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Jazz artist, Donald Byrd named Artist in Residence

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DSU Acting President Claibourne Smith holds a display check with Dr. Donald Byrd, the University's newly named distinguished artist-in-residence, after the jazz musician's announcement that he has established a $10,000 scholarship endowment to benefit music students.

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  September 04, 2009 Delaware State University announced today that internationally renowned jazz musician Dr. Donaldson T.L. Byrd – commonly known in the jazz world as Donald Byrd – has been named as a distinguished artist-in-residence at the institution. As a distinguished artist-in-residence, Dr. Byrd will conduct master classes and give lectures, conduct fundraising on behalf of DSU, participate in performances when appropriate and serve as an ambassador for DSU. “We are inspired by the fact that Dr. Donald Byrd is a legend who represents for the young people all that they work and strive for,” said DSU Acting President Claibourne Smith. “We are honored to have such a legendary person with his artistry and thirst for excellence.” Dr. Byrd served as a distinguished artist-in-residence at DSU from 1996 to 2001. After pursuing other projects elsewhere, the legendary jazz musician has decided to return to DSU. As an expression of his renewed commitment to the University, the famed musician has established a $10,000 endowed scholarship fund in his name that will benefit music students at DSU. In announcing the endowment, Dr. Byrd drew a parallel between his life and the life of famed jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, an influential 1950s musician who attended DSU (then-Delaware State College). “Like my father I never drank or smoked…. Clifford Brown didn’t drink or smoke,” Dr. Byrd said. “This school is outstanding, and here I am just trying to follow in (Brown’s) footsteps.” Dr. Byrd, a professional jazz musician since the 1950s, became known as one of the top trumpeters of the jazz “hard-bop” genre as he performed with musicians such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. Ironically at one point in the 1950s, Dr. Byrd actually replaced Clifford Brown in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers band. In the 1970s, Dr. Byrd began to record jazz fusion that combined jazz with funk, soul and R&B. While teaching music at Howard University in 1974, Dr. Byrd formed a jazz fusion group that consisted of his best students and called them the Blackbyrds. The group produced the 1972 album Black Byrd, which became Blue Notes Records’ highest-ever selling album. In the 1990s, Dr. Byrd jazz fusion explorations expanded to the hip-hop genre. Dr. Byrd has recorded 38 jazz albums and performed on countless other musicians’ recording projects. In 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Dr. Byrd as one of its NEA Jazz Masters. As an educator, Dr. Byrd has developed a “Music + Math = Art” education program that he has introduced to youth across the country. A native of Detroit, Mich., Dr. Byrd is an alumnus of Wayne State University and the Manhattan School of Music. In 1982 he earned a Ed.D from Columbia Teachers College of New York City.  

