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Erika Grant Named Among Ebony Magazine's Top 10 Queens

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Erika Grant, the 2011-2012 Miss DSU, may have graduated, but her accolades have continued as she has been selected among the Top 10 Campus Queens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Erika Grant will represent DSU as one of Ebony Magazine's Top 10 HBCU campus queens in its September issue. Ms. Grant, who graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in May, has been selected to be among the Top 10 campus queens that will be highlighted in Ebony Magazine’s annual Campus Queen feature in its September 2012 issue. Ebony flew her out to Chicago for a June 1 photo shoot in preparation for the feature. “It was an out-of-body experience,” she said. “It was a lot of pressure under the camera, but it was a lot of fun.” The Top 10 competition was based on which queens could attract the most online votes, Ms. Grant -- who made the top 10 out of a field of 41 competing queens -- said she had great support on Twitter and Facebook to attract voting support. The Ebony Campus Queen competition is in its fifth year, but this year is the first time a Miss DSU has made the top 10. “I am excited to be representing DSU in this national magazine,” Ms. Grant said. Currently Ms. Grant is completing an internship with the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, and she is looking forward to begin working in the fall for the investment management firm of Vanguard.

DSU Names Tamika Louis as Women's Head Basketball Coach

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DSU President Harry L. Williams presents Tamika Louis, the new Lady Hornet basketball head coach, with a DSU jacket and hat.

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A new Delaware State University women’s basketball coaching era has begun, as DSU President Harry L. Williams today introduced Tamika L. Louis, a former championship junior college head coach and Division I assistant coach, as the new Lady Hornets head coach. Head Coach Tamika Louis said she expects to establish a winning culture among the Lady Hornets basketball team. In introducing the new head coach at a May 31 media event, Dr. Williams said that he is “very happy” that Coach Louis has decided to become a member of the One Hornet Nation Family. “I expect that she will bring a high-level energy and excitement to our Lady Hornets’ basketball program,” the DSU president said.  Coach Louis arrives at DSU with 14 years of coaching and recruiting experience. Most recently, she served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2011-2012 season at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. From 2009-2011, Coach Louis was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for St. John’s University. In addition to organizing all recruiting initiatives, game scouting, overseeing player academic progress and off-court mentoring, she was responsible for the development of St. John guards, including 2nd Team All-Big East and Freshman All-American Shennieka Smith. She served as an assistant coach and a recruiting coordinator for the University of Illinois from 2007-2009. Coach Louis was instrumental in signing the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked 2009 class in the country (according to ESPN Hoop Girl and Blue Star rankings), which included All-Americans Destiny Williams and Karisma Penn. From 2002-2005, she was head women’s basketball coach at Mott Community College in Flint, Mich., where the team’s record was 58-33 over those three seasons. The highlight of her MCC coaching tenure was the 2004-2005 season in which the team boasted a 16-0 conference record (27-7 overall), was the champion of Region XII of the National Junior College Athletic Association and earned a bid in the NJCAA Tournament. During that stellar season, Coach Louis received the Michigan Community College Athletic Association and the Region XII Coach of the Year awards.  From 1998 to 2002, she also had stints as an assistant and associate basketball coach at Central High School in Fresno, Calif., Rhodes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. After playing her freshman year (1993-1994) at West Virginia University, she transferred to Fresno State where she was the starting point guard and captain from 1995-1998. It was also at Fresno State where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree, both in communications. In addition to her career progression in athletics, Coach Louis also worked for General Motors in management, product development, sales and marketing from 1999 to 2007, during which time she received the Corporate Woman of the Year Award in 2003. Coach Louis said that as the Lady Hornets’ head coach, she will be a servant-leader and hopes her energy, dedication and work ethic will be infectious to the young women she will coach and mentor. “We will establish a winning culture here with an expectation to excel in the classroom and on the court resulting in MEAC championships,” Coach Louis said. “Just as important, we will develop future leaders who, upon graduation, will make an immediate impact in our global society and positively represent DSU.” Interim AD Eric Hart join Coach Tamika Louis along with her mother Joyce Louis and Faye Sterling, her aunt, after the media event. The decision to hire Coach Louis culminated a two-month search process that began in late March. Serving on the Search Committee for the head coaching post were Dr. Gwendolyn Scott-Jones (committee chair), chair of the Department of Psychology; Dr. Jan Blade, faculty athletics representative; Candy Young, interim senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator; Dr. Joe Amoako, professor of English and member of the Athletics Council; Dr. Josette McCollough, DSU alumna and former Lady Hornet student-athlete; Dr. Sonja McCoy, associate director of Mentoring and Advising; Dr. Bradley Skelcher, associate provost; and Kianna D’Oliveira, current Lady Hornet student-athlete. Eric Hart, interim DSU athletics director, praised the search committee for its hard work and expressed great hopes for the Lady Hornets basketball program under Coach Louis. “We are starting a new chapter in women’s basketball and I am confident that Coach Louis will be able to build upon a strong basketball legacy here at Delaware State University,” Mr. Hart said. “Coach Louis has built a reputation on the Division I landscape as being a fierce recruiter and has built top tier programs at Illinois and St. John’s, and was on her way to building a strong class at George Washington University.” Coach Louis succeeds former Head Coach Ed Davis, who retired in March after leading the program for 12 years.  

