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DSU's Dr. Dolores Finger Wright Appointed to State HRC

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Dr. Dolores Finger Wright has been appointed by Gov. Jack Markell to serve a four-year term on the State Human Relations Commission.

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Dr. Delores Finger Wright, an associate professor of social work at Delaware State University, has been appointed by Gov. Jack Markell to serve as a member of the State Human Relations Commission. The State Human Relations Commission (HRC) works with the Delaware Division of Human Relations to promote amicable relationships among the various racial and cultural groups within the State of Delaware. In addition to administering Delaware's Equal Accommodation Law and Fair Housing Act,  the Commission works to increase public awareness of civil and human rights in Delaware. “When we talk about human relations, we talk about social justice and the quality of human interaction,” Dr. Finger Wright said. “This is my orientation and training, and I feel that this in a good opportunity for me to serve in an area in which I have passion, knowledge and skill.” A veteran of the civil rights movement, in 2011 Dr. Finger Wright received the International Civil Rights Center & Museum Sit-In Hero’s Award for involvement in the 1960s in the history civil rights sit-in demonstrations that took in Greensboro, N.C. At a time with the DSU associate professor was an undergraduate student in Bennett College for Women, she also worked behind the scene during the Greensboro demonstrations and took part in the picket lines. After her graduation from Bennett College, Dr. Finger Wright went on to earn a Master of Social Work Degree from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University.  She has been a social work faculty member at DSU for 21 years. Dr. Finger Wright’s HRC appointment is for four years, ending on Sept. 8, 2020.

First Project Success Doctorate Speaks at Convocation

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Dr. Jamar Jeffers,  2016 Convocation keynote speaker, told the freshmen to embrace their journey and to learn from it. Dr. Jeffers is the first Project Success product to earn a doctorate.

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As he stood before an audience in an Education and Humanities Theatre packed with freshmen, faculty, staff, administrators and Board of Trustees members, Dr. Jamar Jeffers reflected back to his beginnings in 1998 as a DSU freshman. Dr. Jamar Jeffers takes a photo opp moment with DSU President Harry L. Williams. “By all statistics, I shouldn’t have been here,” he said. The keynote speaker for the Sept. 15 Convocation Ceremony that signaled the official start of the 2016-2017 academic year, noted his beginning as a Project Success student – a DSU program designed to enroll underachieving high school graduates and with special attention prepare them for the rigors of a University education. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations with a minor in Marketing in 2002 and a Master’s Degree in Management – both from DSU – the Del State alumnus put an exclamation  point on his academic journey in 2015 by earning  a Doctor of Business from Argosy University in Atlanta. His dissertation was entitled “A Phenomenological Study on Hip Hop Culture as a Marketing Strategy.” That has made him the first DSU Project Success product to earn a doctorate. As a result of his accomplishments to date, Dr. Jeffers had a lot to share with the class of 2020. “Be intentional about the classes you take, and be intentional about your extra-curricular activities,” he said. “Also be intentional about your friends and the network you keep. Be intentional about your success.” Dr. Jeffers emphasized the importance of networking with people who are working hard to succeed and establish a habit of excellence. “While you are here, build relationships,” he said. “if you are not networking, it means your nets are not working.” He noted that his current position as vice president of development for 100 Black Men of America involves fundraising, a pursuit that has become a passion for him. He encouraged the freshmen to identify their passions and make them a part of their career plans. “People will pay you for your passion,” Dr. Jeffers said. “Tap into that passion; that is like God breathing air into your lungs.” He said while he is enjoying what he is doing now, he has bigger dreams for his future. The DSU Concert Choir performed their rendition of "True Religion" “My audacious goal is to come back and be president of this University,” he said. “Right now I am using my passion to fundraise for DSU through my involvement with the DSU Alumni Association.” Finally, Dr. Jeffers advised the freshmen to be patient with life and the process of achieving success. “Nothing happens overnight,” he said. “Embrace the journey and learn from it.” The Convocation, presided over DSU President Harry L. Williams, featured musical performances by the DSU Concert Choir, the DSU Symphonic Band, and words of inspiration by Dr. Alexandra Silver, chairperson of the Faculty Senate, and Jasmine Jenkins, president of the Student Government Association. The Convocation was directed by Brenda F. Farmer, executive director of University Events and Ceremonies, which is under Institutional Advancement.

