In Memoriam: William B. DeLauder, 1937-2019

William B. DeLauder, the eighth president of historically Black Delaware State University, passed away in Jamestown, North Carolina, on May 21, 2019. He was 81 years old.

In 1987, Dr. DeLauder was named president of  what was then Delaware State College. During his 16-year tenure as president, the college experienced growth and success. He presided over an increase in student enrollment, over $100 million in new construction and improvements to existing buildings, initiated the college’s first-ever capital fundraising campaign, and established the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Additionally, Dr. DeLauder supervised the addition of 11 new master’s degree programs: biology, biology education, chemistry, applied chemistry, physics, physics teaching, mathematics, mathematics education, historic preservation, and plant science. He also established six main academic divisions (arts and sciences, management, agriculture, education, professional studies, and graduate studies), which would later become colleges within the larger university.

Dr. DeLauder’s most notable achievement during his presidency was his successful campaign to elevate the institution from a college to a university. In 1993, the state General Assembly renamed the college as Delaware State University.

“He was a gentle and thoughtful man who was brilliant in his approach to moving the University forward,” said current Delaware State University President Wilma Mishoe. “He was also a scientist, and as such, he paid attention to the small details, and that served his administration and the University well.”

Dr. DeLauder was a graduate of Morgan State University where he majored in chemistry. He held a doctorate in physical chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit.

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