DSU Honored by Capital School District

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Representing their DSU areas in receiving the Capital School District Community Partner Awards: (l-r) Alex Meredith, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Christopher McGuire, DSU Administration Bldg. staff and participating Greek organizations; Dr. Robin Roberts, Office of Student Leadership and Activities; Eric Hart; Department of Athletics; along with Dr. Michael Thomas, superintendent of the district.

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The Capital School District honored several DSU entities with Community Partner Awards during its May 30 Awards Ceremony. Honored from DSU were: DSU Staff and Administration – For its annual Christmas season work in collecting gifts and donations for the district’s Adopt-a-Family Program. The DSU Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources – For its work in donating plants to district schools throughout the year, as well as assisting in the development of a garden at Fairview Elementary School. The DSU Department of Athletics – For the community service of its students-athletes in participating in the Read-Aloud Program, and also for working with children at Fairview Elementary School. The DSU Office of Student Leadership and Activities – For providing gathering space for the district’s mentoring training, and for its Career Services in allowing the district to participate in the annual Job Fair on campus.

United Baptist Convention of Del. Establishes Book Scholarship

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Dr. Lonnie E. Rector, president of the United Baptist Convention of Del., and its representatives Rev. Herbert  J. Owens Sr., Mildred F. Mosley, Rev. Gilbert S. Hamm Sr., Rev. Beryl S. Yancey, and Dr. Samuel Richardson III, join DSU President Harry L. Williams in celebrating the establishment of the Rev. Tommie Lee Brown Memorial Book Scholarship.

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A Baptist organization has joined Delaware State University in its effort to keep education affordable. The United Baptist Convention of Delaware (UBCD) has established a $16,410 Rev. Tommie Lee Brown Memorial Book Scholarship endowment to help Delaware State University students who are part of the organization’s member Baptist churches. Dr. Lonnie E. Rector, president of the UBCD and pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Newark, along with a delegation from the Baptist organization paid a visit to DSU President Harry L. Williams at his office to celebrate the endowment. The UBCD president said it is appropriate for the Baptist church organization in Delaware to support DSU. “When I was in South Carolina, I was accustomed to working with black colleges there,” Dr. Rector said. “When I arrived to Delaware, I noticed that we weren’t supporting our (HBCU) college here in Delaware as we should.” He added that a book scholarship is much needed as it is a big challenge for students to cover the cost of expensive college textbooks. “Making a financial contribution to DSU helps students to focus on the intended purpose of higher education, which is to achieve academically rather than having to constantly worry about how they can afford to stay in college,” Dr. Rector said. “Together, we can make this happen.” The late Rev. Tommie Lee Brown, the namesake of the scholarship, was pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and served two tenures as president of the UBCD, the last of which ended with his passing in 2002. UBCD officials note that Rev. Brown had a passion for learning, and therefore the scholarship was a good way to memorialize his leadership.

DSU Celebrates Mable Morrison's Honorary Doctorate

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DSU Department of Music, past and present turn out to honor Dr. Mable Morrison. (L-r) Randolph Johnson, Dr. Yvonne Johnson, Dr. Howard Brockington, Dr. Morrison, Dr. Lapointe Davis and Dr. Reppard Stone.

