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Poverty Tour 2.0 -- Photos Slideshow

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(L-r) Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley brought their Sept. 13 Poverty Tour 2.0 event to DSU's Memorial Hall Gymnasium before a crowd of about 1,700.

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It was an historic evening at Delaware State University as the institution hosted a stop by noted TV and radio talk show Tavis Smiley and eminent intellectual and author Dr. Cornel West, who brought their Poverty Tour 2.0 to the campus on Sept. 13. Not to be accused of shying away from the general African American thought with respect to the upcoming presidential election, both renowned speakers challenged the incumbent President Barack Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney to stop ignoring the problem of poverty in their campaign discourse. For images from the Poverty Tour 2.0 at DSU, see the below photo slideshow. Photos by Carlos Holmes:

DSU Moves Up to 13th in the Annual HBCU Rankings

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Delaware State University has moved up to 13th among 80 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country in the annual ranking released today by U.S. News & World Report. DSU President Harry L. Williams said he expects DSU to continue moving up in the rankings in the future as well.   DSU was tied last year with South Carolina State University for 15th place and this year surpassed that school (this year 14th) as well as moved passed Elizabeth City University, which dropped to a 20th  tie with Morgan State University.   Among Mid-Atlantic Region schools, DSU joins Howard University (2nd), Hampton University (4th) and Morgan State (20th) that made the top 20 HBCUs in the 2013 ranking.   DSU President Harry Lee Williams said the elevation of the University from 15th to 13th validates that the University is moving in the right direction, but also challenges the institution to work hard to continue moving up in the rankings in the upcoming years.   “The schools that are currently ahead of us are not doing anything that we aren’t capable of doing -- and in many areas DSU is already accomplishing,” Dr. Williams said. “The University will continue to strive diligently to build on the great success of our recent affirmation of DSU’s accreditation and continue to make best practices the standard in carrying out our institutional mission.”   The DSU president added, “As DSU consistently does that, our rise in this HBCU ranking will continue.”   When U.S. News & World Report first published its HBCU ranking in 2008, DSU ranked #22, and then rose to #17 in 2009 and 2010, before rising to 15th last year.     The HBCU rankings are based on the following categories to assess academic quality: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, graduation rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.   Spelman College of Atlanta, Ga., is ranked as the No. 1 HBCU in the country by the magazine, a top distinction it has held since 2008. Spelman is followed by No. 2 Howard University and No. 3 Morehouse College.  

DSU to Hold Annual President's Prayer Breakfast Sept. 21

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               Rev. Rita Paige Delaware State University President Harry L. Williams will host the second annual President’s Prayer Breakfast under the theme of “Family, Friends, Faith: Bridging Our Communities,” at 7 a.m. Friday Sept. 21 in the second floor parlors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center on the DSU campus. Doors will open at 6:45 a.m.   The guest speaker will be Rev. Rita Paige, the pastor of the historic Star Hill AME Church near Camden, Del. She is also the daughter of Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, who served as the president of then-Delaware State College for 27 years from 1960-1987.                 Tammy Trout   The Prayer Breakfast will feature music from nationally known contemporary Christian and gospel recording artist Tammy Trout, who is also the music director at The Pentecostals of Dover Church in Dover. Music will also be provided by DSU Prayer Breakfast Choir, a group of faculty, staff and students formed especially for this event.   Several other clergy members from throughout Delaware will also participate in the Prayer Breakfast program.   Tickets to the Prayer Breakfast are $20 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.desu.edu/administration/save-dates  or by calling (302) 857-6057.  

DSU Fan Tent at UD Game -- Photo Slideshow

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UD President Patrick Harker, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and DSU President Harry L. Williams get together before the start of the Sept. 8 DSU vs. University of Delaware game in Newark.

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The Hornet faithful gathered at the DSU Fan Tent for great fellowship, food and music prior to the Sept. 8 DSU vs. UD game. For images from the DSU Fan Tent, click on the below photo slideshow. Photos by Carlos Holmes

DSU Arts Center/Gallery Exhibits Works of George Lorio

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George Lorio, an DSU associate professor of art, has 13 sculpture and installation works on display at the University's Arts Center/Gallery until Sept. 21.

