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DSU's Dr. Noureddine Melikechi Receives Delaware Bio Award

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In receiving the Delaware Bio Award for Academic Research, Dr. Melikechi was recognized for his leadership that resulted in the creation of the first intellectual property that has been produced through DSU research endeavors.

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Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, has been presented the Delaware Bio Award for Academic Research by the Delaware BioScience Association (Delaware Bio). The Delaware Bio Award for Academic Research is the latest award presented to Dr. Noureddine Melikechi. The award was presented by Delaware Bio at its 2012 Annual Awards Gala on April 16 at the DuPont Country Club, Wilmington, DE. Dr. Melikechi was honored along with two other individuals for their significant contributions to the state's bioscience community. Over 300 academic, government, and industry leaders gathered at the event to celebrate this year's honorees. In presenting the Academic Research Award to Dr. Melikechi, Delaware Bio noted his leadership in DSU's first-ever transfer of intellectual property to a technology company, a method created by its optics scientists for development of a device for use in hospitals and laboratories. Dr. Melikechi has also received significant attention for his involvement with the Curiosity Rover Mars Mission, in which he will assist NASA scientists in the interpretation of data from the rover’s laser-based ChemCam technology, which will analyze the rock surface of the planet after it lands in August 2012. The DSU vice president of research is a native of Thenia, Boumerdes, in the North African country of Algeria. Following his youth there, he earned a baccalaureate in mathematics and a D.E.S. (Diplome d’Etudes Superieures) in physics, both from the Houari Boumediene University of Sciences and Technology in Algiers, Algeria. He earned a Master of Science in Physics in 1982 and a Ph.D in Physics (Quantum Optics) in 1987, both from the University of Sussex in England. During his doctorate work at the University of Sussex and his later post-doctorate work at the North East London Polytechnic, Dr. Melikechi worked in the labs of Dr. Leslie Allen, one of the leaders in lasers in the world today. Following a two-year lecturer stint at his undergraduate alma mater in Algiers, Dr. Melikechi arrived at DSU in 1995 as an assistant professor of physics. By 2006, he was a full professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Pre-Engineering. In 1998, he was the founding director of the first Applied Optics Center of Delaware at DSU. With a focused vision that was fueled by the enduring power of the endless possibilities, Melikechi methodically worked over the next decade to maximize every new opportunity and each research success at DSU. Under his leadership, the DSU Optics Program later received two $5 million research grants from the National Science Foundation (2006) and from NASA (2009), creating two separate optics centers under Dr. Melikechi’s direction. Respectively, those grants resulted in the establishment of a Center for Research in Education and Optical Sciences and its Applications, and the Center for Applied Optics in Space Sciences. The expansion of the Optics Program research infrastructure led to the creation of an Applied Optics Master of Science and Optics Ph.D. programs at DSU in 2008. In January 2011, Dr. Melikechi announced that the optics program’s research had produced the University’s first-ever intellectual property that a company is currently developing into a laser-based diagnostic device to be used in hospitals and medical laboratories. Dr. Melikechi’s prolific achievements were instrumental in leading Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to announce in May 2011 the inclusion of $10 million in his fiscal 2012 budget to go toward the construction of an Optics Research Facility on campus. The facility will provide the Optics Program with improved laboratory facilities and permit a wide variety of optics activities under the same roof. Honored along with Dr. Melikechi at the Delaware Bio event were: Innovation Award: Charles W. Robertson, Jr., co-founder and chief technology officer, NanoDrop Technologies, Inc. NanoDrop, a leading manufacturer of micro-volume ultraviolet visible (UV-Vis) instrumentation, was acquired by ThermoFisher in October 2007. Service Award: J. Michael Bowman, chairman and president, Delaware Technology Park. Mr. Bowman has nurtured many successful companies in the DTP and throughout Delaware and supported efforts to locate large bioscience and other technology operations in the state. Company of the Year: Incyte Corporation’s Paul A. Friedman, M.D., president and CEO. Incyte's Jakafi™ is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis, a potentially life-threatening blood cancer. “Delaware Bio members annually honor and recognize key people and organizations that have made an impact in the Delaware bioscience community. Each of the honorees of the  class of 2012 possesses a pioneering spirit prevalent in the bioscience industry,” stated Bob Dayton, president of Delaware Bio.

