It’s official: Dr. Wilma Mishoe sworn in as DSU’s 11th president

DOVER — Though Dr. Wilma Mishoe has been filling the presidential role at Delaware State University since November 2017 when she stepped in as interim president, a ceremony marking her investiture as the institution’s 11th president was held on Saturday.

It was announced in June that the university’s board of trustees had unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Mishoe as the president to former President Dr. Harry Williams who’d stepped down to become the president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

The Education and Humanities Theatre on campus was packed with alumni, students, family, local politicians and delegates and other well-wishers for the ceremony on Saturday. Dr. Mishoe will be the first woman to occupy the top office in the school’s 127-year history, but she’s by no means new to the grounds.

Not only is she is the daughter of Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, who was the president of then-Delaware State College from 1960 to 1987, she served on the school’s board of trustees since 2015 — becoming the board’s chairwoman in 2017.

Her service at DSU as a president and board member has returned her to the campus where she grew up as a teen and as Gov. John Carney pointed out at the ceremony, is a product of the historically black college’s original mission.

“There really is something special and joyful about turning the reins of the university over to someone like Dr. Wilma Mishoe,” he said on Saturday. “We all know her proud history here and her legacy as the daughter of the longtime president Dr. Luna Mishoe.

“She’s a direct descendant of Delaware State University’s original mission: educating African American students who were denied access to our state and nation’s other institutions of higher education.”

An event with much fanfare, the ceremony included music by the Approaching Storm Marching Band and Delaware State University Concert Choir along with a dance performance by Dr. Lynnette Young Overby and a solo singing performance by Dr. Marsha T. Horton.

Visiting “home,” former president Dr. Williams delivered a “president to president” message laden with advice on how to best serve the office.

Addressing Dr. Mishoe, Dr. Williams said there were three keys to being a successful president of the university: “expect nothing but the best from the students,” “expect nothing but excellence from the faculty and the staff” and “love Delaware.”

During the investiture, Dr. Mishoe was helped out of her old scholarly robe (the one originally worn by her father) by her sons Roy Sudler Jr. and Travis Mishoe Sudler. She was helped into her new presidential robes by Wilmington College (now University) Dr. Donald E. Ross and former University if Maryland Eastern Shore president Dr. Thelma Thompson.

Invoking both the Gettysburg Address and her father, Dr. Mishoe pledged to continue a family legacy of devotion to the university.

“Let me begin by saying: Two score and seventeen years ago, my father brought fourth his investiture speech at this same institution and stated these words in his introduction: ‘in the faith that with the continued encouragement cooperation and devotion of the board of trustees, state officials and my fellow coworkers and under the divine inspiration from god, we shall move forward to new frontiers of excellence which this institution so bountifully deserves,’” Dr. Mishoe said during her presidential address.

“Fifty-seven years later, I can only echo that same sentiment and strive to continue moving forward to great levels of excellence in all that we do here at Delaware State University.”

Toward the end of the ceremony, Gov. Carney read Dr. Mishoe her oath of office which she accepted to a standing ovation.

According to the University, Dr. Mishoe has already been hard at work steering the college into the future since accepting the permanent presidency in June.

Within three months of her first day, the school launched its Digital Learning Initiative, which provided each member of the 2018 freshman class with iPad Pros.

The initiative is a collaborative partnership with Apple says the school’s administration.

The goal is to make all instruction at Delaware State University digital by 2020.

Dr. Mishoe brings considerable education, experience and background with her to the presidency.

She holds Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, a Master of Education degree in Student Personnel Administration, Guidance and Counseling both from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

She earned a Doctor of Education degree in Adult/Vocational Education from Temple University.

In 2010, Dr. Mishoe retired from a 30-year career at Delaware Technical Community College, where she held number of administrative leadership posts, including dean of the Office of Instruction and dean of Student Services, federal programs coordinator and Affirmative Action officer.

Before that, Dr. Mishoe served as the dean of students and director of Financial Aid at then-Wilmington College in the late 70s.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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