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DSU Mourns the Loss of Honors Student Akiah S. Powell

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Akiah S. Powell (left), a senior political science major who passed away on Feb. 4, was close friends with Samantha Holsey, also a DSU senior political science major.

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  The DSU community is mourning the loss of Akiah S. Powell, a senior political science major who passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 4 due to natural causes.   The death of Ms. Powell was made all the more poignant by her projected graduation this upcoming May and her plans to enter law school immediately afterward.   Formerly of the Bronx, N.Y., her family had moved to Bushkill, Pa., about five years ago, according to her mother, Marilyn Powell. By all accounts, Akiah was a dedicated student who was known to be service oriented, a faithful friend and destined for success. She was on the Dean’s List throughout her entire academic journey at DSU. Akiah S. Powell would have graduated in May and expected to enrolled in law school in the fall.   A political science major with a minor in pre-law, Ms. Powell had already taken the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and applied to a number of law schools. “When it came to legal studies, I believe that Akiah found her niche and a path to a successful career,” said Dr. Sam Hoff, the director of the DSU Law Studies Program. “She had demonstrated the requisite skills to become an attorney and she was on the precipice of being accepted to law school.”   Dr. Hoff noted that Akiah possessed strong opinions about certain cases he taught in her Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties class.   “She had a sort of righteous indignation about injustices that cannot be taught,” Dr. Hoff said. “It is a trait that made me confident that she would have been a stellar attorney and would have contributed significantly to the legal profession.”   Akiah had been a McNair Research Scholar since the spring of 2011 and within that program had demonstrated a passion for education and her love for fellow students, according to Tonia P. Conley, director of the DSU McNair Program. Ms. Conley said upon becoming a McNair Scholar, Akiah quickly bonded with her peers in the program and demonstrated her leadership and innate strengths among them.   “We could always depend on the warmth of her personality and the beauty of her smile,” Ms. Conley said. “Akiah epitomized our program’s slogan: ‘Pursuing Excellence Without Excuse.’ She was certainly more than a student… she was a scholar!”   She said as a McNair scholar, Akiah had conducted research with Dr. Hoff (also a professor of political science) on a project entitled “The Continuing Impact of Religion on Public Policy,” and was to have presented that paper at a research event in Nashville, Tenn., in March 2012.     Dr. Akwasi Osei, chair of the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy, as well as another advisor of Ms. Powell, said that she was a grounded and focused student who always had a smile and was eager to help.   “She had a quiet strength,” Dr. Osei said. “She was strong in a quiet way and she made her presence felt quietly.”   During Akiah’s undergraduate journey, she distinguished herself as an inductee of both the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society/Upsilon Chapter, as well as the Pi Gamma Mu International Social Science Honor Society/Delaware Alpha Chapter. She was a co-recipient of her academic department’s 2011 George Washington Leadership Award, a Thurgood Marshall scholar, and was a member of the DSU Honors Program. She had been selected to be an alternative legislative fellow at the Delaware General Assembly.   Ms. Powell also worked in the Division of Academic Enrichment as a supplemental instruction leader and Writing Lab specialist/tutor during the 2011-2012 school year. According to Kenneth Hunt, a supplemental instruction coordinator, Akiah showed exceptional knowledge in the field of English; and as an English SI Leader and writing lab specialist, she demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication to each student.    “In addition to the students gaining a strong sense of confidence, the overall class average increased as a result of her method of teaching,” Mr. Hunt said. “She gracefully served both positions within the division with honor and distinction.” Akiah S. Powell (2nd from the right) enjoys a fellowship moment with some friends.   Jean H. Gilroy, academic support coordinator, added that “Akiah was a role model to all the students with whom she worked. Many lives have been touched, and many students will succeed and graduate from DSU due to her efforts.”   Among her student peers she was good friend and someone who could always be counted on to be helpful.   Samantha Holsey, also a senior political science major, has been a close friend of Akiah ever since their freshman year when they shared an honors suite in Wynder Towers. Ms. Holsey described her good friend as “very genuine and independent” and as being one who was interested in others’ success as well as her own.   “Instead of trampling over you to get to first-place, she would bring you with her,” Ms. Holsey said.   Akiah Shekira Powell was born to Hillary (Piper) and Marilyn Powell on March 12, 1990, in Bronx, N.Y.  Akiah loved the Lord and was a member of the Smyrna Seventh-Day Adventist Church located in the Bronx.  She attended the R. T. Hudson Elementary School and graduated from Northeastern Academy in New York City.  She began her academic career at DSU in August 2008.                     Akiah S. Powell   The following is an excerpt of a personal statement that Akiah wrote concerning her motivations and goals for her life:   “One of my favorite quotes by Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”  This quote inspires and motivates me throughout my educational journey and helps to remove the negative connotation and assertion by some that people are the product of their environment.  Rather, I am committed to ongoing studies, research, improving myself, and sharing and encouraging others to do the same; by doing so, I hope to impact not only my community but that of others.” – Akiah S. Powell   Funeral services will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12, with a viewing from 3-5 p.m. and a homegoing service immediately afterward at 5 p.m. at Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Church, 101 W. 123rd St., in the Harlem in New York City. The burial will take place the following day, Monday, Feb. 13) at 10 a.m. at the George Washington Cemetery, Paramus, N.J.  

