[caption id="attachment_220603" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Delaware State University may begin to look to Sussex County for its next expansion project as it has grown in New Castle County of late. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
DOVER — With a new Wilmington Riverfront building and a 50-acre campus in the heart of Dover, Delaware State University may next be turning its attention south.DSU President Tony Allen told the Delaware Business Times that the state’s only historically Black university is considering options for Sussex County at this time. Right now, the university has an agreement with Delaware Technical Community College to bridge associate degrees into bachelor’s degrees.
[caption id="attachment_220741" align="alignright" width="300"] DSU President Tony Allen, a rising star in national HBCU promotion and a friend of President Joe Biden, said he isn't making any plans to leave the Dover school. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
“We are in the exploratory phase right now with Sussex County,” Allen said in an interview on Feb. 25 with DBT. “But right now with the acquisition of Wesley College which really solidified us in downtown Dover, what we have in New Castle County proper and [the DSU Riverfront], we really think there could be a unique opportunity for us to extend our footprint in each county.”DSU does not have a brick-and-mortar campus or classrooms in Sussex County, but through a connected degree agreement, Del Tech students are able to fast-track a bachelor’s degree. Students must complete an associate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and formally enroll at DSU within a year of receiving their associate degree at Del Tech.The connected degree program also guarantees student placement at DSU residence halls in Dover, pending application procedures. However, students can also complete the bachelor’s program for selected fields of study at Del Tech in an online format.Those majors include a bachelor’s in accounting, education, general management, public health, social work and psychology. Master’s programs include social work and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).“I will say I don’t think you will see us grow as fast as you’ve seen because we want to make sure we’ve gotten it right,” Allen added. “We want to make sure we’ve gotten the right opportunities, and we’d like to say that the university is growing responsibly.”Allen and his administration continue to be bullish on growing the university in his two years as president. An Bank of America and MBNA alumni, Allen served as DSU provost before taking the top job, and, since 2020, he has focused on accelerating the university’s enrollment numbers, fundraising efforts as well as presence through national media appearances.
[caption id="attachment_218815" align="alignleft" width="200"] DSU has committed at least $15 million toward renovations of the former Wesley College. | DBT PHOTO BY ERIC CROSSAN[/caption]
In 2020, Allen started discussions to acquire the flagging Wesley College, and finally sealed the deal in July 2021. The now-named DSU Downtown is valued at $33 million and gives the college a downtown Dover presence, as well as new dorms and classrooms to expand the health and behavioral sciences programs.DSU also started the year by cutting the ribbon on the DSU Riverfront building, which was a vacant Capital One office donated to the university. It will serve as the future headquarters for the university’s graduate, adult and continuing education programs, but also serve as a base for strengthening partnerships.Not only does Allen envision partnerships with Code Differently, the Teen Warehouse and other nonprofits, he’s also looking into other HBCU-focused initiatives like the Propel Center with the Atlanta University Center Consortium.The growing spotlight on DSU comes as Allen has become a national figurehead for HBCUs under the administration of President Joe Biden, who Allen served as senatorial speechwriter for and who picked him to lead planning of his 2021 presidential inauguration. As for his immediate future, Allen said at the time he had not thought about his next step, since he is treasuring his time at DSU.“In all candor, it is not easy to live out your passion after having a good career and earning a good living in corporate America. It was a tough move, but an important move, because it’s following my passion,” Allen told DBT. “Moving from Bank of America to DSU has been the best decision in my life. I haven’t looked beyond DSU because there’s so much work to do.”Editor's Note: An previous version of this article incorrectly stated that DSU President Tony Allen was a Capital One alumni and that his best professional decision was moving from provot to president. HIs best decision was moving from Bank of America to DSU. We regret the error.
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