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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.    

DSU Hosts Unveiling of the Kent County 2011 Profile

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Unveiling the Kent County Delaware 2011 Profile are Gregg Moore, Downtown Dover Partnership president; Alan Levin, Del. Economic Development Office; Dennis Klima, Kent Economic Development chair; Judy Diogo, Central Del. Chamber of Commerce president; and DSU President Harry L. Williams.

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    In its partnership role in the economic vitality and development of Central Delaware, DSU played host to a Jan. 25 gathering of the business community for the unveiling of Independent Newspaper, Inc.’s 2011 Kent County Delaware Profile publication.   A collaborative effort between Independent’s Delaware State News and the Kent Economic Partnership, the Kent County Delaware Profile’s goal is to promote development and business in Central Delaware. The publication contains a wealth of information about Kent County and the businesses community of Central Delaware.   Ed Dulin, Delaware State News publisher, emceed the event, which was held in the Martin Luther King Student Center on campus, providing many of the attending 100 business community representatives a first-time opportunity to see the relatively new facility that was dedicated last year.   DSU President Harry L. Williams told the gathering about the economic impact DSU has on Dover and Kent County, noting that the University injects tens of millions of dollars into the local economy that results in hundreds of jobs.   Dr. Williams said despite last year’s economic challenges, the University experienced a school-record total enrollment of 3,819 in the fall 2010 that included about 906 freshmen.   “We’re bringing students in, and when they leave here we want them to stay here,” said Dr. Williams. “We’re doing a lot of exciting things.”   The Kent County Profile can be read online at www.kentcountyprofile.com.  

DSU Receives $88K from its Alumni Association

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(L-r) DSUAA Vice President Meeshach Stennett, DSU President Harry L. Williams, DSUAA President Dr. K. Bernard Chase and DSUAA Recording Secretary Shelia Davis take part in the Jan. 22 check presentation.

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              The Delaware State University Alumni Association (DSUAA) has joined its alma mater’s efforts to retain returning students by presenting the institution with a donation of $88,560 to go toward financial aid.   Dr. K. Bernard Chase, DSUAA president, made the presentation during the University’s Jan. 22 basketball double-header at home against Morgan State University. As the Hornet basketball crowd watched, DSU President Harry L. Williams accepted the check at Memorial Hall Gymnasium’s center court on behalf of the Delaware State University Foundation during halftime of men’s game.     Dr. Chase recalled that Martin Luther King, Jr., noted that “life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” He said it is such a question that has moved the DSUAA to help the students of its alma mater.     “It is the Delaware State University Alumni Association’s responsibility to support and help those who follow in our footsteps,” Dr. Chase said. “So, in the spirit of Dr. King, we are proud to give this contribution to the students.”    Dr. Chase and Dr. Williams were joined in the check presentation by DSUAA Vice President Meeshach Stennett and Recording Secretary Sheila Davis.    “Today, with the presentation of this significant gift, our Alumni Association has established a new benchmark and a new standard for alumni giving,” said Dr. Williams. “We hope that all alumni fully understand what this act means to our students, and that our students fully appreciate what this act means to their futures.”   The sizable gift will provide much needed financial assistance to returning DSU students, Dr. Williams added.   Mr. Stennett, class of 1998, said it is a new day for the DSUAA. “When I was a student, we never received such help from alumni,” he said. “It was important for the students to see this today, so they will be encouraged to be a part of this culture of giving that is being developed.    

DSU Holds Jan. 19 "Kickoff to Wellness"

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and Dr. Ian Smith, health expert of VH1's Celebrity Fitness Club, met some students during a Jan. 19 reception of the DSU President's Residence.

