Tuesday, July 1, 2014

11th Anniversary of name change to Delaware State University

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Written by: Leigh-Anne Yacovelli

Today’s post celebrates the 11th anniversary of the day that Governor Thomas Carper signed the name change from Delaware State College (DSC) to Delaware State University (DSU) into law. This important event stemmed from a unanimous vote made on September 10, 1992 by the DSC Board of Trustees to conduct a study on the merits of changing the institution’s name. By May 13, 1993, they agreed it was a wanted change, and authorized the DSC’s president to send a formal request for name change to the General Assembly. 
Visit the Archives to read this report.

Why is it so important? After all, the size of the institution does not tip the scale from a college to a university. By 1991, different states developed different rationales for changing the name of an institution from college to university. Some states insisted the school be able to provide doctoral degrees, while others had to offer a minimum number of graduate degrees, or a minimum number of students enrolled in degrees not designed to produce teachers.

The designation of “university” resonates as a solid, worthy institution. For instance, institutions carrying that designation are more likely to gain notice over those simply labeled “college” when donors are deciding on where to contribute their money. For DSC, a name change would bring it on par with many of its peer institutions. The Board of Trustees noted in a background paper supporting the name change (written for the Governor and members of the Delaware General Assembly) that, of the 17 historically black land-grant institutions, only DSC and Fort Valley State College (in Georgia) are not designated as “university.”

If you want to learn more, come visit the archives or check out our past posts on DSU history.

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