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Buccini Named New DSU Trustee

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Robert E. Buccini (left) is sworn in as a new DSU Board of Trustees member by Dr. Claibourne Smith, board chair.

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    The Delaware State University’s Board of Trustees has appointed Wilmington developer Robert E. Buccini as its newest board member.   Mr. Buccini will complete the six-year term of recently resigned board member Marvin Lawrence.  Mr. Buccini’s term will end on Aug. 31, 2016.   Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, DSU board chair, said Mr. Buccini will be an asset, especially as the University enters into new strategic planning. “He has been a great supporter of DSU, is well known and respected in the state, and has a depth of experience the board will surely appreciate as we continue to move DSU forward,” Dr. Smith said.   Mr. Buccini is the co-founder and co-president of The Buccini/PollinGroup, a real estate acquisition, development and management firm that is active in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. regions. As co-president, he leads the company’s office, residential, retail, and parking development activity. Mr. Buccini has helped grow The Buccini/Pollin Group to become the largest private office landlord in the Philadelphia metropolitan region.   In addition, he co-founded and is co-owner of the Philadelphia Union, the Philadelphia franchise for major league soccer. Previously, Mr. Buccini was an assistant vice president for real estate development at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Buccini is also formerly a broker and senior analyst for Kenneth D. Laub & Company, a commercial real estate brokerage firm based in New York City.   Mr. Buccini has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University.   Mr. Buccini is the chairman of the Wilmington Housing Partnership, a director of The Rodel Foundation of Del., a member of the Board of Directors for the Vice President of the U.S. Residence Foundation, and a trustee for Christiana Care Health System.    

DSU Improves HBCU Ranking from 17th to 15th

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    Delaware State University has moved up to 15th among 72 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country in the annual ranking released today by U.S. News & World Report. DSU President Harry L. Williams said the University should be encouraged by its rise in ranking, but should not be satisfied with that level of achievement.   DSU is tied with South Carolina State University for 15th place. Among Mid-Atlantic Region schools, DSU joins Howard University (2nd), Hampton University (4th) and Morgan State University (18th) that made the top 20 HBCUs in the 2012 ranking.   DSU President Harry Lee Williams said while moving from 17th to 15th reflects well on the University, it also shows there is much work to be done to reach the ultimate goal of becoming the No. 1 HBCU in the country. Nevertheless, he said, the University’s current rise in ranking affirms that the University is moving in the right direction.   “It shows what happens when we focus, stay on task with clear goals and remain consistent with the vision that we have developed for this University,” Dr. Williams said. “We are happy, but not satisfied; we are encouraged by the latest ranking and remain steadfast in our efforts to become the best.”   When the U.S. News & World Report first published its HBCU ranking in 2008, DSU ranked #22, and then rose to #17 in 2009 and 2010.      The HBCU rankings are based on the following categories to assess academic quality: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.   Spelman College of Atlanta, Ga., is ranked as the No. 1 HBCU in the country by the magazine, a top distinction it has held since 2008.    

DSU Researchers Achieve New Findings in Veery Migration Studies

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Undergraduate student Syrena M. Taylor and Dr. Christopher Heckscher, assistant professor of natural resources, have determined the previously unknown migration pattern of the Veery songbird species.