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It was a genuine celebration in which all were on one accord in their feelings about Dr. Mable Morrison, DSU’s latest honorary doctorate recipient. DSU President Harry L. Williams and his wife Dr. Robin Williams hosted a May 22 reception at the President’s Residence in celebration of her 50 years as a DSU music faculty member as well as the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters she received during the May 20 DSU Commencement ceremony Click on the below photo slideshow for images of the celebration, followed by more information about the event (and a vintage photo): The DSU president noted that never before had there been so many people in attendance at an event at the President’s residence during his two-year-plus tenure – clearly reflective of the love, admiration and The 1965 DSC Department of Music: (l-r) Beatrice Henry, Mable Morrison, Dr. Reppard Stone and Dr. Howard Brockington. respect the campus community has for Dr. Morrison. In addition to many of the present DSU community attended the celebration, the event also attracted many others from DSU past, such as former DSU President William B. DeLauder and his wife Vermell, former early 1960s music chair Dr. Reppard Stone, former 1960s to 1990s music chair Dr. Howard Brockington,  former dean and provost Kenneth Bell, former dean of students Gladys Motley, and many others. Dr. Morrison was presented with plaques and tributes from Department of Music, The College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, the Office of the Provost, as well as from the state House of Representatives, the state Senate and the Gov. Jack Markell. Thompson Hospitality provided lunch and a contingent of DSU music students and faculty member provided some jazz music.

DSU's Dr. Francine Edwards Wins Mrs. Delaware USA Pageant

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DSU’s Dr. Francine Edwards, an associate professor of Mass Communications, is now representing the First State and the University as the 2012 Mrs. Delaware USA. DSU's Dr. Francine Edwards is crowned the 2012 Mrs. Delaware USA by outgoing Mrs. Delaware USA Angie Bell at the end of the May 11 pageant. Dr. Edwards, who primarily teaches public relations, found out that two times was the charm and the victory, as she won the Mrs. Delaware USA Pageant held on May 11 at Everett Meredith High School in Middletown. The previous year she came close, finishing as the first runner-up. The 43-year-old wife and mother noted that it was a challenge competing against eight other women in their 20s and 30s. “You never know what the judges are looking for,” Dr. Edwards said. “After finishing first runner-up the previous year, when you get that close and when you want to do it for the right reasons, you know that you have a good chance.” For Dr. Edwards, the “right reason” was to address the need for more role models who value marriage and family while balancing that with career responsibilities. “I am not perfect, but I have committed myself to my family and have been able to find a balance between that commitment and my happiness in my career,” Dr. Edwards said. “I have to invest as much time in the marriage as I do in work; I still have to be there for my husband and my children.” While clearly an attractive woman, Dr. Edwards said she liked the Mrs. Delaware USA Pageant because it doesn’t just focus on beauty. “This pageant values intelligence, and there is also an emphasis on service.” Dr. Edwards said her platform for the pageant was titled “Blended and Blessed; Stepparent Support,” a platform she was already well-versed in. She is the wife of Micah Edwards, and she is the mother of two (Tyler, 6 and the only girl; and Joshua, 2) and the stepmother of two others (Jordan, 14, and Madison, 11). Throughout the year leading up to the pageant she worked her platform by meeting with other stepparents one-on-one and in small groups to discuss the challenges of raising step-children and help them talk through some solutions to issues. “As I stepparent, I have found that you have to work on communicating,” Dr. Edwards said. “You have to focus on the children and not on the issues that the two parents might have.”    The pageant contest categories included: the interview, evening gown, fitness and on-stage question. She had the highest score in the interview (where she was able to share the work she had done on her platform) and fitness categories. Dr. Edwards said in the excitement of winning, she never found out how well she scored on the on-stage question: “If you were married for 25 years, what advice would you give a newly married couple?” Dr. Edwards said that she hopes her accomplishment shows her students that it's good to get out of one's comfort zone to learn and grow. In her answer, she used some sibling wisdom. “My sister is celebrating her 25th anniversary next month and she would say to keep the lines of communication open, put Christ first in your marriage and keep each other laughing” As the 2012-2013 Mrs. Delaware USA, Dr. Edwards said that she will continue to promote her platform as well as to promote literacy. “I also want to recruit more minority women for the pageant,” Dr. Edwards said. “I would love to see a diverse pool year after year, because it would represent the world that we live in.” Dr. Edwards, a native of Landover, Md., has been a DSU mass communications faculty member since 2006. As an associate professor who focuses on the public relations discipline, Dr. Edwards said her pageant accomplishment is reflective of what she teaches her students.  “I tell them that we market ourselves every single day,” she said. “I want to present myself as genuine, knowledgeable about whatever I am talking about, and always understand that the first impression is a lasting impression. When I go into the classroom every day that is how I try to present myself.” She hopes the take-away for her students from her Mrs. Delaware USA title is that you can accomplish anything you want to. “But sometimes you needs to step outside of comfort zone to learn and grow,” Dr. Edwards said. “Entering the pageant was new to me, and it gave me a way to grow and learn as a role model.”  

