Delaware State in talks to acquire Wesley College

DOVER — Wesley College continues to move in a “positive manner” for a potential partnership with another institution, said Wesley President Bob Clark Wednesday.

While he declined to disclose the name as talks continue, a Delaware State University spokesman said that the university is exploring its options with the college.

“When the time is right we will disclose the name of our potential partner, but now would not be appropriate and serves no productive purpose,” President Clark said.

Carlos Holmes, a spokesman for DSU, said Wednesday that the university has been “exploring the possibility of acquiring Wesley,” for some months.

“That exploration is still basically ongoing and a decision as to whether that acquisition will be pursued in earnest could be made by the end of this month,” he added.

Per its updates to the state in May, Wesley reported “positive discussions between all leadership levels of both institutions — cabinet, president and board level — as we work through details of our Definitive Agreement.”

Who the other institution is has been a topic of discussion since the college first nodded to a potential merger last year.

DSU is not the first school to show an interest in the small college in Dover. Last year, according to University of Delaware spokeswoman Andrea Boyle Tippett, there were conversations between UD and Wesley. They had stopped by June 2019.

While President Clark declined to name the institution with which the college is in conversation, he said he understands the public interest.

“Because of a confidentiality agreement we have signed, we are not at liberty to disclose the name of our potential partner institution,” he said.

Last year, Wesley received about $5 million from the Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund to help support the institution.

Also last year, Wesley sought and was later given permission to use $1.375 million earmarked to renovate the former Dover Public Library for operational purposes. It must still use the same sum on the South State Street property, which it purchased from the city in 2016 for $1, at some point.

Both Dover City Council and Kent County Levy Court passed resolutions in January urging the state to financially support the college.