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DSU and State Sign Agreement to Enroll "Aged Out" Foster Youths

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and Secretary Vivian Rapposelli of the state Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families sign a formal agreement that will enroll in the University two foster youths a year who have "aged out" of foster care and are academically eligible..

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    Delaware State University and the State Division of Family Services (DFS) announced a new initiative today that will make higher education a reality for eligible foster youths.   DSU President Harry L. Williams and Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, signed a formal agreement today (Feb. 14) that will annually provide an opportunity for two foster youths who reach the age of 18 to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Delaware State University. State Sen. Brian Bushweller, state Rep. Darryl Scott, state Rep. William Carson, state Rep. LIncoln Willis, attended the agreement signing to show their support for the initiative.   Although unable to attend the agreement signing due to a schedule conflict, Gov. Jack Markell today expressed his strong support of the program.   “This is about giving kids who've been dealt a difficult hand a chance for further success. It's about the opportunity to work hard, stay focused and accomplish their dreams,’ Gov. Markell said. “The University and the Department have created a partnership that will bring great students to the school and give them opportunities for the future.” Secretary Rapposelli said that youths who age out of foster care face the same obstacles as other young adults, but often without the support of their families.   “This partnership with DSU provides the students it supports with stability, hope and peace of mind – allowing them to start the next phase of their lives on a solid foundation,” Secretary Rapposelli said. “We are grateful to DSU and excited for the many young men and women who will benefit from this opportunity.”   The DFS will identify two foster youths per year who have aged out (turned 18) of foster care, are academically eligible and personally motivated to attend DSU. The state agency will assist the foster youths in completing the necessary academic and financial paperwork   DSU will give the enrolled foster youths access to year-round on-campus housing and to its student support services, assist them in the completion of the financial aid process and help them identify scholarship opportunities.   “With community and outreach being among DSU’s five core values, this opportunity to help worthy foster youths achieve their dreams is consistent with the University’s standing as a valuable education asset to the state,” President Williams said.   The foster youths will receive state financial support in the form of Educational and Training Vouchers and Housing Vouchers. In the event there is a shortfall of state funds, the foster youths will be expected to apply for student loans or other financial aid opportunities to cover the shortfall.   There are over 700 children in Delaware’s foster care system. In fiscal 2010, there were 94 foster youths that aged out of the system.    

DSU's Dr. Finger Wright Honored for Role in Greensboro Protests

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DSU's Dr. Dolores Finger Wright (center) celebrates her award with the surviving "Greensboro Four": (l-r) Franklin McCain, Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, Jibree Khazan and Donald Brandon.

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    Dr. Dolores Finger Wright, a DSU associate professor of social work, has recently been honored for the role she played in the historic public accommodations demonstrations in Greensboro, N.C. during the early 1960s. Dr. Dolores Finger Wright (l) with award presenter Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, on of the "Greensboro Four."   Dr. Finger Wright received the International Civil Rights Center & Museum Sit-In Hero’s Award on Feb. 5 during the 51st Anniversary Gala Commemorating the Greensboro Sit-ins.   During the tumultuous 1960s in Greensboro, the DSU associate professor was an undergraduate student in Bennett College for Women. Her extracurricular activity from her bachelor’s degree pursuit was working behind the scene during the Greensboro demonstrations and taking part in the picket lines.   Presenting the award to Dr. Finger Wright was Ret. Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, one of the “Greensboro Four” that gained worldwide notoriety for their sit-ins protests at segregated lunch counters in Greensboro in 1960.   “Delores would picket during the days to integrate the stores,” said Ret. Maj. Gen. McNeil. “She would work the picket lines at night to integrate the movie theatres, which was dangerous in Greensboro.”   Dr. Finger Wright said that she also worked behind the scenes strategizing with her Bennett College sisters, professors, as well as through her affiliations with the NAACP and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).   The group formed a vanguard that would picket and demonstrate, and many – including Dr. Finger Wright – were arrested in the course of their protests.   “I saw my participation as an epiphany, moving from late adolescence to early adulthood all in the matter of days,” Dr. Finger Wright said. “That’s what my rearing was about – doing what’s right. So I had to be a part of it.”   After her graduation from Bennett College, Dr. Finger Wright would 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.   The Gala was held at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.  

DSU's Dr. Kevina Vulinec Named as Fulbright Scholar

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Dr. Kevina Vulinec and graduate student Megan Wallrichs take data from a red bat in a DSU lab. Dr. Vulinec will continue her bat research as a Fulbright scholar in the rainforests of Brazil.