DSUAA to Host Legacy Banquet, Hall of Fame Inductions

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  The Delaware State University Alumni Association will hold its annual Legacy Banquet and Hall of Fame Inductions on the evening of Friday, Oct. 23 at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino Rollins Center in Dover. The black-tie affair – annually held during DSU Homecoming Week – will begin with cocktails from 6-7 p.m., dinner at 7:15 p.m. followed by the DSUAA induction and awards program. This year’s inductees, selected in specific areas of achievement, will include: Mrs. Delores N. Handy, class of ’46, for the arts. A teacher in Delaware for 38 years that included stints at William C. Jason, Middletown, and Bridgeville high schools, Mrs. Handy has served as treasurer for the Sussex County Chapter of the DSUAA. She has served as the president of the United Methodist Woman’s Organization, a member of her church choir and church treasurer. Mr. William H. Davis, Sr., class of ’51, for business and industry. A WWII vet, Mr. Davis returned from the war to earn his degree in education and went on to teach at William C. Jason and Sussex Central high schools as well as teach and serve as the chair in the Mathematics Department at Delaware Technical & Community College in Georgetown. He is the owner and operator of about 1,000 acres of farmland in Delaware and Missouri. Mr. Kent B. Amos, class of ’70, for community service. After excelling in the corporate world, Mr. Amos dedicated his life to mentoring youths. He founded the Community Academy Public Charter School, became an outspoken advocate for the charter schools and has served as the president of the D.C. Public Charter Association. Over the past 20 years, he has gained national attention for opening his heart and home to about 90 children from the nation’s capital and across the nation.  Mr. Major T. Hairston, Jr., class of ’63, for education. A former captain of the DSC basketball and baseball teams, Mr. Hairston distinguished himself for 35 years as a teacher and administrator. The recipient of numerous honors that recognize his leadership in education and community service, Mr. Hairston has been honored with DSU’s Distinguished Alumni Award and inducted in the DSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Mr. Matthew W. Horace, class of  ’85, for government/law. In his 21st year with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Mr. Horace is the Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Field Division in Newark, N.J. He is also a certified leadership consultant for FranklinCovey, an accomplished public and motivational speaker, an advisory board member for the Department of Homeland Security, and was an offensive lineman for the Hornet football team. Dr. Oliver M. “Jerry” Harmon, class of ’62, for medicine/science. He is the first DSC graduate to become a licensed dentist. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a dental intern/captain, he later became a founding partner of Landover Dental Association in Largo. Md., taught as an assistant professor at Howard University’s School of Dentistry and trained general dentistry interns at Prince George’s Community Hospital. Dr. Harmon is very active with his church and in community service programs to help the homeless. Dr. J. Scott King, class of ’67, the Rebecca Cooper Brockington Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. With the exception of his years away pursuing his master and doctoral degrees Dr. King never left his alma mater. A 32-year DSU faculty member, he served as chairperson of the English and Foreign Language Department, held leadership positions – including president – of the Faculty Senate, as vice president of the AAUP, and was an advisor for student organizations such as the SGA and the Senior Class. Mr. William “Bill” W. Collick, former Hornet head football coach, 1985-1996, and DSU athletics director, 1995-2000, honorary alumnus award. For 12 years, Coach Collick guided the Hornet football team to an 81-48 record, making him the all time coaching leader in wins. He has been inducted in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame. He is being recognized as an honorary alumnus inductee. There will also be Special Service Awards present to: Mrs. Dorothy Brady Cooper, class of ’63 Mr. William Stevenson, class of  ’41 (posthumous)  Mrs. Courtney White Stevenson, class of ’44 Mrs. Loila Tilghman Thomas, class of ’50 Mrs. Bertha Allen Turner, class of ’47 Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at the Office of Alumni Relations, room 200 in the Thomasson Building on campus or by calling the office at (302) 857-6050. The proceeds from the event will go toward the Endowed Alumni Legacy Scholarship. For more information, contact Albert S. Weal at (757) 461-1274, ext. 16 or by email at mastercook3@cox.net or weala@gabrobins.com. More information can be obtained from the Alumni Relations office at the above phone number.  

Delmarva Power Donates $10,000 for DSU Scholarships

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(L-r) Carolyn Curry, vice president of Institutional Advancement and DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith accept a $10,000 display from Enid Wallace-Simms and John J. Allen both of Delmarva Power, representing an annual donation to DSU's Delmarva Power Endowed Scholarship Fund.

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  Oct. 14, 2009 In further demonstration of continued financial support to Delaware State University, Delmarva Power through the Delmarva Scholarship Golf Classic presented the university this week with a gift of $10,000 toward the endowed scholarship fund the utility company established 10 years ago. Presented recently to DSU by John J. Allen, vice president of the Delmarva Power Bay Region, and Enid Wallace-Simms, the company’s public affairs manager, the check represented an annual donation by the electric provider into the Delmarva Power Endowed Scholarship Fund that it established in 1998. Between 2002 and 2009 Delmarva Power has donated $221,000 through its Delmarva Scholarship Classic Foundation, which created an endowed scholarship fund. The company has been a faithful financial supporter of DSU since the early 1990s, since that time donating almost $500,000 for DSU scholarships.

