Tuesday, January 28, 2014

History: Delaware State College, 1947-1993

Written by: Emily Cottle

This post is part two of a three part series about the history of Delaware State University. Be sure to check out last week’s post covering 1891-1947 available here. This week we pick up in 1947.

In 1947, the name of the State College for Colored Students was changed to Delaware State College (DSC) by the Delaware State Legislature. In 1948 there was a then-record graduating class of 49 students.

However, in 1949, Delaware State College struggled as its Middle State Commission on Higher Education accreditation was revoked. A state task force was created to study the role of Delaware State College in higher education in Delaware and to consider it becoming a junior college or being closed altogether. However, President Oscar Chapman was the lone member of this taskforce that fought to maintain DSC as a four-year institution.

DSC persevered and based on a 1954 report submitted by President Jerome Holland, DSC continued as a four-year institution and received then-unprecedented major capital funding from the state. This funding  provided for the construction of Memorial Hall, Conwell Hall (dormitory), an administration building (now Grossley Hall), and other campus renovations. It was also under Dr. Holland’s leadership that the College won back its full accreditation from Middle States. In 1960, the College’s enrollment had increased to 386.

Dr. Luna Mishoe’s 27 years at Delaware State College resulted in additional campus improvements with the construction of Laws Hall, the home economics building (now the Price Building), an agriculture building (now the Baker building), as well as the Education & Humanities Building, the original Martin Luther King Student Center, and the first phase of the William C. Jason Library. At the end of President Mishoe’s tenure, enrollment had increased from 386 in 1960 to 2,327 in 1987.

Additional highlights included the establishment of the first master’s degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction in 1981 and six other graduate degrees by 1987.
From left to right, Delaware State College Presidents: Dr. Oscar J. Chapman, Dr. Maurice E. Thomasson (acting president), Dr. Jerome H. Holland, and Dr. Luna I. Mishoe.

To reiterate those mentioned above, presidents during this period included the conclusion of Dr. Howard Gregg’s tenure until 1949, followed by Dr. Maurice E. Thomasson, serving his first of two stints as acting president  from 1949-1950. Dr. Oscar Chapman came onboard for the shortest tenure of any president from 1950-1951. After this was Dr. Thomasson’s second term as acting president from 1951-1953, followed by Dr. Jerome Holland from 1953-1960. His successor was Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, who had the second longest tenure of any president from 1960-1987. The last president in this time period was Dr. William B. DeLauder, who began in 1987 and whose tenure will continue into next week’s post on Delaware State University, 1993-present.

Again, I encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Delaware State to check out a copy of Delaware State University by Dr. Bradley Skelcher. Come back next week for the final part in our series that will cover 1993 to the present.

"History." Delaware State University. http://www.desu.edu/history (accessed January 10, 2014).

"Presidential Tenure Highlights." Delaware State University.  http://www.desu.edu/administration/presidential-tenure-highlights (accessed January 10, 2014).

Skelcher, Bradley. Delaware State University. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishers, 2000. (accessed January 10, 2014).

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