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    Dr. Kevina Vulinec, a DSU associate professors in natural resources, has been awarded a competitive Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and do research in the South American country of Brazil as part of her ongoing work on bat species.   Specifically Dr. Vulinec will work with Dr. Paulo Estefano Dineli Bobrowiec from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazonia in Brazil. She will teach and conduct research on seed-dispersing bats in Brazil’s fragmented tropical rainforest.   A large amount of Brazil’s rainforests have been lost to human activities such as logging, reducing it to one-eighth of the size it was 1½ centuries ago. Because it is home to an impressive number of endangered plants and animal species, the rainforest is considered to be a threatened biodiversity area.   Dr. Vulinec’s research will focus on the impact of rainforest fragmentation on the seed-dispersing bats – a species that disperse the seeds from fruits it eats, and thereby replenishing the rainforest with seeds that grow into new plants and fruits.   In addition, Dr. Vulinec will conduct a workshop for the Instituto Nacional’s students on nocturnal wildlife audio-video technology.   Dr. Vulinec will arrive in Brazil to begin her work on Feb. 21. The Fulbright research and teaching experience will continue until late May.   “It is an incredible opportunity,” Dr. Vulinec said. “It is the best award for getting people out for scholarship purposes.”   Dr. Vulinec’s findings will be accessed by the Biological Fragmentation Project, the world largest-scale and longest-running study of habitat fragmentation, operated cooperatively by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research.   The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.    

DSU Student Selected to be NASA Ambassador

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  A Delaware State University undergraduate student has been selected to be among a nationwide group of top interns that will serve as ambassadors for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). DSU senior Harry N. Burton III will serve as a NASA ambassador.   Harry N. Burton III, a senior physics/pre-engineering major at DSU, has been selected for the NASA ambassadorship, which he hopes will pay future professional dividends.   “I applied to get connected with NASA and possibly get a job with them,” said Mr. Burton, who is a resident of Dover and a 2007 graduate of Dover High School. “I think their mission is significant in science.”   As one of the 105 NASA ambassadors selected nationwide, Mr. Burton will give presentations in the Delmarva region, work at job fairs and conduct other outreach endeavors on behalf of the space agency.   Mr. Burton is the second DSU student to be selected for the NASA ambassadorship. In 2010 Bryan E. Greenly, currently senior physics major, was the first-ever DSU student selected for the honor.  

DSU Announces New Appointments

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    DSU has recently made new appointments to its Department of Public Safety and Office of Development. Interim Police Chief Willie Bell, Jr.   DSU has named Willie Bell, Jr., a retired 34-year enforcement officer and public safety administrator, as the interim University Police Chief. More than 28 of those years were spent in higher education at three different universities, including 17 years as director of public safety and chief of police for two HBCUs (North Fayetteville State University and Winston Salem State University).    Interim Chief Bell holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Fayetteville State University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Central University and is also a graduate of the Law Enforcement Executive Program of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.    He is now the principal of Bell Consulting Group, which specializes in law enforcement and parking and transportation consulting services for higher education.                     Al Lavan   Interim Chief Bell takes over for former DSU Police Chief James T. Overton, who has left the University to become the police chief at the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus. Chief Overton’s last day was Feb. 2.     DSU has also further strengthened its development staff with the naming of Al Lavan and Bryan T.T. Bell as it newest development officers.   Al Lavan moves into the development field after more than 35 years as a collegiate and professional football coach. Mr. Lavan served as the DSU head coach from 2004-2010, and prior to that his football career included 18 years as an assistant coach with several NFL football teams. He is a graduate of Colorado State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.             Bryant T.T. Bell   Bryant T.T. Bell will join the development officer team as an alumnus of DSU from the classes of 1975 and 1994. Mr. Bell, who earned a BS in Business Administration and a MBA with DSU, previously worked as a senior brokerage officer and senior client advisor for Wilmington Trust and as an assistant to the director of Continuing Education for Delaware Technical and Community College.    

Kermit Blount Named as New Hornet Head Football Coach

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Hornet Head Football Coach Kermit W. Blount and Athletics Director Derek Carter pose after the new coach was named to take the helm of the football program.