2012 DSU Faculty Excellence Award Recipients Named

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The 2012 Faculty Excellence Award recipients (l-r) Dr. Aristides Marcano (research and creative activities), Dr. Sathya Elavarthi (teaching), Dr. Sam Hoff (advising), with DSU President Harry L. Williams. Not pictured is Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay (University and community service).

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Delaware State University has named four faculty members as the institution’s 2012 Faculty Excellence Award recipients. The University has selected the below faculty members in the following categories of Teaching, Research/Creative Activities, University/Community Service and Advising: Faculty Excellence in Teaching Dr. Sathya Elavarthi, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has been recognized for his innovative teaching techniques that utilize many varied tools to engage his students and retain them in the department’s majors. He is known for “going the extra mile” to expose his students to as many hands-on learning opportunities as he can. Dr. Elavarthi has developed six agriculture and plant science courses for the department, currently serves on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, as well as on the University’s Learning Communities Steering Committee. He has been a DSU faculty member since the fall of 2010. Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Dr. Aristides Marcano, associate research professor in the Department of Physics and Pre-Engineering, came out on top in the highly competitive category as the result of his prolific research activities in the areas of applied spectroscopy and optics. He has co-authored 9 peer-reviewed scientific papers that were published in high ranked scientific journals, and co-authored two book chapters. Dr. Marcano is the principal investigator of two scientific grants and the co-principal investigator of two others that combined were multimillion dollar endeavors. He is the co-author of a scientific patent on an optical fiber detector. He has also advised 14 undergraduate research projects and 12 graduate research projects, while also tutoring three graduate students. He has been a DSU faculty member since the fall of 2006.              Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay Faculty Excellence in University and Community Service Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, associate research professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in water quality for the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has been honored for her numerous outreach endeavors that extend to writing and editing science publications, professional organization service and community service relating to her science areas of expertise. She has promoted a public oyster gardening program and the Mid-Atlantic Drinking Water Program, as well as been involved with the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Program. Dr. Ozbay has planned and presented more than 100 events regionally and nationally over the last nine years, reaching approximately 2,500 youths and adults. She has also lent her expertise in water quality and environmental issues through international outreach efforts as a lecturer and consultant in Belize, the Marshall Islands and Kenya. She has been a DSU faculty member since 2003. Faculty Excellence in Advising Dr. Samuel Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor in the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy, has been recognized for his outstanding accessibility as an advisor and the results as demonstrated by his students. Dr. Hoff has served as the advisor of students in the Law Studies Program (of which he is the director), graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program, and has served on curriculum committees pertaining to his department and college, as well as on the subcommittee of the University’s Graduate Council. He has also served as a coach and advisor of the DSU Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, as a judge for the DSU Oratorical Contest, as the creator of the DSU Constitution and Citizenship Speech Tournament, and as a member of the Faculty Senate Teaching Effectiveness Committee. Dr. Hoff has been a DSU faculty member since 1989. Each recipient received a monetary award of $2,500.

2012 DSU Commencement -- Photo Slideshow

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The 2012 Commencement presented diplomas to a record 656 graduates during the May 20 ceremony. Click on the below photo slideshow to see images from the event:

DSU's 2012 Commencement has Record 656 Graduates

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The DSU class of 2012 was glad that  University officials decided to return the Commencement ceremony back outdoors for their graduation.

