Tuesday, February 4, 2014

History: Delaware State University, 1993-present

Written by: Emily Cottle

Welcome back for the final part of this three part series on the history of Delaware State University. Be sure to check out part one or two if you missed them. This week picks up in 1993 during the tenure of President William B. DeLauder.

On July 1, 1993, Governor Thomas Carper signed Senate Bill 138, which officially changed the name from Delaware State College to Delaware State University (DSU). The photo at right shows Governor Carper with Representative Nancy Wagner, Senator Herman Holloway, Mrs. Vermell DeLauder, and President DeLauder at a reenactment of the bill signing.

President DeLauder’s tenure also include numerous campus improvements, such as the second phase of the William C. Jason Library addition, Warren Franklin residential halls, the Mishoe Science Center expansion, and the MBNA Building (renamed the Bank of America Building in 2008), and the Administration Building, among others. 

Under the tenure of DSU’s next president, Dr. Allen L. Sessoms, the first two doctoral programs were established: Educational Leadership and Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Mathematical Physics. By the end of President Sessoms’ term in 2008, DSU had launched a total of five doctoral programs and added five master’s degrees.  Enrollment continued to increase and grew by more than 15%, going from 3,178 students in 2003 to a school-record 3,756 in 2007.

While Dr. Claibourne D. Smith served as acting president, the Wellness Center was completed in the summer of 2009 and in January 2010 Dr. Harry L. Williams was sworn in as Delaware State’s 10th president. DSU continued to thrive under his leadership expanding research initiatives and rising in the US News and World Report ranking of HBCUs to 9th in 2013 from its initial ranking of 22nd in the list’s first year in 2008.

From left to right, DSU Presidents Dr. William B. DeLauder, Dr. Allan L. Sessoms, acting president Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, and Dr. Harry Lee Williams.

To recap, the presidents during this period were Dr. William B. DeLauder (1987-2003), Dr. Allen L. Sessoms (2003-2008), Dr. Claibourne D. Smith [acting president] (2008-2010), and Dr. Harry L. Williams (2010-present).

Delaware State has a very long rich history and these three blog posts barely scratched the surface. They are meant to serve as a general introduction and future posts will highlight particular events or eras in more detail.

"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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