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DSU President Harry Lee Williams announced Kermit W. Blount as the new Head Football Coach of the Hornet football program during a Feb. 4 media event in the MLK Student Center. Coach Blount brings 27 years of intercollegiate football coaching experience to Delaware State University – including the last 16 years as the head football coach for Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Coach Kermit Blount fields questions from the media after the Feb. 4 press conference that introduced him as the new head football coach.   During his 1993 to 2010 tenure at Winston-Salem, Coach Blount had a career record 91-87-3. He guided the Rams to two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championships and a total of three CIAA Championship game appearances. He also led Winston-Salem to two Pioneer Bowl appearances, one of which the team emerged as the victor (1999).      Coach Blount was honored as the CIAA Coach of the Year and as the Washington D.C. Pigskin Coach of the Year, as well as the 100% Wrong Club Coach of the Year – each award in both 1999 and 2000.   In addition to his on-the-field successes, Coach Blount increased the Winston-Salem players’ graduation rate from 42% in 1993 to 80% by 2009.   Prior to his Winston-Salem tenure, he served from 1983-1992 in assistant coach posts with South Carolina State University, Howard University and East Carolina University. During all three coaching stints, he coached quarterbacks and receivers; Coach Blount also served as the offensive coordinator for S.C. State.   Throughout his career, a number of players from his teams have gone to play professionally in the NFL, CFL and the Arena Football League, including William Hayes, a starting third-year defensive end for the Tennessee Titans.   President Williams said that Coach Blount’s record speaks for itself.   “Coach Blount has proven he knows how to guide student-athletes to championship-level seasons as well as accomplish high standards of academic success,” Dr. Williams said. “The Search Committee is to be commended for its diligence in reviewing the candidates, in engaging in earnest deliberations and arriving at its recommendation.”  DSU President Harry L. Williams, Search Committee Chair Candy Young, Coach Kermit Blount and Athletics Director Derek Carter come together for a photo op at the end of the press conference.   The selection of Coach Blount was the culmination of DSU’s nationwide search process that resulted in the attraction of more than 50 candidates, said Candy Young, the chair of the DSU Search Committee and associate athletics director/senior women’s administrator.   President Williams appointed the members of the diverse search committee, which in addition to Ms. Young included: Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs; Dr. Jan Blade, associate professor of sports sciences, Carolyn Curry, vice president of Institutional Advancement and chief of staff, Barry Granger, DSU Board of Trustees member; Eric Hart, associate athletics director/Student Services; Frank Marshall, founder/longtime president of the DSU Boosters and alumnus (’62); Calvin Miner, DSU student athlete; Alfred Outlaw, DSU Alumni Association representative and class of 1971; Edna Piper, athletics administrative assistant; and Joseph Purczyki, former DSU head football coach (1981-84).   Coach Kermit Blount was accompanied by his wife Ava for the press conference. Ms. Young said the committee reviewed the resumes and interviewed a selected pool of candidates who emerged as strong contenders. “The search process was extensive, thorough and very fair,” Ms. Young said.   Athletics Director Derek Carter said that the new coach will fit in well at DSU.   “Kermit Blount stood out among the many outstanding candidates for the position because of his broad experience, proven leadership and vision for Delaware State University football,” AD Carter said. “His record of leading young men to success on the field and in the classroom makes him an ideal fit for the university and the football program.”   Coach Blount said he has always admired DSU from afar, and now he is excited to be a part of the institution. He said while he is interested in winning football games, he is especially interested in his players’ academic successes.   “The no. 1 thing we have to have players to understand is the vision and the mission of the University,” Coach Blount said. “I am very interested in our players graduating.”   A native of Richmond, Va., Coach Blount has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from Winston-Salem State University.   He will be joined in his move to Delaware by his wife Ava. Their union of 25 years has produced two grown children, April and Bryan.  

DSU to Present the Dramatic "Fannie Lou Hamer Story" on Stage

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    Delaware State University will present the powerful Mzuri Moyo one-woman dramatic production “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story: Songs on a Rugged Road” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus. Mzuri Moyo in her portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer.   The dramatic play – which is being presented by the DSU Office of Student Affairs as part of the Black History Month observance – is free and open to the public.   Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the most talked about activists of the golden age of civil rights, was a prominent Mississippi freedom fighter during the 1960s. Her work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to promote voter registration in the South and her deep commitment to grass-roots anti-poverty projects made her a force to be reckoned with.   Ms. Moyo has traveled the country with her signature performance in the one-woman musical play on the life of the 1960s civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. The play, first showcased in 2001, has become the backdrop for voter registration wherever it is performed.   In 2002, Ms. Moyo received an AUDELCO Award – given annually to honor New York City African American Theatre works and thespians – for the Best Solo Performance.     A talented vocalist, the native of Patterson, N.J., has been enthusiastically received on cabaret and concert stages internationally. Ms. Moyo recently sang in Paraguay with the Opera for Peace, performing as one of three sopranos in a performance with the New York City Symphony.  