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Delaware State University’s Arts Center/Gallery is featuring the work of art faculty member George Lorio in a show entitled “Current Work” until Sept. 21. The exhibition at the Arts Center/Gallery – located inside the first floor entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus – is free and open to the public. Mr. Lorio, an associate professor in the DSU Art Program, is exhibiting 13 sculpture and installation artworks in the show. His works express his views on a variety of social issues. The artist and his works will be honored during a reception from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 in the Arts Center/Gallery. Mr. Lorio will also share insights as an artist into his work during a gallery talk at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 also at the Arts Center/Gallery. Mr. Lorio is starting his second year as a DSU faculty member. He came to DSU from Texas where he taught at the University of Texas at Brownsville. He teaches 3D design, 2D design, ceramics and drawing courses.

Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West Bring Poverty Tour to DSU Sept. 13

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Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have made DSU a stop during its five-state Poverty Tour 2.0, through which they are advocating that the eradication of poverty in the U.S. become a top priority.

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Syndicated radio host and political commentator Tavis Smiley and internationally known Princeton professor Cornel West will bring their Poverty Tour 2.0 to the First State as they facilitate a town hall-style forum at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium at Delaware State University.                   Dr. Cornel West The event is free and open to the public. Delaware is one of five states – the others being Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – where Mr. Smiley and Dr. West will bring the Poverty Tour 2.0 to address the need to make the eradication of poverty the top priority in the United States. “We expect that the forthcoming census data will reveal that poverty in America is not an abstraction; too many Americans are living hand to mouth,” said Cornel West. “Basic needs such as living-wage jobs, food, clothing, medicine, and shelter cannot be ignored by the major parties during the upcoming political conventions, or by their respective nominees on the campaign trail.” The tour, which is scheduled for September 12 through the 15th will feature a number of free town hall meetings that will be broadcast live on a number of platforms including USTREAM, radio, and social media. “We are excited that Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have chosen Delaware State University as one of the sites where they will lead a discussion on the vexing problem of poverty in this country,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president of Delaware State University. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, approximately 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010. This number is up from 43.6 million in 2009 and represents the fourth consecutive annual increase in this measure of poverty. The overall poverty rate of 15.1% in 2010 represents an increase from the 14.3% level in 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, the poverty rate increased for non-Hispanic Whites (from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent), for Blacks (from 25.8 percent to 27.4 percent), and for Hispanics (from 25.3 percent to 26.6 percent). For Asians, the 2010 poverty rate (12.1 percent) was not statistically different from the 2009 poverty rate “It is our intent that in the sprint from Labor Day to Election Day, poor people do not get trampled on or left behind, Mr. Smiley said. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He has taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. He has written 19 books and edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, CNN, and C-SPAN, as well as on his dear brother Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV show.  He is also co-host of the popular radio show Smiley & West, heard on Public Radio International (PRI) around the country. Smiley & West is a highly-acclaimed progressive program. He made his film debut in The Matrix — and was the DVD commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy, released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk, and STAND. He has made three spoken-word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken-word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best jazz album of the year of 2009), The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome, Raheem DeVaughn’s Love & War: Masterpiece, and most recently on Bootsy Collins’ The Funk Capital of the World. In short, Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. — a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.   Tavis Smiley Tavis Smiley is a noted television and radio talk show host, author, as well as the president and CEO of The Smiley Group, Inc. From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist Tavis Smiley has emerged as an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS as well as The Tavis Smiley Show and Smiley & West from Public Radio International (PRI). In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 16 books. His memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times best seller, and the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, became the first nonfiction book by a Black-owned publisher to reach #1 on The New York Times’ best-sellers list. In his latest title The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, Smiley and his co-author Dr.  Cornel West take on the “p” word — poverty.  In this game-changing book, they challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America — what it really is and how to eradicate it. Smiley is the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint. This unprecedented traveling museum exhibition, which debuted in January 2009, will tour the country for four years, celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world, as told through rare artifacts, memorabilia, and multimedia. Smiley’s most gratifying accomplishments are rooted in his passion to inspire the next generation of leaders. The nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation was established to provide leadership training and development for youth. Since its inception, more than 6,000 young people have participated in the foundation’s Youth to Leaders training workshops and conferences. His communications company, The Smiley Group, Inc., is dedicated to supporting human rights and related empowerment issues and serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums, and the Internet. Smiley’s achievements have earned him numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees, including one from his alma mater, Indiana University. In 2009, Indiana University named the atrium of its School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) building “The Tavis Smiley Atrium.” Smiley is also the recipient of the prestigious Du Bois Medal from Harvard University and the 2009 Interdependence Day Prize from Demos in Istanbul, Turkey.

