Delaware State University Provost Dr. Tony Allen will assume the presidency of the school on January 1 following the retirement of Wilma Mishoe after a 40-year career in education.
In an interview Thursday evening, Allen expressed excitement about the job ahead.
"I have been chasing Delaware State University for more than a decade so to arrive at this opportunity now after having the opportunity to work for a leader like Dr. Mishoe has been more than I ever imagined, Allen said. "As long as we are educating students to solve real-world problems, making good on being Delaware's State University and continuing to raise the standard of performance, there is no challenge beyond our capacity."
Allen has a background in the corporate sector as the former head of corporate reputation for Bank of America, where he worked to build the bank's brand and community presence across customers, academics and other stakeholders.
Mishoe on September 5 announced her intention to retire in a letter to the university community:
"I am far from done. When I retire from the Presidency of this great University on December 31, 2019, I know I will go to new adventures, confident that I have left our great, shared enterprise in good hands. My heart will always reside on this campus, and my hands will be here whenever needed," wrote Mishoe.
Mishoe was serving as the first female chair of the board of trustees in October 2017 when former president Harry Williams resigned to become the CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. She officially became the first female president in January 2018.
Allen said the university's accomplishments in recent years include "raising the profile and import of this institution that has long deserved to take its proper place in higher education in Delaware and around the world. Getting the fourth year of the Inspire Scholarship for Delaware students, becoming the No.1 choice for Dreamers around the world, using our relationship with Apple to go digital, and continuing to hit record enrollment are all evidence of where we are headed."
He described Dr. Mishoe as "a force (who) served the University at a time of dynamic transition, bringing stability, renewed confidence, and a fiery, big vision to an institution that has long deserved to take its proper place in higher education in Delaware and around the world. She carries a legendary last name, but she is her own powerhouse and will forever be the grand dame of Delaware State University."
When asked about the size of the shoes he's being asked to fill, Allen said "she would not want me to fill her shoes. She wants me to continue the work thoughtfully and boldly build on what is already an incredible 128-year legacy. We're chasing one thing, To be the most diverse, contemporary HBCU in America."