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Opportunity Africa 2013 Held at DSU -- Photo Slideshow/Article

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From l-r, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, state Rep. Donald A. Blakey, DSU alumna Flavia Rutkowski; Dr. Dyremple Marsh, dean of the DSU College of Ag and Related Sciences; Wilmington social worker Patrick Adzadu; Aoko Midiwo-Odembo and her husband Kenyan Ambassador Elkanah Odembo; and Dr. Akwais Osei, DSU chair of the Dept. of History, Political Science and Philosophy, get together during the conference.

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Delaware State University was the site Feb. 11 of the Opportunity Africa Conference 2013 hosted by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, who is also the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.   For images from the Opportunity Africa Conference, click on the below photo slideshow followed by more information about the event:   Held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, the conference was opened by DSU President Harry L. Williams with a welcome address, and DSU’s Dr. Marshall Stevenson and Dr. Michael Casson also served as moderators for two of the workshop sessions.    U.S. Rep. John Carney and three ambassadors – Elkanah Odembo (Kenya), Somduth Soborun (Mauritius) and Eric Goosby (U.S. International HIV/AIDS Relief) – were in attendance. Ambassador Odembo was the morning keynote speaker and Michael Gerson, author and senior advisor of the ONE Campaign to fight extreme poverty and preventable diseases, gave the afternoon keynote address.   Sen. Coons said that Africa is a continent of enormous opportunity for Delaware businesses, faith communities and individuals. He noted that Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, creating an important opportunity for American companies to grow and create jobs.   “As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, I am always looking for new ways to connect Delawareans with opportunities in Africa. There is so much we can do together, whether by opening doors to new markets or by connecting local faith groups with service opportunities abroad,” Sen. Coons said.   He added that with such talented faculty and interested students here, hosting this year’s conference at Delaware State University was a great opportunity. “I’m deeply grateful to Dr. Williams and everyone at DSU for their warm hospitality,” Sen. Coons said.   Workshops were held throughout the daylong conference, which included the topics of doing business in Africa, meeting human needs in the continent, Delawareans who impact Africa and careers in Africa. A town hall-style conversation on Africa was also held.    

DSU Mourns the Death of Jazz Legend Dr. Donald Byrd

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The late Dr. Donald Byrd in a performance shot during a late 1990s concert at DSU.

 

Photo by Carlos Holmes

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DSU mourns the death of legendary jazz musician Dr. Donald Byrd, who passed away at age 80 on Feb. 4 in Dover. In a 2010 photo (l-r) DSU President Harry L. Williams, comedian/activist Dick Gregory and Dr. Donald Byrd, pause for a photo moment during after Mr. Gregory's speaking engagement at the University Born in 1932  as Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, the renowned American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter was a native of Detroit, Mich. He was twice a Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Delaware State University, in the late 1990s and then again in 2009-2011. DSU President Harry L. Williams said that the University community is saddened by the passing of the legendary Dr. Byrd and joins the world in mourning his death. “The renowned musician’s relationship with DSU dates back to the mid-1990s and included two separate artist-in-residence tenures with the University,” Dr. Williams said. “While being a true jazz giant in the world, he has enriched DSU and the community with jazz performances, inspired our students with his musicianship, helped our students stay enrolled though his establishment of a scholarship endowment, and supported other fundraising efforts on campus.” Dr. Byrd was sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, but he was best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a jazz artist. Byrd attended Cass Technical High School. He performed with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school. After playing in a military band during a term in the United States Air Force, he obtained a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music. While still at the Manhattan School, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as replacement for Clifford Brown (who briefly attended then-Delaware State College). In 1955, he recorded with Jackie McLean and Mal Waldron. After leaving the Jazz Messengers in 1956, he performed with many leading jazz musicians of the day, including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and later Herbie Hancock. Dr. Byrd's first regular group was a quintet that he co-led from 1958-61 with baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, an ensemble whose hard-driving performances are captured "live" on At the Half Note Cafe. In June 1964, Dr. Byrd jammed with multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy in Paris just two weeks before Dolphy's death from insulin shock. In the 1970s, Byrd moved away from the hard-bop jazz idiom and began to record jazz fusion and rhythm and blues. He teamed up with the Mizell Brothers (producer-writers Larry and Fonce) for Black Byrd (1973), which became the best-selling Blue Note album. The title track climbed to No. 19 on Billboard's R&B chart and reached the Hot 100 pop chart, peaking at No. 88. The Mizell brothers' follow-up albums for Dr. Byrd, Street Lady, Places and Spaces, and Stepping Into Tomorrow, were also big sellers, and have subsequently provided a rich source of samples for acid jazz artists such as Us3. Most of the material for the albums was written by Larry Mizell. In 1973, he created The Blackbyrds, a fusion group consisting of his best students. They scored several major hits including "Happy Music" (No. 3 R&B, No. 19 pop), "Walking In Rhythm" (No. 4 R&B, No. 6 pop) and "Rock Creek Park." During his tenure at North Carolina Central University during the 1980s, he formed a group that included students from the college called Donald Byrd & the 125th St NYC Band. They recorded the Love Byrd album, this being one of Dr. Byrd's last highlights in his jazz funk phase which featured Isaac Hayes on drums. The album had a couple dance grooves, including the hit and garage classic "Love has come around." Recorded on Elektra records and released as a single in September 1981, it became a big disco hit in the UK and reached #41 on the chart. He taught at Rutgers University, the Hampton Institute, New York University, Howard University, Queens College, Oberlin College, Cornell University and North Carolina Central University as well as DSU. In addition to his master's from Manhattan School of Music, the jazz artist had two master's degrees from Columbia University. He received a law degree in 1976 and his doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 1982. In 2009, the jazz giant established the Dr. Donald T.L. Byrd Endowed Scholarship Fund at DSU. Private services will be held for Dr. Byrd in Detroit.

