Mishoe named DSU’s 11th president

From left are Dr. Wilma Mishoe, Dr. Devona Williams and John Ridgeway. DSU photo

DOVER — On Friday, the Delaware State University board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Wilma Mishoe as the 11th president of Delaware State University, effective July 1.

“In so doing, we have named a dynamic leader and a four-decade veteran in higher education with deep roots at what has been, for 127 years, one of the most important institutions for access to higher education in the country,” said DSU interim board of trustees chairwoman Devona Williams in a statement Friday evening.

Last July, Dr. Mishoe was named the first woman to chair the board of rrustees, and when former President Dr. Harry Williams stepped down to become the president at Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Dr. Mishoe then became the first woman to assume the role as acting president in January.

She is the daughter of Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, who was the president of then-Delaware State College from 1960 to 1987, and his wife, Hattie B. Mishoe.

“Not only had the time come for these history-setting events, but they have been rightfully coupled with her exceptional leadership. In short order, she has repositioned the focus of the institution squarely on our students, requiring that we all — trustees, faculty, and staff — look through the lens of the student in everything we do,” said Ms. Williams.

During her time at Delaware State, she has led a comprehensive review of every policy and practice at the university.

“This review is transparent and includes overdue discussions in facilities improvement, better customer service, student life, teaching and instruction, athletics, and budgeting and accounting,” Ms. Williams said.

She originally became a board member in June 2015 after her appointment by then-Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. In joining the board, Dr. Mishoe succeeded former board member Bennie Smith, whose six-year term expired in 2012. Mr. Smith continued to serve as a board member until January 2015.

In 2010, Dr. Mishoe retired from a 30-year career at Delaware Technical and 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, Affirmative Action officer, and other positions.

From 1975-1980, Dr. Mishoe served as the dean of students and director of Financial Aid at then-Wilmington College, working under the school founder Dr. Donald E. Ross.

Dr. Mishoe was drawn out of retirement to serve on a presidential transition team in October 2013 at Wilberforce University in Ohio, where she was a member of its board of trustees since 2003. That board later appointed Dr. Mishoe as acting president, an interim leadership post she held until October 2014 when the institution hired Dr. Algeania Marie Warren Freeman as its new permanent president. Dr. Mishoe continued as a special assistant to Dr. Freeman to aid in the transition.

Alumnus John Ridgeway was also named board vice chairman Friday. Mr. Ridgeway along with trustee Lois Hobbs, led the Presidential Search Committee, composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners.

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