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Alumnus Mike Feeney Returns as 2014 Convocation Keynote

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David Turner, vice chair of the DSU Board of Trustees, DSU alumnus (’86) and last year’s Convocation keynote speaker, sits next to Michael Feeney, DSU alumnus (’05) and the 2014 Convocation keynote speaker.
 

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The 2014 Convocation formally launched the 204-2015 academic year and brought home one of its alumni sons – Michael Feeney, class of 2005 – as its keynote speaker. DSU President Harry L. Williams presents keynote speaker and DSU alumnus Michael Feeney an award following his Convocation address. Mr. Feeney, an award-winning journalist who graduated from DSU in 2005 with a degree in Mass Communications/Print Journalism, told the packed Education and Humanities Theatre audience that his DSU undergraduate experience prepared him well for his career – which has included jobs with the Associated Press, and the New York Daily News, as well as recognition from the National Association of Black Journalists as the 2010 Emerging Journalist of the Year. “All of that wouldn’t have been possible without DSU,” Mr. Feeney told the freshmen in attendance. “I urge each one of you to take advantage of the opportunities you have here, because what you do here will ultimately determine what you will do after you graduate.” Mr. Feeney told the students to surround themselves with people who want to achieve and be successful. “Figure out your goals and do whatever you have to do to achieve them,” he said. “If you face adversity, find a way to get through it. If you fail, get up. If you find success, keep it going and be the best Hornet you can be. DSU President Harry L. Williams noted that the theme for 2014-2015 is “Celebrating 125 years of Access and Opportunity.” He also used the occasion to focus the University audience on the emphasis of the current school year – Goal 2 of the University Strategic Plan, Student Success. He noted that in 2015 the Department of Education will start rating institutions by the metrics of cost, graduation rate, loan default rate, median borrowing and employment. “By 2018, federal funds will be tied to those ratings,” Dr. Williams said. The Convocation also featured music from the DSU Concert Choir and the Approaching Storm Band.  

College of Ag Awarded $1.8M in Capacity Building Grants

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Dr. Bertrand Hankoua, a College of Ag food and nutritional sciences researcher, has been awarded an almost $500,000 grant that he will use to study the use of high biomass yielding energy grasses for conversion to biofuels.
 

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DSU’s College of Agriculture and Related Sciences has been awarded more than $1.8 million from the USDA’s 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program. Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, Dr. Daniela Radu and Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay have been awarded a nearly $300,000 grant for nanoparticle research. Eleven DSU faculty members – nine from the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences and two from the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology – will use the funding for nine different projects ranging from scientific research to curriculum enhancement. The projects, the grant amount, and the DSU faculty involved: Biofuels production research – Dr. Bertrand Hankoua, a food and nutritional sciences researcher from the College of Ag, is the principal investigator of a $499,964 grant for a project that will employ metabolic engineering techniques that are expected to result in the use of high biomass-yielding energy grasses for the efficient and cost-effective production of biofuels. On this project, Dr. Hankoua will collaborate with several co-PIs who are bio-energy experts biofuel and biotechnology research centers across the country. Enzyme immobilization in support of food security – Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, associate professor and associate chair of the Dept. of Chemistry, is the principal investigator of a three-year $299,996 grant for a project that will use the porous silica nanoparticle to anchor enzymes that are able to break biomass in sugar. The technique is projected to lower the cost of enzymes in the food industry. Dr. Lai is assisted by DSU co-PIs Dr. Daniela Radu, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, College of Ag. research professor. Expanding economic opportunities of under-served farmers – Dr. Lekha Paudel, a DSU Cooperative Extension farm management specialist, is the principal investigator of a three-year $245,281 grant to introduce under-served farmers to alternative specialty crops, ways to reduce post-harvest spoilage and help them develop marketing skills. Dr. Venu Kalavacharla will use $128,850 for research involving sweet potatoes and viruses that attack it. Build Capacity and Strengthen DSU’s Food and Nutritional Science Program – Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the DSU Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, is the project director of a $299,875 grant to establish collaborative approach to recruit and train a diverse workforce for career opportunities in food and nutritional sciences. DSU co-project directors include Dr. Stephen Lumor, associate professor of human ecology; Dr. Carol Giesecke, director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics; and Donna Brown, Cooperative Extension family life agent. There is also collaboration with two co-project directors from Camden County College of N.J. and Delaware Technical and Community College. Oyster-associated Vibrio infection detection – Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, College of Ag. research professor, is the co-PI  of $175,895 grant in which she will work researchers from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore seeks to develop a less expensive and time-consuming colony overlay procedure for identification of the marine malady. Genetic research relating to sweet potatoes – Dr Venu Kalavacharla, professor of molecular genetics in the DSU Department of Ag, is a co-PI in a project in which DSU will receive $129,850 to gain a better understanding of the differences between virus-free and virus infected sweet potatoes. Agriculture Study/Research Abroad in Latin America – Dr. Marikis Alvarez, associate dean of research for the College of Ag, is the principal investigator of a $149,500 grant that is DSU’s portion in collaboration with Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M University to bring about a study-abroad program in Costa Rica that will focus on agriculture education and research. Dr. Sathya Elavarthi, assistant professor of agriculture, is also a co-PI on the project. Tension Irrigation Technology Research – Dr. Mingxin Guo, professor of agriculture, is the principal investigator of a $65,988 professional development grant will fund a five-month sabbatical for research at the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture in Beijing, China. Food Safety of Fresh Produce Program – Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the DSU Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, is a co-PI of a project designed to build an integrated program on Food Safety of Produce. DSU is one of several 1890 Land Grant institutions that have been awarded toward this project; the current grant amount to go to each institution is undetermined. The total amount of grants for the above DSU projects is $1,866,349. The 1890 Capacity Building Grant (CBG) Program is intended to strengthen teaching, research and extension programs in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Land-Grant Institutions such as DSU.