Tickets on Sale for Feb. 27 "An Evening With John Legend" at DSU

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Tickets are now on sale for “An Evening with John Legend,” a combination speaking engagement and mini-concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium on the campus of Delaware State University.                      John Legend   Tickets are $10 for DSU students and $20 for the general public, and can be purchased online at www.DSUHORNETS.com (Go to the section More from DSU toward the bottom of the home page and click on “An Evening with John Legend”). Tickets can also be purchase at the DSU Ticket Office in Memorial Hall on campus.   For more information, contact the DSU Division of Student Affairs at (302) 857-6300.   Nine-time Grammy Award winner, John Legend is a multi-talented artist known for his signature vocals and songwriting style that has earned him legions of worldwide fans along with a string of Top 10 platinum-selling albums. His albums Get Lifted (2004), Once Again (2006), and Evolver (2008) each reached #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts. He has collaborated with some of the best in the business and has written for numerous artists on bestselling recordings by artists including Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Kanye West.   John's debut album, Get Lifted, earned eight Grammy nominations; won Best New Artist, Best R&B album and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for Ordinary People while selling more than three million copies worldwide. His follow-up album, Once Again, earned an RIAA platinum certification and a Grammy award for "Heaven", which also won Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. In 2008, John released Evolver, his third Top 10 album and embarked on an extensive world tour with his ten-piece band.   Most recently, John and the band The Roots released Wake Up! (2010), a compilation of music from the 60's and 70's all with an underlying theme of awareness, engagement and social consciousness which won two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. The album is highlighted with tracks like "Little Ghetto Boy" by Donny Hathaway and Baby Huey and the Babysitters' "Hard Times."Wake Up! also includes John's original composition "Shine," which won a Grammy award for Best R&B Song and is featured in Oscar award winner Davis Guggenheim's domestic education reform documentary Waiting for 'Superman.'   Throughout his career, John has worked to make a difference in the lives of others. In 2007, John Legend launched the Show Me Campaign (ShowMeCampaign.org), an initiative that uses education to break the cycle of poverty. John was awarded the 2010 BET Humanitarian of the Year award, the2009 CARE Humanitarian Award for Global Change, the 2009 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award from Africare, and the 2012 Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year Award.

DSU Guest Lecture on Arab Spring and Conflict Resolution Feb. 7

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Delaware State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, in conjunction with the U.S. Institute of Peace Public Education Program for Peace Building, will present a lecture series on “Arab Spring and Non-Violent Conflict Resolution during three different dates in February and March.   The guest lectures – which are free and open to the public – will be held on Feb. 7, Feb. 28 and March 21, all at 11 a.m. in the Longwood Auditorium, Bank of American Building (College of Business) on campus.   The guest speaker will be Gustavo Delgado, the research and development chief for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the U.S. State Department. Mr. Delgado has also served as the State Department’s director of Strategic Communications, as a senior advisor on humanitarian assistance, as well as the Minister Counselor for Political Affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and other posts during his 26-year career at the federal agency.   The following topics will be featured.   Feb. 7 – The role of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) in conflict resolution during  the Arab Spring and its implications for United State national security. Feb. 28 – The different approaches use by the CSO for non-conflict resolution in diverse cultural settings such as Syria (Southwest Asia/Middle East), Burma (East Asia) and Kenya (East Africa). March 21 – The implications of the recent violence against the United States embassies/diplomats/citizens in the Islamic world, and what the prospects of non-violent resolutions in such contexts. For more information, contact Dr. Raymond Tutu at (302) 857-6847 or at rtutu@desu.edu

Sen. Carper Visits DSU for Last Day of MLK Imaging Exhibition

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Jamesa McDonald, the 2012-13 Miss DSU, shows U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper some of the documents that are part of the King Center Imaging Project Exhibition.

