DSU’s Stevenson marks 105th birthday

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen presents a Certificate of Recognition to Courtney Stevenson at her 105th birthday celebration held on June 9.

DOVER — Delaware State University retired professor and the school’s oldest living alumnus Courtney Stevenson was showered with 105th birthday wishes from more than 200 guests and elected officials from throughout the state at a banquet celebration held June 9 at the Harvest House of the Whatcoat United Methodist Church in Dover.

A second celebration for Ms. Stevenson was held on her actual birthday, June 12, at the Cadia Capitol Rehabilitation Center in Dover, where she is a resident.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen led a parade of well-wishers recognizing the retired professor that included representatives of elected officials from around the state — including Gov. John Carney, Sen. Chris Coons, Sen. Thomas Carper and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester — DSU representatives, regional and state leaders of the Order of Eastern Star and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and church leaders.

The event, entitled “A Musical Sunday – 105th Birthday Celebration for Courtney W. Stevenson”, featured song and dance presentations from singers, dancers and musicians from around the state. The theme observed her support of music and the arts. In addition to being a major contributor to music and art projects, she is a rehearsed singer who began singing in choirs more than 100 years ago while a child at the Court Street Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia where she was raised.

Ms. Stevenson received her degree in Home Economics from what was then the State College for Colored Students in a graduation ceremony held on her birthday in 1944.

Following college, she taught at various grade levels in the state, including being a pre-chool, elementary, junior high and senior high school teacher. Her secondary school experience includes serving at the Garrett Pre-School Program in Wilmington; the Delaware State College Laboratory High School; the Thomas Clayton Elementary School in Smyrna; and the Louis L. Redding Comprehensive High School in Middletown.

In addition, she taught Home Economics at DSU, twice serving as Interim Department Chair during her tenure. She served as interim chair in the 1970s under University President Dr. Luna I. Mishoe and in the early 1990s under DSU President Dr. William B. DeLauder. She retired from the institution in 1991 but returned at the request of Dr. DeLauder to again serve as interim department chair. She finally retired in 1994.

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