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  The advent of a new tracking technology has enable a DSU assistant professor of natural resources to make his mark in ornithology research. A Veery songbird with an attached geolocator on its back, which will track its migration patterns.   Dr. Christopher Heckscher, with the assistance of junior year Natural Resources major Syrena M. Taylor, has taken advantage of the development of new lightweight tracking technology that has allowed them to determine the previously unknown migration patterns for a forest songbird, the Veery (Catharus fuscescens).   Because songbirds are so small, conventional tracking devices used on larger birds are too heavy for species such as the Veery – which is 16-18 centimeters in length and weighs about 30 grams. For that reason, very little was previously known about the annual migration habits of the Veery and other similarly sized birds.   A few years ago, Dr. Heckscher became aware of a new lightweight “geolocator” that had been used successfully by York University ornithologist Dr. Bridget Stutchbury in her research in tracking the migration of the Wood Thrush (Hylocichia mustelina), a medium-sized North American passerine bird.   Dr. Stutchbury’s success opened up a new area of ornithological research focusing on migration, and Dr. Heckscher did not hesitate in seizing this research opportunity.   With the knowledge that some Veeries came annually to nest at the White Clay Creek State Park north of Newark, Del., in June 2009, Dr. Heckscher and Ms. Taylor proceeded to capture 24 of the species. They then attached a lightweight geolocator to each Veery and freed them. By August, those birds had departed Delaware to begin their migration south.   “The trick is you have to catch the bird a year later in order to download data from the tracking device,” Dr. Heckscher said. “These Veeries made it easier because the same individuals return to White Clay Creek Park every year to nest.”   The following spring, the researchers set up netting in an attempt to capture some of the Veeries on which they had attached the tracking device the previous year. Dr. Heckscher said they imitated the Veery mating song, which attracted some macho male Veeries to come and investigate what bird was encroaching on their love territory.   Four male Veeries that had returned with the tracking device were lured into the net. Capturing female Veeries with the geolocator attached – which are not attracted by Veery song – was more of a challenge. However, the research duo managed to capture one female with the device, giving them a total research group of five Veeries.   It took several months to analyze the latitude and longitude data from the geolocators on those five birds. Meanwhile in spring 2010, the DSU researchers captured another group of birds and attached the tracking device.   By October 2010, Dr. Heckscher and Ms. Taylor’s data analysis had determined that all five Veeries had traveled to separate areas south of the Amazon River region in Central Brazil, South America, by the late fall. In addition, the tracking data revealed that the Veeries also made second migration stops during the mid-winter January-February months in other parts of Brazil (two birds went to sites north of the Amazon and three when south to sites south of the huge river system).   “Our most spectacular discovery was that our Veeries undertook three migrations rather than just two in spring and fall,” Heckscher said. “This is the first time a North American songbird has been found to have three different migratory periods.”   “Songbirds risk a lot each time they undertake migration, which can be very dangerous due to unexpected weather events, vehicle or building collisions, or predators,” Ms. Taylor added, “To think these birds have an extra migration is really remarkable.”   Representing the first time that this particular species’ migration patterns and wintering locations had been tracked, Dr. Heckscher and Ms. Taylor poured their findings in a peer-reviewed paper that they published in the 2011 edition of The Auk by The American Ornithologists’ Union. The work by Ms. Taylor was funded by the Center for Integrated Biological and Environmental Research, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation cooperated by providing the team’s study site.   Dr. Heckscher has continued the research with a second group of Veeries. In June of this year, he and some other students were able to capture seven males and three females on which they had attached units in the previous spring. That tracking data is currently being analyzed.  

U.S. Sen. Carper, State Rep. Darryl Scott tour Wellness & Rec. Center

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U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper and state Rep. Darryl Scott listen to Jordin Williams, associate director of the DSU Wellness & Recreation Center, poolside during a tour of the facility.

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    Cerron Cade, a DSU alumnus, laughs with his boss, U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper, during a Aug. 30 visit to the campus.       U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper paid Delaware State University a visit on Aug. 30 along with state Rep. Darryl M. Scott, to tour the Wellness and Recreation Center on campus and learn about other health initiatives such as the Delaware Center for Health Promotions, which is based at DSU.   Sen. Carper’s visit coincided with the first day of classes on campus for the 2011 fall semester, which had been delayed a day due to the Hurricane Irene storm event over the weekend.   Sen. Carper also brought along Cerron Cade, one of his staff members who is a DSU alumnus, class of 2007. Mr. Cade, a former Hornet football offensive lineman, is slated to soon be the deputy New Castle County director for Sen. Carper’s office. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, DSU Healthy Hornets administrators Michelle Fisher, Jordin Williams, Delaware Center for Health Promotions' Marianne Carter and state Rep. Darryl Scott.                            

DSU Arts Center/Gallery Hosts Marion Mitchell Photo Exhibition

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Marion Mitchell (left) looks over her works on exhibition in the DSU Arts Center Gallery with Erica Lokai, student curator of the show. Ms. Mitchell and her works will be honored in a reception on Sept. 1 at the gallery.

