Delaware State University beat the rain Sunday by holding its 2010 Commencement in three smaller indoor ceremonies in which the institution presented 561 diplomas.
It was the first Commencement for DSU President Harry Lee Williams, who is in his first year as the University’s top executive officer. Dr. Williams presided over all three Commencement ceremonies, held at 9 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m. in the Memorial Hall Gym on campus.
DSU’s 2010’s graduating class totaled 435 bachelor’s degrees, 118 master’s degrees and eight doctoral degrees. The class of 2010 produced 135 honor students, which included 27 Summa Cum Laudes (3.75 GPA or above), 38 Magna Cum Laudes (3.5 to 3.74), 58 Cum Laudes (3.25 to 3.49) and 12 honorable mentions. In addition to the Commencement, on Saturday, May 22 the University recognized its top academic students during its Honors Convocation, which featured Delaware Gov. Jack Markell as its keynote speaker.
Keynote speaker Dr. Steve Perry urged the DSU graduates to focus on not only making a living, but also on making a positive difference in the lives of others.
The Commencement ceremonies on Sunday were attended alternately by Gov. Markell, U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, state Rep. Darryl Scott and Dover Mayor Carlton Carey, as well as DSU Board of Trustees Chairman Claibourne Smith and several other members of the board.
Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to two graduates who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout their undergraduate years –Cameron Hinderer, a physics major from Wyoming, Del., and Adam Johnson, a computer science major from Georgetown, Del.
The DSU president also presented a Presidential Leadership Award to Crysta Nicole Tilghman, a psychology major from Wilmington, Del. In addition to maintaining a 3.5 GPA, Ms. Tilghman served as Miss Junior and Senior Class vice president in the DSU Student Government Association and was a member of several academic organizations. She also served as a peer counselor for the DSU Office of Counseling, a mentor in the Big Sister, Little Sister program and donated her time to several other community service activities.
The youngest undergraduate in the class of 2010 was Jasmine Monique Bolton, a 20-year-old Cum Laude student who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications/Public Relations. The oldest undergraduate was Donna Shelton, a 54-year-old Dover resident who earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The oldest overall graduate is James D. Lane, a 73-year-old Wilmington resident who earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
(L-r)Ashley Miclette and her mother Alberta Miclette graduated together this year, with daughter earning a BA in Education and mom earning a MA in Educational Leadership.
The Commencement keynote speaker was Dr. Steve Perry, the founder and principal of the highly successful Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Conn. Dr. Perry is the author of several books, an education contributor for CNN and is a widely sought education expert in the country.
Dr. Perry, who gave his address at all three Commencement ceremonies, told the graduates that while they had achieved something great in earning their degrees, they should look not only toward making a living, but also “making a loving” that will help others make it through their life journey in a positive manner.
“You now all have a responsibility to improve the circumstances of those around you,” Dr. Perry said. He added that with all the people, especially families, who helped support them in getting their degree, the DSU graduates' degree achievements what was expected.
“You need to do now what you’re supposed to do – take care of your family, yourself and other people,” Dr. Perry said.
In her challenge address to her fellow graduates, Senior Class President KaLonna Maull reminded her fellow graduates that they should remain ever steadfast in their support of their alma mater, "to ensure that our institution remains an indispensable catalyst and stepping stone for aspiring intellectuals, so that they too can make their mark on the world."
Sr. Class President KaLonna Maull called on her classmate to continue to support DSU.
Ms. Maull noted that the class of 2010 has already expressed that support by becoming the first-ever graduating class to create a giving campaign as its parting gift to the institution. "We dug deep into our own personal pockets and these efforts allowed us to raise, $2,000 in scholarship funding," she said.
During the DSU Commencement weekend, the University honored the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1960 during a reception on Saturday, May 22 in the new Martin Luther King Student Center. Fourteen 1960 graduates of then-Delaware State College returned to their alma mater this weekend, donned robes and took part in both the May 22 Honors Convocation and the May 23 Commencement.