6th Annual President's Prayer Breakfast, article/photos

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(L-r) Lady Karen Hutchins and her husband Bishop-elect Norman Hutchins (who gave the Prayer Breakfast's keynote message), DSU President Harry L. Williams and his wife Dr. Robin Williams pose for a photo at the end of the event.

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Delaware State University held its 6th annual President’s Prayer Breakfast, which featured the soul-stirring music from the DSU Concert Choir, uplifting praise and worship songs from guest artist Tammy Trout of the Pentecostals of Dover, and a powerful message by the keynote preacher Bishop-elect Dr. Norman Hutchins, pastor of Frontline Ministries. For images from the Prayer Breakfast, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157672794335420/show Led by Rev. Pamela Adams, DSU director of Spiritual Life and University chaplain, event featured prayers by Michael Carollo, a chaplain at Dover Air Force Base; Rev. Daniel Taylor of First Pilgrim Baptist Church of Camden, Del.; Dr. Shirlyn B. Brown, Easton District Superintendent of the Peninsula DE Conference of the United Methodist Church; Rev. William A. Grimes, pastor of Solid Rock Baptist Church of Dover; and Rev. Theressa “Tessie” Holmes, president of the New Castle County Chapter of the DSU Alumni Association. Rev. Hutchins, who was introduced by Candy E. Young, interim director of Title IX at DSU, gave a keynote address entitled “Faith will determine your Destiny.” DSU President Harry L. Williams presented this year’s President’s Ecumenical Award to Rev. Lonnie Rector, pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church of Newark, Del. Dr. Williams also used the occasion to posthumously recognize  the late Rev. Rudolph W. Coleman, who served as a longtime DSU counselor and chaplain, as well as the 35-year pastor of Mt. Zion AME Church of Dover until his passing in 2001; and the Dr. Richard M. Avant, the 34-year pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Dover until his passing in 2016. Words of campus uplift were shared by Cydnee Ford of the DSU Methodist Student Association and Omari Crain, of the DSU Students Against a Godless Society (SAGS).    Prelude music was provided by the gospel instrumental trio of pianist Edward Addison, violinist Eldrè Gladney and flutist Carlos Holmes. The National Anthem was sung by Anjosanlynn Fulgham, the 2016-2017 Miss DSU. The DSU president was joined in giving expressions of welcome by Jasmine Jenkins, president of the DSU Student Government Association. The President's Prayer Breakfast is planned and managed by a cross-campus committee under the auspices of the Division of Institutional Advancement. 

DSU Graduate Student Takes 1st in Oral Competition

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Armando A. Aispuro holds a "Breath Chamber" which built to collect sample of carbon dioxide from the aspiration of songbirds. HIs presentation of his research findings won him 1st place at the Aug. 28-31 NOAA Education Partnership Program Oral Competition of the 8th biennial Education and Science Forum held at the City College of New York.

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Armando Alberto Aispuro, a graduate student in Natural Resources, has won 1st place for his oral presentation at a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) competition. Armando Alberto Aispuro proudly show his 1st place certificate from the NOAA oral competition. Mr. Aispuro gave his winning presentation at the 8th Biennial Education and Science Forum in New York City sponsored by NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions. The title of Mr. Aispuro research presentation was “The Role of Apalachicola Barrier Island Ecosystems in Supporting Migratory Passerine Concentration Sites.” Said in a simpler manner, the DSU graduate student’s research involved the study of songbird migration in connection with St. Vincent Island and Cape St. George Island, both located off the panhandle coast of Florida. Because some songbirds choose a migratory route in which they fly from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico across the Gulf of Mexico to St. Vincent – the largest barrier island off of that part of Florida – Mr. Aispuro has studied the role that the island plays in providing a place where the birds can find rest and nourishment after their long flight. He also did a similar study relating the songbirds’ stopover on St. George Island, a smaller barrier island east of St. Vincent. “It is called “stop-over” ecology, which is a relatively new area of study,” Mr. Aispuro said. He noted that such research sheds light on the ecological function of these resources, provides data useful for the mitigation of impending sea-level rise, and provides data for management, preservation and protection. To understand how the birds are using barrier island stopover sites, Mr. Aispuro designed and built a "breath chamber" to capture the birds' respiration, which provides information about their diet and habitat choices. “We show that birds rely on these barrier islands to gain fat and muscle to complete their migration to northern breeding grounds,” Mr. Aispuro said. “We also show that a stopover along the Gulf coast allows birds to shift or maintain a diet in response to available resources in North America.” Mr. Aispuro, who is from Santa Barbara, California, said after he completes his master’s degree, he hopes to land a job with either a nonprofit or government agency in the area of conservation biology.

