Tony Allen officially became the 12th president of Delaware State University today (Jan. 1, 2020) and agreed to share his vision with the Delaware business community.
Happy New Year!
On my first day on the job as president of one of the most important institutions in the nation, I wanted to make sure to greet the business community of Delaware. Few institutions specialize in providing access to a four-year, comprehensive education to students from every background you can imagine, who despite sometimes enormous odds, are unrelentingly committed to doing better for themselves and their families. Even fewer can say they are doing so while having a significant impact on the economy of the State.
That impact, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, is substantive. Every dollar invested in the University returns six dollars in economic activity across Delaware. In total, that’s more than $265 million impact each year. Our funded research portfolio has increased as well, growing 21% to $23 MM this past year. Much of that research is directly focused on subjects that benefit our economy, like the introduction of new crops for the State’s farmers, while other efforts have led us to becoming a leader in HBCUs attaining new patents. In cooperation with NCALL and the City of Dover, we are building a major business incubator in downtown Dover.
By far, however, it is Delaware State University’s unique investment in people that makes this institution so consequential. Our DEEP Day experience represents an unparalleled opportunity for our students to interact with, and learn from, corporate leaders across the region. The University is the only HBCU in America that partner with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and one of the lead institutions in the Executive Leadership Council’s new initiative to recruit, mentor, and graduate young men of color into business careers. Delaware State University senior Caitlyn Ward was a 2019 winner of ELC’s prestigious Ann Fudge Scholarship.
The world is rapidly discovering what used to be “Delaware’s best-kept secret.” In September the University enrolled over 5,000 students for the first time in history, and in October we were spotlighted to 6 million passengers by American Airlines. With the addition of the fourth year of the Inspire Scholarship, over half of our in-State students now arrive with that award providing a foundation of financial security underlying their education; the 52% of Early College High School graduates who join us as full-time undergraduates bring an average of 50+ college credits with them, saving their families an average of $47,000 in college costs.
Delaware State University’s rapidly expanding Aviation program is already the country’s leading provider of professional pilots of color, and within the State we are the leading provider of teachers, nurses, social workers, and accountants of color. We look forward confidently to expanding these categories, and continue to emphasize the great opportunities our out-of-state graduates will find by staying in Delaware.
We are your source of the next generation of professionals, innovators, and entrepreneurs! Our diversity becomes the new strength of an expanding Delaware economy in an increasing smaller, more interconnected world.
I have been no stranger to Delaware’s business community, but I am not the one you need to know. Our students, staff, faculty and alumni are the core of what our grand University is all about and we are all looking forward to engaging with you in ways that grow this wonderful community of ours.
It all matters.