In Memoriam: Costel D. Denson, 1934-2018

Costel Denson, a former faculty member and administrator at the University of Delaware, died late last month. He was 83 years old.

Dr. Denson was a native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. He was the first African American student admitted to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering there in 1956.

Dr. Denson worked as a chemical engineer for General Electric in Schenectady, New York, and earned a master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Utah.

After serving as the manager of General Electric’s Polymer Research Division in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Denson joined the faculty at the University of Delaware in 1977. He was the first African American faculty member in the department of chemical engineering at the university. During his tenure at the university, he served as interim dean of engineering and vice provost for research. He retired from the university in 2005.

In 1956, Costel Denson, bottom right, was the first African American graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


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