Students are the heart and soul of UD—we flourish only when they can discover the true potential of their creativity, curiosity and capability, regardless of economic situation, financial need or the uncertainties life may bring.
As we continue to cultivate global citizens with expertise and practical skills, donor support allows us to constantly enhance the student experience, creating opportunities, programs and resources that help each of them realize their greatest achievements.
Amanda Studnicki puts Delaware First on the court and in the world
Tennis players know that net play takes nerve, speed, confidence and commitment.
“I love to play the net,” says Amanda Studnicki—in life, it seems, as well as on the court. Co-captain of the UD women’s tennis team, Studnicki maintains a 3.98 average in a challenging major, biomedical engineering.
At age 16, Studnicki boldly charged the net of life: Raised by a single mom, she mustered her courage and left home, moving from Illinois to Florida to enroll full-time in the tennis academies. She caught the eye of UD Coach Laura Travis, who offered a scholarship to play for the Blue Hens. A recent undergraduate research opportunity landed her in the Human Robotics Laboratory where she worked alongside graduate students analyzing biomechanical principles.
These lab projects are particularly appealing. “They tackle real-world problems, but they also teach teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, even conflict resolution,” Studnicki explains.
Tennis standout, stellar scholar, UD athletic scholarship. The set adds up to a perfect match.
Isaac Kamweru keeps Delaware First in the fight against famine
For Isaac Kamweru, the stakes are high: Can he protect 47 million Kenyans from famine?
Kamweru, who is from Nairobi, is now completing a master’s degree in Plant and Soil Sciences. As UD’s pioneer Borel Global Fellow, he’s the first graduate student in a new program funded by donors Jim and Marcia Borel to boost food security in famine-prone Africa. For his thesis, Kamweru is finding strains of maize that are drought tolerant. The search is urgent. Drought is sweeping Africa.
“We had up to 90 percent crop failure in Kenya’s grain basket in 2012,” Kamweru says. “Many people here are still on relief food.” Kamweru has skin—and kin—in the farming game. “I grew up on a two-acre farm,” he says. “When I visit the farm, the neighbors come visit; they ask questions. When I can inform and inspire my neighbors, it’s a good feeling.” Even better is knowing that he can help his entire nation.
“We need to bring modern science to Kenyan farming. With my education from the University of Delaware, I’m sure I can fill that gap and make a huge difference.”
At UD, our faculty members teach, inspire and challenge our students. They bring their expertise, cutting-edge research and passion to class each day and our students benefit.
Professorships, endowed chairs and other faculty support can be a deciding factor for where many of the best of the best decide to teach. With help from our supporters, we can attract and retain even more dedicated faculty members.
Alice Ba Connects Delaware First to Global Challenges
Tempers flared in the United Nations Security Council. Soldiers had attacked a refugee camp in South Sudan. Frustrations soared as aid programs were left vulnerable.
But the setting was not UN Headquarters. And the raised voices belonged not to ambassadors but to UD students, taking Intro to Global Policy from Professor Alice Ba.
“I assign each student to one of the 15 Security Council member countries, then present them with a crisis,” Ba explains. “Students really get into it and take their roles seriously, which is great, but often there’s tension. Unfortunately, my conflicts are not fictional.” Ba is no stranger to thorny conflicts. An East Asia specialist, she’s monitoring rising tensions in the South China Sea, as well as on the Korean Peninsula. “The U.S. and China have very different perspectives,” she notes. “But ultimately you have to deal with what North Korea wants, with the regime as it is.”
Ba’s pragmatic, global perspective, one she imparts to students, is shaped by years of Asia research. She recently completed two edited volumes on contemporary Southeast Asian politics and the Philippines’ “post-America” foreign policy, and an article on regional cooperation in the Malacca Strait.
But she never lets her scholarship shortchange her teaching. “We’re committed to students as well as research here. You don’t get that balance everywhere.”
Matt Oliver Makes Delaware First in Discovery and Exploration
Earth’s oceans are vast, deep and full of secrets. They’re also stressed: temperatures rising, oxygen declining, biodiversity and food stocks dwindling. Few people know this better than University of Delaware oceanography professor Matt Oliver.
Based at UD’s Lewes campus, Oliver plumbs the depths of the sea with a fleet of high-tech tools: a 146-foot research ship, robotic “gliders” and deep diving probes. Oliver’s monitoring of ocean health sheds crucial light on how climate change is affecting marine life, ranging from one-celled plants to penguins, halibut and tiger sharks. The news isn’t good. “The oceans are under serious threat,” he says.
