News

You are here


Renowned Artist Simmie Knox Shows Portrait Masterpieces at DSU

Description: 

 

(L-r) Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Lori Crawford, associate professor of art, Dr. Donald Blakey, director of the DSU Theatre and Dance Program, portrait artist Simmie Knox and DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith get together after the artist's presentation on Nov. 18.

feature_image: 
Body: 
  Simmie Knox has come a long way in his art career since his DSU days in the early 1960s. The renowned portrait painter came back to DSU on Nov. 18 to give a presentation in the Education & Humanities Theatre on the progression of his art career. In giving a chronological presentation of his art works and how it has developed into a lucrative portrait commission career, Mr. Knox noted that his move into the art field began at Delaware State College in 1961-62.   Enrolling at DSC initially to pursue a science teaching career, Mr. Knox said that a science faculty member noted his sketching skills and recommended that he consider changing his major to art. Simmie Knox talks about of the First Lady portrait (in the background) he did of Hillary Clinton.   Mr. Knox changed his academic focus to art and the rest is history. Mr. Knox later transferred to the University of Delaware and ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Master of Fine Art from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.   In his presentation, Mr. Knox showed the abstract artwork he created as the focus of his efforts early in his career. He shifted his specialty to portraits in the early 1980s and it has been in painting the likeness of many prominent subjects that he has made a nationally known name for himself.   As Mr. Knox showed a generous sampling of his portraits, he also shared anecdotes about the prominent subjects he has painted. One of his early prominent commissions was to paint a series of portraits for the family of comedian Bill Cosby. “I did the portrait of his mother Anna Cosby and I learned where he got his humor from,” Mr. Knox said. “She left me in stitches numerous times.”   After he landed an opportunity to do a portrait of the legendary Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, which led to numerous of commissions to do portraits of other prominent federal and state jurists throughout the country.   Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was impressed enough with the portrait done of her that she recommended Mr. Knox to then-President Bill Clinton, who commissioned Mr. Knox to do his official White House portrait, as well as one of his wife Hillary Clinton.    Through a power point presentation, Mr. Knox shared many other portraits – Muhammad Ali, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Oprah Winfrey, the late historian Dr. John Hope Franklin, Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland, the late singer Lou Rawls, Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron, numerous jurists and many others.   Simmie Knox's portrait of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Knox was brought to the University for the Nov. 18 event by Dr. Donald Blakey, director of the DSU Theatre and Dance Program. Dr. Blakey was a physical education instructor of Mr. Knox during his Delaware State College years.   After answering questions from the audience, Mr. Knox went to the University’s Art Department where he looked as some of the DSU students’ works and held a more intimate discussion about art technique with them. He then completed his day at the University with a lunch reception with DSU Acting President Claibourne Smith, Provost Harry Williams, other faculty and guests.   Simmie Knox was invited to do the presentation by Dr. Donald A. Blakey, director of the DSU Theatre and Dance Program, who brought the artist in connection with his Harlem Renaissance events taking place during the week. Dr. Blakey was a physical education instructor of Mr. Knox during his Delaware State College years.    

Del. River and Bay Authority Donates $5,000 to DSU Aviation

Description: 

 

 

DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith, DSU aviation students Terrance Brown, Ryan Agan, and Frank W. Minor, deputy executive director of the DRBA, hold a display check symbolizing the donation by the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

 

feature_image: 
Body: 
  The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) recently donated $5,000 to go toward scholarships for Delaware State University aviation students. The DSU Aviation Program (formerly Airway Science) is based at the Delaware Airpark, an airfield facility operated by the DRBA. DSU maintains its 10 aircrafts and conducts its flight training at the airpark.   Capt. Stephen Speed, the director of the DSU Aviation Program, said the donation is greatly appreciated by the University and its aviation students.   “Despite the fact that we provide one of the lowest cost options in the country, the number one obstacle for our Aviation students is the high cost of flight training,” Capt. Speed said.  “The DRBA’s recent gift of $5,000, which will be allocated for the Aviation Retention Scholarship, is a critical component in our ability to remain competitive, attract and retain top-notch aviation students and provide these students with the resources they need to be successful in their aviation careers.”  

The "DSU Harlem Renaissance" to be performed Nov. 17-21

Description: 

 

Cleo J. Harmon stands with a stage scenery portion that she created for the DSU Harlem Renaissance production.

