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DSU Group Visits DC's African-American Museum -- Photos

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This group of DSU students, faculty and staff were able to get one of hottest tickets in the nation's capital and visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th Smithsonian museum to be opened in Washington, D.C.

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A bus and a passenger van traveled on Nov. 11 from Dover to Washington, D.C., with about 50 students, along with a few more faculty, staff and alumni members to become among the first members of the DSU community to experience the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in the nation’s capital. For a wealth of images of the museum and some of the DSU folks that went on the trip, click on the below photo slideshow link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157676531300076/show Several DSU students make their way up an escalator in the National Museum of African-American History and Culture to see more of the extensive collection.   The National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the newest addition to the Smithsonian collection of museums and is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, history, and culture. Its grand opening took place on Sept. 24 and its tickets have been in high demand ever since. Lori Crawford, DSU associate professor of visual arts, made the trip for the group possible as she was able to obtain some tickets that were set aside for educational institutions such as DSU. Once there, the DSU group entered the NMAAHC and realized that the few hours that they would be there would not be long enough to see the four above-ground floors and three below-ground concourse levels. Those floors house more than 36,000 objects as well as countless multimedia exhibitions in a collection that reflects African-American history in community activism, family, the arts, sports, religion, civil rights, slavery and segregation. Alicia Pinkett, a DSU senior studio art major, grew up in Washington D.C. and had visited several of the other Smithsonian museums throughout her life. “Out of all the Smithsonian museums, (the NMAAHC) has more floors and history,” Ms. Pinkett said. “It made me even prouder to be an African-American, because of all of the accomplishments that are on display there.” Duane Grimes, a freshman mass communications major from Wilmington, noted that part of the rich experience was coursing through the museum among thousands of other predominantly African-American people and being a part of the collective pride of the visitors who filled the museum. “I really liked how there were a lot of older people there,” Mr. Grimes said. Camille Kaye, a junior criminal justice major from New Jersey, noted that while the museum captured the entire African America story, it was mostly uplifting. “It brought more of your attention on the successes than the hardship,” Ms. Kaye said. “There was more of the culture than the slavery.” When it comes to the power of the NMAACH, Jannah Williams, a junior art major from Camden, Del., said it best for the DSU students who went there. “It let me know that we as a people can be great, and it made me want to be great as well,” Ms. Williams said. “It is very motivational.”   The museum was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African-Americans. To date, the museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The NMAAHC is a public institution open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African-American history and culture. In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum, “there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.”   Photos and article by Carlos Holmes

"Midsummer Night's Dream" Comedy at DSU Nov. 17-18

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Gary Hall (in mask) as Bottom and Nia Jones as Mustard Seed rehearse a scene together for the upcoming DSU students' performance of Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream." The comedy will be performed Nov. 17-18 in the Education and Humanties Theatre.

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Anthony McIver (l) and Jasmine Walker rehearse a kiss in their characters Lysander and Hermia. Delaware State University theater students will present an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, in performances at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 and at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, with both to be held in the Education and Humanities Theatre. This comedy has it all: young love gone awry, the mischief of magical fairies, and hapless actor-wannabees making fools of themselves. What’s more, the Theatre program has enlisted the musical talents of SWAU to perform original raps that summarize and clarify the important plot points of this engaging show, making the play accessible for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. A truly unique juxtaposition of Shakespeare’s language and modern performance art, this drama brings Shakespeare into the twenty-first century. The 24-member cast features Anthony McIver as Lysander, Adrian Hospedale as Demetrius, Jasmine Walker as Hermia, Moala Bannavti as Helena, Jaren Jamijon as Puck, Raven Wainwright as Titania, and Jaquan Romeo as Oberon, along with other actors and dancers. The play is directed by Dr. Amanda Anderson., DSU assistant professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages.  General Admission is $5 at the door. The show is free to DSU students with ID. At the Thursday, Nov. 17 performance, toiletry items will be accepted and donated to The Shepard’s Place Homeless Shelter for Women and Children.

2016 Employee Recognition Ceremony Held -- Photos

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Michelle Shorter, associate vice president of Enterprise Risk Management, receives the Inspire Excellence Award from Irene Chapman during the annual Employee Recognition Ceremony held Nov. 9.

