Delaware State University

Delaware State University (DSU or Del State) is a public historically black land-grant research university in Dover, Delaware. DSU also has two satellite campuses, one in Wilmington one in Georgetown. The university encompasses four colleges and a diverse population of undergraduate and advanced-degree students. Delaware State University is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[3]

Delaware State University
Delaware State University seal.svg
Former names
  • Delaware College for Colored Students (1891–1893)
  • State College for Colored Students (1893–1947)
  • Delaware State College (1947–1993)
Motto in English
Enter to Learn, Go Forth and Serve
TypePublic historically black land-grant research university
EstablishedMay 15, 1891; 130 years ago (1891-05-15)
Endowment$28.7 million[1]
PresidentTony Allen
Academic staff
Colors    Blue and red
Sporting affiliations
Delaware State University logo.svg


The Delaware College for Colored Students was established on May 15, 1891, by the Delaware General Assembly.[4] The name was changed to the State College for Colored Students by state legislative action in 1893 to eliminate confusion with Delaware College, which was attended by whites in Newark, Delaware.[5] It first awarded degrees in 1898. In 1945, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education awarded the college provisional accreditation. Three years later, the institution became Delaware State College by legislative action. Although its accreditation was revoked in 1949, it was regained in 1957. On July 1, 1993, the institution changed its name yet again, this time to Delaware State University.[6]

Delaware State University is one of the only historically black colleges and universities to have a no-smoking policy. In 2015 the university began phasing out smoking on campus by restricting it to four designated areas and providing educational resources on smoking cessation tools and programs. In August 2015 it implemented a completely tobacco-free policy. In 2017, the university received the ACAS Health Leadership Award in recognition of its efforts. The award was jointly presented by the Public Health Service Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health, the Truth Initiative, Arizonans Concerned About Smoking and the Arizona NAACP.[7]

In July 2020, it was announced that Delaware State University will officially acquire Wesley College.[8][9][10] The acquisition had an announced closing date of July 2021.[11] This acquisition makes Delaware State the first historically Black university to acquire an institution that is not a historically Black college or university.[12] In December 2020, MacKenzie Scott donated $20 million to Delaware State University. Her donation is the largest single gift in the university's history.[13]


The 400-acre (1.6 km2) main campus in Dover, the capital of Delaware, is an approximate two-hour motor drive from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., and three hours from New York City. There are two satellite campuses in Wilmington and Georgetown.

The main campus in Dover contains thirty buildings, including:

There are seven campus residential halls: three for women, and three for men. There are also three apartment-style residence halls for upperclassmen. They include:

  • Harriet Tubman Hall
  • Jenkins Hall
  • Medgar Evers Hall
  • University Courtyard Apartments
  • University Village Complex
  • Warren-Franklin Hall

Two dining halls serve the more than 1,500 on-campus students.

As a part of the Internet2 initiative, the university maintains several research computer laboratories including a high-performance computational cluster in its DESAC center. Almost every building has a computer lab and each student has a dedicated data port for internet access, their own phone, a campus email address, and cable television access in all residence hall rooms. Most campus buildings also offer wireless connectivity.

DSU is one of 148 schools in the country to receive Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation.[15] The university owns two farms near Kenton and Smyrna, and has an Airway Science Program based at Delaware Air Park in Cheswold.[16]


Name Term Notes
Wesley P. Webb 1891–1895
William C. Jason 1895–1923
Richard S. Grossley 1923–1942
Howard D. Gregg 1942–1949
Maurice E. Thomasson 1949-1950,
(Acting president,
Oscar J. Chapman 1950–1951
Jerome H. Holland 1953–1960
Luna I. Mishoe 1960–1987
William B. DeLauder 1987–2003
Allen L. Sessoms 2003–2008
Claibourne D. Smith 2008-2010 (Acting president)
Harry L. Williams 2010–2017
Wilma Mishoe Jan. 1, 2018–June 30, 2018
July 1, 2018–Dec. 2019
(Acting president)
(Permanent president)
Tony Allen Feb. 2020–present