DSU Rises to 14th in HBCU Rankings; 4th Among Public HBCUs

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DSU's improvements in its retention and graduations rates figured greatly in the University's rise in the latest U.S. News & World Report's HBCU rankings.

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Delaware State University has moved up seven spots to 14th in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 4th on the list for top ranking public HBCU. According to the latest rankings released on Sept. 13, DSU has moved up from last year’s from 21st to 14th place out of the 105 HBCUs. DSU President Harry L. Williams said that DSU’s higher ranking is reflective of the hard work of faculty and staff to improve student success. “A big indicator of the University’s effectiveness in student success is found in retention and graduation,” Dr. Williams said. “Those are areas that DSU has been able to progressively improve and they are also major categories in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual HBCU rankings.” The magazine’s rankings are based strongly on retention and graduation rates – 27% of the ranking criteria scoring.  The other categories and the weight they are given include: peer assessment (25%), faculty resources (20%), student selectivity (12.5%), financial resources (10%), and alumni giving (5%). President Williams stated “DSU’s improvements in its retention and graduation rates are strong factors in Del State’s rise in the rankings.” The highest variables in the ranking formula are retention and graduation rates.  The University has been aggressively moving the retention and graduation rates in the last several years.   The magazine’s scoring of retention and graduation rates are an average of the rates of the last four years. In addition, DSU’s improvement in alumni giving was another factor in its rise in the 2016 rankings. “I would like to thank DSU’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and Board for their tireless, unwavering commitments to the accomplishments at Delaware State University,” says President Williams.  

DSU Features Diane Lorio Exhibition "Zigzag."

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This work entitled "Ice" is one of the paintings by Diane Lorio on exhibition currently in the DSU Arts Center/Gallery. The works will be on display until Sept. 23.

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The Delaware State University Art Center/Gallery is currently exhibiting a show of pattern works entitled “Zigzag” by Dover artist Diane Lorio. Diane Lorio stands to her work entitled "Magnify," one of the paints included in her current exhibition. The exhibition – which will be displayed until Sept. 23 – is free and open to the public. The Art Center/Gallery – which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – is located on the right inside the lobby entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus. Ms. Lorio, the Delaware Division of the Arts’ award-winning partner artist, has been painting for decades, as well as teaching art and encouraging peer artists. “The exhibit has a correlating pattern that goes through all of my paintings,” said Mrs. Lorio, who is also the wife of Edward Lorio, DSU associate professor of art and a sculpture artist. “When I put this show together, I needed a pattern that could coincide with each other, an energetic pattern.” The artist describes the works as patterns inspired by African tribal art, with each piece as a unique way to show the same energetic pattern. There will be a “Meet the Artist” reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Art Center/ Gallery, which is opened from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The reception is also free and open to the public.  

NEH Chairman William Adams Visits DSU

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(L-r) Dr. Susan West, DSU associate professor and Del. Humanities Forum (DHS) chair; DSU President Harry L. Williams; National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William Adams, Marilyn Whittington, DHS executive director, Theresa Del Tufo widow of the DHS founder and former DSU professor Joseph Del Tufo, and Dr. Akwasi Osei, chair of the DSU Dept. of History, Pol. Sci. & Philosophy.