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    The thoughtful works of longtime photographer Marion Mitchell will be on exhibition until Sept. 23 at Delaware State University’s Arts Center/Gallery located in the William Jason Library on campus. "The Old Violin" by Marion Mitchell   The exhibition includes 80 works by this Delaware photographer, who will be honored at an exhibition reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1 in the Arts Center/Gallery.   The exhibition and the Sept. 1 reception are free and open to the public.   Ms. Mitchell, 96, who now resides in Dover at Westminister Retirement Village, dates her photography beginning to a job she got during the Depression years in a small New Jersey photography shop for 25 cents an hour.   She would later move to Delaware where she would go on to cultivate and blossom in her photography skills and become a self-taught photography dark room artist. Over her adult life span, particularly the past 60 years, her works would find themselves on the pages of publications such as the PSA Journal and Southern Delaware Magazine.   Her photo artworks would also be widely exhibited at Photography Society Association (PSA) salons all over the United States. She would also provide her photography services for the then-Lord Baltimore High School in Ocean View, Del., the Delaware Agriculture Museum and numerous weddings, organizations and other events.   Many of her photography works are landscape, abstract, nature, nautical-themed and still life shots with a particular affinity toward animals and other sights she captured in her travels across the country.   “Photography was my way of finding beauty in everyday things,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I didn’t have Photoshop, but the results in the darkroom always fascinated me.”   Marion Mitchell and student curator Erica Lokai In 2001, the PSA recognized Ms. Mitchell for her 50 years of membership and service to that photography organization.  It was about that time when Ms. Mitchell’s eyesight began failing and she retired from her photography activities.   Recently, Ms. Mitchell donated more than $5,000 worth of cameras and other photography equipment to Delaware State University’s Art Department to be used in its photography courses.   “If the students can get half to pleasure I got out of it, then that payment enough,” Ms. Mitchell said.   Dr. Donald Becker, chair of the DSU Department of Art, said the current digital photography age notwithstanding, Ms. Mitchell’s donated equipment is a valuable donation that will be well used by the department.   “We are very much into history, and it is important that we continue to teach black and white wet lab photography,” Dr. Becker said. He said that in addition to the traditional art majors, the university’s forensic biology majors are required to take photography courses to help them understand the fundamental of crime scene photography. “They will benefit from the donated equipment as well,” he said. Erica Lokai hangs one of Marion Mitchell's works -- "Winter Night."   Erica Lokai, a senior art management and studio art major from Magnolia, Del., has had the responsibility of going through Ms. Mitchell’s lifelong portfolio, selecting the works to be featured in this exhibition and arranging them in the gallery. Ms. Lokai met with Ms. Mitchell on a number of occasions to talk with her about each photo artwork piece.   “It made me realize what I take for granted,” Ms. Lokai said. “Each one of these pictures has a story until themselves, and they have been seen in salons all across the United States.”   The Art Center/Gallery – which is located just inside the entrance of the William Jason Library at DSU – is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.    

DSU to Re-open Monday 8/29; Classes Begin Tuesday 8/30

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DSU has moved the official start of classes for the Fall 2011 Semester to Tuesday, Aug. 30 due to the forecasted Hurricane event.

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  Updated 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28     Delaware State University will re-open for regular operations on Monday, Aug. 29, resuming its normal schedule. All employees are to report to work as normal.   The first classes of the fall semester 2011 will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 30.   Students who still need to move into their assigned rooms can do so after 12 noon, Monday, Aug. 29. Students are reminded that their student account and health obligations must be completed before they can move in.   The student services offices (Admissions, Financial Aid, Records, Student Accounts and Housing) will have extended hours of operation on Monday, Aug. 29 to accommodate students who are moving in Monday.   The University’s Wellness & Recreation Center will resume normal hours on Monday, Aug. 29 and be open to the public.   The Hurricane Irene Hotline – (302) 857-6311 – that was established last Friday will be in operation until the end of the regular business day on Monday, Aug. 29.         ·          