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    DSU launched into a new initiative on Jan. 19 designed to reaffirm its priority in promoting healthy lifestyles among its campus community. DSU student Selena Campbell gets her blood pressure checked during the Kickoff to Wellness.   In a daylong event called “Kickoff to Wellness,” health displays and demonstrations were featured at the Martin Luther King Student Center to raise student awareness concerning the health resources that can be accessed on campus.   Tables were set up to offer information from the DSU Office of Counseling, the Delaware Center for Health Promotions, the Food & Nutrition Club and the DelaWELL Program. In addition students were able to have their blood pressure checked, while the Wellness & Recreation Center gave rhythmic Zumba Fitness aerobics demonstrations.   The Kickoff to Wellness culminated with an evening event that featured Dr. Ian Smith, a nationally known health and wellness expert, as a guest speaker in the MLK Student Center. Dr. Smith did not pull any punches about the state of affairs in our country where physical condition is concerned.   “America should be ashamed of itself,” said Dr. Smith, a medical/diet expert on VH1’s “Celebrity Fitness Club” cable program. “Sixty-seven percent are overweight and our children are the heaviest they have ever been. Our level of physical inactivity is disgusting.”   Dr. Smith said that for the first time in history, it is predicted that this generation will not outlive their parents. “Why? The reasons are heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure,” he said.   The health expert recommended that students focus on “smart living” instead of diets. “When you wake up in the morning, eat one piece of fruit,” Dr. Smith said. “Eat two vegetables a day – one at lunch and one at dinner.” (L-r) Danielle Crist and Eleni Dallas demonstrate the moves of Zumba aerobics.   Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs, said the timing was right to bring Dr. Smith to DSU.   “This was an excellent time to bring in this speaker of international acclaim as a health expert, as the University’s Wellness Center is planning launching activities and people are setting goals,” Mr. Atkins said.   Michelle Fisher, director of the DSU Health Center and the chair of the Student Affairs Health Committee, said a goal of the University is to promote healthy lifestyles campus-wide.   “(The health committee) would like to hold some type of health initiative each month for students and keep healthy living at the forefront,” Ms. Fisher said.   

AstraZeneca Contribution to DSU funds Health Promotion Center

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Holding a $250,000 check are DSU President Harry Williams; Tyrone Jones, director of Corporate and Community Relations; Dr. Claibourne Smith, DSU Board of Trustees chairman; U.S. Rep. John C. Carney Jr.; and Marianne Carter, director of the Del. Center for Health Promotion.

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        AstraZeneca has presented Delaware State University with a $250,000 charitable contribution to support the establishment of the Delaware Center for Health Promotion on campus.   The Delaware Center for Health Promotion (DCHP) will provide DSU’s students, faculty and staff with an on-campus resource for information and guidance about healthy lifestyle choices. The AstraZeneca donation will be spread out over five years.   DSU President Harry L. Williams accepted the $250,000 donation on behalf of the DSU Foundation from Tyrone Jones, Director  of Corporate Community Alliances for AstraZeneca, during the Jan. 13 DSU Board of Trustees meeting. While it is not the first donation from AstraZeneca, to date it is the largest donation to DSU from the company given in support of the University’s internal and external operations.   “AstraZeneca’s expression of financial support reflects its great corporate concern for the health of our campus community and an acknowledgement of Delaware State University’s capability to extend its health outreach to the community at large,” Dr. Harry L. Williams said. “DSU is truly grateful for the pharmaceutical company’s contribution and how it will help us promote good health practices on our campus and beyond.” U.S. Rep. John C. Carney, Jr., said that DSU is a good home for the Delaware Center for Health Promotion. He added that AstraZeneca has always been "a tremendous partner" in the state.   Dr. Williams also said he is excited that the Delaware Center for Health Promotion is joining together with the DSU Health Center and other University health stakeholders to provide the campus community with an unprecedented array of health resources.   U.S. Rep. John C. Carney, Jr., who was a promoter of health initiatives during his days as Delaware's lieutenant governor (2001-2008), traveled from Washington, D.C. to be present for the check presentation. He noted that a constant topic in Congress is the federal deficit, and that health care cost is a big factor in that challenge.   "One way is to encourage people to live healthy," Rep. Carney said. "With DSU and the Delaware Center for Health Promotion, we will do that."   Tyrone Jones, director of AstraZeneca's Corporate and Community Alliances, noted that this same initiative is modeled after two other programs previously supported by AstraZeneca.   "AstraZeneca is pleased to support this collaboration with DSU because we share the same commitment to patient health as well as the same understanding that behavior that is established in early adulthood lasts a lifetime," Mr. Jones said.   Marianne Carter, DCHP director, will focus the center’s efforts on assisting the University in the creation of a student wellness program, on engaging DSU employees in health programs such as DelaWELL, as well as develop community programs for the public.   She said prevention will be the key emphasis in the center's programming. "It is clear that DSU works hard to make its students successful," Ms. Carter said. "We will work on instilling healthy habits in the graduates of this University."   Ms. Carter is already integrating DCHP into University life by serving on the DSU Student Affairs Health Committee. She said the DCHP will be working with the committee to launch a new Weight Loss Program for the student population, to hold a Feb. 24 Health Fair on campus, as well as to conduct an extensive health survey on campus.   “The survey will better inform us about the health needs among DSU students and will guide us in other health programming we will establish on campus,” Ms. Carter said.    