DSU Gospel Choir Spring Concert: Photo Slideshow

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The DSU Gospel Choir was joined on stage during the April 15 Spring Concert by more than 100 choir alumni that represented every decade since the DSU gospel singing group was first established in 1970.

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The DSU Gospel Choir’s 2012 Spring Concert that was held April 15 featured not only the current group, but more than 100 choir alumni who came back the celebrate and performed with the current groups. The alumni represented all decades of the DSU Gospel Choir’s existence, which was established in 1970. In addition the DSU Gospel Choir honored all of the past advisors that have served over the years. See the below photo slide show for images from the Spring Concert:  

DSU Commencement to Feature Renowned Entrepreneur Warren Brown as Keynote

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DSU will return the 2012 Commencement to its traditional outdoor site at Alumni Stadium on May 20.

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Delaware State University is hoping its 2012 Commencement will bask in sunshine as it returns to its tradition of distributing bachelor, master and doctoral diplomas in an outdoor ceremony. Warren Brown, DSU's 2012 Commencement keynote speaker. After holding the annual graduation indoors in multiple ceremonies over the last two years, this year’s DSU Commencement will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 20 as one event outdoors at Alumni Stadium. The 2012 Commencement will feature nationally renowned entrepreneur Warren Brown as its keynote speaker. 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).  Mr. Brown serves on the board of Kid Power-DC, a local nonprofit that conducts after-school arts programs. He partnered with them to start Cookie-Time, which is a seasonal cookie bakery operated by the youth in Kid Power. CakeLove also donates to numerous charitable organizations that support children and disadvantaged communities. Warren Brown graduated from Brown University with a BA in History and from George Washington University with a Juris Doctor and a Master's in Public Health. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and daughter. During this year’s Commencement, at least 20 alumni members of the Class of 1962 will return to their alma mater to participate in the ceremony.

Several DSU Students Honored in Research Competitions

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Adrianne Brown, a senior biological science major, stands along side her first place-winning research poster that distinguished her recently at the Emerging Researchers National in Atlanta.

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Several Delaware State University students have distinguished themselves recently in research competitions. Theresa Williams took second place with her research poster at the Emerging Researchers National At the recent Emerging Researchers National in Atlanta, Ga., Adrianne Brown, a senior biological science major (with a minor in chemistry) from Hamden, Conn., won first place in the Biological Sciences (Plant Science research poster presentation. The topic of Ms. Brown’s research was “Selected in WRKY – Transcription Factors Analysis in Common Bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris) During Rust Fungal Infection Using Semi Quantitative PCR. Although a biological sciences major, Ms. Brown conducted her research in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources under the guidance of her advisor Dr. Venu  Kalavacharla, assistant professor of agriculture. In addition, Theresa Williams, a sophomore biological sciences major from Washington, D.C., won second place in the same category. Her research was on “Amyloid precursor protein levels in an estrogen-receptor knockout.” Her advisors are Dr. Princy Mennella, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Leonard Davis, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Also, at the recent 69th annual Joint Meeting of the National Institute of Science – Beta Kappa Chi Conference in Nashville, Tenn., two McNair Research Program scholars received research poster awards. (L-r) Clinton Williams and Kimele Gray represented the McNair Program well at the recent Beta Kappa Chi Conference in Nashville. Kimele Gray, a senior psychology major from East Orange, N.J., won a second place award for her research on “The Effect of Paternal Stress of Child Cognitive Development at 24 months of age.” Clinton Williams, a junior pre-veterinary major from Philadelphia, won a second place award for his research on “Efficacy of Pumpkin Seed Oil in Parasite Control of Lambs.” Ms. Gray’s mentor was Dr. Antoinette Farmer, dean of the School of Social Work at Rutgers University, where the DSU student did her summer 2011 research internship. Mr. Williams’ mentor was Dr. Dahlia Jackson-O’Brien, a small ruminant specialist with the DSU Cooperative Extension.  