DSU to Present the Student-Production "Fabulation" Feb. 9-10

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(L-r) Christine Taylor as Stephanie the secretary, Tiffany Trawick as lead character Undine, and Dorian McDonald as the accountant, perform a scene from Fabulation: The Re-Education of Undine.

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Delaware State University’s Theatre Program will present dramatic student production of Fabulation: The Re-Education of Undine during two 7:30 p.m. performances on Feb. 9-10 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus. Erin Chance as Dr. Khadir and Amber Rainer as Grandma. Both performances are free and open to the public. (L-r) Tony Arce, Tiffany Trawick, Justin Allman, and Francis Washington, portray Undine and the men in her life. Self-Made entrepreneur and socialite Undine Barnes Calles (portrayed by Tiffany Trawick) is too busy building her public relations empire to notice that her husband, Herve’ (Anthony Arce), has absconded with all her money and left her pregnant.  "Fabulation is comeuppance tale with comic twist," said the production’s director Dr. Shirlyn Brown.  Winner of a 2005 Obie Award for best new play, Fabulation: The Re-Education of Undine by Lynn Nottage is presented by the DSU Theatre Program through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. In addition to Ms. Trawick, the production features DSU student-actors, Francis Washington, III, Candice Victory, Dorian McDonald, Christine Taylor, Amber Rainer, Erin Chance, and TyQuan Hollman. Technical support is from the Theatre Society, a student drama organization, and costume design by Aeboni Ebron, a senior textile and apparel major. Fabulation is the first of two productions the Theatre Department will produce in spring 2012. The second, I'm Not Rappaport, written by Herb Gardner, will be staged on a date to be announced in March. For additional information please call 302-857-6573 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              302-857-6573      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.  

DSU Choir to perform in the Scwartz Center's Journey of the Spirit

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The DSU Chorus will perform with the Wesley College Choir and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra during the Feb. 17 concert.

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The Delaware State University Chorus will join the Wesley College Chorus and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra in a concert entitled “Journey of the Spirit – A Celebration of African American Heritage Through Music” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at the Schwartz Center for the Arts (226 S. State St.) in downtown Dover.   The three music groups will join together to bring one unforgettable evening of music and song to the Schwartz Center stage. In celebration of Black History Month the program will focus on pieces either composed by or for the African American community, dating back to the seventeen and eighteen hundreds to present.   The program will feature seven compositions, two of which will be performed by the DSU Chorus and two which will be performed by the Wesley Chorus. The two chorus groups will combine for two selections.   In addition, DSU alumnus Rev. John Moore will serve as the narrator in a composition with the Delaware Symphony titled “New Morning of the World (Daybreak for Freedom).” Accompanied by the Orchestra’s music, Rev. Moore will recite the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   The evening will begin with a pre-concert talk begins at 7 p.m. Scholars will discuss the history of vocal and choral music for orchestra by composers of African American descent and how these artists worked on music and their craft as compared to today. Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 senior citizens and military members, $25 for students, and $18 for children age 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the Schwartz Center box office or online at www.schwartzcenter.com.  

Kappas Reunite at DSU for Convergence Weekend Feb. 4

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The Kappa Convergence Weekend marked the first time such a fraternity reunion has taken place at Delaware State University

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Feb. 5, 2012   An unprecedented fraternity reunion took place during the weekend of Feb. 4 as the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. held a Convergence Weekend on campus.   The Convergence Weekend gathered Kappa brothers from as far back as the 1940s (when the first Beta Sigma Kappa Chapter was established at then Delaware State College in 1946), and also included Kappas from other institutions nearby institutions such as the University of Delaware and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.   See the below photos slideshow for some images from the Convergence Weekend, followed by more information below about the Kappa events     While some of the Kappas arrived in Dover on Friday, Feb. 3 for a Crimson and Cream Meet and Greet event at the Hilton Garden Inn, the bulk of the activities took place on Saturday, Feb. 4.   After a breakfast at the University Village Cafe and a morning guided tour of the campus, the Kappas shared their life experiences with current DSU students in a Kappa Connection – Career Networking event. Other activities included the sharing of golden memories from some of the older Kappas, a step show, and a presentation about the current state of affairs at DSU by University President Harry L. Williams.   The Convergence Weekend culminated at the Norfolk State vs. DSU basketball game, in which the Kappas witnessed the Hornet Men’s impressive upset of the 1st place Spartans.   The Kappa Convergence was spearheaded by faithful Kappa and DSU alumni Norman Oliver, class of 1985.  