Body: 
    Major African American figures in the music, literature and the arts of the 1920s will come to life as the University’s Theater and Dance Program presents the “DSU Harlem Renaissance during a series of performances Nov. 17-21.   There will be daytime presentations on Tuesday thru Thursday, Nov. 17-19 as well as evening performances on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20-21 all taking place at the Education and Humanities Building.   All performances are free and open to the public. The DSU Harlem Renaissance will include   At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 and at 12 noon Thursday, Nov. 19, major figures such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, A’Leatha Walker and others will be portrayed in performances in the first floor lobby of the Education and Humanities Building.   At 11 a.m. Wednesday Nov. 18, renowned portrait painter Simmie Knox will give a presentation on his career and show some of the famous figures that he has painted. Mr. Knox, who attended Delaware State College 1961 and 1962, painted the official White House portrait of former President Bill Clinton. This presentation will take place in the Education and Humanities Theatre.   At 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20-21, The DSU Harlem Renaissance will shift to a series of dance and music performances that will reenact the famous Cotton Club and how it provided a high profile venue for the orchestras of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. The “rent parties” that took place frequently in Harlem, which served as a venue for performer such as Fats Waller will also be reenacted..   The DSU Harlem Renaissance will be performed by University students and community performers. The production is directed by Don Blakey, who is also the director of the DSU Theater and Dance Program. Denver Shockley is the choreographer and Randolph Johnson, DSU band director, is the director of the orchestra that will performed during the Nov. 20-21 productions.   

Dramatic Play "Top Dog/Underdog Rescheduled for Nov. 13

Description: 

 

Mark Reid (l) as Lincoln and Aaron Bell as Booth star in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Suzan-Lori Parks, “Top Dog/Underdog.”

 

Body: 
    Delaware State University will present a drama of sibling rivalry in the play production “Top Dog/Underdog” in two rescheduled performances at 2 p.m. and  7:30 p.m. both on Friday, Nov. 13 in the Education and Humanities Theatre. The Nov. 13 performances is a rescheduled date, as the original October dates had to be postponed due to actor illness. Both Nov. 13 plays are free and open to the public.   The two-actor production is based on the magnus opus work written by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells to story of the adult lives of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, as they deal with women issues, work, poverty, gambling, racism and their dysfunctional upbringing.   Directed by S. Brown, the play features two DSU students – Mark Reid as Lincoln and Aaron Bell as Booth.    “Some people will relate this sibling rivalry to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel or of Esau and Jacob,” said Ms. Brown. “It is the story of two brothers who search for their own identity while trying to escape the ghosts of their pasts.”   The director said social justice is a strong theme of the production. “It asks the question, don’t we hear our brother and sister’s blood crying out from the ground?” Ms. Brown said. “How many times do we walk by someone that’s hurting and turn a blind eye.”   The play has strong adult language and is therefore not considered a family play.    

DSU Student Aviators Shine in Regional Flight Competition

Description: 

 

 

(L-r) The DSU winning aviation team that won the top safety award: Vincent Russ, Marc Anderson, Courtney Walters (instructor/coach) and Kenneth Richie.

 

Body: 
  A team of DSU aviation students showed off their aircraft command and took home several top prizes during the Oct. 23-27 National Intercollegiate Flying Association Regional Flight Competition.   The team – Marc Anderson of Felton, Del., Kenneth Ritchie of Ft. Washington, Md., and Vincent Russ of Willingboro, N.J. – won the Top Team Award for Safecon, an award given to the team that demonstrates the most outstanding aviation safety during the competition.   In addition, Mr. Anderson took the 1st place trophies for the Power Off Landing and Short Field Land categories, and also won the Top Male Pilot award.   Mr. Anderson and Mr. Ritchie took jointly took 2nd place in the Message Drop category.   The team was coached by Courtney Walters, a flight instructor and alumnus of the DSU Aviation Program.   “I am particularly proud of the team for winning the team award for safety,” Capt. Stephen R. Speed, director of the DSU Aviation Program. “The other teams emulated many of the precautions that the DSU team put in place in preparation for the competition once they observed how our team approached safety.”   DSU competed in the competition against four other universities.    

Homecoming Photo Gallery

Body: 
Delaware State University celebrated Homecoming Oct. 19-24.  Visit the link below to view a photo gallery of just a few of the events that took place that week. www.desu.edu/homecoming-2009-gallery