DSU Student Government Says "Smart is the New Cool"

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The 2009-2010 SGA -- (l-r) Devin Wilkins, vice president; Eric Smiley, corresponding secretary; Kathleen Chalot, president; Eric Green, treasurer; and Raeshawn Horry, recording secretary -- has adopted the theme "Smart is the New Cool" to give great emphasis to the importance of academic success.

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   Oct. 14, 2009 The 2009-2010 Student Government Executive Council is already uniquely distinguished from those of previous years due to their relative youth. The SGA leadership group has traditionally been filled by seniors, but this year’s SGA Executive Council are all juniors.   As unique as that is, these top-level student leaders are also distinguishing themselves by their major focus on encouraging academic excellence among the students they serve.   The theme of the 2009-2010 SGA: “Smart is the New Cool.”   In a departure from the traditional Student Government Association emphasis on social events, SGA President Kathleen Charlot said that many DSU students need to be encouraged into a mindset that will help them achieve academic excellence and propel them toward professional success.    “We have some students who have mediocre mindsets towards academics,” says Ms. Charlot, a Dover native and 2007 Dover High School graduate. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds, and some come from backgrounds from which they have a hard time breaking from old habits and pursuits.”   The SGA president said that HBCUs like DSU give students an opportunity that they might not have elsewhere – an opportunity that should not be taken for granted. She said it is the SGA’s role to be a positive force in promoting the primary purpose for being at DSU – to attain knowledge and establish a foundation for future professional success. Emmanuel Lalande (3rd from r), director of Student Leadership and Activities, works very closely with the SGA Executive Council.   “Sometimes you have to set the new “cool,” said Ms. Charlot. “It is a way to inform people and push them further beyond what they think they can do, as well as make clear to them that is not a geeky thing to put academics first.”   The rest of the SGA Executive Council – Devin Wilkins, vice president; Eric Green, treasurer; Eric Smiley, corresponding secretary; and Raeshawn Horry, recording secretary – are unified on this theme. These student leaders have been working since the summer to implement “Smart is the New Cool.”   The SGA Executive Council have designed and posted posters throughout campus that advocate the theme. They have also made their presence known with the student population beyond their successful election campaign last spring.   The 2009-2010 freshmen class were introduced to the theme from the very start, as the SGA Executive Council participated actively in the Welcome Week Events and got to know the newest members of the campus family. The student leaders were there to help acquaint them with the campus, understand the registration requirements and make them aware of the academic calendar.   As the fall semester has gotten underway, the SGA Executive Council has worked to connect with their student constituents by making frequent visits to residential halls and engaging students in dialogues about study habits, time management, financial literacy, counseling services, career services, and anything else that can help address the holistic needs of the students. The SGA Executive Council also conducts a study hall at the library every Wednesday evening.   The student leaders have served as a positive element between students and administrators by bringing the two groups together for a Sept. 2 town meeting where concerns were discussed and questions answered. Ms. Charlot said the SGA also wants to promote unity among student organizations.   The SGA president said that Executive Council understands that it is their responsibility to understand the needs of the students they serve.    “We will be working to continue to build relationships and to collaborate with other student organizations,” Ms. Charlot said. “We need to show effective leadership and show our students that we care.”    

Top Dog/Underdog Dramatic Play POSTPONED

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Mark Reid (l) as Lincoln and Aaron Bell as Booth were slated to star in the two-actor Pulitzer Prize winning production "Top Dog/Underdog" in a drama that deals with the issue of sibling rivalry. Mr. Reid, a community actor not enrolled at DSU, was injured in an accident at his home, forcing the play to be postponed the night before its opening night. The play has been rescheduled for Nov. 13.

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  October 9, 2009   The Oct. 15-16 performance of the Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize winning drama Top Dog/Underdog at DSU has been postponed due to an off-campus accident that injured one of the performers of the two-actor drama.   The play will be rescheduled to place in a 7:30 p.m. performance on Friday, Nov. 13 in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus. It will be free and open to the public.   Community actor Mark Reid, a non-student, suffered a serious but non-life threatening injury in his home on Oct. 14. He was to have played the role of Lincoln opposite Aaron Bell, a DSU student-actor, who was to have portrayed the role of his brother Booth.          