Oliver’s high-tech, deep-diving tools—as well as his endowed professorship—are funded by philanthropy, most notably by Patricia and Charles Robertson, longtime UD donors with a passion for science and the coastlines. Oliver credits the Robertson’s generosity with enabling his breakthrough research.
“If we were chasing grants year after year,” he explains, “we’d never be able to do this long-term, ongoing research. You’re investing in careers—in the scientists of tomorrow—and in future discoveries.”
Discoveries that could help safeguard the oceans—and the planet itself.
From the iconic Green and traditionally Georgian halls to the high-tech labs and collaborative spaces, our campus is full of places where students learn, faculty grows, community gathers and memories are made.
What students learn is inexorably linked to where they learn it. Updated labs, innovative equipment, expanded space will all enhance the student and faculty experience at UD and we can’t do it alone. Philanthropic support will help us renovate existing buildings as well as create new spaces.
New Spaces Put Delaware First for our Students
“We have a motto in food science,” says Dr. Dallas Hoover, UD food microbiologist and professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “People always have to eat.”
Helping to improve the production and quality of food is one of the main goals of UD’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences, where students and faculty aim to deliver tastier, healthier products to hungry consumers using smart science and cutting-edge technology.
That mission has received a significant boost thanks to generous donors, including the Unidel Foundation, Inc., who have gifted a total of $1.15 million to help renovate and expand food science research space. The enhancements not only will upgrade lab equipment, but also help advance the University’s efforts in food education, including creating spaces for teaching cheese-making, nanobrewing, and possibly even yogurt-making. The expansions also will benefit the UDairy Creamery, adding an on-campus processing facility that will triple production capacity.
Student success is one of the main drivers of the added space. The changes are not only crucial to student recruitment and retention, Hoover says, but equally beneficial for UD food science: innovative, experiential learning experiences ultimately lead to higher-quality research and, in turn, better food products.
“We’re grateful for funding,” Hoover says, “because it enables us to move away from the lecture hall teaching model and towards a more hands-on learning experience.”
STAR Tower Keeps Delaware First in Healthcare
It’s already home to three healthcare clinics, cutting-edge biomedical research labs, computing companies, clean fuel-cell manufacturers and incubator and office space for start-ups.
And now, UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus expands on that ambitious start with the addition of STAR Tower–10 stories of office and laboratory space, including an atrium and state-of-the-art auditorium.
UD’s College of Health Sciences will be the anchor tenant in the Tower, providing research, teaching and collaboration spaces that contribute to many academic programs.
“It’s absolutely transformational,” says Kathleen Matt, dean of UD’s College of Health Sciences. “This unique facility will provide space to accommodate the growth of the University and the College of Health Sciences with shared core research and experiential space that allows students to engage in novel learning experiences. STAR Tower will unite efforts across our college, UD and the whole healthcare community, improving healthcare education, research, innovation and care throughout Delaware, the region and beyond.”
The Tower will include a next generation technology-enhanced exercise/fitness space for research intervention that is visually inviting for Parkinson’s, rehabilitation and kidney patients, as well as children with autism. Technology-driven virtual reality simulation labs will provide futuristic training facilities for healthcare professionals to train for disaster drills, hospital care, home care or care in community settings.
The building is uniquely designed with large, open collaborative spaces to encourage cross disciplinary work and to enhance translation of the latest findings from research into solutions that have public impact. There will be design and maker spaces, small and large meeting rooms and open desk configurations to encourage academic, business and community engagement.
UD has a solid foundation of excellence and grand visions for the future. We can’t make them a reality alone. We’re immensely grateful to our many donors who choose to support our world-changing initiatives, talented students and ground-breaking faculty.
Every gift makes a difference and helps us reach our ambitious goals, fulfilling the greatest potential in our students, faculty and staff.
Collection Puts Delaware First for the Gift of Knowledge
Print isn’t dead. On the contrary: every time a new set of eyes falls onto a page, a window opens into another place and time, giving the reader a new perspective and deeper knowledge. That knowledge then spreads to others – through scholarship, through collaboration, through research – taking on new life in the process.
“Every printed work, each leaf of writing, has in its makeup what Robert H. Taylor called the ‘flavor of the period,’” writes Mark Samuels Lasner, a senior research fellow at UD’s Morris Library and a noted scholar of Late-Victorian art and literature, “a spirit no later version or facsimile can offer. These objects not only connect us with their creators but tell us about their times through physical form.”
