapters, Then and Now” by Dover artist Susan Johnston, the first lady of Wesley College. Susan Johnston stands next to her watercolor entitled “Wintergreen,” which is among her works on display at the DSU Art Center/Gallery. The exhibition – which will be on display until Sept. 12 – as well as a Sept. 4 reception are both free and open for the public to attend. The Art/Center Gallery is located inside the entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus. A Meet the Artist reception will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 in the Art Center/Gallery. Mrs. Johnston, who is the wife of Wesley College President William N. Johnston, has been an artist since her childhood. The exhibition of 28 works – which were created from 1986 to present – represents various topics of exploration during her artistic journey. “Chapters are to a book as a series is to an artist’s body of work,” Mrs. Johnston said. “The books and chapters, as a metaphor, also become their own story rather than the pages that house their original purpose.” The artist describes each one of the series she has done as a problem to explore rather than solve. “Each show reveals my reverence for the mysteries of nature, but also the beauty of familiar places and things,” Mrs. Johnston said. “Each series is a chapter in my own life.” Mrs. Johnston said watercolors have appealed to her throughout her life as an artist, and notes that the medium demands drawing and practice. “Poets claim to write for months in order for one poem to emerge,” she said. “A painter must be willing to do the same.” Susan S. Johnston is one of three artists based at Parke Green Galleries located at 327 and 331 S. State Street in Dover. The gallery – which is a historically significant landmark site where Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787 – is open to the public and features original paintings, prints and artistic gifts.  

Sen. Chris Coons Announces Manufacturing Ed Bill at DSU

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U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (r) holds a media event in front of the OSCAR Building construction site to announce the bipartisan American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act. He is joined in that announcement by (l-r) Dr. DSU President Harry L. Williams and Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology.

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U.S. Sen. Chris Coons used DSU as the site to hold a media event just outside of the under-construction OSCAR Building in order to announce new mechanical engineering legislation he has introduced.Joined by DSU President Harry L. Williams and Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology and vice president of Research Innovation and Economic Development, Sen. Coons explained the bipartisan legislation just outside of the OSCAR Building construction site. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act is designed to help institutions of higher education to strengthen their engineering programs to meet the growing demands of 21st century manufacturing. Following his media event on the proposed manufacturing education legislation, Sen. Chris Coons (center) receives an update from Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and DSU President Harry L. Williams on the construction progress of the OSCAR Building.  “I’m excited about Delaware State University’s steady growth as a leader in science and technology education, research and training,” he said. “And I have visited dozens of manufacturers in Kent and Sussex counties that have a common concern about needing more young people they can hire to be future employees both as engineers and as skilled workers.”According to Sen. Coons, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act would award grants to universities designed to help better align educational offerings with the needs of modern manufacturers.“Manufacturing plays a critical role in our country’s economy,” Sen. Coons said. “Accounting for nearly $2 trillion of our nation’s output, more than 12 million Americans are directly employed in manufacturing.” “Given the importance of manufacturing in the United States, it is critical that federal manufacturing policy be effective,” the senator said. “However, because the sector is diverse, no one federal department or agency deals exclusively with manufacturing.”Dr. Melikechi said that University officials support the bill and the university may consider applying for the money if the legislation passes in Congress.“It’s a continuum. You need a great education, you need good business leaders, you need a strong innovation and so forth, but also you do need that manufacturing component to have an economy that’s viable,” he said.After the media event, Sen. Coons went over to the construction site, where Dr. Williams and Dr. Melikechi updated the senator on the progress of OSCAR – Optical Science Center for Applied Research – Building