2010 Commencement date changed

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  September 21, 2009 Delaware State University has changed the 2010 Commencement to May 23 because the previously set date would conflict with the Dover Downs race weekend. Dover Downs informed DSU officials that NASCAR had moved its race weekend dates to May 14-16, prompting the University’s change in the 2010 Commencement date to avoid the conflict with the mass of race fans that come to Dover that weekend.  

Alumna to be honored as Delaware Futures product

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  September 21, 2009 DSU alumnus Ronika Money, class of 2002, will be honored as a successful alumnus of the Delaware Futures Program at the organization’s Alumni Luncheon to be held at the DuPont Gold Room at 12 noon Friday, Oct. 16. Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., will be the keynote. Ms. Money, currently a coordinator for the Student Services and Involvement at Pennsylvania State University at Brandywine, is spent five year as part of the Delaware Futures Program while she attended Newark High School, Del. She credits the Delaware Futures Program for being instrumental in preparing her for higher education.   “It allowed for me to complete my four years at Del State by paying for my tuition,” I am a first gen college student, and I didn’t even know what a FASTA Form was before Del. Futures. Since 1994, Delaware Futures provides academic, social and motivational support and cultural enrichment that empowers economically disadvantaged high school students to recognize and fulfill their unrealized potential and become matriculated college students. Not only did Ms. Money earn her bachelor of science in psychology at DSU, but she also went on to earn a master of arts in higher education from Indiana University. For ticket information to attend the Delaware Futures Annual Alumni Luncheon, contact Denise Tolliver, executive director, at 302.652.8609.

DSU Receives $5 million NASA research grant

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  September 30, 2009 Delaware State University has been awarded a $5 million research grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish a NASA-URC Center for Applied Optics for Space Science (CAOSS) on campus. Graduate optics student Alissa Mezzacappa speaks about her excitement about being involved with the research the NASA grant will fund. Standing with her are doctoral optics student Maurice Smith and Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, the principal investigator of the research grant.             Photo by Sarah Robertson The grant was announced today during a media event on campus in which DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith was joined by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, the research grant’s principal investigator, in celebrating the achievement. CAOSS will foster new NASA-related developments based on optical sciences and technology as well as enhance the national aerospace science and technology workforce. The new center will also develop partnerships with industry, NASA research centers, federal laboratories, and minority and non minority-serving colleges and universities. The CAOSS will also inspire and engage students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The research center will work in conjunction with an established optics research center, the Center for Research and Education in Optical Sciences and Applications (CREOSA), which will be funded through the National Science Foundation-Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology program. The two centers will be merged within one year to become the Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR). “Since 1997, the University’s optics faculty has been steadily developing the capability and infrastructure to take on more and more complex research projects,” said Dr. Smith said. “Today’s announcement of another $5 million research grant reflects that America has a sound confidence in our optics scientists.” The principal investigator is Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, interim dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, as well as the chair of the Department of Physics. Dr. Melikechi, who first arrived at DSU in 1995, was the founder and director of both the University’s first Applied Optics Center in 1997 and later CREOSA in 2006. The newly established research center will initiate research programs in Planetary Science, Space Communications & Navigation, and Astrobiology. The proposed projects will support the goals of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, the Science Mission Directorate and the Space Operations Mission Directorate. The projects will include the development of optical instrumentations for space operations infrastructure, such as space atomic clock and optical gyroscope, polarimetric laser detection and ranging, and an augmented reality visor interface for human-robot interactions and emergency medical support of astronauts. “CAOSS will also be involved with Mars exploration through its research and development of the ChemCam Mars Rover LIBS instrument and a remotely-operated laser scanning confocal microscope for analysis of extraterrestrial environment,” said Dr. Melikechi.” The center will collaborate with Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/NSSTC Astrobiology Laboratory, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Northwestern University, Juxtopia®, Vassar College and the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation on various projects.  

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