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DSU celebrated greatness and service during its annual Employee Recognition Ceremony Nov. 10, held in the MLK Jr. Student Center. For images from the event, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157676403492645/show The evening’s top prize – the 2016 Inspire Excellence Award – went to Michelle Shorter, associate vice president of Enterprise Risk Management, the second of two awards she received that evening. The 2016 Faculty Excellence Awards went to: Dr. Andrew D. Lloyd, associate professor of biological sciences (FEA for Teaching) Dr. Mukti Rana, associate professor and chair of the Dept. of Physics and Engineering (FEA for Research) Dr. Mazen Shahin, professor of mathematics and director of the Alliance for Minority Participation (FEA for Service) The 2016 Vice President Choice Award went to: The Vice President of Human Resources Choice Award went to the Office of Human Resources team (Beverly Brown, HR generalist; Sandra Golson, spec. asst. to the VP; Pamela Mosley Gresham, director of HR; Janice Hilliard, HR technician; Vernice Oney, HR generalist/benefits coordinator). Awarder: Irene Chapman-Hawkins, senior associate vice president. The Vice President of Institutional Advancement Choice Award went to the Greater Than One Campaign team (Bryant T. Bell, director of Major Gifts; Brenda Farmer, director for Univ. Events & Ceremonies; Dawn Hopkins, interim director of Alumni Affairs; Diane Kirby, Development Technician; Linda Mulligan, manager of Univ. Events and Ceremonies;  LaShawne Pryor, director of Annual Giving; Lorene Robinson, director of Donor Relations; Henrietta Savage, special assistant to VP/controller; Charity Shockley, director of Annual Giving and Grants; and Lucie Stairs, financial administrator II.  Awarder: Dr. Vita Pickrum, vice president of Institutional Advancement. The Vice President of Student Affairs Choice Awards went to Sherrika Brown, Admissions app. Verification/data entry specialist; and Lt.. Joi Simmons, DSU Police Department officer. Awarder: Dr. Stacy Downing, vice president of Student Affairs. The Vice President of Finance & Administration Choice Awards went to J.D. Bartlett, director of Planning and Construction; and Michelle Shorter, associate vice president/chief risk officer, Office of Enterprise Risk Mgmt. Awarder: Dr. Teresa Hardee, vice president of Finance and Administration. The Vice President of Academic Affairs Choice Awards went to Dr. Rebecca Batson, dean of University Libraries; and Carlene Jackson, program specialist, Office of Title III. Awarder: Dr. Saundra DeLauder, associate provost. The Athletics Director Choice Awards went to Mary Hill, senior women’s administrator; and Mark Springs, head equipment manager. Awarder: Louis “Skip” Perkins, associate vice president and athletics director. During the ceremony, Service Awards were given to employees celebrating  five-year increments of their time with DSU; the longest service celebrated were Denise Lindsey (30 years), Dr. Rebecca Batson, Curtis Cross and Cherrita Gibbs-Sloan (35 years), and Thomas Harmon (40 years). The event featured the smooth music of the DSU Jazz Combo and songstress Amani Mason, as well as an expression of thanks to DSU employees by Malik Powell. The evening culminated with an international menu featuring culinary offerings from Korea, Germany, Puerto Rico and the U.S.  

DSU, Westchester Community College (NY) Sign Agreement

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and WCC President Belinda S. Miles (center) shake after signing an agreement that will govern the transfer of students from the community college to DSU. Deans and administrators from both institutions join the presidents for the signing moment.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams receives a gift from WCC President Belinda S. Miles after the two signed a student transfer agreement between the two institutions. Delaware State University and Westchester Community College of Valhalla, N.Y., have reached an agreement that will facilitate the transfer of the latter institution’s associate degree graduates to DSU where they will be able complete a bachelor’s degrees in two years. In addition to the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree in two years at DSU, the agreement also makes it possible for WCC Associate Degree in Accounting graduates to continue their academic pursuits at the University through a “2+2+1 Program.” Such students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree in two years and a Master of Business Administration Degree after one additional year. DSU President Harry L. Williams and WCC President Belinda S. Miles signed the agreement on the afternoon of Nov. 7 on the Del State campus. Dr. Williams said that WCC graduates will be welcomed at Delaware State University. “DSU is proud to be able to take the baton of these Westchester students’ academic aspiration and help them reach the finish lines of bachelor’s degree and MBA completions,” the DSU president said. “They are getting a great start at WCC and we believe they will find that Delaware State University is an excellent place to fulfill their higher education goals.” Dr. Miles said this agreement establishes a partnership between two institutions that share a commitment to academic excellence and student success. She noted that achieving such collaborations that guarantee junior status for students transferring into those programs are a critical component of WCC’s college completion efforts. “Today we expand our articulation agreements with HBCUs creating exciting new pathways for our graduates that will place them in the pipeline to a range of professional careers many of which are seeking qualified individuals to address the issue of underrepresented minorities,” Dr. Miles said. The smooth transfer of the WCC students to DSU is facilitated by 27 academic program alignments between the two institutions. The agreement guarantees transfer admission for WCC graduates that have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA, with the exception of four undergraduate programs that require a 2.5 GPA (Management, Accounting, Social Work and Mathematics Education).