Two DSU authors publish new books

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Ralph F. Robinson, director of DSU Counseling Services, has written Back in the Day, a memoir that tells of his adolescent and teen years in Newark N.J. and Martha's Vineyard Island.

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Two members of the DSU community – Ralph F. Robinson, director of the University’s Counseling Services, and Dr. Charles D. Fletcher, adjunct professor of management – have recently published a new book and an updated book, respectively. Mr. Robinson has published Back in the Day, Volume 1 (A Twelve-Year Memoir 1963-1975), which tells the true-life story of his early adolescence years up to age 21. This book is the first volume of a positive and uplifting adventure that resulted in Ralph’s successful career while serving his country in the military and currently as a higher education professional.    The story starts in inner-city Newark, N.J. where he and his family lived until he turned 12 years old.  From there, the family moved to Martha’s Vineyard Island in Massachusetts.  Dr. Charles D. Fletcher has published an updated version of his book Commercial Banking in the United States by Blacks. “These were two very contrasting, cultural experiences and may be similar to what some of our students’ experience who come from inner-city areas and are transitioning to a rather rural, suburban-like atmosphere here at DSU,” Mr. Robinson said. “Hopefully, students, faculty and staff members will enjoy Back in the Day, identify with some of my experiences, and look forward with eager anticipation to volume II.” A copy of Back in the Day, Volume I can be purchased at the DSU Bookstore or at Amazon.com by clicking on the following link:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578100606 Dr. Fletcher has published an updated version of his financial history book Commercial Banking in the United States by Blacks – A Historical and Locational Appraisal 1770-2010. The 206-page book was previously published in 2004 and has been updated to include the effect of the financial turmoil that has taken place since then. Overall, the book highlights the business and financial vision of African-American forefathers and the continuing high services provided by today’s black bankers. “What is new in my book is the impact of the financial impact of 2007-2008, the impact of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and how that impacts black financial institutions,” Dr. Fletcher said. Commercial Banking in the United States by Blacks is sold for $40 and can be purchased online at www.amazon.com.

Delaware Media First/NPR Radio Station to be Established at DSU

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DSU will be the home of the first National Public Radio-affiliated station in Delaware. The new media enterprise is a collaboration between DSU, the University of Delaware and Delaware Media First.