Lasner, a longtime friend and donor to the University, is making sure the spirit of knowledge stays vibrant at UD. In June, he gifted a lifetime’s worth of British literature and art to the library’s Special Collections. The gift, worth more than $10 million, focuses on the Pre-Raphaelites and writers and illustrators of the 1890s. It boasts more than 9,000 first and other editions, including many signed and association copies from authors such as Oscar Wilde, Max Beerbohm, William Morris and Aubrey Beardsley.
Lasner’s gift is already adding “flavor” to UD classrooms. “The collection is brilliant,” says Siobhan Carroll, an associate professor in English who has employed the materials in many of her graduate and undergraduate classes. “It adds dimension and breadth to authors, and allows students to actually explore engagement with the texts.”
With Lasner’s materials now added to the books, letters and manuscripts in UD’s library, students and scholars have an even greater opportunity to enrich their academic pursuits through the historical, cultural and material value in the documents.
“This collection adds tremendous value to scholarship on campus,” says Trevor Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian. “Mark has always thought about how his knowledge and resources can benefit others. His gift enables people to see the importance of what exists in the library.”
Supporters Put Delaware First for Music
“We believe music is a universal language that has a transformative effect on people,” says Marichu Valencia.
Valencia and her husband Donald J. Puglisi, H12, are dedicated to teaching that language around the world. Recently, Puglisi, a MBNA America Professor Emeritus of Business and Board of Trustees member, and Valencia, a member of the UD President’s Leadership Council, made history when they signed a new $5 million commitment to the Donald J. Puglisi and Marichu C. Valencia Music Enrichment Fund, an unrestricted endowed fund they created in 2010 to support the UD Department of Music.
The loyal UD couple’s gift, the single largest contribution to the College of Arts and Sciences from a living person in the history of the University, will benefit many activities in the music department. Their generosity will support student ensembles, visiting professors, guest artists, instrument equipment and travel costs to conferences. It will also bolster the breadth and depth of the fund’s impact on music students at the University.
“The music programs at UD provide unparalleled experiences to our local, as well as global, audiences,” Puglisi said. “Our continuing investment in those programs is a recognition of the accomplishments and the promise of our extraordinary students and faculty, and our confidence in the future of our great University.”
Over the years, Puglisi and Valencia’s leadership and collective contributions have impacted innumerable students and faculty in various colleges, and have even motivated a community of music enthusiasts to financially support the University.
“It is our hope that this gift will help to further enrich the lives of our students, faculty and community as well as encourage future generations to support the arts,” says Valencia.
Russell E. Murray Jr., music department chair and professor and founding director of the University of Delaware Collegium Musicum, said he is extraordinarily grateful to the couple for their generosity and personal involvement in the Department of Music.
“This gift marks a new chapter for the Department of Music,” he adds. “Don and Marichu’s past gifts have made a real difference in the life of the department and this new gift allows us to build on the excellence of the department in new and exciting ways.”
The gift will ensure a lasting legacy of music education, appreciation and enrichment at not only UD, but throughout the region.
NUCLEUS Puts Delaware First for UD Students
When Tom Hofmann, BE73, re-engaged with the University of Delaware 35 years after graduating, the successful accountant and former CFO of Sunoco knew he wanted to help today’s students who didn’t have the advantages he did – the first-generation students, the underrepresented and those who need a helping hand.
“I was really looking to help a program like NUCLEUS because it helps first-generation students,” Hofmann says. “I have sons, and I look at them and their friends, and I see the support they have, particularly relating to education and professional opportunities. So many kids don’t have the same advantages, but they are talented and have worked hard to get into the University. They just need support and opportunities to succeed.” In 2012, Hofmann established the Ethel and Donald Hofmann Research Fund to Support NUCLEUS. Named for his parents, the gift helps fund the program in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), offering academic support services and professional development to all CAS students, but largely to underrepresented students.
Just as the fund has been beneficial to students, it has been rewarding for Hofmann as well. He has taken time to meet with Hofmann Scholars over the years and learn about the projects and programs. He is impressed by the scope of the projects and work done by the students.
“It’s been great getting to know some of the Hofmann Scholars, and I love learning about how involved they are in so many aspects of campus life,” Hofmann says. “In addition to their academic focus, they are making time to engage in a number of worthwhile education and social programs. Given how well they are doing, I’m just glad I’m not competing against them. We need to support the first-generation students and help them excel. They are our future.”