U.S. Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson Speaks at DSU

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U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson presents DSU President Harry L. Williams with a proclamation from President Barack Obama celebrating 2016 National HBCU Week.

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U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and State of Delaware CIO James Collins, pose outside of the OSCAR Building. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson paid a visit to DSU on Nov. 7 and let its students and faculty know that there are abundant job opportunities in the federal government’s cyber security field. Secretary Johnson was the keynote speaker at a Cyber Security Conversation event held in the MLK Jr. Student Center. The standing-room filled parlor included Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, members of the state’s Department of Technology and Information, along with DSU President Harry L. Williams, administrators, faculty and students representatives, especially from the University’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Prior to the event, Dr. Williams gave Secretary Johnson a walking tour of the DSU campus, including a stop at the Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building. For images from the Cyber Security Conversation event, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157672631634474/show The Homeland Security secretary shared some of his thoughts on the country’s current cyber security challenges. “When I first began as the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, I thought that counter-terrorism should be the cornerstone of our work,” Security Johnson said. “Over the last three years, I have come to believe there can be more one cornerstone, and that cyber security should be the other one.” He noted that while “bad cyber actors and cyber hack-a-visit” are become increasingly more sophisticated, they can be countered by better email discipline by everyday users. “The most sophisticated cyberattack occurs by a simple act of spear phishing,” Secretary Johnson said. “It happens when someone opens an email that shouldn’t have been opened.” For the abundant number of computer and information sciences majors, the Homeland Security secretary gave them hope for their job prospects. “We need good cyber security talent to come work for Homeland Security and the federal government agencies,” he said. “We are spending a lot of time going to Historically Black Colleges and Universities looking for talent for cyber security.” In addition to talking about cyber security, Secretary Johnson talked about the first time he met then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama at a fundraiser. “In 2006, he asked if I would support him (in his run for president),” he said. “I knew I was participating in history, and in 2008 Barack Obama was elected by 69 million voters, the largest popular vote for a human being in this country.” Ty'Ron Washington (l), a DSU management information major, speaks with representatives of Homeland Security at the Cyber Security Job Fair. The Homeland Security secretary also came to DSU bearing honors for Sen. Carper and a proclamation from President Obama celebrating 2016 National HBCU Week, which he presented to the DSU president. After the keynote address, the Cyber Security Conversation event continued with a discussion that included expert perspectives from panelists Ian Bromwich, managing director/CIO of Design and Digital, Barclays Bank; Peter Edge, executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations for U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement; Elayne Starkey, chief security officer, State of Delaware; and Dr. Marwan Rasamny, chairperson and associate professor, DSU Department of Computer and Information Sciences. The panel discussion was moderated by James Collins, chief information officer for the State of Delaware. The event also included a Cyber Security Job Fair that was held on the 2nd floor of the MLK Jr. Student Center.

M&T Highlights DSU in Op-Ed on Corporate Support of Ed

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Nicholas Lambrow, M&T Bank Delaware regional president, holding a donation check to the University with DSU President Harry Williams and others last summer, shows that he and his financial institution practice what he preaches in the op-ed with comes to private-public partnership that benefit school like Delaware State University.

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DSU has been featured in the below op-ed authored by Nicholas Lambrow, Delaware regional president of M&T Bank, a corporate partner of the University. The op-ed was published in the News Journal on Nov. 1.   DSU serving as national model for effective giving to education Nicholas Lambrow, M&T Delaware regional president Private giving to higher education in America reached a record high in 2015, totaling $40.3 billion in giving. The numbers are up primarily as a result of a few major donations made to well-financed schools. But there is also an emerging trend of the private sector funding institutions that focus on underserved communities and develop the workforce of tomorrow. In fact, here in the First State, Delaware State University is achieving much success with this approach and is making education available to a wider range of the public. As Delaware’s only historically black college, (HBCU), founded as a land-grant institution in 1891, Delaware State has since its inception served as a beacon of accessibility. But its recent ability to attract significant funding is at the core of an evolving national transformation of the support of education. Under the direction of university president Dr. Harry Lee Williams, the school recently announced the successful conclusion of its five-year Greater Than One: Campaign for Students, which raised $20 million. Money from this initiative will be used specifically to help students address the financial challenges associated with staying in school. That comes on the heels of the school securing a $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which recognizes the university’s personal Individualized Development Plans (IDPs) for each and every entering freshman. This funding allows for a tailored academic experience to ensure student success while building on the university’s commitment to increase the four-year graduation rate and achieving an 80 percent retention rate by 2020. This process also includes counseling, tutoring, and virtual services for any student who may need assistance. Through accessibility, Delaware State is serving as a national model for private sector support of education. That’s why M&T Bank recently established the M&T Scholars Program that committed $50,000 to help Delaware State University students with the cost of higher education. This scholarship opportunity is available to any full-time student that meets the criteria of a minimum 2.5 GPA, is native to the U.S. and demonstrates financial need. We’re confident in our investment in Delaware State University, an institution that is doing great things as evidenced by its support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others. We believe corporate communities can provide a real and lasting impact by making educational opportunities available to those who otherwise would not have them. Nicholas Lambrow is the Delaware Regional President, M&T Bank.