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Delaware State University awarded 656 diplomas during its 2012 Commencement ceremony – a record number of graduates in the institution’s 121-year history, surpassing the previous record of 646 in 2009. After moving the graduation ceremony indoors during the last two years, the May 20 Commencement returned to the outdoor confines of DSU’s Alumni Stadium. Among DSU’s 2012 graduating class’ 656 degrees – 496 bachelor’s degrees, a record 145 master’s degrees (surpassing the then-record 143 in 2008) and 15 doctoral degrees. This graduating class produced 136 honors students, which included 21 Summa Cum Laudes (3.75 GPA or above), 54 Magna Cum Laudes (3.5 to 3.74), 48 Cum Laudes (3.25 to 3.49) and 13 honorable mentions. DSU President Harry L. Williams congratulates Dr. Mable Morrison after she was awarded an honorary doctorate. Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to Jazmyne C. Hefflefinger, a movement science major from Harrisburg, Pa. who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her undergraduate years. In addition to her academic success, Ms. Hefflefinger was a member of the DSU Women’s Bowling Team. The DSU president also presented a Presidential Leadership Award to J. Jamel D. Smiley, who came to DSU from Augusta, Georgia. He worked as a residential assistant and senior residential assistant from 2009 to 2012, twice winner the Residential Assistant of the Year Award (2010 and 2011). During his undergraduate journey, he served as the vice president and then president of the DSU Rotaract Club. He was a McNair Research Program inductee, a member of the DSU Concert Choir, and also served as the president in 2012 of the Alpha Eta Rho Aviation Fraternity. As an aviation major Mr. Smiley maintained a 3.2 GPA. Darrell Peebles, Jr., a graduating aviation major and ROTC cadet, was also commissioned as an U.S. Air Force Officer during a DSU Commencement Ceremony. Mable R. Morrison, an associate professor of music and a 50-year faculty member of DSU, was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in honor her half-century of dedication and music instruction at DSU. During the DSU Commencement weekend, the University honored the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1962 during a reception on Saturday, May 21 in the Bank of America Building on campus. Fifteen 1962 graduates of then-Delaware State College returned to their alma mater this weekend, donned robes and took part in the Commencement ceremony. The Class of 1962 didn't show up empty-handed as they presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a donation of $18,250 to go toward scholarships. Warren Brown, the 2012 keynote speaker The Commencement ceremonies featured Warren Brown, a nationally known entrepreneur, as this year’s keynote speaker. He told the graduates that when it comes to their life’s direction, to follow their heart. “Once you have identified your passion, you should do three things: first direct yourself to greatness, second answer to your call, and thirdly, answer to yourself,” Mr. Brown said. Warren Brown left a career practicing law as a litigator for the federal government to found CakeLove bakery in 2002. He has grown his organization to include six retail storefronts and has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit by local and national media including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, NPR, and national advertisement campaigns for American Express and Dell computers. From 2005 to 2007 Mr. Brown was the host of the television show Sugar Rush on the Food Network. He enjoys sharing the joys of baking and has authored three cookbooks to encourage others to bake from scratch: CakeLove in the Morning which celebrates weekend brunch (May 1, 2012), United Cakes of America featuring recipes from every state in the Union (2010), and CakeLove-How to bake cakes from scratch (2008).     

DSU Class of 1962 Returns to Alma Mater With $18,250 Donation

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Phil Sadler and DSU President Harry L. Williams hold a display check representing the class of 1962's donation of $18,250 to go toward DSU scholarships. The returning members of the Class of 1962 stand behind him.

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Fifteen members of DSU’s Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th anniversary by returning to their alma mater for the May 19-20 Commencement Weekend. The 1962 class was joined by other alumni and University officials during a May 19 reception in the Bank of America Building on campus. During the event, the 1962 alumni presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a check for $18,250 to go toward scholarships. The next day, the Class of 1962 members donned robes and took part in the May 20 Commencement ceremony. Click on the below slideshow to see images from the Class of 1962 weekend, followed by a group shot and the names of the class members that returned for the weekend:   Seated (l-r): Patricia Snead Minor, Joyce King, Dolores Blakey, Delema Burris-Carter, Phyllis Hayes-Dixon, Janice Knight Boettger, Hortense Swiggett Macon, Juanita Coverdale Williams; (standing) Adele Hill Reed, Peggy Hunter Swygert, Barbara Willis, Patricia Dormaan Randall, Rev. Bill Granville, Alonzo Kittrels, Cleo Pearson, Alex T. Norwood, Phil Sadler, Hewitt Joyner, and J. Frank Marshall              

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