Delaware State University, Wesley agreement checks off the right boxes

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Good afternoon everyone,

First off, my apologies for filling up your Email In Box.

During the cascade of news yesterday, I forgot to check the box that moves the feature piece to the top slot – in this case, the story on the agreement that calls for Delaware State University to acquire Wesley College.

I quickly issued an update that included the story.

The acquisition is a big deal, marking the first time a Historically Black College and University has acquired another institution.

Wesley has been sitting on the precipice for years, despite the determined efforts of former Naval Academy Commandant Robert E. Clark. The college lacks an endowment and financial reserves of some of its peers.Earlier ideas that included courses offered in a New Castle County office park, did not pan out.

The acquisition is also good news for Dover’s nearby downtown, which has struggled for decades despite a location near government offices and Legislative Hall. The closing of Wesley would leave a giant hole in that area, with redevelopment taking years if not decades.

The DSU-Wesley agreement faces its share of hurdles in an uncertain economy.

A transition will take place over the next year, with an eye toward eliminating duplicate functions while keeping the DSU and Wesley operating separately until the acquisition is completed.

DSU will not tap into its financial resources to complete the acquisition, but will instead look for other funding.

The university can make a strong case to corporate America and others, given its growing enrollment, management stability, and strong position in the HBCU world.

Should everything work out for Wesley and DSU, the next step should be a state higher education system. The system would allow Delaware Technical Community College, the University of Delaware and DSU to maintain their identities while working on issues like the affordability of higher education and administrative overhead.

That’s a topic for another day. Stay dry over this humid weekend and I’ll work to check the right boxes. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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