By Terry Rogers
During 2016 Delaware Technical and Community College celebrates 50 years of higher education. The celebration launched on January 27 with kickoff events at each campus under the theme “Delivering Excellence, Changing Lives.” The theme is designed to serve as a platform to promote Delaware Tech’s history of accomplishments over the past 50 years, the high quality of their programs, graduates, faculty and partnerships as well as the many ways Delaware Tech changes the lives of youth, students, graduates and Delawareans.
“There were a few key activities for the celebration,” said Judy Sciple, Ed.D, Co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary Task Force. “A major component of the anniversary celebration includes giving back to the communities in the form of 50 campus and community service projects statewide. Faculty, staff and students have committed to complete these service projects and many alumni and retirees have participated as well.” In addition, Dr. Sciple said that a 50th Anniversary Fund was established as part of the Employee Giving Campaign within the Educational Foundation to benefit the greatest needs of all students at all campuses. She said that 96 percent of the employees at the college participated in the campaign, raising a total of $95,194 for the foundation. Of that total, $46,119 was dedicated by employees to the 50th Anniversary Fund.
Currently on the Delaware Tech website, 50 alumni are being featured throughout the year and, during the week of June 6, the college hosted a series of anniversary events, including the inauguration of their fifth president, Dr. Mark Brainard.
elaware Technical and Community College began in 1966 when then-Governor Charles L. Terry, Jr. signed House Bill 529 into law. The bill established the Delaware Institute of Technology and the Board of Trustees. The first campus, which was known for many years as the Southern Campus, opened in September 1967 in Georgetown. The first year, there were 367 students enrolled. This campus was later named the Jack F. Owens Campus in honor of the first campus director.
As the first classes began at the campus in Georgetown, plans were already underway to start a campus in Northern Delaware. A temporary space was rented in the Blue Rock Shopping Center in Wilmington and the campus opened in 1968. It was immediately clear that the rented facilities were not adequate for the number of students who wished to attend. There was concern that one campus in Northern Delaware would not meet the needs of both urban and suburban populations. For this reason, it was decided to create two campuses in order to meet the needs of New Castle County. The Stanton Campus opened in 1973 and the Wilmington Campus opened in 1974. The name of the Wilmington Campus was changed to the Orlando J. George Campus in honor of the college’s long-serving president. A fourth campus was opened in Dover in 1972 and initially known as the Kent Campus. The name was changed to Terry Campus at a later date in honor of Governor Charles Terry who was a motivating force behind the creation of the college.
“It is part of our mission to provide affordable post-secondary education and we offer the lowest tuition and fees among all of the state’s higher education institutions,” Dr. Sciple said. “In an annual tuition and fee comparison done among 40 community colleges in our region, which included Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Delaware Tech ranks 36th, with only four institutions ranking lower in combined tuition and fees. Based on the latest Socio-economic Impact Study, an investment in a Delaware Tech education has an 18 percent return for our students and a nine percent return for the Delaware taxpayer.”
Dr. Sciple said that more than 48,000 individuals have obtained degrees, diplomas and certificates at Delaware Tech over the past 50 years. In addition, many more have been served through youth camps, dual enrollment programs, workforce training initiatives and community education programs. Dr. Sciple said the college has undergone many expansions over the years, including the addition of online courses. However, the college is very proud of the expansion of academic and short-term training programs which are driven by the state’s workforce needs.
“Our mission states that we develop and offer programs that are relevant and responsive to labor market and community needs,” Dr. Sciple said. “We work closely with business and industry throughout the state to identify these programs and the related skills needed to ensure that our students are job ready upon graduation.”
There is a 50th anniversary commemorative video available on the Delaware Tech website that begins with a discussion of the history of the college. The history was compiled by Dick Carter, son of Bill Carter, one of the founding fathers of Delaware Tech and a past president of the board as well as Barbara Weatherly, who is the daughter of the first president of the college, Paul K. Weatherly. Governor Jack Markell along with more than 20 businesses, community and government leaders volunteered to participate in the video to help tell the story. The video can be found at https://www.dtcc.edu/50th.