Accreditation Reaffirmation Celebration: Photo Slideshow

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and his wife Dr. Robin Williams greeted every University member that arrived to celebrate of the reaffirmation of DSU's accreditation during a luncheon event in the MLK Jr. Student Center.

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The DSU community gathered on Aug. 27 to celebrate the reaffirmation of the University’s accreditation earlier this summer. DSU President Harry L. Williams and Provost Alton Thompson commended the team effort that resulted in DSU meeting all 14 standards of the accreditation as well as receiving several commendations by the visiting team of evaluators representing the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. See the photo slideshow below for images from the celebration that was held in the MLK Jr. Student Center:

DSU Holds Freshmen Induction Ceremony: Photo Slideshow

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DSU's newest freshman class stands to take the oath of New Student Commitment, in which students accepted the University's call to leadership and to continue the legacy of the institution as leaders, dreamers, achievers and scholars.

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Delaware State University formally embraced its newest students – the Class of 2016 – during its traditional Freshmen Induction Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 26 in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus. See the below photo slideshow for images from the event, followed by more information about the ceremony:   This year’s freshman class, which is over 900 students, heard from DSU President Harry Williams, along with Dr. Bradley Skelcher, associate provost; Dr. Robin Roberts and Kamillah Lewis, director and associate director, respectively, of the Office of Student Leadership  and Activities; and from Shelbe Hudson, president of the Student Government Association. The event included a Hornet Pinning and Candle Lighting Ceremony, and the freshman class took the oath of New Student Commitment of Living the Legacy: A Call to Leadership. In reciting the oath, the students vowed to model their conduct upon by the University's core values, to embrace its culturally diverse community, to be good citizens, and to know that as the newest members of the Hornet Nation, they are destined for greatness on this campus and beyond.

DSU's Dr. Vincent Fondong Receives $1M Research Grant

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Dr. Vincent Fondong, associate professor of biological sciences, has received a $1 million grant to find a solution to make the cassava plant -- a food staple of Africa and South America -- resistant to viruses.