DSU's Lisa Dunning Receives Rising Star Award

Body: 
  Lisa A.Dunning, director of the College of Business Advisement Center, recently received the 2009 Rising Star Award from the American Council of Education Office of Women in Higher Education during the organization’s annual dinner in Lisa Dunning, one of three recipients of the 2009 Rising Star Award. Dover.   The Rising Star Award is presented annually to women in higher education in Delaware who exhibit great potential achieve more and who demonstrate a commitment to higher education, community service and overall leadership.   Ms. Dunning was one of three recipients honored with the Rising Star Award. LeaNora Ruffin, Esq. of Widener University School of Law and Simone George of Wilmington University were the other awardees.    “Each day the opportunity to make a difference in the education and career paths of so many talented individuals renews my energy and uplifts my spirits,” Ms. Dunning told the audience at the awards event. “As I peer through an insightful lens, I see boundless opportunities for all of us in higher education to positively guide, equip, empower and encourage our students to be successful in their future endeavors.”   A 12-year veteran of higher education vocation, she is the director of an Advisement Center that services 600 undergraduate College of Business students. Ms. Dunning has proven herself a leader in fostering the personal growth and professional development of college students, according to her nominators for the award – Genevieve Tighe, director of testing, and Kimberly Sudler, interim assistant vice president of Continuing Education and Institutional Research.   Ms. Dunning is an alumna of DSU, having earned both her Bachelor of Science in Management (Summa Cum Laude) and a Master of Business Administration. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration from Wilmington University.     

Herbarium to Present Guest Lecture on Medicinal Plants

Body: 
  Delaware State University’s Claude E. Phillips Herbarium will host a guest lecture by Dr. James Duke on “Some Medicinal Plants of the Eastern U.S.” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Longwood Auditorium, Bank of America Building on campus.  The event is free and open to the public.  Dr. Duke is a distinguished herbal lecturer with the Tai Sophia Hearing Institute in Laurel, Md., and has written more than 30 books on medicinal plants. A retired 30-year ecologist/botanist with the USDA, Dr. Duke grows hundreds of interesting plants on his six-acre farmette in Maryland. He currently serves as a senior science advisor to Nature’s Herbs and AllHerbs.com.  During the event, an overview of the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium will be presented by Dr. Arthur Tucker, herbarium director, and Dr. Susan Yost, herbarium educator. Following the lecture, there will be a reception and tour at the Herbarium. During the reception there will also be a book signing by Dr. Duke, as well as by D. Tucker and Mr. Francesco DeBaggio of their Encyclopedia of Herbs. Dr. Duke’s wife Peggy will also display some of her botanical art. To attend the free guest lecture, please register online to reserve your seat at http://herbarium.desu.edu; or by phone by calling Ms. Sandy Jacobsen at (302) 857-6415.    

DSU Professor Emeritus Receives Maritime History Award

Description: 

 

 

Dr. William H. Flayhart (left), professor emeritus at DSU, holds his recently presented 2009 C. Bradford Mitchell Award for his research and scholarship that produced the book The American Line 1871-1902, which he holds with Dr. Harry Williams (r), DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
 
 

 

Body: 
   Dr William H. Flayhart III, professor emeritus at DSU, has been presented the 2009 C. Bradford Mitchell Award for his research and publication of The American Line 1871-1902.   The award was presented recently by the Steamship Historical Society of America during an event in Chester, Pa. In praise of the recipient, Barry Eager, the organization’s Awards Committee chairman, noted that in Dr. Flayhart’s authorship of The American Line, he has set “an example of the highest scholarship in the field of maritime history.”   The book details the history of the American Line, a transatlantic steamship service that operated from Philadelphia and New York to European ports. The steamship’s service history had been untold until Dr. Flayhart’s research and scholarship on the subject – which produced a definitive historical account within the annals of engine-powered vessels history.   Dr. Flayhart taught history at Delaware State University for 35 years until his retirement in 2005. Shortly afterward he was given the title of professor emeritus at the institution.            

Actress Dr. Tonea Stewart Speaks to Freshmen Class

Description: 

 

 

Actress Dr. Tonea Stewart (2nd from left) spent some time with DSU students (l-r) George Brown, Naomi Gabriel, Ashley Cohen and Desiree Hazzard after she spoke at a Freshmen Forum event.

 

Body: 
  Dr. Tonea Stewart, actress, professor and motivational speaker, visited DSU on Oct. 29 to be a guest speaker in front of the entire first-year student class during a Freshmen Forum event. Dr. Stewart, in urging the students not to take their educational opportunity for granted, told them the story of her grandfather. She said he was a former slave in his youth, whose eyes were burned out by whites because he wanted to learn to read. Dr. Tonea Stewart expressed her appreciation of the stage accommodations provided by DSU Theater Manager John Samardza (l) for her guest lecture.   As an actress, Dr. Stewart is best known for her recurring role as Aunt Etta in the television show “In the Heat of the Night.” She has also starred in television show such as “ER,” Touched by an Angel” “Matlock,” as well as in movies such as Mississippi Burning, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and A Time to Kill, the last movie of which she earned a NAACP Image Award nomination.   She has also received a Gold Medal Award for her narration of the Public Radio Internationals Series Remembering Slavery.   In addition to her acting endeavors, Dr. Stewart is currently the director of Theater Arts at Alabama State University.  

Pages