DSU Aviation Program to Benefit From Runway Expansion

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(L-r) Stephen Williams, DRBA director of airports; Richard Downes, DRBA commissioner for Kent County; Scott Green, DRBA executive director; U.S. Rep. John Carney; DSU President Harry Williams; U.S. Sen. Chris Coons; Lori Pagnanelli, FAA Harrisburg District manager; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; and j William Lowe, DRBA vice chairman pose for a group shot after announcement of funding for runway expansion at the Del. Airpark.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams joined U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, U.S. Rep. John Carney and Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Executive Director Scott Green on Aug. 18 to announce a $5 million dollar grant to update and expand the Delaware Airpark. U.S. Sen. Chris Coon (r) gets some aircraft pointers from DSU aviation sophomore Justin Thompson. The DSU Aviation Program – which maintains its fleet of 11 planes and conducts its flight training at the Delaware Airpark – will benefit greatly from the runway expansion that the grant will fund. The announcement took place during a media event held that the main hangar of the airpark. Also in attendance were Capt. Stephen Speed, DSU Aviation Program director, instructors and students, as well as other officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the DRBA. This project is Phase XI of an ongoing multi-year project to expand the airport by constructing a new runway, its parallel taxiway, connector taxiways and apron system. It will include site preparation, environmental mitigation and construction of a new airport perimeter road. “DSU is a major tenant at the Delaware Airpark, and these updates will help with the safety of the facility,’ said Dr. Williams. Sen. Carper said the grant award announcement is a “win-win” for Kent County. “The improvements will not only create jobs, but it will provide a better training facility for students at DSU,” Delaware’s senior senator said. “This is a great example of the federal government creating a nurturing environment for job growth and job training on the local level.” “We must continue to invest in America’s infrastructure,” said Sen. Coons. “Investing in our roads, bridges, highways and our airports lead to economic opportunities. As Delaware Airpark continues to develop, it means more job opportunities and significant improvements for the aviation students at Delaware State University and commercial entities who utilize the airport.” Capt. Stephen Speed, director of the DSU Aviation Program (left, being interviewed by WDDE-FM's Karl Malgiero), said the longer and wider runway will give students more landing space. “My most important role in Congress is finding ways to put Delawareans back to work, and proper funding and updates to our infrastructure makes that job a lot easier,” said Congressman Carney. “A runway extension at Delaware Airpark helps the airport compete for business regionally, enhances Delaware State University’s pilot training courses, and puts Kent County in a better position to take advantage of economic opportunities.  It’s a good project for Kent and all of Delaware.” In addition to being the home of the DSU Aviation Program, the Delaware Airpark also serves the general aviation needs of central Delaware and Dover.  Capt. Speed said the improvements will convert a current runway into a taxiway and create a new and longer east-to-west runway that will also be wider than the existing one. “It will improve the safety margin and give our instructors more flexibility in what they allow the students to do in their training,” he said.

DSU Receives $1.7M Grant to Join Nemours in Establishing Delaware Comprehensive Sickle Cell Research Center

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Dr. Dula Man, right, assistant professor of chemistry, is a co-investigator of the grant through which DSU will partner with the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders to establish a Delaware Comprehensive Sickle Cell Research Center. Dr. Cherese Winstead, assistant professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, will also work on a project as part of the grant.

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Delaware State University has received a five-year, $1,783,188 grant to partner with the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders to establish a Delaware Comprehensive Sickle Cell Research Center.The funding to DSU is part of a $10.2 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the genetic mutation that causes sickle cell disease and to improve care and outcomes for affected children. Dr. Marie Stuart, director of hematology research at Nemours, is the principal investigator of the grant, designated as an NIH Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) award.Dr. Dula Man, DSU assistant professor of chemistry, is a co-investigator of the grant, along with Dr. Robin Miller and Dr. Steven Reader, both from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.Dr. Man’s work in the laboratory will manipulate the affected sickle red cell by a novel process of gene editing in an attempt to correct the abnormal hemoglobin in the red cell without harming other cell functions. Dr. Eric Kmiec, DSU professor of chemistry, will mentor Dr. Man.In addition, Dr. Cherese Winstead, DSU assistant professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, will work on another project that will involve the growth of hematopoietic stem cells on multilayer nanofiber scaffolds.Dr. Miller’s project, under the mentorship of Dr. Stuart, involves a clinical trial on the use of n-3 omega fatty acids for relief of pain and inflammation associated with sickle cell disease. Dr. Reader’s project with Nemours mentor Dr. Anne Kazak will modify the psychosocial assessment tool developed by Dr. Kazak to screen for risk in the pediatric population with sickle cell disease.“This is a positive effort to enhance biomedical research in the state and the region,” said Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology and vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development.  “It is the result of many years of interaction between scientists at DSU, Nemours and other institutions in Delaware to create a community of researchers interested in working on technologies that can be applied to make advances in diseases such as sickle cell anemia.”Dr. Melikechi added: “We are grateful to Nemours and the other collaborating institutions. This is a major step forward and we look forward to taking more steps that will raise the research and educational portfolio in the state of Delaware.”A genetic disorder of the red blood cells, sickle cell disease is a chronic and potentially debilitating disease of childhood which, in its severe form, can affect multiple organ systems and ultimately shorten the life span. Many patients face barriers that may impact quality of care and health outcomes. The grant is focused on prevention of symptoms associated with sickle cell, strong psychosocial support for families, studying the quality of care provided, and identifying genetic approaches to treatment and cure.The grant also includes a three-year pilot study by Dr. Divya Moodalbail of Nemours, whose research will try to identify children most at-risk for developing  sickle cell-related chronic kidney disease, an initial step in preventing or slowing the progression of long-term kidney damage.In the important realm of data management, Dr. E. Anders Kolb, director of the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and co-investigator Dr. David West, will work to link advances in health informatics and electronic data recording with clinical research to improve patient outcomes.“This federal support will ensure an outstanding program to meet the ongoing needs of Delaware’s children and young adults with sickle cell disease and their families. It is a tribute to the excellence of the team in what is an extremely competitive funding environment,” said Dr. Vicky Funanage, director of Nemours Biomedical Research.