Kresge Awards awards DSU $150,000 for fundraising HBCU work

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The Kresge Foundation grant will support DSU's work in holding its annual HBCU Philanthropy Symposium where representatives from black colleges and universities collaborate to learn fundraising best practices. The left photo shows a presenter speaking during a session of a previous DSU Symposium.

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A photo of some of the HBCU representatives along with DSU President Harry L. Williams (front far left) and Dr. Vita Pickrum (front far right), DSU vice president of Institutional Advancement, who attended a previous Philanthropy Symposium held at DSU. Delaware State University (DSU) has been awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to support its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Philanthropy Symposium. The grant will help build capacity for the symposium to identify solutions for some of the most challenging issues in philanthropy for HBCUs. The HBCU Philanthropy Symposium, founded at DSU in 2011, has been an annual event that brings together Institutional Advancement leaders from other HBCUs to discuss common challenges. The purpose is to create a consortium of institutions to collaborate and identify collective solutions that will help HBCUs increase private funding and increase alumni giving participation. According to Dr. Vita Pickrum, CFRE, vice president for Institutional Advancement at DSU, “Private funding sources are moving away from funding single institutions to funding networks of institutions. It will be critical to the survival of HBCUs to understand how we can collaborate to fit the new model of private giving from large foundations and corporations.” DSU President Harry L. Williams said the Kresge support will help this ongoing joint effort to see HBCUs move forward and thrive.  “Delaware State University has worked to be a unifying force toward the development of a consortium of HBCUs that will seek funding solutions to achieve long term sustainability for all such institutions,” Dr. Harry Williams said. “This generous financial expression by the Kresge Foundation not only acknowledges the leadership role DSU is playing in this endeavor, but also affirms the current and future relevance of HBCUs in the higher education landscape.” “HBCUs play a disproportionately critical role in graduating our nation's minority students, but they have traditionally lacked sufficient financial resources, which are exacerbated in an environment where higher education business models are changing rapidly,” said William F.L. Moses, Kresge’s managing director for its Education Program. “DSU’s Symposium helps mobilize and equip HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions to strengthen their ability to raise additional funds to support students in their college dreams.” Delaware State University will continue working with existing partners like CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) and TMCF (Thurgood Marshall College Fund) to expand the symposium to include all public and private HBCUs in addition to other minority serving institutions (MSI). The next HBCU Philanthropy Symposium is scheduled for July 19–21, 2017. More details can be found at www.desu.edu/hbcusymposium. ABOUT THE KRESGE FOUNDATION: The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 371 grants totaling $125.2 million, and nine social investment commitments totaling $20.3 million. For more information, visit kresge.org.  

Opera Star Laquita Mitchell Shares Knowledge With DSU Choir

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International Opera Star Laquita Mitchell (l) coaches DSU Concert Choir tenor William Wicks during an Oct. 31 masterclass she held with the entire choir. The pianist is Evelyn Simpson Curenton.

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Laquita Mitchell (l) listens closely to Chelsea Taylor of the DSU Concert Choir as she sing during the international opera singer's masterclass at DSU. International opera singer Laquita Mitchell paid the DSU Concert Choir a visit Oct. 31 and gave them a masterclass experience through her constructive critiques of the singing of several individual members. Mitchell worked with students on their individual sounds and how they could enhance their skills to get to the next level as professionals. She even addressed the issue of their performing posture. “You have to make sure your center of gravity is right,” Ms. Mitchell told Chelsea Taylor, a Concert Choir soprano who performed “Volta la retreat” by Giuseppe Verdi for the opera and concert artist. Ms. Mitchell's vocal prowess has received high praises for her arias at opera house and concert hall venues throughout North America and Europe. She made her debut as Bess in Porgy and Bess, and prompting the Opera News to acclaim that “Soprano Laquita Mitchell, in her first outing as Bess, dazzled the San Francisco Opera audience with her purity of tone and vivid theatrical presence.” She has gone on in her career to perform in other singing roles in some of the finest operas such as La Traviata, Carmen, La bohème, Don Giovanni and many others.             Laquita Mitchell In her masterclass at DSU, Ms. Mitchell emphasized the esoteric vocal meaning of the music notations the singers were navigating. She communicated to the audience of choir members that whatever the language the song was in, the pronunciation must be clear and sung with precision.  