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Delaware State University and the University of Delaware have joined Delaware First Media (DFM) in a historic collaboration to launch WDDE-FM 91.1 Dover, the first-ever Delaware-focused public radio station. WDDE-FM is owned by Delaware First Media, the nonprofit company that operates the online multimedia news service DFM News. The universities are the lead institutional sponsors of the station, which will be based on the campus of DSU, the host university. WDDE will begin broadcasting into all three counties this summer on 91.1 FM, 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.” “Delaware State University is proud to be the home of WDDE-FM,” said Carolyn Curry, DSU’s chief of staff and vice president of Institutional Advancement. “This project offers outstanding educational opportunities to students and will provide immeasurable value to communities across the state.” The University of Delaware has been affiliated with Delaware First Media, WDDE’s parent company, since 2010. UD housed the offices and newsroom of DFM News, provided student interns, and co-produced with DFM the Delaware congressional election debates in 2010. “Sponsoring WDDE is a natural outgrowth of our relationship with DFM,” said David Brond, UD’s vice president for communications and marketing. “And at a time when lawmakers, grantors, and the public are seeking creative partnerships, this UD/DSU collaboration has the potential to become a national model for supporting high-quality local journalism.” The cooperative effort responds to the recommendation of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Democracy to “increase the role of higher education, community, and nonprofit institutions as hubs of journalistic activity.” 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 Boudreau. “On WDDE you’ll find out what’s going on right here where we live.” "Delaware has a national profile far larger than its small size—think a Vice President, companies whose innovations are felt globally, and an Air Force base that serves a unique role in the nation’s defense,” said Governor Jack Markell (D). “Now Delaware will have a public radio station broadcasting within our borders and exporting news about Delaware to the nation. WDDE is a welcome addition to the strong institutions of our state.” The station will bring jobs to the Dover area immediately and will provide the opportunity for Delaware businesses to distribute their messages across the state through underwriting on WDDE, Boudreau noted. 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.” “I think it’s great that you and your colleagues are working hard to bring public radio to Delaware,” NPR board chair Dave Edwards wrote to the staff. “Public radio is at its best when it is able to serve local communities with quality programming that helps residents stay informed and engaged in public policy issues. A station in Dover will be able to play that role.” A strong team of journalists with decades of public media experience leads the WDDE effort. It includes General Manager George Boosey, former program director of WBUR-FM in Boston and a public radio industry consultant who helped create five nationally distributed public radio programs. News Director Tom Byrne, who helped create DFM News in 2010, will oversee WDDE’s news staff. Byrne and other DFM principals, including Boudreau and board members Nancy Karibjanian and Ann Ahl, have had award-winning careers with nonprofit radio and television stations in Delaware and in major media markets. The WDDE team includes Liane Hansen, the popular 22-year host of NPR’s award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday, with a nationwide audience of 3 million. After retiring from NPR in 2011, Hansen moved from Washington, D.C., to Bethany Beach, Delaware, and joined the effort to launch WDDE. “This is what NPR stands for: supporting the growth of local radio stations that tell the powerful stories of their communities with professional, responsible journalism,” Hansen said. “As someone who has been a part of Delaware life for years and truly loves this state, I’m thrilled that Delaware finally will have its own NPR station, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.” WDDE will be financed through individual and corporate support as well as grants. The station is looking for a groundswell of support over the next several months. “We all, as Delawareans, need to come together to make this happen,” Boudreau said.  “Every day, great stories about Delaware go untold,” 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.” Supporters can make a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation online at WDDE.org.  

Dr. Odun Balogun Receives Fulbright Award

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As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. F. Odun Balogun will teach at the University of Benin in Nigeria and work on a book.

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Dr. F. Odun Balogun, professor of literature at Delaware State University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the University of Benin in Nigeria during the 2012-2013 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Dr. Balogun will teach American Literature and Culture at the University of Benin in Nigeria while also working to complete a book, titled “Place and Self Identity in Black Literature.” The book deals with the topic of land alienation during slavery in America, the colonization in Africa, and the effect it has had on character formation as represented in narratives by African and African American writers. A DSU faculty member since 1992, Dr. Balogun is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-2013. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty three Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

DSU Arts Center/Gallery hosts Student Honors Show

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Minnie Leggett accompanies her oil painting (to her right) "A Beautiful High," one of five works she has on display in the Student Honors Exhibition in the DSU Arts Center/Gallery.

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The DSU Department of Art is currently presenting its annual Student Honor Exhibition until April 13 in the Arts Center Gallery located just off the inside lobby of the William C. Jason Library on campus. Subin Huang, a Chinese exchange student, shows she has assimilated well in the DSU art community, as her "Purple and Green" is one of several of her works that have been included in the current exhibition. The exhibition – which can be seen daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – is free and open to the public. The 78-piece Student Honors Exhibition features the artwork of 33 DSU art students. For senior art management major Minnie Leggett, it has given her an opportunity to use the exhibition as her artistic swan song. Ms. Leggett, of Bear, Del., has five oil paintings in the show. She said that while her aspiration is to use her degree in art management to work at a gallery or museum, her experience at DSU has developed a growing love for painting. “If I have it my way, I will have my job (in a gallery or museum) and still paint,” Ms. Leggett said. She added that she is also exploring the possibility of going to graduate school. The diverse exhibition features the works of 33 students – which even includes the art of an exchange student from China, Subin Huang. The featured works were selected through a double jury process and represent the various studio coursework offered in the DSU Department of Art. Department faculty will select several top honor awards that will represent the best in specific medium categories. The awards will be announced during a reception that will be held in honor of the exhibition from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12 in the Arts Center/Gallery. The reception is also free and open to the public.