DSU's Dr. Noureddine Melikechi Named To Serve on NASA's MARS 2020 Team

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Delaware State University’s Dr. Noureddine Melikechi has been named by NASA to serve on a select team that will be involved in the development of a sophisticated instrument – the SuperCam – that will be used on the space agency’s planned Mars 2020 mission.Dr. Melikechi – dean of the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology; vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development; and the founder of the DSU Optics Research Program – is presently a member of the NASA ChemCam Team that is connected to the current Mars Mission taking place on the Red Planet.NASA’s search for life on the planet Mars will continue with the launch in 2020 of a rover similar in design to the current mission’s Curiosity Rover.  Last week NASA announced the seven sophisticated instruments that it selected to be part of this new scientific mission.These instruments together will provide an unprecedented set of tools to the team to explore the planet Mars. The seven instruments will use a multitude of detailed measurements, including geophysical, geochemical and atmospheric. These will provide clues to determine the past and/or present potential for habitability of the planet. One of the instruments selected – the SuperCam – will consist of a laser; its second harmonic will provide tremendous spectroscopic capabilities to the mission. “This new instrument will have more potential and more capabilities than the current one on the Red Planet,” Dr. Melikechi said. “I am delighted that SuperCam was selected to be one of the instruments for the Mars2020 mission. This selection demonstrates the power of the laser and its great potential to help solve some of the biggest scientific and technological questions of our times. Our students will no doubt benefit from this mission in one way or another.”

DSU Hosts 2nd Annual HBCU Philanthropy Symposium

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DSU's Division of Institutional Advancement recently hosted a number of regional HBCUs at its second annual Historically Black College and University Philanthropy Symposium on July 24-25, 2014.

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DSU's Division of Institutional Advancement recently hosted a number of regional HBCUs at its second annual Historically Black College and University Philanthropy Symposium on July 24-25 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.The Symposium’s objective is to build a consortium of regional HBCU institutions to establish a process among the participating institutions in which philanthropic outreach solutions and best practices can be shared. Schools are thereby empowered to effectively address the challenges they face in fundraising. The consortium allows each institution to better leverage funding opportunity in an increasingly competitive market for philanthropy dollars.The attendees of DSU's 2nd annual HBCU Philanthropy Symposium take time out for a group photo moment.The keynote speaker this year was Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "I applaud Delaware State University's leadership in convening a group of our public HBCUs to prepare themselves for fundraising success." The keynoted share his sage perspective, noting that in order to attract significant donors, HBCUs to focus their work on things that matter “People with dollars want you to solve societal problems,” Mr. Taylor said. “We have to go out and reposition the work we do. Areas like national security, future water shortages and Africa, people will give you money for work in those areas.” DSU Harry Williams addressed the symposium about the current state of HBCUs.  Symposium attendees included the host school Delaware State University, Bowie State University, Cheyney University, Coppin State University, Lincoln University, Morgan State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the University of the District of Columbia. The participants engaged in interactive dialogue to determine feasible initiatives that could immediately become collaborative efforts among all of the participating schools.  The most significant issues discussed were increasing student philanthropy and strategies to get more support from university presidents and trustees.   In addition, several strategies were discussed on how to increase annual giving, engage alumni, and strategically make asks for transformational gifts to the respective universities. Representatives from Delmarva Power, JP Morgan Chase, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and CFRE International also participated in the symposium, sharing their knowledge as guest speakers and panelists. 

DSU Jumpstart Freshmen Work Project With Local Museums

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DSU Jumpstart freshmen Ayanna Hatcher, Ashanna Goldsboro, Zaniyah Godley, Dallis Gerald, Joy Brown and Isaiah Collins participate in a paper-marbling training session at the John Dickerson Plantation in preparation for their Aug. 2 presentation at that state historic site.

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A group of incoming DSU freshmen – who have already started their academic journey through participation in the University’s Jumpstart Program – are already getting hands-on experience in Delaware State’s core value tradition of community service by working on a project with local museums. In connection with partnership between DSU Jumpstart Program – an academic enrichment/leadership transition program for first-time freshmen – and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, 28 new DSU students are working with four local museums to come up with interactive history-related programs that are specific to each one of those sites. The students have been split up into separate teams between the four sites and are developing the interactive activities that specific designed to help tell the story of the museum in which they are assigned. They will present their activities between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 at the following Dover-area locations: The First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located in the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Blvd. The John Dickerson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road. The Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St. The Old State House, 25 The Green. The partnership is giving the students a unique opportunity to experience how museums develop public programming through efficient time-management, teamwork, critical thinking and creativity – valuable skills that the students will need as they move forward in their lives. The Aug. 2 events at all of the above four museums are free and open to the public. For more info about the events, call the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs at (302) 736-7411.

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