Monday, December 10, 2018

Annual Christmas Letter, 2018

Dear Archives Friends,

Have you ever wondered where the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future live? My guess is that they hang out in an archive somewhere.

Although most people would think of an archives as serving the past, in actuality they influence the present to affect the future. Archival institutions document events as they unfold so that, in future, the records may be utilized and the events understood. By providing documentation of the past to university leaders as they shape the future, and by educating students about our history, the archives played a definitive role in the continuance of tradition and the understanding of legacy (the theme of President Mishoe's inauguration this past Saturday). In essence, archives are where the past, present, and future are exist harmoniously.

Throughout 2018 the DSU archives has proudly stood in sidelines supporting and cheering on the broader university.  This year the university celebrated major milestones and commemorated it's past:
  • April - The 50th anniversary of the 1968 student demonstrations
  • May - The commemoration and closing of Laws Hall
  • July - The 25th anniversary of the name change from DSC to DSU
  • December - The investiture of the 11th President, Dr. Wilma Mishoe 
For each of these significant events, the University Archives received and facilitated reference requests.  Among the topics researched were the personage of Lydia P. Laws, the legacy of the 1968 demonstrations, administrative records about our name change, how the shift to a university jump-started growth in student population and academic programs, and lastly, the legacy of President Luna I. Mishoe (1960-1987). From each of these research areas the university gleaned data in order to construct a public dialogue about who we have been and what we will continue to stand for on the outset of a new era.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure for another year! Here's to the many more to come.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Archival Photos in MLKSC

Guess what!  Archival photographs are now on permanent display in the pool hall in the  Martin Luther King Student Center.  

A few months ago the Director of Wellness, Recreation and Campus Events asked me to collaborate with her on the installation of historic photographs in the MLKSC. We wanted the students to have an opportunity to see and appreciate the legacy that they are a part of.  Showing them student faces from the very beginning (c. 1915) until the recent past seemed like the best way forward. Plus, I'll admit the hair styles from back in the day have entertainment value.

The images included show sorority and fraternities, athletic events, student organizations, former Miss Delaware State College contestants, and student life in general. Next time you're in the Martin Luther King Student Center take a look!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Presidential Investitures

President William B. DeLauder gives his inaugural address
On December 8, 2018 President Wilma Mishoe will formally be installed as the President of Delaware State University.  As we await this auspicious occasion, I thought it would be an excellent time to look back at the inaugurations of our former presidents.  What have they traditionally entailed? What can we expect for next month?

The most recent example that we can examine is the inauguration of the 10th president, Dr. Harry L. Williams in 2010. Interestingly, his ceremony was held at the time of convocation which is a traditional, campus-wide gathering held each September to mark the start of another academic year. It seems appropriate that at a time to celebrate a new year, a new era would also be recognized. Dr. William's inauguration featured dignitaries from across the state including politicians from the US House and Senate, the governor, and the mayor of Dover. It additionally included the presidents of the University of Delaware, Wesley College, and Delaware Technical & Community College.  All of these prominent individuals were given the opportunity to speak and welcome President Williams. Following this, representatives of the university faculty, staff, students, and alumni also gave addresses. 

By comparison, President Oscar J. Chapman's inauguration (5th president, inaugurated in 1950) did not include quite so many speeches from dignitaries.  His ceremony more prominently featured music. The ceremony started with the hymn, God of Our Fathers, that was sung congregationally. The program was an opportunity to showoff the talents of the college choir with the singing of Mozart's Gloria form the Twelfth Mass, Laudamus by Protheroe, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and of course the alma mater. If I had to guess, I'd say that President Mishoe's inauguration will include selections from the Gospel choir and perhaps the band.

Beyond all of the speeches, the single most important moment of any DSU president's inaugural ceremonies is the presentation of the medallion and investiture. A medallion is a symbol of authority and is a tradition that is passed down from the middle ages. Historically, a medallion signifies membership in a religious order, guild, knighthood, or a government office. In our university's history, a medallion is commissioned for each new president and is worn at commencements and convocations. Once the president has been given a medallion and thereby sworn in, he (soon to be she) gives an inaugural address outlining his hopes for the future of the university.

On the night following the ceremony, a gala will take place.  For President Williams, it was comprised of a dinner, of course, and talent show showcasing the gifts of faculty members. I confess that I am a bit sad that President Wilma Mishoe's inaugural gala will not include such performances by my colleagues. The gala will instead be combined with the traditional Presidential Scholarship Ball and the performance will be given by The Manhattans and the ever-popular Panama Band.

Based on the archival reference requests that I have received, I can guess that President Mishoe will draw

inspiration from her father's ceremony and inaugural address. As the first legacy president, I know that she keenly feels a desire to honor her father and proudly wears the mantle she is inheriting.