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Dr. William D. Adams, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, visited DSU on Sept. 7. Dr. William Adams, NEH chairman (far right), meets with DSU faculty and students in the OSCAR Building to exchange ideas on humanities. Dr. Adams, who has served since 2014 as the 10th chair of the NEH, is also the former president of Bucknell University (1995-2000) and of Colby College (2000-2014). During his visit, he met with DSU President Harry L. Williams, he stopped at the campus’ historic Loockerman Hall and spoke to a gathering there, and ended his day at by meeting with a group of students and faculty at the Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building. In addition to promoting the humanities through his conversations at DSU, Dr. Adams also inquired about the humanities academic offerings and activities that are available at the University. He was escorted around campus by Dr. Susan West, associate professor in the University’s Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy. Dr. West is the chairperson of the Council of the Delaware Humanities Forum; other members for the DHF also joined Dr. Adams on the visit to DSU. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

DSU's Dr. Kevina Vulinec Named Fulbright Ambassador

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Dr. Kevina Vulinec, who was first named a Fulbright Scholar in 2011, recently was selected to represent the program as a Fulbright Ambassador. In that capacity she will travel to other universities and colleges to talk about her Fulbright research experiences and share information about the program. She is shown here on a recent research trip in Honduras.

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Dr. Kevina Vulinec, who because of her longtime research on bat species has been referred to as “batwoman” and as an “ambassador of bats,” has had her titled expanded to include “ambassador of international scholars." Dr. Vulinec, DSU professor of wildlife ecology, has been named a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador who will help to promote the prestigious scholars program. A DSU faculty member since 2001, Dr. Vulinec was a Fulbright Scholar in 2011. At that time, she won the competitive grant to lecture and do research in Brazil as part of her ongoing work on bat species. Since that time she has continued to work is support of the Fulbright Program in various capacities over the last five years. Now she will visit other universities and colleges to talk about her experiences as a Fulbright Scholar and to share information about the program. “It is quite an honor,” Dr. Vulinec said. “Fulbright is the flagship program for the Council of International Exchange of Scholars, and it fosters communications and scholarship among 160 nations. Before going on the road for Fulbright, she will attend Fulbright presentation training in Austin, Texas. She said in addition to preparing her for the new Fulbright duties, the training site will have a great perk for her. “They have all these bats that live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin,” Dr. Vulinec said.   According to the Bats Conservation website ( http://www.batcon.org/index.php/our-work/regions/usa-canada/protect-mega-populations/cab-intro ), the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin has the largest urban bat colony in the world, attracting hundreds of people every summer night to watch what is estimated to be 1.5 million bats fly from under the bridge to conduct their nocturnal activities. Given the extensive research Dr. Vulinec has done in her career on bat species, the locale of her Fulbright Ambassador Training should be a great comfort zone for her. For more than 70 years, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education, has served as the collaborating agency for the U.S. Department of State in administering the Fulbright Scholars Program. The worldwide success and stellar reputation of the Fulbright Scholars Program has been built on the talent, commitment and professionalism of scholars who have served as Fulbrighters at universities and research institutions in more than 155 countries.

DSU Opportunity Scholarship Students Meet Benefactors

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The Opportunity Scholarship "Dreamers" got to meet the people that made it happen -- Don Graham, the founder of The.Dream.US, Gov. Jack Markell and DSU President Harry L. Williams. Joined by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and others, the meeting was culminated with a large group photo with the new DSU students.

