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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.  

DSU Black History Events in February

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The story of the death of Fred Hampton, the former leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers in the late-1960s, will be one of a series of films screened at DSU during the campus' observance of Black History Month in February.

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  Delaware State University will host a series of films on campus as part of its observance of Black History Month in addition to its annual observance of Founders Day. All of the events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.   7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B The Great Debaters -- Feature length film starring and directed by Denzel Washington about a small Texas HBCU debating team in the early 1900s.   11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 -- Education & Humanities Theatre DSU Founders Day Program -- This year's annual observance of Black History at DSU will feature stage portrayals of all 10 permanent presidents and two acting presidents in the 121-year history of the institution.   4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B Cointelpro 101 – A documentary film that explores the history of political surveillance and repression against the African American activism of the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.   The DSU Concert Choir will join Wesley College's Choir and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra for a Feb. 17 concert -- Journey of the Spirit -- at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in downtown Dover. 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B Let Freedom Sing – A documentary film that explores how music influenced and inspired the Civil Rights Movement.   7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 -- Schwartz Center for the Arts (downtown Dover, 226 S. State St.) Journey of the Spirit, A Celebration of African American Heritage Through Music -- A concert collaboration joining concert choirs of DSU and Wesley College, accompanied by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Performed will be pieces either composed by or for the African American community, dating back from the 1700s to present. DSU alumnus the Rev. John Moore will provide his well-known narration of the words of Martin Luther King against the backdrop of music. Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for senior citizens and military members, $25 for students, and $18 for children 12 and younger.   4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B The Murder of Fred Hampton – An award-winning documentary that examines the death of the 21-year old leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s.   7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B The Spook Who Sat By the Door – Feature length film from the 1970s that explores through drama the protest mood of that era in African American life.                   Hill Harper   7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 -- Education & Humanities Theatre Guest speaker Hill Harper -- The actor, best-selling author and philanthropist will give a motivational address. He is also the founder of Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering and inspiring youth to succeed through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs.   7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 -- Martin Luther King Student Center, Parlor A & B More Than A Month -- A screening of the documentary film that will be featured on PBS about Black History Month. The documentary's filmmaker Shukree Tilghman will be at the DSU screening to talk about this cinematic work.     4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B THE FBI's War on Black America – A documentary film that explores the FBI's response to African American protest movements and personalities during the 1960s and 1970s, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 – Martin Luther King Student Center, Meeting Room 207 A & B When We Were Kings – A documentary that explores the dynamics of sports, politics, culture, and music entertainment surrounding the championship fight of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in the Central African country of Zaire in the 1970s.            

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 Inherits Exciting Biotechnology Company

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Dr. Eric Kmiec (l), shown here with a research associate Bryan Strouse, believes that DSU and its students could stand to benefit greatly from OrphagenX being based at the University.

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   Jan. 7, 2012 With the arrival this semester of Dr. Eric Kmiec as the Chairman of the Department of Chemistry, the University has also inherited an exciting biotechnology company that is focusing on the development of an innovative molecular medicine approval that can treat patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)   The company – OrphageniX, Inc. – was begun by Dr. Kmiec and other scientists and a group of investors in 2000 when he taught and did research at the University of Delaware. In the beginning, OrphageniX worked to develop gene alteration treatments for several orphan diseases – maladies that affect a relatively low number of people. But now, the company has narrowed its focus to Sickle Cell Disease.   The technology is known as gene editing and centers on the concept that inborn genetic errors (mutation) which result in the manifestation of diseases like SCD can be reversed. Such correction can partially diminish the symptoms of the disease. The gene editing technique can be thought of as a spell-checker in which the misplaced letters of the mutant gene are corrected and the normal gene function is restored.    Kmiec and his lab pioneered this approach toward genetic diseases in the early 2000s and now the gene editing field is flourishing. “It is good to see this growth, as it is indicative of a healthy scientific approach,” said Kmiec, who added “Validation by others, even using other competitive technologies, is good any type of scientific investigation.”   During the course of the last five to seven years, Kmiec’s group and others have been defining the mechanism of action and regulation of gene editing, a crucial step in developing credibility for any new molecular medicine. “There have been a lot of starts and stops in other gene therapy investigations,” said Kmiec. “We wanted to understand as many parameters of this reaction as we could before thinking seriously about clinical application.”    During this period, Kmiec’s work was supported by the National Institute of Health with  ROI awards, its most prestigious research grant; Kmiec’s lab has been funded for 16 years with several of the ROI awards during this period. In addition, OrphageniX used a “virtual company” strategy to file a series of strong patents and establish a strong intellectual property position for their technology in the business world. They spent most of their money on strengthening their patents and relied on Kmiec to advance the science using peer-reviewed grant support and publications.    Because it was developed at the University of Delaware, that institution holds the original patents on the technique. However, Dr. Kmiec said, “Now that the company is part of DSU, any new developments in the technique will likely be owned by DSU.   The choice of SCD as the primary target for OrphageniX was made about a year ago and the company is hard at work getting ready to begin its focused studies. SCD is a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped (crescent) red blood cells that contain abnormal sickle hemoglobin. Such sickle cells tend to block blood flow in the blood vessels of the limbs and organs, and can cause pain, serious infection and organ damage. Sickle Cell Anemia – low blood cell count– is the most common form of SCD. “Sickle Cell has the golden child of gene therapy,” Dr. Kmiec said. “Everyone wants to develop a therapy it. It seems so simple, but it’s not.”   Dr. Kmiec said he wants to make DSU a major part of the success and growth of the company and the research. “I see the company engaging some DSU students from the College of Business to learn, observe, and even help craft business strategies for the company,” he said. “This could be a great case study for the students of that college because the company functions as a real business, not just a hypothetical work experience. What we all do here at DSU will count”   In addition to its potential for engaging DSU’s business and natural science students, Dr. Kmiec said he sees some great possibilities for partnership with other institutions. He said discussions are currently ongoing among DSU the University of Pennsylvania and CHOP on collaborations. In this area of genetic engineering, a clinical partner is a critical component of the success of any biotech company, corporate or academic, to translate the bench top science to their bedside patient practice.    The Department of Chemistry chair said that he is not looking for DSU to provide financial support for the company. Dr. Kmiec noted that DSU is not a venture fund and outside financial investments have solely supported the company in the past and new support is now needed to move the technology forward.    Michael Bowman, OrphageniX’s business manager, called the company’s scientific product “an enormous therapy” for which the potential to attract other significant partners is great and that could result in a great success story for the University and the State of Delaware. “It is our hope that the bandwidth of DSU can help us with this,” said Mr. Bowman.   The Kmiec group’s expertise, the company OrphageniX, and Delaware State University each bring something valuable to the table. “It is such an interesting and exciting opportunity to do something like this at DSU and in Dover, and perhaps initiate some more activity in the more southern part of the state,” said Kmiec. “The DSU administration is setting a high bar and challenging us to develop an entrepreneurial environment even in these economic times,” add Kmiec. “By utilizing the talent and enthusiasm based at DSU and challenging the investment community to support this effort here, we can create an exciting new environment in which to meet student needs  and exceed expectations.”   According to Centers for Disease Control Prevention: ·         SCD affects 90,000 to 100,000 Americans. ·         SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 500 Black or African American births. ·         SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 36, Hispanic-American births. ·         Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) occurs in people who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene. Such people usually do not have SCD, but they can pass on the trait to their children. ·         SCT occurs in about 1 in 12 Blacks or African-Americans.  