No matter what form President Mishoe's inauguration will take, I, for one, am very proud to serve under her administration and look forward to exciting, fruitful years ahead.  President Mishoe, I wish you many blessings and the best of luck in what lies ahead! It is a wonderful time to be at DSU!

Inaugural program from President Luna I. Mishoe's ceremony
Luncheon following President Luna I. Mishoe's Inauguration

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veterans Day!

I was recently sifting through an unprocessed archival collection when I came across this simple, but intriguing letter from a soldier in Vietnam.  PFC Darrell R. Wall wrote to Delaware State College in July 1969 from Long Binh Post in Vietnam (near Siagon). In his letter, Mr. Wall requests rosters for the 1961-1969 Delaware State basketball teams and any game programs.  Mr. Wall particularly wanted to know the players' names, height, class year, and hometown.  He doesn't say why he is interested in the basketball teams, but I suspect his interests stem from a want of mail and entertainment while so far from home.  Delaware State College of course answered Mr. Wall's letter but hadn't yet formed the 1968-1969 team and couldn't supply him with any stats. 

Dear PFC Wall, wherever you are, first, I'd like to thank you for your service to our country.  Second, in answer to your question, I thought you might like to know that the 1968-1969 basketball team finished its season with a 13-12 record. 

To all Veterans, I am grateful for your sacrifice and value the freedoms you have given me. Happy Veterans Day!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Class of 1993 at Homecoming

Happy 25th reunion to the class of 1993! This past Saturday, October 27, 2018 I was honored to spend a few hours with the class of 1993 in order to show them the archival items that have been preserved from their era.  I listened to their humorous anecdotes about who went before the judiciary board for disciplinary action and why, the classic "one time my roommate..." stories, and memories of sporting events.

Thank you for an enjoyable afternoon! I hope that you all enjoyed the rest of homecoming and hope to see you back on campus soon.


Friday, October 5, 2018

W. C. Jason Library Social Media

Hello Archives Friends,

The staff of the William C. Jason Library are working hard to establish new social media platforms and boost patron engagement. We've recently purchased some quality digital camera gear, and with it, we hope to better demonstrate what the Jason Library is all about. We've got exciting things planned, and we want to get the community on board. Please be sure to check out our new twitter (@dsu_library) and instagram (desulibrary) pages.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New Exhibit Open! The Early College High School Yesterday and Today

Delaware State University has a surprisingly long history of providing high school education. Delawareans today are familiar with the Early College High School charter school founded in 2014, but this institution actually offered "preparatory" education as early as 1893.

 The education program at the State College for Colored Students initially consisted of a normal school that prepared eight-grade graduates to be elementary school teachers.  The normal course of study equipped them with an established system of “norms” or methods for instruction. After three years of pedagogy, the students were awarded a teaching certificate and given the option of pursuing a bachelor’s degree during a fourth year. The teaching candidates primarily learned how to instruct conventional disciplines, but they also explored challenges they would likely face in the field -- such as rural school management or issues of classroom heating and lighting.  

Aside from the obvious need to have a source of pupils for the teaching candidates to practice with, college administrators also realized that students were generally under-prepared to start collegiate studies.  The level of education offered to African American students in wider Delaware was deficient.  This was something that Pierre S. DuPont also knew.  As a result he funded the construction of numerous schools across Delaware, for both blacks and whites. In 1921 his generosity led to the creation of a two-room "laboratory school" on the State College for Colored Students campus.

The addition of the laboratory school drastically improved the education given to local youths and advanced the intellectual reach of students desiring to enter the SCCS.  Consequently, by 1934 the college was able to bolster its admissions requirements and become a truly collegiate institution. At this time it also phased out the Normal Course in favor of a Bachelor’s of Education degree.

The Laboratory School persisted until 1952 when it permanently closed its doors.  By this time William C. Jason High School had opened in Sussex county in addition to Howard High School in  Wilmington.

Fast forward to 2011, Delaware State University resurrected the tradition of a preparatory high school education by drafting a Delaware Department of Education charter school application.The ECHS set out to offer the opportunity for Delaware students to attain up to 60 college credits before graduating high school. DSU also intended for the ECHS to encourage students to pursue STEM fields and targeted those who would potentially become first-generation college graduates for their families.

On August 25, 2014 the ECHS officially opened its doors to 132 ninth graders. Each year since, as the inaugural class moved up, one additional grade has been added and a new ninth grade cohort was welcomed.  The 2017-2018 academic year marked the completion of the high school's growth such that all four grades, ninth through twelfth, were then represented.

The past four years have been full of a series of firsts - first homecoming, first band, first athletic teams, first prom, first graduates, and so much more. This exhibit seeks to highlight these exciting milestones in the history of the Early College High School and revel in their success.  You are welcome to visit the exhibit in the archival gallery during the library's regular hours.  See you soon!