Delaware State scores high-profile grants

 Senators Tom Carper (third from left) and Chris Coons (second from right) pose with Delaware State president Harry Williams (center) outside the university's new optics facility. (Photo courtesy of Delaware State University)

Senators Tom Carper (third from left) and Chris Coons (second from right) pose with Delaware State president Harry Williams (center) outside the university's new optics facility. (Photo courtesy of Delaware State University)

Delaware State University announced two grants Tuesday, one from NASA and another for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The $5-million award from NASA will support the school’s renowned optics program, including a project connected to NASA’s Mars mission.

The school has a long-standing relationship to NASA’s work on the Red Planet, dating back to a 2011 exploration campaign. The grant comes as Delaware State seeks to enhance its reputation as a leader in the optics field. Just last month the school unveiled a multi-million-dollar facility to house its optics program, and hopes to erect a companion facility in the near future.

On Tuesday the school also announced a partnership with the Gates Foundation that will focus on first-generation college students. The $1.2-million grant will help the school collect and analyze data drawn from a new individualized mentoring tool that was rolled out this fall.

The Gates money arrives just over a month after Delaware State received $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Education to bolster its supports for low-income and first-generation students.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.