DSU Represents Strongly at the Annual Go Red Event

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(L-r) LaVar Johnson, senior textile and apparel major, escorts Brenda Farmer, DSU director of Ceremonies and Events, who is modeling a gown he designed. The pair participated in Feb. 3 Go Red event at the Sheraton Inn in Dover.

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Delaware State University represented strongly at the 2012 Southern Delaware Go Red for Women Luncheon and Fashion Show on Feb. 3 at the Sheraton Inn in Dover.   See the below photo and slide show, as well as more information below it concerning DSU’s involvement in the event.       Dr. Robin Williams, the DSU president's wife, gave the keynote address, in which she urged the 400-plus (mostly women) in attendance to live healthy lifestyles and to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of heart disease and not delay in seeking medical attention when needed.   Brenda Farmer, DSU director of Ceremonies and Events, took part in the event's fashion show. She wore a beautiful red gown that was designed by LaVar Johnson, a DSU senior textile and apparel major. Mr. Johnson also served as Ms. Farmer’s escort during the fashion show. Eunice Gwanmesia, a DSU nursing faculty member, and her daughter also modeled outfits during the fashion show.   The DSU Department of Nursing served as an army of health practitioners, providing various types of screenings during the event. The fundraising event is designed to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke for women and to raise funds to support further research and education to benefit Southern Delaware women.    

DSU President Harry L. Williams, Wilmington MLK Event photos

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State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, DSU President Harry L. Williams and state Rep. Stephanie Bolden get together just prior to the beginning of the Organization of Minority Women's MLK Breakfast in Wilmington on Jan.16.

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Jan. 16, 2012 DSU President Harry Lee Williams made a strong case for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and for Delaware State University as the keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast sponsored by the Organization of Minority Women, Inc., in Wilmington on Jan. 16.   Click the below slideshow for photos from the event, followed by more text information.   During the Jan. 16 breakfast, Dr. Williams pointed out that there would not have been a Martin Luther King Jr. if he hadn’t attended Morehouse College – an HBCU – and been exposed to that institution’s president, Dr. Benjamin Mays. He also touched on a piece of valuable Wilmington history, sharing the details surrounding Dr. King’s address at the city’s Howard High School in 1960.   The DSU president’s address was well-received MLK breakfast crowd gathered at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. He was introduced by Ned Brown, president of the New Castle County DSU Alumni Association. Also during the event, DSU student Lentasha J. Jones was awarded a OMW Scholarship   Dr. Williams shared the dignitary stage during the event with Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Rep. John Carney; state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry; state Reps. Dennis Williams, James Johnson and Stephanie Bolden (also DSU alumna); New Castle County Executive Paul Clark; Rev. Christopher Bullock and his wife and the event’s mistress of ceremony Dr. Debbie Bullock; and Lincoln University President Bob Jennings.      

Kickoff To Wellness, Dominique Dawes -- Photo Slideshow

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Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes spent some time with the kids of the DSU Child Development Lab during the Jan. 19 Kickoff to Wellness day at DSU.

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  Jan. 19, 2012   DSU held its second annual Kickoff to Wellness on Jan. 19 with a variety of events in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center during the day and culminated with a motivational address by Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Dominique Dawes in the evening at the Education and Humanities Theatre.   Click on the below slideshow to see photos from the day’s activities:  

Nationals-bound Flying Hornet Team honors Tuskegee Airmen

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(L-r) DSU Flying Hornets team members Will Jester, Isaac Shellenberger, Marc Anderson (faculty advisor/coach), Kenneth Ritchie, and Willie Gonzalez, stand with one of the DSU aircraft adorned with a red tail in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen and the film about them that is being screened in Dover.