DSU Research Focuses on Sand Tiger Shark Conservation

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Fisheries research students Naeem Willett, Jennifer Green and Johnny Moore hold a Sand Tiger Shark that they will place a transmitter in to track its migrations.

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The Sand Tiger Shark has been around for 250,000 years. Despite the female shark’s ability to only produce two baby sharks every couple of years, the species has managed to survive very well over most of that time. DSU graduate research student Johnny Moore assists  in measuring a sand tiger in the Delaware Bay.   However due to directed fisheries and unintentional bycatch, the sand tigers are now considered to be a Species of Concern by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as a result of significant population declines over the last several decades.   In an effort to reverse this trend, DSU fisheries staff and students are working in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the NMFS as part of a five-year $350,00 grant. The primary focus of this grant is to develop a conservation plan for sand tigers in the Delaware Bay, which serves as an essential habitat for sand tigers. Working with regional stakeholders, Dr. Dewayne Fox, associate professor of fisheries, is leading the effort to identify threats to sand tigers to assist in rebuilding populations of this large shark.   Since 2005 Dr. Fox and his lab have been working in collaboration with Dr. Brad Wethebee of the University of Rhode Island on Delaware's sharks. Sand tigers are the largest commonly occurring shark in Delaware waters and ecologically serve as an apex predator, feeding on mainly smaller fish and invertebrates. Although sand tigers are found in many nearshore areas that are also  popular swimming destinations, they are generally not considered dangerous to humans.   The Delaware Bay serves a unique role in the conservation and recovery of sand tigers as it serves as a critical foraging habitat during the summer months when most growth occurs. In fact, the Delaware Bay is thought to have one of the largest population of sand tigers in North America, further emphasizing the need to collect information on their habitat requirements.   The sand tiger research efforts at SDU take place during the warm summer months when the species return from their overwintering grounds spanning the waters off of North Carolina to Florida. There are three components to the project:: 1.) is developing a better understanding of the sand tigers’ habitat needs; 2.) to identify threats or hindrances to the species recovery; and 3.) outreach and education.   Research on the sand tiger habitat requirements is based on cutting edge technology that utilizes an extensive array of passive acoustic receivers. DSU staff and students capture sand tigers using baited lines with up to 100 hooks at a time. Upon capture, each sand tiger is measured and the sex is determined. In 2010, DSU researchers managed to land a total of 113 sand tigers – some of which were as much as 11 feet in length.   Throughout the course of the summer research work, about 25 to 50 sand tigers are surgically implanted with transmitters that have a battery life of 6.5 years. These transmitters are individually coded and allow researchers to track the movements of tagged sand tigers. The data on the movements of sand tigers is then developed into predictive models, which allow the NMFS and DNREC to better predict the impact of human action on sand tiger habitats.   The information on the movements of tagged sand tigers is also central to planned outreach and education activities. Through a web-based interface, members of the public will be able to track the movements of individual sand tigers during the species’ residency in Delaware Bay as well as in locations where the transmitters are detected on distant arrays.   DSU’s sand tigers have been recorded numerous times in North Carolina and Georgia. One sand tiger that was tagged in the Delaware Bay in 2008 has been recorded by NASA scientist at Cape Canaveral, Fla. during the past two winters. That same sand tiger has returned dutifully to Delaware’s waters during the summer months in a previously unknown linkage between Delaware and Florida. DSU graduate researcher Johnny Moore implants a transmitter in a small sand tiger prior to release in the Delaware Bay. Dr. Dewayne Fox (l) restrains the sand tiger.   Dr. Fox joking noted, “Who doesn’t want to visit Florida during the winter months?”   The DSU researcher said the goal is to work with stakeholders such as commercial fishers, the U.S.Army Corp of Engineers, and others to provide them with guidance on when is the best time for conduct their activities.   He noted that the need for a better understanding of the species' habitat is especially important in light of the dredging activities of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Such research data can help provide guidance to minimize the impacts of such activity on the sand tiger.  

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