For the thousands of people whose lives have been changed by the Parallel Program, its 30th birthday is cause to celebrate.
J. Everett Moore, AS '72, says he's "definitely a cheerleader for the program," which is jointly sponsored by UD and Delaware Technical and Community College.
Moore-who credits his experiences as a Parallel Program student on the Georgetown campus with his love for politics and his career as an attorney--says he wanted to stay at home after high school and help tend the family farm, but his father wanted him to go to college.
It was 1968--the Parallel Program's second year of existence--and even though it was still in its formative years, the program had been in place long enough to give Moore the opportunity to fulfill both his and his father's wishes.
And, when he ran for president of the student government and won, he discovered his talent for politics and his respect for the law--a realization that changed his life and direction forever, he says.
Moore, formerly chair of the Sussex County Republican Party and vice chair of the state Republican Party, now devotes his time to his Georgetown law firm, heading the Jack F. Owens Campus Educational Foundation Development Council and chairing Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger, an organization that has provided some 48,000 meals to needy Delawareans over the past five years.
Parallel Program classes began on the Delaware Technical and Community College campus in Georgetown in 1967, when UD and Del Tech became partners in providing Delawareans with access to a two-year liberal arts education at low cost and without their having to commute to or live on the University's main campus in Newark.
James Bishop, a non-commissioned officer stationed at Dover Air Force Base when he enrolled in the Parallel Program, says he is especially pleased with the one-on-one attention the program gives students. "They help you through anything. From the first time I walked into that office, they knew my name," Bishop says.
While his Air Force job involved working with communication systems, Bishop wanted to learn more, so he enrolled in Del Tech computer technology courses, becoming so engrossed in the science of computers that he decided to continue his studies in the Parallel Program on the Terry Campus in Dover.
A little less than a year ago, the Air Force released him from active duty so he could finish school, and he transferred to UD's main campus. Bishop graduated in May with a degree in engineering technology. He's now in Air Force officer training school to become a commissioned officer planning computer and communication systems.
Other program alumni echo Bishop's enthusiasm for the program.
United States Naval Institute archives manager Dawn Stitzel, AS '85; Wilmington attorney William Wade, AS '73; Hercules Inc. Vice President Bruce Jester, BE '74; and 1996 Delaware Teachers of the Year Darryl Hudson, HP '74, and Timothy Young, HP '72, began their college careers in the Parallel Program in Georgetown. They all agree that the small class sizes, low cost and proximity to home the program offered them at a time when they were not ready for the main campus had a lot to do with their success after graduation.
The program's growth has been impressive. In
the first year, 33 Sussex Countians enrolled. Four years later, the partnership brought the program to Wilmington. In 1985, classes became available in Dover. Today, 1,200 persons from across the state are either matriculating or taking continuing education classes through the Parallel Program.
Del Tech President Orlando J. George Jr. says the 30 years of team work have brought higher education closer to the people of the First State. "Over 1,000 students enroll in the University Parallel Program at our campuses each year. I am proud of our successful partnership with the University of Delaware in providing increased access to liberal arts education to Delaware citizens," he says.
Raymond Callahan, associate dean for outreach in the College of Arts and Science, credits the program with providing opportunities for Delawareans they might not have had otherwise.
Under the partnership, Del Tech provides funding and facilities in Georgetown, Dover and Wilmington, and the University supplies faculty and curriculum. Tuition is set by Del Tech.
Students can go directly from the Parallel Program to UD's main campus, or they can transfer to Del Tech or another four-year college.
Over the past few years, the program has been expanded so students can get a number of four-year UD degrees without having to leave home. In Dover, for example, the program offers baccalaureate degrees in criminal justice and engineering technology, and on the Georgetown campus, students can earn bachelor's degrees in liberal studies, criminal justice, engineering technology and general agriculture.
Alumni of the Parallel Program include two University of Delaware high-index seniors, a Harry Truman scholar, two Owens Campus student government presidents, two Delaware teachers of the year and a host of others who have achieved prominence in their careers.
UD and DTCC will celebrate their successful collaboration in October with a month-long
series of events, including a ceremony with UD, Del Tech and state officials and a program about the program's past, present and future.
The following Parallel Program events, which are free and open to the public, begin at 7 p.m. in Room 529 of the William Carter Partnership Center, formerly the Higher Education Building, in Georgetown, Del.: Oct. 14, "Ancient Greek Theatre," a lecture by Steven Sidebotham, UD professor of history; Oct. 20, If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home Now, a film about the impact Bridgeville artist Jack Lewis has had on Delaware, with a question-and-answer session with Lewis following; Oct. 24, Oedipus Rex, the classic Greek tragedy performed by UD's Professional Theatre Training Program in Del Tech's Arts and Science Center Theatre; and, Oct. 27, "Slavery and Freedom in Delaware," a lecture by UD history professor William H. Williams.