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U.S. Senator Tom Carper joined members of the DSU community Feb. 1 in visiting the King Center Imaging Project on the last day of the five-day exhibition of documents and writing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For images of Sen. Carper’s visit, click on the below slideshow of photos:

DSU to Host Feb. 7 Panel Discussion on the Film "Django"

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The interesting dynamics between the freedman Django (played by Jamie Foxx, left) and slave owner Calvin Candie (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio) could be a discussion point of whether this was a plausible reality in 1858.

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The film starkly shows the slavery era status of many blacks as property of whites. (L-r) Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio. In light of the numerous discussion points raised by Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained, Delaware State University will host a panel discussion on the controversial film at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus.   The event – entitled “Django Unchained: Myths and Realities of Slavery in the Old South” -- is free and open to the public.   The film – which features a stellar cast ensemble that includes Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kerry Washington – is set in 1858-1859 against the backdrop of the Wild West and the “Peculiar Institution” of slavery.   Love it or not, the film raises a myriad of issues ranging from its brutal representations of slavery; the caste system of field slaves, house slaves and free negroes; the use of ethnic slurs in cinema; the pros and cons of the portrayal of historic elements in cinema; the question of why have there been more films on the Holocaust than on slavery; as well as many other points that can be discussed and debated. Among the historical issues the film raises is the awkward hierarchy of slaves within the plantation system, such as the "head negro," played by Samuel Jackson and the slaves under him such as Broomhilda, portrayed by Kerry Washington. During the Django panel discussion, the audience will be able to exchange its viewpoints and perspectives on the film with the attending public as well as with the following panelists:   Dr. Jerry W. Ward Jr. is one of the leading experts in the country on author Richard Wright. Dr. Ward is currently a Famous Overseas Professor at Central China Normal University where he directs seminars on African-American literature. He has also served as a distinguished professor of English and literature for more than 40 years at Dillard University and Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. He is a founding member of the Richard Wright Circle, the co-editor of The Richard Wright Encyclopedia, and has received the 2011 Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award from the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration. His poems and essays have been published in numerous publications. Dr. Candice Love Jackson is the assistant provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Tougaloo College. A former Department of English chair at the institution, she has applied scholarly focus on such areas as popular culture, black speculative fiction, African-American theater, and Hip Hop culture. An often- published writer on literary subjects, she is currently working on her current project “The Hand I Fan With: Hand Fans as Sites of Racial and Culture Memory” which examines narratives of race through material culture. Deirdre Childress Hopkins is a former film and entertainment editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is the immediate past vice president (print) of the National Association of Black Journalists and is its former national secretary. Currently she is the strategic communications manager for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. She has also previously worked for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Daily News, United Press International and the Syracuse Post-Standard. Dr. Ahati N. Toure is an associate professor of African History and Africana Studies as well as the director of the Africana Studies Program at Delaware State University. He is the author of the first book-length, critical academic study of one of the architects of the discipline of Africalogy/Africana Studies, John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History: Africalogical Quest for Decolonization and Sovereignty. He has written numerous academic essays that explore issues in Africana history and culture. The Django panel/audience discussion is sponsored by the DSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The King Center Imaging Project Exhibition at DSU Jan. 28 - Feb. 1

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Surrounded Jan. 28 by legislators, JPChase Morgan representatives and DSU officials, Courtney Smith Goodrich of JPMorgan and DSU President Harry L. Williams cut the ribbon on The King Center Imaging Project exhibition.

