Delaware State University on Friday said it has received a $1 million award from the Longwood Foundation to support the university’s acquisition of Wesley College.
The award will support ongoing transition costs, including personnel and a plan for aligning the two institutions’ academic programs.
The Longwood award caps a historic week in awards: a $1 million Health Heroes Relief Fund award from TikTok, $1 million from JPMorgan Chase and its Advancing Black Pathways initiative and $20 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“The Wesley acquisition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and matches our highest aspirations,” university President Tony Allen said in a statement. The deal is expected to be completed by July and also needs approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the regional accrediting body for both institutions.
Outside funding is key for a successful acquisition, Allen said. “This Longwood Foundation gift will be expressly used for that purpose, and validates the impact the combined entity will have on the educational, cultural and economic impact to the city of Dover, Kent County and the state of Delaware.”
The Longwood Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Delaware State, including $2 million in grants for the university’s Project Aspire, a scholarship initiative that helped students stay enrolled and complete their degree requirements. The program resulted in a 12% increase in the university’s retention rate and a 6% increase in its graduation rate.
“The Longwood Foundation’s grant to Delaware State University to help acquire Wesley College is a wonderful investment that will benefit the students, but also the greater Dover community for many years to come,” U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. said in a statement.
“Longwood recognizes Wesley’s impact in our region with its location in the heart of historic Dover and its attractive health sciences curriculum and has generously stepped up to the plate to help make this acquisition a reality. This is what we mean by the Delaware Way – public and private sectors working together to make Delaware a better place to live, work and learn.”