DSU Welcomes Music Chair and Director of Choral Activities

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    Dr. Horace B.  Lamar, Jr.     Delaware State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences has announced two new important appointments within its Department of Music.   Dr. Horace B. Lamar, Jr., has been appointed as the new Chair of the Department of Music. In that post, Dr. Lamar will oversee all academic aspects of the department and provide leadership for faculty development, fundraising, as well as student recruitment and retention.   Prior to his arrival at DSU, Dr. Lamar served at Alabama State University from 1991-2006, where he taught woodwinds and for nine of those years served as the dean of the University’s School of Music (1996-2005). Under his dean leadership, the ASU School of Music earned accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Music. After retiring from ASU, he did consulting work, workshops and recitals over the last five years.   Dr. Lamar earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education (magna cum laude) from Mississippi Valley State University, a Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Lloyd Benjamin Mallory, Jr.   Dr. Lloyd Benjamin Mallory, Jr., has been appointed Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at DSU. In addition to teaching choral and vocal related curriculum, Dr. Mallory will direct the University’s Concert Choir and choral ensembles.   Prior to his arrival at DSU, Dr. Mallory served over the last year as the interim choral director at Clark Atlanta University and also assisted with the special projects and performances with the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, D.C. He was the associate pastor for worship and music at Sligo Church in Takoma Park, Md. from 2006-2010 and as an associate professor of music at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala. from 1996-2006.   Dr. Mallory has a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in Flute and Vocal Performance from Oakwood University, a Master of Arts in Music from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. and a Doctor of Musical Arts from UCLA.  

DSU's Dr. S. Besong Makes His Mark in Heart Disease Prevention Research

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    Dr. Samuel Besong     Dr. Samuel A. Besong, chair of the DSU Department of Human Ecology, is making his mark in the heart disease prevention arena with his published findings that identify purslane leaves as a means of suppressing bad cholesterol in adults.   The DSU associate professor of human ecology, along with Dr. Michael O. Ezekwe, associate professor of agriculture at Alcorn State University, has jointly published findings that purslane contains omega 3 fatty acid – essential nutrients that are vital for preventing the synthesis of bad cholesterol. Dr. Besong's research on Purslane (above) is contributing to the growing body of evidence that the plant can help prevent heart disease.   “Purslane has soluble fiber and good fat (omega 3), the combination of those two nutrients has a good effect on Cholesterol,” Dr. Besong said. “Lettuce and other plants have good fiber but don’t have the omega 3 fatty acid; that’s what makes purslane unique.”   Dr. Besong, who has been at DSU since 2005, began his heart disease prevention research seven years ago when he was a faculty member of Alcorn State, and continued his joint research work with Dr. Ezekwe after he moved on to DSU.   Their research on the effects of freeze-dried supplements of purslane on heart disease has been published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. The research duo is now studying the most effective ways that the plant can be consumed – such as a freeze-dried plant or in pill form – to reduce bad cholesterol.  

DSU Professor Authors Book on Ghanaian Pidgin English

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    Dr. Joe Amoako with his book on Ghanaian Pidgin English.     Dr. Joe Amoako, an associate professor of English and Foreign Languages at Delaware State University, has authored Ghanaian Pidgin English – Diachronic, Synchronic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, which deals with the bridging of traditional African languages with English in the West African country of Ghana.   The book studies this particular language phenomena in the context of social and structure definitions of “pidgin,” which deal with both the need to bridge two or more languages and the resulting reduced linguistic structure that serves as a means to communicate among people who don’t have a common language.   In his book, Dr. Amoako – a native of Ghana and a 13-year associate professor at DSU – explores the definitions of pidgin and creole and why Ghanaian variation is of the pidgin variety.   Ghanaian Pidgin English can be ordered online at www.novapublishers.com  

DSU Receives $2,000 Scholarship Donation from Bancroft Construction

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(L-r) Bancroft Scholarship recipient and DSU student Devon Sivels, Bancroft Construction President Greg Sawka, DSU Provost Alton Thompson and Bancroft Past President Stephen Mockbee celebrate the donation by the construction firm.

 

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    The Bancroft Construction Company recently expressed its support for Delaware State University by donating $2,000 to go toward a scholarship for the 2011-2012 school year.   Bancroft’s Greg Sawka, president, and Stephen M. Mockbee, past president, presented the check to Dr. Alton Thompson, DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, who accepted the financial gift on behalf of the University during a campus visit by the company's officials on Aug. 5.   The gift is the first installment of an annual scholarship donation that Bancroft has committed to over the next five years, which Mr. Sawka said is a reflection of Bancroft’s mission and commitment to the community.   This year's recipient of the Bancroft Scholarship is Devon Sivels, a DSU junior aviation major and honor student from Milford, Del.   The Bancroft Company is a Wilmington-based full-service construction management, general contracting, design-build, program management and estimating services firm that serves the Mid-Atlantic Region. The company – which has been in existence for 35 years – specializes in a variety of commercial, institutional and industrial sectors projects.  

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