Earlier today, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Wilma Mishoe as the 11th President of Delaware State University, effective July 1, 2018. In so doing, we have named a dynamic leader and a four-decade veteran in higher education with deep roots at what has been, for 127 years, one of the most important institutions for access to higher education in the country. Dr. Mishoe assumes a uniquely important role in the history of leaders at this institution. Last July, she was named the first woman to Chair the Board of Trustees, and when former President Dr. Harry Williams stepped down to become the President at Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Dr. Mishoe became the first woman to assume the role as Acting President in January. Not only had the time come for these history-setting events, but they have been rightfully coupled with her exceptional leadership: in short order, she has repositioned the focus of the institution squarely on our students, requiring that we all—trustees, faculty, and staff—look through the lens of the student in everything we do.
Dr. Mishoe routinely says, “Some people may love my students just as much as me, but no one loves them more,” a point made perfectly clear in her successful advocacy for the fourth year of the Inspire Scholarship, effectively affording Delaware High School Students with a 2.75 to come to Delaware State University tuition free.
Additionally, she has made stronger communications and accountability a top priority, while leading a comprehensive review of every policy and practice at the University. This review is transparent and includes overdue discussions in facilities improvement, better customer service, student life, teaching and instruction, athletics, and budgeting and accounting. Nor has she has been shy about taking our case to the Delaware General Assembly. After years of capital appropriations falling well short of our needs, Dr. Mishoe boldly asked for $100 million dollars in State support to deal with critical deferred maintenance issues that have gone unattended for far too long.
At the Board level, we are pleased but not surprised by Dr. Mishoe’s leadership. She has dedicated her life to higher education for those too often overlooked and often marginalized, and has story after story of student achievement that in large measure can be attributed to her leadership. Whether she was Dean of Students at Delaware Technical Community College and at Wilmington College, or Acting President at Wilberforce University — the oldest privately held HBCU in the country — Dr. Mishoe has led with distinction, integrity, and care. We are fortunate to have her at the helm. Also important to Delaware State University’s is Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Tony Allen, who began his tenure with the University last August. Tony is the transformational leader we were looking for after two years without a Provost. In nine months, he has significantly strengthened the University’s academic enterprise, built unique partnerships across the State of Delaware and enhanced the profile of the University.