Delaware State University names board chair interim president

Wilma Mishoe has been named the first permanent female president of Delaware State University. She has been interim president since January. The bust next to her is of her father Luna, who was the school's president from 1960 to 1987.

Wilma Mishoe has been named the first permanent female president of Delaware State University. She has been interim president since January. The bust next to her is of her father Luna, who was the school's president from 1960 to 1987.

Delaware State University has found its interim president from within the ranks, selecting Board of Trustees Chairwoman Wilma Mishoe, whose father, Luna, headed the Dover school from 1960 to 1987.

Mishoe, a former Delaware and Ohio college administrator who became board chair in August, will take over when current president, Harry L. Williams, leaves in January.

Williams, DelState president since 2010, announced his pending departure last week. He will be the new chief executive of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

The DelState office shuffling also extends to the board, where Vice Chairwoman Devona Williams will become interim chair.

Mishoe and Devona Williams made history this summer as the first women to be board chair and vice chair. Now Mishoe will be the first woman in the school’s 126-year-history to hold the office of president, albeit in an interim role.

A search committee to find the new president will be named in the coming weeks and begin its work in January, the school said Thursday. DelState, which grew, diversified, and expanded its research scope under Harry Williams, has 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students.

“Our priority is to keep the university moving forward with an intentional focus on student success,” Mishoe said in a written statement Thursday.

She stated that, under Harry Williams, the school “grew boldly and became one of the premiere’’ historically black colleges and universities in America. “That momentum must continue; standing still while we search for our next great leader is not an option. We have to keep innovating and improving.”

It’s not the first time Mishoe stepped away from a university board to become acting president. After 11 years on the board of Wilberforce (Ohio) University, she became acting president there in 2014.

She has been a higher education administrator for 35 years, mostly at Delaware Technical Community College, from which she retired in 2010, but also at then-Wilmington College from 1975-1980.

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