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The hearse carrying the body of Dr. Ulysses S. Washington take the former longtime head of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resource a final trip through the campus after the Celebration of Life service held in the Education and Humanities Theatre. Photo by Bernard Carr.
In this photo: The hearse carrying the body of Dr. Ulysses S. Washington take the former longtime head of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resource a final trip through the campus after the Celebration of Life service held in the Education and Humanities Theatre. Photo by Bernard Carr.
On Campus

Celebration of Life Held for Dr. U.S. Washington

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Celebration of Life ceremony was held Nov. 1 in the Education and Humanities Theatre, as many people from near and far came to pay their respects to Dr. Ulysses S. Washington, who passed away on Oct. 25 at age 98.Dr. Ulysses S. Washington was a faculty member and chair at the College for 49 years.

University President Willa Mishoe recalled at the funeral that the former longtime chair of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources was one of the patriarch of families that lived on the campus of then-Delaware State College in the 1960s – at the same time she lived at the College as a teenage daughter of then-President Luna I. Mishoe.

“It seems like the last of the ‘Fathers’ of our Delaware State College village has now left the earth,” Dr. Mishoe said.

The University President said the University will never forget influence he had on so many lives.

“We can truly say that he lived a lifetime instilling wisdom and demonstrating important principles for all of us to live by,” Dr. Mishoe said. “We are grateful for the blessing that he poured into the lives of everyone he came in contact with. He was a wonderful role model for our students.”

Former University President William B. DeLauder, Dr. Kenneth Bell, the retired dean of the College of Agriculture and Related Science who actually succeeded Dr. Washington in leading the agriculture education program, and Rev. Shirlyn Brown, superintendent of the Delaware-Peninsula Conference of the United Methodist Church, also shared expressions of honor and love. Otto C. Washington Jr., Dr. Washington’s nephew, shared reminiscences on behalf of the family.

AME 6th Episcopal District Bishop Reginald Jackson – who is also a 1976 alumnus of the University – gave the eulogy, recalled a number of different interactions he had with Dr. Washington. “I was supposed to be at an event today introducing Oprah Winfrey,” Bishop Allen said, speaking directly toward the casket, “so Dr. Washington you must know that you are very important.”

The University Concert Choir and Dr. Marshá Horton sang selections during the service.

The University’s Board of Trustees presented the family with a tribute proclamation. The University and the College of Agriculture, Science and Technology also presented the family with the following resolution:





The Administration of Delaware State University and its College of Agriculture, Science and Technology extend this resolution as an expression of honor and the highest esteem concerning the life of Dr. Ulysses S. Washington Jr., former longtime chair of the then-Delaware State College Department of Agriculture, on the occasion of his passing.

WHEREAS Mr. Washington began his tenure with Delaware State College in 1949 when he was hired as an assistant professor of agriculture education and farm mechanics by Department of Agriculture Chair William Richard Wynder,

WHEREAS he assumed the teaching post, having been well-prepared from earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education from Virginia State College and a Master’s Degree in Systems Analysis from Rutgers University, as well as from his U.S. Navy service in World War II as a motor machinist,

WHEREAS Mr. Washington became an integral part of the College’s agriculture operation, which not only served as an academic discipline but also as a means of campus subsistence that helped feed the College community in the 1950s,

WHEREAS, having been an outstanding running guard on the Virginia State football team where he played running guard, he applied that experience by becoming a Hornet assistant football coach who focused on the defensive and offensive linemen; he served on that coaching squad 18 years, including two years (1965-1966) as head coach,

WHEREAS he was elevated in 1967 to acting chair of the College’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and later in 1971 he was promoted to permanent chair of the department,

WHEREAS Mr. Washington was instrumental in brokering a 1967 deal with the State of Delaware in which a new College Road section was built, allowing the College to eliminate public traffic through campus; the deal also resulted in the lease of a College property to the Delaware Agriculture Museum, and in return the College obtained a farm property – now called Hickory Farm, near Kenton,

WHEREAS in 1981, the College’s Board of Trustees awarded him with an Honorary Doctor of Science,

WHEREAS his leadership was critically instrumental in the development of research pursuits at the College and at other 1890 Land Grant institutions of higher education;

WHEREAS Dr. Washington led a group of 1890 Land Grant agriculture educators to prevail upon Congress to give their schools equitable consideration for research funding, prompting lawmakers to enact legislation named the U.S. Washington Jr. Financial Anti-Discrimination Act,

WHEREAS his work on behalf of 1890 schools resulted in federal funding for his department, leading to research in the areas of soil modification, soybeans, fisheries and others,   

WHEREAS Dr. Washington became a founding member of the Association of 1890 Research Directors and was also known as a nationally recognized cooperative extension administrator,

WHEREAS he served the institution for 42 years, and was a major factor in the development of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Program into a robust and diverse academic department that would be soon become a College in its own right soon after he retired from his academic leadership post in 1991,

WHEREAS from 1953 to 2004, Dr. Washington was the College/University’s Grand Marshal, proudly carrying the institution’s mace at every Convocation and Commencement ceremony for 41 years, eclipsing his retirement by more than a decade,

WHEREAS Dr. Washington was recognized for his athletics service through his 1988 induction into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame, and in 2004 into the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame,

WHEREAS in 2001 Dr. Washington was an honorary inductee into the Delaware State University Alumni Hall of Fame,

WHEREAS in 2003, he received the Pioneer’s Award for being one of the first administrators of the 1890 Colleges and Universities Chartered Extension; in 2008, Dr. Washington was also honored for his work and advocacy in agriculture education by being inducted in the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame at Tuskegee University,

WHEREAS in 1999 the then-College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences dedicated the newly constructed Dr. Ulysses S. Washington Agricultural Extension Building; in 2018, the University’s Early College High School named its Science Laboratory after him,

WHEREAS Dr. Washington remained intimately involved with the University in his retirement years, faithfully attending athletics events and participating in other campus programs; he continued to lived in a modest house behind Loockerman Hall for 49 years, up until 2018

THEREFORE, BE IT ACKNOWLEDGED Dr. Washington’s commitment and dedication to the cause of agriculture education, research and cooperative extension contributed to the growth of his Department of Agriculture into a College; and that his prolific leadership and example has served as an inspiration to generations of faculty members, researchers and administrators,


BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED the University community grieves deeply with the family of Dr. Ulysses S. Washington over his passing, and will never forget this institutional icon and his everlasting contributions.