WilmU Brandywine campus receives $1M Longwood grant
The grant is earmarked to help the construction of a law school building and a convocation center. Previously announced plans have the law school building as a three-story structure with 51,000 square feet in size. The convocation center is planned at 84,000 square feet and will house a multi-use space for expanded criminal justice and esports programs.
“We have fostered a caring environment and offered convenience, flexibility, and affordable tuition to students from all walks of life since we were established 56 years ago,” Wilmington University President LaVerne Harmon said in a statement. “Our law school mirrors that philosophy by establishing admission pathways to all qualified students, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and by educating future attorneys who will reflect the populations they serve.”
The $1 million grant awarded by the Longwood Foundation, a charitable foundation established by the du Pont family in 1937, cited the need for more diversified legal professionals — and how WilmU had a “long tradition as an open-access, accredited, and inclusive institution.”
With its first classes, WilmU law school is aiming for a student body of about 500, or about 50% smaller than Widener University’s Delaware Law School. But even so, the expansion is a major undertaking for the institution that has moved to cater to working adults mainly through its MBA and DBA programs. Delaware Business Times reported in 2023 the average age for its student body, in person and online is 33. Abought 90% of them work full-time or part-time.
WilmU law school officially opened with its first inaugural class in August at the college’s Brandywine campus off U.S. Route 202 near the Pennsylvania state line. Classes are held at the Brandywine campus’ sole building, the Jack P. Varsalona Hall, but plans were to move the law school to a newly constructed building that was tentatively scheduled to open in January 2025.