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It was a meeting between the “Dreamers” and the people who have made their academic dreams come true. Don Graham chats with the Opportunity Scholarship students. On Sept. 6, a group of 34 new DSU students – undocumented immigrant youths who came to this country with their family when they were younger – met Don Graham, the founder of TheDream.US and its Opportunity Scholarship that has made their enrollment at DSU possible. The students, well-dressed in professional attire as an expression of their respect and gratitude, also met two other individuals who helped open the doors of Del State to them – Gov. Jack Markell and DSU President Harry L. Williams. DSU is one of two schools that has agreed to accept the Opportunity Scholarship students – known as Dreamers – who come from states in the U.S. that make it virtually impossible for them to enroll in state institutions of higher education because of immigration status. Mr. Graham said that he got cooperation in Delaware that was hard to find elsewhere. “There were governors that wanted to do this, but couldn’t get the politics right in their state,” he said. “And there were other governors that didn’t want to be a part of this.” However, he got a receptive response from Gov. Markell, who in turn received an immediate commitment from the DSU president to accept the Opportunity Scholarship students. “We are invested in every single one of you,” Mr. Graham told the group. “You are here because of Gov. Jack Markell and Dr. Williams.” Gov. Jack Markell told the students that they were not only welcomed at DSU, but also welcomed to remain and work in Delaware after they graduate. Gov. Markell said he was already impressed with the students and hoped after they complete their degrees that they will remain in Delaware. “You should be able to live out the American Dream,” said Gov. Markell. “We are going to do our level best to provide you with the platform and foundation to do that in Delaware.” Dr. Williams said he is confident that these students will do well at DSU. “These students already have proven themselves at American high schools across the country and their academic excellence at that level made it possible for them to take advantage of this valuable opportunity,” Dr. Williams said. “They were all above the admission standard of the University, which was a requirement to receive the scholarship.” U.S. Senator Tom Carper and Dr. Christine Cannon, executive director of the Arsht-Cannon Fund of the Delaware Community Foundation, were also on hand to wish the student an intellectually prosperous academic journey. “You’re here, and you didn’t come to just any university,” Sen. Carper said. “You came to Delaware State University, which is an outstanding institution of higher education.” Fernando Morales said he and his fellow Dreamer students are profoundly grateful for this opportunity. After the meeting, 34 new DSU Hornets posed for photos with Mr. Graham, the governor, the DSU president and spent some precious time to get to know them even better. Fernando Morales, a Dreamer student from Arkansas, said the sense of gratitude that he and his Opportunity Scholarship colleagues feel is too profound to put adequately into words. The Mexican native noted, however, his high respect for Mr. Graham. “He is very humble person,” said Mr. Morales, who is majoring in Movement Science at DSU. “I admire him for helping people who don’t get very many opportunities in this country.”

DSU President Received National TRIO Award

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Dr. Harry L. Williams (far left), with his 2016 TRIO Achievers Award, stands with fellow recipients: (l-r) Victor Woolridge, Univ. of Massachusetts Board of Trustees chairman; Jacquelyn Elliott, President of Central Arizona College; Marco Davila, professor of oncologic sciences at Morsani College of Medicine, Univ. of S. Florida; and Josè Cruz, exec. director of Barrio Logan College Institute.

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Delaware State University President Harry L. Williams has been named among the honorees of the 2016 National TRIO Achiever Award in recognition of his career accomplishments. The award was presented Sept. 1 at the 35th annual Council for Opportunity in Education Conference in San Diego, Dr. Williams was among the six 2016 honorees who all received guidance and assistance from a TRIO program during their high school and/or freshmen years and have gone on to experience great success in their professions. The federally funded TRIO programs provide college preparation, mentoring and college admission assistance to low-income and first-generation students. Those established throughout the country include the Upward Bound, McNair Scholars and Student Support Services programs. Dr. Williams, who came from a low-income family in North Carolina, enrolled as a freshman at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., in 1982. He was immediately embraced by the TRIO’s Student Support Services Program at that university, which he credits with giving his higher education journey a good start. “It is without a doubt that I wouldn’t be president of Delaware State University without the support I received from TRIO during my undergraduate years,” Dr. Williams said. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Communication Broadcasting, his academic journey continued with a Master of Arts in Education Media (also from Appalachian State) and culminated in 2000 with an Ed.D in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University. Meanwhile, the native of Greenville, N.C., also found his calling to be in higher education, leading to his service in a number of ascending administrator posts at Appalachian State and at the University of North Carolina, and later his 2008 appointment as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Delaware State University and ultimately as the University’s president in 2010. “It wasn’t until I became a higher education administrator that I came to understand the full breadth of TRIO,” Dr. Williams said. “I have since come to know countless students who were blessed with the support of a TRIO program, many of whom – like me – credit such support as having great and positive impact on the subsequent academic and career success that followed.” Dr. Williams is the first president of a Historically Black College or University to ever receive the TRIO Achiever Award. Since he became the 10th president in the history of DSU, the University’s enrollment has increased from 3,819 to 4,560 students. Among the other numerous accomplishments of the institution under Dr. Williams’ leadership: He achieved the support of state government to establish the Inspire Scholarship Program. The University has been awarded more than $108 million in research-related grants. The construction of the Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building was completed in 2015. DSU was recognized as the 1890 Land-grant Institution of the Year in 2013 and as the 1890 University of the Year in 2015, both by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. DSU’s initiatives to increase student success have led to partnerships with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education “First in the World” program, resulting in $3.6 million in grants in support of the University’s work in these areas. The University has established the Early College High School that features a STEM-emphasis curriculum as it prepares students for higher education.

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