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DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith (center) receives congratulations from Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker (l) and Wilmington Bethel AME Pastor Silvester Beaman for being honored as a Black Achiever.

  Dr. Claibourne Smith Honored at Black Achievers Ceremony


DSU Acting President Claibourne D. Smith was among 28 Delaware African Americans who were honored by the YMCA of Delaware during the 2009 Black Achievers in Business and Industry Dinner and Ceremony.

Dr. Claibourne D. Smith and his wife Roseann are all smiles after the acting president received the Black Achiever honor.

With the recent selection of Dr. Harry L. Williams as the new president of Delaware State University, Dr. Smith will soon finish a 16-month tenure as acting president of the institution. The stable leadership provided by Dr. Smith allowed DSU to undertake a thorough presidential search process, which culminated in the selection in late November.
During Dr. Smith’s acting president tenure, DSU continued to progress and grow. Under his leadership, the University continued to receive significant research grants such as a $5 million grant for optics research, a $1 million neuroscience grant, in addition to others. During his tenure, DSU expanded its master degree offerings, established new collaborative agreements with institutions of higher educations in China, completed the construction of a new Wellness Center and swimming pool, and is nearing the completion of a new Student Center.
Dr. Smith has been an instrumental part of DSU’s development over the past 22 years through his service on the University’s Board of Trustees. From 1993 to 2003, Dr. Smith served as board chairman. He temporarily stepped down in September 2003 to become acting president. He will resume his chairmanship of the DSU Board of Trustees on Jan. 10 when Dr. Williams takes over as president of the University.
Dr. Smith retired in 1998 as vice president of technology and vice chairman of Corporate Education Aid at DuPont after 34 years of service. He is a former member of the Delaware State Board of Education.
Dr. Smith and the other 27 honorees were recognized as role models to young people and for their enthusiasm about the positive impact they can have on the lives of youth.

Keynote speaker Christopher Gardner regaled the Black Achiever audience with his account of his amazing homeless-to-prosperity story.

Dr. Smith joins five other present and former members of DSU to be recognized by the YMCA of Delaware as a Black Achiever – Dr. Henry C. Harper (1993), Dr. Gustav Ofosu (1994), Germaine L. Scott-Cheatham (2005), Dr. Kenneth Bell (2007) and Dr. Michael H. Casson, Jr. (2008)
The ceremony was held at the Chase Center in Wilmington. The keynote speaker of the event was Christopher Gardner, the owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC. Mr. Gardner a period of life as a homeless single-father to become an executive success story. His life story is chronicle in his autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness, which was the inspiration for the 2006 movie of the same name starring Will Smith.