DSU to Host the Rescheduled 2011 Delaware Brain Bee

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    Some future brain specialists may be among the contestants this weekend as Delaware State University hosts the 2nd annual Delaware Brain Bee Competition beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 in room 205, Mishoe Science Center South on campus. Brain Bee Coordinator stands with the 2010 winner Amy Forster and state Sen. Colin Bonini.   The Brain Bee Competition – rescheduled from a Jan. 8 weather postponement – is free and open to the public.   In this challenging competition, Delaware high school students will answer questions about the nervous system. Topics will range from how the brain functions normally to what goes wrong in the brain in connection with disorders like Alzheimer's disease, addictions, Lou Gehrig’s disease and depression.    Getting young men and women interested and excited about the brain is important given the urgency of finding cures for devastating illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, said Dr. Princy Quadros Mennella, DSU assistant professor of biological science and the Delaware Brain Bee lead coordinator.     “Additionally, there is a greater need for better treatments for disorders such as depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as their incidences are on the rise,” Dr. Mennella said. “It is quite possible that one of our own Delaware high school students may be the next neuroscientist to solve enigma that is the human brain.”   This competition is not only an opportunity for the community to support our high school students, but also to learn more about the brain. In addition to the competition, there will be demonstrations on sheep brain dissections as well as a real human brain and spinal cord for display.    This year there will be contestants from the Charter School of Wilmington, Cab Calloway School of Arts, Cesar Rodney High School, Indian River High School and Polytechnical High School.   The winner of the Delaware Brain Bee gets to compete in the National Brain Bee, to be held in March 2011 in Baltimore, Md. Last year Amy Forster from the Charter School of Wilmington won the Delaware Brain Bee and competed in the 2010 National Brain Bee Championship, placing 17th out of 35th high school competitors from across the country                                                                 

DSU to Hold Annual Founders Day Program on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 11a.m.

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A new sense of appreciation and pride will be gained from the celebration of the residential hall namesakes at this year's Founders Day Program.

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      DSU will hold its annual Founders Day under this year’s theme of “Love, Honor, Respect” at 11 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 10 in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus.   This year’s Founders Day will celebrate and tell the stories of the namesakes of the eight traditional residential halls on campus – Samuel L. Conwell, Medgar W. Evers, Frederick J. Franklin, Meta V. Jenkins, Lydia P. Laws, Harriet Tubman, Cora E. Warren and Dr. W. Richard Wynder.   Their stories will told through a dramatic presentation.   The event is free and open to the public.  

DSU Aviation Program Recognized by Del. House of Representatives

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The DSU Aviation Team: (bottom l-r) Dan Coons, retired DSU Aviation Program founder and advisor; Courtney Walters, team coach and advisor; Capt. Stephen Speed, program director, team member Kenneth Ritchie, DSU alumni and state Reps.Stephanie Bolden and Don Blakey; (top l-r) team members Andrew Meiers, Robert Saunders, Will Jester, Vincent Russ and Bryan Shultz.

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    The Delaware House of Representatives welcomed to its General Assembly chambers the students and faculty of Delaware State University Aviation Program to recognize its Aviation Team’s success at a recent regional flight competition.   DSU Aviation Program founder Dan Coons, state Speaker of the House Robert F. Gilligan, Capt. Stephen Speed and state Rep. Donald Blakey DSU alumnus and state Rep. Donald A. Blakey introduced the Aviation Program representatives to the legislators and presented the aspiring pilots a certificate of recognition from the House of Representatives.   The DSU Aviation Team – Marc Anderson, Andrew Meiers, Robert Saunders, Will Jester, Vincent Russ, Thomas Beenick and Bryan Shultz – was recognized for their performance in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region VII Flight Competition at the Brookhaven Airport, N.Y.   Topping the DSU aviators’ performance was Marc Anderson, a senior aviation professional pilot major from Felton, Del., who amassed the highest total score after competing in eight flying and ground categories that measured the contestants’ performance in flying, landing, navigation, preflight exercises, as well as other areas.   As the Top Scoring Contestant and Top Pilot of the competition, Mr. Anderson will represent Region VII at the National Flying Competition at Ohio State University in the spring. He was unable to attend the event because he is currently doing a flying internship with Continental Airlines.   Rep. Blakey was joined in the recognition by state Rep. William J. Carson, Jr., and another DSU alumna, newly elected state Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden (’69).   The DSU Aviation Program is led by its director, Capt. Stephen Speed.    

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