DSU Announces Change in Athletics Leadership

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    Jan. 4, 2012     Delaware State University announced today that Derek Carter has left the Athletics Director post that he has held since 2009 to become the Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Finance.   In his new responsibilities, Mr. Carter will focus on athletics budgetary issues and also assist the executive vice president with the athletics portion of the University’s new Facilities Master Plan that is currently being developed, among other related duties.   DSU President Harry L. Williams has named Eric D. Hart, associate athletics director of Academic Services for Student Athletes, as the interim Athletics Director until such time as a new permanent AD is announced.   The University will initiate a national search process.    

DSU's Dr. Carol Sando Named Nursing Ambassador

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   Jan. 3, 2012 Dr. Carol R. Sando, assistant professor of nursing, has been recently appointed by the National League for Nursing (NLN) to serve as an NLN ambassador. Dr. Carol R. Sando   As a participant in this elite corps, Dr. Sando will help keep faculty and administration informed about the NLN’s initiatives, grant opportunities, conferences, publications, workshops, and other benefits available to NLN member institutions.    “We created this selective program to make it as easy as possible for nurse faculty and nursing programs at all levels of academia to understand what the NLN has to offer to enhance professional development and status,” said NLN CEO Dr. Beverly Malone. “At the same time, we expect the ambassadors to communicate to NLN professional staff and the board what issues and challenges are of greatest concern to nurse educators in the field so that we can maximize the effectiveness of our programming and services. The ambassadors are, in effect, the NLN’s ‘eyes and ears on campus.”   Dr. Sando is a DSU assistant professor of nursing who has been with the University since the fall of 2008. A teacher of undergraduate and graduate students, her program of research includes instrument development, teaching effectiveness, simulation standards, and trends in nursing curricula. As the new NLN ambassador for DSU, she succeeds Dr. Jodi Dampeer-Moore, clinical practitioner, who served the previous four years in this capacity.   As a NLN ambassador, Dr. Sando will encourage her DSU nursing colleagues to participate in NLN professional development programs, apply for research grants, submit abstracts for the annual Education Summit and manuscripts to the NLN's peer-reviewed journal,Nursing Education Perspectives, volunteer for task groups and special committees, run for elected office, nominate colleagues for awards, and complete research surveys.   The NLN Ambassador Program was established in the fall of 2006 with an initial cadre of 126 members who teach in all types of nursing programs – practical nurse, associate degree, diploma, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral. Today there are more than 700 ambassadors representing schools of nursing in 49 states plus Canada, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.   Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 35,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members. NLN members represent nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations and agencies.   The National League of Nursing Accreditation is one of two accreditations held by the DSU Department of Nursing. The department also holds an accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.  

New DSU Mission Statement approved

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Dec. 22, 2011 Delaware State University now has a revised Mission Statement that is more current and reflective of the University’s purpose, according to Dr. Harry L. Williams, president. “While the current mission defined DSU’s identity and important role in the community, it was time to examine it in light of the University’s new vision, its core values and its expanding portfolio of academic and research programs,” said Dr. Williams. The revised mission, approved at the December 20, 2011, special Board of Trustees meeting, is as follows: Delaware State University is a public, comprehensive, 1890 land-grant institution that offers access and opportunity to diverse populations from Delaware, the nation, and the world. Building on its heritage as a historically black college, the University purposefully integrates the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service in its baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs. Its commitment to advance science, technology, liberal arts, and the professions produces capable and productive leaders who contribute to the sustainability and economic development of the global community. Provost Alton Thompson chaired the revision process that incorporated methods for feedback. Several comment periods yielded suggestions from trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni.  A revision writing team, appointed by the president to assist the provost, consisted of Carolyn Curry, Victor Gomia, Jessica Horton, Kamillah Lewis, Dyremple Marsh, Noureddine Melikechi, Marlene Saunders and Charlie Wilson. The team incorporated the suggestions that resulted in the final mission for approval.  

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