Dr. Tony Allen became the 12th president of Delaware State University on Jan. 1, 2020 after serving the previous two and a half years as the university's provost and executive vice president. Three months into his presidency, Dr. Allen acted decisively upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March 2020, as he ended in-person classes and residential operations on campus, and marshalled the faculty to get all of their curriculum online to enable students to complete that spring semester virtually online. Under Dr. Allen's leadership, the university raised $1.5 million for a Student Emergency Relief Fund to address student needs brought on by COVID-19 crisis. Although the COVID-19 crisis continued throughout the year, Dr. Allen and the university reopened its residential halls for the fall semester 2020, allowing more than 1,700 students to resume their residency on campus while almost all classes continued to be held virtually.[17][18][19]

The business and affairs of the university are governed by the board of trustees. The Board of Trustees has all the powers accorded it by Title 14, Chapter 65 of the Delaware Code.[20] The Board consists of 15 members whose appointment or election is provided for in the Delaware Code, and the governor of the state and the president of the university, both of whom shall be members of the board, ex officio, with the right to vote.[21]


The university consists of four colleges:[22]

  • College of Agriculture, Science & Technology
  • College of Humanities, Education & Social Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Health & Behavioral Sciences

The university offers 42 undergraduate degrees, 21 graduate degrees, and five doctoral degrees (interdisciplinary applied mathematics and mathematical physics, applied chemistry, neuroscience and optics, and educational leadership).[23] The university also offers several cooperative and dual degree programs.[24] Students receive instruction in classes with a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. About 83 percent of undergraduates receive scholarships, grants, loans or work-study income.[citation needed] It has a traditional Honors Program and a Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Honors Program to increase the number of students in science interested in pursuing biomedical research and obtaining doctor of philosophy degrees in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, and biopsychology.

In addition to satisfying the requirements for the major or majors and any minor, all undergraduates are required to complete the General Education Program, which includes: seven core courses, twelve foundation courses (across the curriculum), and the Senior Capstone Experience.

Accreditations include the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Accreditation Council for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education (CCDE).[25][26] The university's College of Business is accredited nationally and internationally by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[27]

Aviation programEdit

DSU's Aviation Program provides students with education and experience in preparation for careers in the aviation industry. Curricula in the program lead to a B.Sc. degree with concentrations in Aviation Management or Professional Pilot. Professional Pilot graduates will complete their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for Private Pilot, Instrument, Commercial, Multi-Engine and Certified Flight Instructor ratings while earning their bachelor's degree.[28]

Delaware State operates the only full-service, university-based flight school in the mid-Atlantic area. The Aviation program is approved by the State of Delaware Education Department for Veterans Flight Training.[29][30]


The institution has greatly increased its research endeavors over the past several years, as it has developed the research infrastructure needed to attract federal grants for projects in the following DSU Research Centers and in the sciences and mathematics:

  • Applied Mathematics Research Center
  • Center for Applied Optics
  • Center for Research and Education in Optical Sciences and Applications (CREOSA) (a National Science Foundation-Center for Research Excellence (NSF-CREST))
  • Center for Applied Optics for Space Science (CAOSS) (a National Aeronautics and Space Administration University Research Center (NASA-URC))[31]
  • Delaware Center for Scientific and Applied Computation


Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[32] 263
Washington Monthly[33] 342

DSU is ranked tenth among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. News & World Report (2022).[34]

In 2018, the College of Business at DSU was named to the Princeton Review's Best Business Schools for the tenth consecutive year (2009-2018).[35]

Global connectionsEdit

The university has over thirty formal international partnerships with institutions in countries including China, Cuba, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland and the UK which facilitate research and conference collaborations as well as student exchanges.[36]

Student activitiesEdit


The university fields teams, who are known as the Hornets, in:



The athletic programs participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA)'s Division I (FCS for football). The Hornets compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as full members since the conference was founded in 1970.

The university's Department of Intramural Sports provides a wide variety of quality recreational programs for students, faculty and staff.

