The University mourns the May 21 passing of Dr. William B. DeLauder, the eighth President of Delaware State University, and celebrates his life and achievements that figured prominently in the significance of the institution during his 1987-2003 tenure.
At the time of his passing, he and his wife Vermell resided in Jamestown, N.C. He was born Sept. 29, 1937 in Frederick, Md. and was 81 at the time of his death.
In 1987, Dr. DeLauder succeeded Dr. Luna I. Mishoe (1960-1987) as President of then-Delaware State College, beginning a 16-year tenure that was marked by tremendous growth and development at the institution.
University President Wilma Mishoe said Dr. DeLauder continued the work of her father and his predecessor Dr. Luna Mishoe by continuing the transformation of the College and later the University.
“He was a gentle and thoughtful man who was brilliant in his approach to moving the University forward,” Dr. Mishoe said. “He was also a scientist, and as such, he paid attention to the small details, and that served his administration and the University well. He was also an excellent photographer, a pursuit he truly enjoyed in his spare time.”
During his presidency, the student enrollment grew from 2,389 students to a then-record 3,367. Supporting the student population’s growth was the continued development of diverse and quality academic programs, and the institution’s further expansion and enhancements of its buildings and other physical infrastructure.
Eleven new master’s degree programs – Biology, Biology Education, Chemistry, Applied Chemistry, Physics, Physics Teaching, Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Historic Preservation, and Plant Science – were added to the three graduate programs established during the Mishoe era.
With the growth of the degree programs, Dr. DeLauder revamped DSC’s academic administrative structure by establishing six main academic divisions – Arts and Sciences, Management, Agriculture, Education, Professional Studies and Graduate Studies – all of which would later become colleges within this higher education structure.
In what was the signature achievement under the institution’s eighth President, the DeLauder Administration succeeded in making an effective case for the school’s elevation in status, and in 1993 the institution was renamed by the state General Assembly from Delaware State College to Delaware State University. That name change – effective July 1, 1993 – marked the DeLauder Administration’s success in convincing people at all levels in Delaware that not only did the quality of the institution’s programs merit University status, but also a long-range plan was in place to continue its growth.
The remarkable transformation of the campus continued during the DeLauder era, with more than $100 million in new construction and improvements. That included the completion of Phase II of the William C. Jason Library, as well as the construction of the Warren-Franklin Residential Hall, the Mishoe Science Center-South (1995), the College of Business Building (originally named the MBNA Building, now named the Bank of America Building), the U.S. Washington Cooperative Extension Building and Herbarium, the University Courtyard Apartments, and a four-story Administration Building (2003). In addition, two streets that extended well into the campus from the Main Gate were eliminated and the area was renovated into a pedestrian mall in the mid-1990s.
In what would have great impact in subsequent DSU administrations, Dr. DeLauder established the Office of Sponsored Programs in 1992 to attract federal grants as well as to oversee the proper management of awarded funds. The office helped the institution obtain $9.5 million over its first 10 years in existence, and would later be vitally important in the significant expansion of research programs at the University.
It was under Dr. DeLauder’s leadership that the institution launched its first-ever capital fundraising drive in 1991 – the Century II Capital Campaign, which raised millions of dollars to strengthen its scholarship fund, its endowment, and improve its teaching and research capabilities.
The funeral arrangements for Dr. DeLauder are incomplete at this time