(L-r) Dr. Gladys Motley, former DSU vice president of Student Affairs; DSU President Harry L. Williams, and alumni couple Dolores and Donald Blakey, stand at the unveiled arch bearing the words Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.
Delaware State University has brought back a once prominent motto that greeted all who entered the front gate of the institution from the 1950s to the 1990s.
While the current “Making Our Mark on the World” continues to be a guiding motto of expectation, the University has also brought back another motto that guided students for more than 40 years – “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.”
That latter motto has been reincarnated in a 10-foot high black iron arch installed at the front entrance of the gate that surrounds historic Loockerman Hall. DSU President Harry L. Williams led an Oct. 11 dedication ceremony at the historic building for the new physical manifestation of restored motto.
“We have chosen to install it outside Loockerman Hall because this building was the main place on a very fledgling campus where early students “entered to learn” ---it served as the Main College Building for this institution’s first 37 years of existence,” Dr. Williams said, “The unveiling of the famous words at the entrance of this historic building establishes a landmark that will be just as meaningful to our present and future DSU students as it was to many of DSU’s alumni in the latter half of the 1900s.”
The restored motto was first established 1952 when the late Felmon Motley, a 1948 graduate of then-Delaware State College, constructed a sign for the front entrance of the campus which stated “May All Who Enter Here, Enter to Learn and Go Forth to Serve.”
DSU President Harry L. Williams stands at the arch with DSU alumnus Samuel Guy, who made the current administration aware of the beloved motto.
Dr. Gladys Motley, the widow of Mr. Motley, and the former longtime vice president of Student Affairs at DSU, shared with the dedication gathering the story of her late husband’s work in making the sign and his dedication in staying actively connected to his alma mater.
“Felmon loved Delaware State, and Delaware State loved Felmon,” Dr. Motley said.
The motto was a part of the front gate of the campus for 45 years; however, the sign was removed when the University launched a project in 1997 to eliminate the two one-way streets that formerly stretched from the main gate to the center of the campus and replace them with the current pedestrian mall.
When the project was completed in 1997, the sign was never restored. Many alumni never forgot the motto; however, without the physical sign bearing its words incoming students from that point on never knew it existed.
DSU alumnus Dr. Donald A. Blakey said it was invigorating to see the University bring back the motto, and noted that both mottos complement each other well.
“Students come to DSU be educated and then they are expected to go out and serve,” said Dr. Blakey, class of 1958. “While they are doing that, they are making their mark on the world in a positive way.”
Leonard Hudson, a 1971 graduate of DSC who went on use his BS in Business Administration to work for AT&T and Verizon, said the motto encouraged him to continue to serve his alma mater.
“I had a strong motivation to send students to Delaware State,” Mr. Hudson said. “I believe the motto had a strong impact on a lot of people that went to school here in those years.”
Wilmington attorney Samuel L. Guy, who graduated from DSC in 1981, is credited for being a catalyst in bringing that motto to the attention of the current administration about a year ago.
“Everyday students were reminded of it; when their parents brought them back to school, they saw what was expected of their sons and daughters here at Delaware State,” Mr. Guy said. “And it was all because there was a physical manifestation of the motto there.”
In addition to the dedication of the arch, a new historical item was also unveiled to the gathering at Loockerman Hall.
Earlier this year while doing research at the Kent County Record of Deeds, Carlos Holmes, DSU director of News Services, was able to unearth a copy of the original 1891 deed that legally documents the purchase of first 95¼ acres by the Board of Trustees of the then-State College for Colored Students from Catharine McKaine, a widow, for the establishment of the College. The three-page deed – which reflects that the original property was purchased for $4,400 – now hangs in the entrance foyer of Loockerman Hall.
About 50 people attended the Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve arch dedication ceremony at Loockerman Hall. While the dedication program was held inside the historic building due to the rain, many of the attendees posed for a picture outside in front of the arch, rainy conditions notwithstanding (see below).
Many of the Arch Dedication Ceremony attendees braved the pelting rain for a photo opp in front of the new arch.