Hornet Faithful at Fan Center, UD game -- Photo Slideshow

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The Hornet faithful emerge from the DSU Fan Center tent to see the approaching storm – an actual storm, not the DSU band – rolling onto the UD campus. The thunder and lightning that came with the storm, along with the other band of storms following it, caused the DSU vs. UD game to be postponed until next day.

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Rain, thunder and lightning interrupted the Hornet Fan Center activities and postponed the scheduled Sept. 6 gridiron match between DSU and UD, forcing the Hornet fans that could to return to Newark for the rescheduled game on Sunday, Sept. 7. Although final score was not to Del State’s liking – UD 27 DSU 9 – Hornet fans still got in some good fellowship during the abbreviated Fan Center time and the following day at the game. For Hornet fan images from both days, click on the below photo slideshow:

New Administrator, Faculty Appointments

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           Michelle Shorter DSU welcomes Michelle L. Shorter as the new associate vice president and chief risk officer of the DSU Office of Enterprise and Risk Management. In her DSU post, Ms. Shorter is working to create a campus-wide risk program that will increase awareness, educate faculty, staff and students about the risk framework, and encourage data-driven results. She will also be responsible for chairing the Enterprise Risk Management Council and the University Safety Committee. Her post is within the Division of Finance and Administration. In addition, DSU welcomes the following new faculty members: Dr. Amanda Anderson, assistant professor, Department of English Dr. Yamuna Baburaj, visiting assistant professor, Department of Business Administration Dr. John Balzarini, visiting assistant professor, Department of Sociology/Criminal Justice Dr. Ezekiel U. Ette, associate professor/chairperson, Department of Social Work Ms. Ashley Freeman, visiting instructor, Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy Dr. Kamie Fletcher, assistant professor, Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy Dr. Michael Gawrysiak, assistant professor, Department of Psychology Devdeep Maity, assistant professor, Department of Business Administration Dr. Sharon Mills-Wisneski, chairperson/associate professor, Department of Nursing (Started in January 2014) Dr. Susanta Kumar Parida, visiting assistant professor, Department of Education Yvette Pierre, assistant professor/EFE coordinator, Department of Education Dr. Foudan Salem, post-doctoral research associate, GIS & remote sensing

DSU's Lori Crawford Exhibits Works at Biggs Museum

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Lori Crawford, DSU associate professor of art, makes some adjustments to her digital artwork entitled “The Curtain with Inner Thoughts” one of 18 works that will be exhibited at the Biggs Museum in Dover from Sept. 5 to Oct. 26.
 

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DSU’s Lori Crawford, associate professor of art, will share her works with the public in a Sept. 5 thru Oct. 26 exhibition entitled “Ain’t I a Woman: Lori Crawford and the Sista’s” on the second floor of the Biggs Museum of American Art located at 406 Federal Street near Downtown Dover.Ms. Crawford’s exhibition features 18 digital paintings covering subjects like slavery, women in the military, Josephine Baker, the role women played in the civil rights movement alongside Dr. Martin L. King Jr., as well as various scenes of women in everyday life.“This body of work continues the exploration of how women are portrayed in the arts and in society by observing early depictions of women and then reimagining them,” Ms. Crawford said.  “The Sista Series is evolving, for now, and these colorful, whimsical characters find themselves in semi-real environments while being hailed for the struggles and achievements that early pioneers paved the way for human kind.”An opening reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 at the Biggs Museum in honor of Ms. Crawford's exhibition.Ms. Crawford has been a faculty member in the DSU Department of Art since 1996.Pictured on the right: Ms. Crawford prepares to hang one of her works – entitled “The Sista Reclining on an 1840’s Sofa” -- at the Biggs Museum.

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

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