Notable alumniEdit

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Reggie Barnes 1988 Canadian Football League running back, various teams, 1990–1996
Clyde Bishop 1964 U.S. Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, 2006–2009
Clifford Brown trumpet virtuoso, composer, an influential and highly rated American jazz musician
Robin Christiansen mayor of Dover since 2014, city councilman from 1983 to 2001, and council president and vice mayor from 1990 to 2001 [37]
Emanual Davis 1991 former NBA player for the Atlanta Hawks and Seattle SuperSonics
Wayne Gilchrest 1973 U.S. Representative for Maryland's 1st congressional district, 1990–2009
Jamaal Jackson 2003 National Football League offensive lineman, Philadelphia Eagles, 2003-2010
Shaheer McBride 2008 National Football League wide receiver
Darnerien McCants 2001 National Football League wide receiver
Sam Shepherd 1975 represented Venezuela in basketball at the 1992 Summer Olympics [38][39]
John Taylor 1986 National Football League wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers, 1987–1995
Walter Tullis National Football League wide receiver, Green Bay Packers
David G. Turner 1986 executive, Bank of America, recognized by Fortune magazine in 2002 as one of the "50 most powerful black executives in America"
Ralph Wesley 2003 public address announcer for the Washington Wizards [40]
Kailyn Lowry 2017 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom 2
SZA 2012 R&B singer


  1. ^ "Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware". Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  2. ^ "University achieves new school enrollment records". Delaware State University. 2021. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  3. ^ "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". Center for Postsecondary Education. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Chapter 119".
  5. ^ "Chapter 635".
  6. ^ "Delaware State University History". Delaware State University. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "DSU one of few smoke-free HBCUs". delawareonline. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  8. ^ "Delaware State University signs agreement to acquire Wesley College". 2020-07-09. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  9. ^ Cherry, Amy (July 9, 2020). "Delaware State University to officially acquire Wesley College". WDEL.
  10. ^ "Delaware State Univ. to acquire Dover's Wesley College". WHYY. 2020-07-09. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  11. ^ Higher Ed Dive: September 16, 2021: How many colleges and universities have closed since 2016
  12. ^ "Delaware State University will acquire Wesley College, a first for HBCUs". Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  13. ^ "Del State receives historic $20MM donation from MacKenzie Scott". Delaware State University. 2020-12-15. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  14. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  15. ^ "Tree Campus USA Schools". Arbor Day Foundation. 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  16. ^ "History". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  17. ^ "COVID-19, updates-7/7 Reopening plan". Delaware State University.
  18. ^ "Student Emergency Relief Fund\publisher=Delaware State University".
  19. ^ "The Presidents of Delaware State University and the Highlights of their Tenures". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  20. ^ "Chapter 65. Organization, Administration and Functions – Delaware State University". – the Online Delaware Code website. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  21. ^ "Board of Trustees". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  22. ^ "Provost/Academic Affairs". Delaware State University. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  23. ^ "About DSU". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  24. ^ "DTCC Dual Admission Program". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  25. ^ "NCATE Institution Report Overview". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  26. ^ "Graduate Catalog - Accreditations and Institutional Memberships" (PDF). Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  27. ^ "Schools Accredited in Business". The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  28. ^ "The Aviation Program". Delaware State University. 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  29. ^ "The Professional Pilot Program". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  30. ^ "Delaware Flight Schools – Delaware State University". Best Aviation. 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  31. ^ "DSU Receives $5 million NASA research grant". Delaware State University. 2009-09-30. Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  32. ^ "2021 Best National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  33. ^ "2020 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  34. ^ "Delaware State University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  35. ^ "Delaware State University - College of Business". The Princeton Review and Random House. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  36. ^ "Faculty Research Abroad". Delaware State University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  37. ^ "Mayor". City of Dover, Delaware. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  38. ^ Pucin, Diane (1992-07-03). "Venezuelans Bring Some Of Their Own Magic To The Fray". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
  39. ^ "Sam Shepherd bio, stats, and results". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  40. ^ "Delaware State Alum Ralph Wesley Named Washington Wizards' P.A. Announcer". HBCU Digest. September 17, 2010. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 39°11′10″N 75°32′33″W / 39.1861°N 75.5426°W / 39.1861; -75.5426