DSU Alumna Returns to Share Life Experiences with Students

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Tetra Shockley, Esq., the 2016 Mrs. Delaware America and a state deputy attorney general, spoke to a speech class Nov. 2 in the Education and Humanities Building.

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In sharing her life experiences and successes with a speech class Nov. 2, DSU alumna Tetra Shockley became an instant role-model for many of the students. Tetra Shockley, Esq., class of 2004, came back to her alma mater Nov. 2 to give back and share her life experiences with a DSU speech class. It is a toss-up as to which of her life experiences fascinated the students more. Clearly her standing as the reigning Mrs. Delaware America sparked a number of questions about her success in that state pageant. But her livelihood as a state deputy attorney general who prosecutes cases in Delaware Family Court also attracted a lot of questions from the class of about 40 students. With respect to both of those admirable aspects of her life, Mrs. Shockley was just thrilled to be sharing with the speech class taught by adjunct instructor Sonya McCray. “I just love the idea of giving back to DSU,” Mrs. Shockley said. In speaking to the class, she shared her passion for advocacy on behalf of children. She noted that a negative situation that took place in her childhood prompted her to make the prevention of child abuse her platform when she successfully ran for Mrs. Delaware. Mrs. Shockley talked about her work as a deputy attorney general and how she uses the “art of persuasive speech” to make her cases on behalf of children in Family Court cases. After graduating from DSU in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Management (double major), she later pursued law at Widener University, both graduating with a law degree and passing the Delaware Bar Exam in 2012.  

DSU, Widener Univ. Delaware Law School Sign Agreement

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DSU President Harry L. Williams (l) and Rodney A Smolla, dean and professor of law, Widener Univ. Delaware Law School, shake hands after the agreement signing. Behind them are (l-r) Dr. Francine Edwards, interim dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Sandra DeLauder, assoc. provost; Barbara Ayars, Esq., assoc. dean of Del. Law admissions; Dr. Sam Hoff, director of the DSU Law Studies Program and Dr. Lee Streetman, professor of criminal justice.

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Delaware State University has signed a new articulation agreement with Widener University Delaware Law School that creates a special admission path for DSU graduates who want to continue their studies in pursuit of a law degree. Barbara Ayars, Esq., assistant dean for admission at Widener Univ. Delaware Law School, talks with DSU students about Delaware's only law school. DSU President Harry L. Williams and Rodney A Smolla, Esq., dean and professor of law at Delaware Law signed the agreement Nov. 2 at DSU, which will allow eligible DSU graduates to be admitted to Delaware Law’s full-time program and receive a minimum $10,000 merit scholarship. Under the agreement, which creates the Advanced Admission Program, students must have completed their DSU degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, achieve a law school admission test, or LSAT, score that meets or exceeds the median score for that exam of the then-current Delaware Law first-year class, and satisfy all law school admission requirements relating to character and fitness. The merit scholarships will be renewable for students who remain in good academic standing at the law school. The agreement will begin in the 2017-18 academic year. It gives significant motivation for DSU students who are enrolled in the DSU Law Studies Program, which help students develop the skills needed for the legal profession and assist them in preparing for the LSAT exam. Smolla said he was pleased to see the two schools collaborate. “This agreement outlines an outstanding academic plan created by two schools that are committed to helping students along the path to engaging careers,” Smolla said. “Those who choose to pursue law as their profession will find enormous possibilities for meaningful lives.” Dr. Sam Hoff, director of the DSU Law Studies Program said the agreement strengthens a long-term partnership between the institutions, to the advantage of the students enrolled in the Law Studies Program. "Today, DSU has taken a giant leap forward in ensuring that those interested in a legal career have the benefits and resources to make their goal a reality,” Dr. Hoff said. “The articulation agreement between DSU's Law Studies Program and Widener University Delaware Law School (WU/DLS) will furnish incentives to attend DSU, to apply to WU/DLS, and to complete law school studies with a minimum of financial obligation.”

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