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  JPMorgan Chase is proud to bring to DSU its exhibition booth celebrating The King Center Imaging Project. SGA President Shelbe Hudson looks through documents that are part of the exhibition The exhibition is a digital repository of 200,000 documents from Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement that have been made accessible to the public. Delaware State University is the first stop in the country of this remarkable exhibition, which will be on display in Parlor A of the Martin Luther King Student Center on campus daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday, Jan. 28 to Friday, Feb. 1.   The exhibition at DSU is its first stop on its 2013 tour across the Untied States.   The interactive booth showcases digital images of key documents from Dr. King’s correspondence, speeches and sermons. In addition, booth visitors are invited to write their dreams on a ‘My Dream Is’ card and post them on an illuminated Dream Wall.   On Martin Luther King Day 2012, JPMorgan Chase and The King Center formally launched The King Center Imaging Project, an unprecedented effort to digitize documents from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other key figures and organizations from the Civil Rights Movement. The project’s archive can be visited at www.thekingcenter.org/archive Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Soc. Sciences, and Provost Alton Thompson search for King-related documents on the exhibition's computer.   The project was initiated at the request of the King Center, which asked JPMorgan Chase to use its technological expertise and financial resources to digitize Dr. King’s Archives and help make them available to new generations of people across the globe. The documents had been available solely to scholars who visited Atlanta. Now anyone, anywhere can learn about Dr. King in a more in-depth and personal way.   A team of more than 300 – including veterans and students at Spelman and Morehouse colleges – digitized about 200,000 documents associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King’s most famous speeches and correspondence, such as his I Have a Dream speech, the Letter from Birmingham Jail, and his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, can now be viewed around the world at any given moment.      

2013 Kickoff to Wellness -- Photo Slideshow

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Dr. Rovenia Brock, a renowned television nutritionist who is commonly known as "Dr. Ro," highlighted the Kickoff to Wellness with an address in the E&H Theatre.

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DSU held its annual Kickoff to Wellness on Jan. 24 with activities in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center and culminating in the evening at the E&H Theatre with guest speaker Dr. Rovenia, a renowned television nutritionist who is commonly known as “Dr. Ro.” For images from the Kickoff to Wellness, click on the below slideshow.

Chick-fil-A and Subway hold Grand Opening in DSU MLK Student Center

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Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs; the Hornet; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Aramark's James A. Heisler and Zubair Shahid; SGA Women's Senate rep Alexis Anderson, and the Chick-fil-A mascot take part on the Ribbon Cutting for the two new food franchises. 

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Delaware State University held the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting for the establishment of two new food franchises on campus – Chick-fil-A and Subway – both located in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center on campus. The DSU Approaching Storm Band provided music and the Chick-fil-A and DSU Hornet mascots even had a good time dancing. For images of the Grand Opening, click on the below photo slideshow:

DSU Hosts the Lower Del. First State FIRST LEGO League Qualifier

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This group was among 50 students and faculty/staff members who volunteered to help make the First State FIRST LEGO League Qualifier a success.

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Jaula Pitts and Sierra Wise, of the DSU Explorer Club's Amazing Scientists team, get their robot ready for the competition. Consistent with its increased emphasis in the STEM discipline Delaware State University hosted the first-ever Lower Delaware First State FIRST LEGO League Qualifier competition for elementary and middle children on Jan. 19. The FIRST LEGO event engages children to different areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and allows them to compete in designing and building a robot, the understanding of core values and in research presentations. Seventeen teams from throughout Lower Delaware – including two teams from the DSU-sponsored Explorer Club – competed in the qualifier. Large tables were set up in the second floor parlors of the MLK Student Center, on which small mobile robots designed by each teams were put to the test in completing a programmed task. “This competition emphasizes teamwork, thinking skills, the use of technology in a productive way, and being creative,” said Cheryl Potack, a mathematics teacher at the Charter School of Wilmington, which fielded a team in the competition. The DSU Explorer Club teams – the Amazing Scientists and the 1.7 Hotties – finished 10th and 17th, respectively. Jatique Gilliard and Michale Speller, the DSU Explorer Club's 1.7 Hotties team, work on their robot. Dr. Eric Cheek, the director of DSU Adult and Continuing Education served as the coordinator of the qualifier. He said the top six teams from the qualifier would go on to compete on Jan. 26 at the First State FIRST LEGO League Championship at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware in Newark. The top six teams that will go to the First State FIRST LEGO League Championship are the Comets -White team and the Comet - Red team both of St. Ambrose School (Pa.), the MOE Bulldogs  of the Prestige Academy of Wilmington, Newark Charter School 1 team, the Brader Elementary School Tigers of Newark, and the top qualifier team, the Chef Bot-Ar-Dees of the Unionville-Chaddis Ford School District (Pa.). The winner of that competition will be invited to the FIRST LEGO International Festival in LEGOLAND in California. During the morning session, junior FIRST LEGO League teams also participated in robotics events, which included four teams from the DSU Explorers Club. All of the junior teams won prizes in their respective categories. About 50 students and faculty/staff members volunteered their time at the event to help make it a resounding success.

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