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Dr. Vincent N. Fondong, DSU professor of biology, grew up working in cassava fields of his native Cameroon. Dr. Vincent Fondong does studies on cassava plants in a field in his native Cameroon.   Now, he has been awarded a $1 million competitive research grant to fight viruses that threaten that major food stable crop in his native country as well as in parts of Africa and the Indian subcontinent.   Dr. Fondong, the principal investigator, was awarded the three-year grant from a partnership between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Science Foundation. His project relates to one of the primary aims of the Gates Foundation – to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty.   Cassava produces edible tuberous roots and is the third-largest source of carbohydrates in the tropical regions of the world. It is part of the diet of about 500 million people worldwide. Cassava yields around the world are reduced by plant viruses such as African cassava mosaic virus and the cassava brown streak virus.   In this research project, Dr. Fondong will genetically engineer cassava for resistance to these viruses.   Dr. Fondong’s cassava research took him this summer to Cameroon and Uganda in west and east Africa, respectively.   “In Cameroon during this trip, I was able to isolate some of these viruses for my research,” Dr. Fondong said. “Cameroon is a country where we are intensifying our efforts because it is a new hot spot for these viruses.”   Collaborating with Dr. Fondong are three co-principal investigators: Dr. Stephen Winter, German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Culture, Braunschweig, Germany; Dr. Kone Mongomake, University of Abobo-Adjame, Ivory Coast; and Dr. Oumar Doungous, Institute of Agriculture Research for Development, Cameroon.   “Our mandate is to come up with a solution for the whole of Africa that could also be applied to the Indian subcontinent and Latin America,” said Dr. Fondong, who has been a DSU faculty member since 2002. (L-r) Latasha Keller and Brittany Marine, biological science graduate students check on some cassava plant samples in a Mishoe Science Center refrigerator, Dr. Fondong's project give graduate and undergraduate students an opportunity to take part in the research work.   The award, which was one of three awards nationwide this year, comes from the BREAD – Basic Research to Enable Agriculture Development program– which was established by the Gates Foundation/NSF partnership as a competitive award program for science research projects that address drought, pests, disease and other serious problems facing small farmers and their families.   Grants are awarded to projects like Dr. Fondong’s that seek to develop innovative approaches and technologies to boost agriculture productivity in developing countries.

WDDE 91.1 FM Launches Broadcast from the DSU Campus

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(L-r) Susan Swan, WDDE director of communications; Amir Mohammedi, executive vice president of Finance and Administration; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Ann Ahl, Delaware 1st Media board chairwoman; Marsha Corcoran,WDDE director of development;  Mike Szczechura, director of corporate support, gather for a photo on the first day of the new radio station's broadcast.

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“From Delaware State University, this is 91.1 WDDE, Dover!!!!!” Those words rang out at noon Friday, Aug. 17, as the first-ever Delaware-focused public radio station was launched into the airwaves. The only Delaware-based source for National Public Radio programming is based on the DSU campus in the former ROTC/Center for Teaching and Learning building across the street from the rear of the ETV Building. DSU President Harry L. Williams (shown celebrating the WDDE's inaugural broadcast with l-r Susan Swan, director of communications, and Ann Ahl, Del. 1st Media board chair), the establishment of the radio station is a positive development for the University. DSU President Harry L. Williams was at the radio station for its launch. “It’s a great day for DSU and WDDE-FM,” Dr. Williams said. “Now you will hear the name Delaware State University 24 hours a day.” WDDE-FM is owned by Delaware First Media, the nonprofit company that operates the online multimedia news service DFM News. DSU and the University of Delaware have joined Delaware First Media (DFM) in a historic collaboration to launch WDDE-FM. WDDE 91.1 FM now broadcasts into all three counties, serving a Delaware audience of more than 800,000 on-air and online listeners with nonpartisan local, national and international news. “WDDE is a major step in Delaware’s evolution as a state with a strong news media that connects Delawareans downstate and upstate to create a shared community culture,” said Delaware First Media President Micheline Boudreau. “We are thrilled to launch this project with the strong sponsorship of Delaware’s premier universities.” WDDE will generate original, substantive news coverage of Delaware events and people that is urgently needed in a state with few local news sources. “Some Delawareans can tune into out-of-state public radio stations, but when they break for local news, they’re not focusing on what’s happening in Delaware’s legislature, at a Delaware theater, in Delaware schools,” said Ms. Boudreau. “On WDDE you’ll find out what’s going on right here where we live.” WDDE will have a national impact as well. WDDE reports about Delaware will be exported to National Public Radio’s audience of more than 26 million listeners nationwide. NPR officials welcomed the news. “Local stations serving communities across this nation are the strength and backbone of public media,” said NPR CEO Gary Knell. “We are very excited about the prospect of WDDE-91.1FM in Delaware joining the NPR family of member stations.” “Every day, great stories about Delaware go untold,” Ms. Boudreau said. “Important stories about the legislature, about this year’s election, about our vibrant arts community, about innovations in education, about Delaware’s unique legal community, about its industries – we want to start telling these stories now.”

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