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DSU honors a former president who helped right the ship

Courtesy Delaware State University
A mockup of the commissioned statue of Dr. Jerome Holland

Delaware State University plans to honor one of the most important figures in its history by erecting a campus statue in honor of former President Dr. Jerome Holland.

In the 1950s, back when it was Delaware State College, the institution was in trouble. It was unclear if the state would continue to fund the only predominantly black college within its borders.

That is until Dr. Jerome Holland was appointed college president. In his tenure from 1953-1960, the college secured increased state funding and saved the its accreditation, which was hanging in the balance.

"We got our accreditation in 1957 and all of that was the result of the leadership of Dr. Jerome Holland. We only had him for seven years, but they were seven pivotal years," Delaware State University Spokesman Carlos Holmes said.

"So we truly believe that this property of Delaware State University could possibly be something else if it wasn’t for the leadership of Dr. Holland. And for that reason we believe his history should be honored."

The University is fundraising to commemorate Dr. Holland with the statue, a first for DSU, on the pedestrian mall just beyond the campus front gates.

Holmes said the design has been finalized and an artist is commissioned to have it finished within two years.

"Because this is not only Delaware State University history. This is Delaware history, too."

After his tenure at DSU, Dr. Holland went on to become the first African American appointed to the New York Stock Exchange. He was later named chairman of the National Red Cross. He also served as President Nixon’s ambassador to Sweden.