by Terry Rogers
Doug Gibson, who has been carving waterfowl for more than 40 years, wanted to give back to his alma mater, Delaware State University. Recently, he donated ten hand-carved waterfowl decoys to the university which will now be displayed in the William C. Jason Library archives.
“I have already given them two or three of the decoys,” Gibson said. “I have a few more I still need to give them. This is a way for me to give back to them for what they gave me. I went there, it is my alma mater and I know the faculty very well. It is a way for my good works to help the university and have them displayed for many people to see.”
According to Bryant T. Bell, Director of Planned Gifts at the university, Gibson plans to donate about ten decoys by the time he finishes. Gibson worked with the Institutional Advancement team for several years and his donation is designed to support the university through gifts as an alumnus of the Class of 1950. The decoys are permanent gifts to the art collection at the school.
“It is very important for DSU to receive gifts like this that are unique and showcase the wide variety of expertise and skills of our DSU Alums,” Bell said. “It is a part of our history at Delaware State University and we are proud to be able to preserve and showcase these and other works for our greater community.”
Gibson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Arts from what was then Delaware State College and a Master of Science in School Administration from the University of Delaware. He was born and raised in near Easton and Oxford in Maryland. He served in the United States Navy before attending Delaware State College. He met his wife, Dorothy Henry Gibson, at ballgames he would attend at the college and they have been married over 60 years. The couple raised two children in Milford, Darrold and Dawne.
After graduating from college, Gibson taught Industrial Arts in Milford for 16 years and then taught architecture at Delaware Technical and Community College. At 95 years old, Gibson still spends time in his workshop each day carving and runs a carving class from his home. Two of his students are now award-winning carvers as well.
Gibson has received numerous awards for his waterfowl carvings, including the Canadian Art Exposition and the Nur Temple. In 2002, he was named “Artist of the Year” by Ducks Unlimited and in 2004, he received the Governor’s Award for the Arts. He has been invited to compete in the Eastern Waterfowl Festival and the Ward Brother’s Best in the World Competition, a distinction offered to only the best carvers in the world. He has also served as a judge for the Delaware Duck Stamp competitions and was a representative of Delaware at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington, DC. His carvings can be found as far away as Korea and the Philippines.
Gibson is a member of the Rehoboth Art League, Sussex County Art League, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the Milford Lions Club. He served on Milford City Council for four years and has been appointed to many state committees, including the Governor’s Wetlands Committee and the Office of Economic Opportunity. Education is very important to Gibson and he was instrumental in starting Head Start in Milford in the 1960s. He also designed the Delaware Agricultural Museum as well as six churches spanning from Smyrna, Delaware to Salisbury, Maryland.
“I have enjoyed working with Doug Gibson over the past three years to make this possible for him and DSU,” Bell said. “We hope to do an exhibition about him and his work on campus in the fall.”
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