DSU, UD, Del-Tech Presidents Sign Proclamation with Governor

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(L-r) University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker, Delaware Tech President Orlando J. George, DSU President Harry L. Williams and Gov. Jack A. Markell show their unity after jointly signing a proclamation that reaffirms the partnerships between the three institutions.

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Gov. Jack A. Markell signed a proclamation March 31 that recommits Delaware State University, the University of Delaware, and Delaware Technical and Community College as higher education partners in the First State. DSU President Harry L. Williams (center) noted that Delaware was one of only seven states in the U.S. that did not cut the budgets of higher education last year, and said that the proclamation sign gave the three presidents a chance to thank the governor and the legislature for that. DSU President Harry L. Williams joined University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker and Delaware Technical & Community College President Orlando J. George, Jr. to sign the proclamation along with Gov. Markell, who held the signing event in his office in Legislative Hall in Dover. Specifically, the proclamation calls for the three institutions of higher education to “recommit the resources and expertise of these great institutions to preserving the rich history and longstanding  tradition of academic excellence in higher education and to leveraging out institutional partnerships in ways that will support, enhance and protect the future of the state of Delaware.” During the meeting with Gov. Markell, Dr. Williams said that the partnership between the three institutions is important. “We are facing difficult times in this country, and we feel that higher education is the answer to drive opportunity in the state,” the DSU president said. Dr. Harker noted that the research collaboration between the institutions gives the state strong standing in science. “What the federal government is looking for is to bring research into the market,” the UD president said. “This is where Delaware is pretty well positioned.” Dr. George noted that the articulation agreements – which allow students to go smoothly from their two-year degree program at Delaware Tech to four-year programs at DSU or UD – brings great benefits to the students of the state. “We are working every day with people at UD and DSU to connect the pathways,” Dr. George said.

DSU Holds First-Ever Inspired Day of Service

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Eric Suter and Monet LeMon stand with Chrystal Walls, the appreciative future owner of the Habitat for Humanity home in Frederica that DSU students worked on during the March 31 Inspired Day of Service.

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Delaware State University held its first-ever Inspired Day of Service on March 31, with about 250 DSU students working on community service projects at five separate locations throughout the state. See the below slideshow of images from the Inspired Day of Service, followed by more text information: (L-r) DSU students Amy Ruth, Daijah Davis and Bria Shelton help the Western Boys and Girls Club in Laurel to sort through donated books.   The students worked at the People’s Settlement in Wilmington, the Food Bank of Newark, a Habitat for Humanity construction site, the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club of Laurel, as well as the clean-up of College Road near the campus. The day began with an opening ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center on campus, where all of the students gathered to hear encouraging words from DSU President Harry L. Williams, U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (both senators representing Delaware), state Rep. Darryl Scott, as well as from University supporter and Wilmington activist Bebe Coker. Also in attendance and providing remarks was Mark Edwards, the executive director of Opportunity Nation,  a national organization that selected DSU along with 11 other institutions of higher education as partners to work together in its campaign to promote opportunity, social mobility and access to the American Dream. Sen. Carper and Mr. Edward later joined Dr. Williams in Frederica, where they all pitched in with the students working on the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home. Also working at that site was Dr. Williams’ wife, Dr. Robin Williams, and their son, Gavin. A group of DSU students stayed closed to the campus and collected litter along the area of College Road. Other groups of DSU students did painting at the People’s Settlement in Wilmington, distribution work at the Food Bank of Newark, and landscaping and clean-up at the Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington. The students worked from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break. The DSU president also went up to the People’s Settlement in Wilmington to assist with the painting project. The Inspired Day of Service was born of the DSU Inspired Scholarship, which requires each recipient to do 10 hours of community service work each semester. The March 31 community service day allowed many of the Inspired Students to fulfill some of that requirement. While the Inspire Scholarship students comprised about half of the students participating in the Inspired Day of Service, the other half were students who had no such requirement, but volunteered anyway.   

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