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    The DSU Aviation Program – which will be sending a team to compete in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s National Flight Competition in May – is getting really excited about the new film Red Tails that tells the stories of the WWII exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen.   The students are so excited, they have applied a new coat of paint to a number of their aircraft that they maintain at the Delaware Air Park.   In honor of the African American flyers and the new film, the DSU Aviation Program members have painted the tail section of several of its planes red. Aviation students plan to go to the movies to see the opening of Red Tails. James Otis Handy, an aeronautical technical engineer with the original Tuskegee Airmen, is honored with a cake on the occasion of his 92nd birthday during a Jan. 20 Aviation Program celebration at the Delaware Air Park hangar. To his right is retired Brig. Gen. Ernest G. Talbert Jr.   “It is our way of honoring the Tuskegee airman,” said Hans Riegle, assistant director of the Aviation Program.   The Aviation Program has also invited Tuskegee Airman mechanic Otis Handy to the Delaware Air Park where the students will celebrate his 92th birthday with a pizza luncheon party on Jan. 20.   The program’s Flying Hornets team was among the top three scoring teams at the NIFA Regional Flight Competition in October, and that performance guaranteed the Hornet flyers an invitation to compete in the NIFA National Flight Competition on May 13-17 in Kansas City, Mo.   The Flying Hornets, led by their faculty advisor and coach Marc Anderson, include sophomore Willie Gonzalez, junior Will Jester, senior Kenneth Ritchie, and junior Isaac Shellenberger. All four team members are DSU aviation majors, and Mr. Anderson is a 2011 graduate of the program.     During the October regional competition, the Flying Hornets finished third in the competition. Mr. Gonzalez finished fourth overall, competing against juniors and senior who already hold commercial and flight instructor ratings.   “The fact that our team finished third is amazing and a testament to the talent of our students and the effort they exerted in preparation for the competition, because we had only four team members competing against teams that had eight or nine participants,” said Capt. Stephen Speed, DSU Aviation Program director.   Capt. Speed noted that because the team awards were cumulative, the DSU students were at a disadvantage. “If we had one more team member, we would have finished in second place,” he said.      

DSU Choir to perform in the Scwartz Center's Journey of the Spirit

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The DSU Chorus will perform with the Wesley College Choir and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra during the Feb. 17 concert.

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  The Delaware State University Chorus will join the Wesley College Chorus and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra in a concert entitled “Journey of the Spirit – A Celebration of African American Heritage Through Music” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at the Schwartz Center for the Arts (226 S. State St.) in downtown Dover.   The three music groups will join together to bring one unforgettable evening of music and song to the Schwartz Center stage. In celebration of Black History Month the program will focus on pieces either composed by or for the African American community, dating back to the seventeen and eighteen hundreds to present.   The program will feature seven compositions, two of which will be performed by the DSU Chorus and two which will be performed by the Wesley Chorus. The two chorus groups will combine for two selections.   In addition, DSU alumnus Rev. John Moore will serve as the narrator in a composition with the Delaware Symphony titled “New Morning of the World (Daybreak for Freedom).” Accompanied by the Orchestra’s music, Rev. Moore will recite the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   The evening will begin with a pre-concert talk begins at 7 p.m. Scholars will discuss the history of vocal and choral music for orchestra by composers of African American descent and how these artists worked on music and their craft as compared to today. Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 senior citizens and military members, $25 for students, and $18 for children age 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the Schwartz Center box office or online at www.schwartzcenter.com.  

Kappas Reunite at DSU for Convergence Weekend Feb. 4

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The Kappa Convergence Weekend marked the first time such a fraternity reunion has taken place at Delaware State University

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  Feb. 5, 2012   An unprecedented fraternity reunion took place during the weekend of Feb. 4 as the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. held a Convergence Weekend on campus.   The Convergence Weekend gathered Kappa brothers from as far back as the 1940s (when the first Beta Sigma Kappa Chapter was established at then Delaware State College in 1946), and also included Kappas from other institutions nearby institutions such as the University of Delaware and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.   See the below photos slideshow for some images from the Convergence Weekend, followed by more information below about the Kappa events     While some of the Kappas arrived in Dover on Friday, Feb. 3 for a Crimson and Cream Meet and Greet event at the Hilton Garden Inn, the bulk of the activities took place on Saturday, Feb. 4.   After a breakfast at the University Village Cafe and a morning guided tour of the campus, the Kappas shared their life experiences with current DSU students in a Kappa Connection – Career Networking event. Other activities included the sharing of golden memories from some of the older Kappas, a step show, and a presentation about the current state of affairs at DSU by University President Harry L. Williams.   The Convergence Weekend culminated at the Norfolk State vs. DSU basketball game, in which the Kappas witnessed the Hornet Men’s impressive upset of the 1st place Spartans.   The Kappa Convergence was spearheaded by faithful Kappa and DSU alumni Norman Oliver, class of 1985.  

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