Delaware State University held its 2017 December commencement Dec. 16 in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium where more than 240 graduates received their diplomas recognizing the completion of bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

Among the undergraduates receiving their diplomas, five completed their academic journey as summa cum laude, 14 as magna cum laude, 15 as cum laude and 11 as honorable mention.

DSU President Harry L. Williams presented the Presidential Academic Award to Seth Alan Fair. An elementary education major from Greenwood, Fair maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his entire undergraduate summa cum laude journey. Williams presented a Presidential leadership Award to Leah Brown, a public health major from Milford.

The keynote speaker was Steve Ewing, CEO and president of the Wade Ford Franchise Smyrna, Georgia, and a DSU alumni — class of 1983.

Williams presented Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Sens. Brian Bushweller and Margaret Rose Henry.

Bushweller has represented his Dover-area, 17th District, constituents since 2008. He has been an effective advocate for DSU throughout his elective tenure, serving as a champion of the state-funded Inspire Scholarship for DSU, of capital expansion funding that led to the construction of the Optical Science Center for Applied Research, as well as of DSU’s enrollment of Deferred Action for Child Arrivals recipients.

Currently the Democratic Caucus Majority Leader and the only African-American woman elected to the State Senate, Margaret Rose Henry is capping off a lifetime career of public service, including management positions at Delaware Guidance, Girls Inc., Ingleside Homes, YWCA, United Way of Delaware and assistant dean of students at Delaware Technical and Community College.

DSU board of trustees Chairwoman Wilma Mishoe presented Williams with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Williams will leave DSU in January to become the president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. His eight-year tenure as the university’s 10th president has been marked by rapid growth in the institution’s enrollment, research portfolio, international partnerships, and its footprint across Delaware.

Six times in those eight years, the university broke enrollment records, including in the semester 2017 when DSU reached 4,648 students. The expansion of DSU research was punctuated by the recent announcement of a school-record $10.9 million award for neuroscience research.

During Williams’ presidency, DSU also became the only institution of higher education in the state to charter a high school, the Early College High School, where students can earn up to 60 college credits as they earn their diplomas. The first senior class graduates this spring.