UpDate - Vol. 15, No. 28, Page 3
April 18, 1996
Significant support; Historian's book explores Unidel Foundation

     Unidel: A Foundation for University Enrichment, by Carol
Hoffecker, Richards Professor of History, explores the history and
relationship between the University of Delaware and the Unidel
Foundation, established in 1939 by Amy Elizabeth du Pont (1875-1962).
     The youngest daughter of Eugene du Pont, who headed the Du Pont
Co. from 1889 until his death in 1902, "Miss Amy," as she was
generally known, never married. As she grew older, she decided to
honor her father's memory by supporting higher education at the
University of Delaware.
     She consulted her attorney, Hugh M. Morris, and he proposed that
a separate, charitable corporation be formed whose primary goal was to
make grants to the University. Miss Amy concurred with this
arrangement, and Unidel was established in 1939.
     "Her public-spirited action in making this bequest is a story
that deserves our attention," Hoffecker said.
     In her will, Miss Amy wrote that it was her desire to memorialize
her father, who "spent his life in prolonged and persistent effort to
extend and enlarge the field of human knowledge." She decided to
continue this goal by using her father's legacy to "benefit...the
individual through education and research."
     As Judge G. Burton Pearson, president of Unidel, states in the
foreword to the book, she wanted the benefits "as special gifts, for
purposes which, but for such gifts, might be difficult or unlikely to
be accomplished adequately or at a propitious time."
     As a member of the Women's College Advisory Committee, Miss Amy
took an active interest in the college, paying part of the salary for
a child development professor and buying the house on the corner of
South College Avenue and East Park Place as a home for the college's
     After Miss Amy's death in California in 1962, it was disclosed
that she had willed the major part of her inheritance from her father
to Unidel, $25 million in DuPont and Hercules stock.
     The legacy was made during the tenure of President John Perkins,
and Hoffecker describes how he and the Unidel board came to an
understanding of the purpose and goals of the foundation and how they
could best be met.
     According to Hoffecker, the Unidel board meets with the president
and provost of the University annually and solicits requests for
grants from the president. In addition to Pearson, J. Bruce Bredin
serves as vice president, G. Arno Loessner serves as secretary and
treasuer and Irenee du Pont Jr., Andrew B. Kirkpatrick Jr. and David
D. Wakefield serve as trustees.
     In the book, Hoffecker puts the Unidel grants into historical
context during an era of change and growth at the University. In 1962,
when the legacy was made, there were 3,208 undergraduates, 1,059
graduate students, 318 faculty members and five schools. In 1994,
there were 15,534 undergraduates, 3,210 graduate students, 900 faculty
and 10 colleges.
     Not only have the Unidel grants enhanced all areas of the
University, they have helped to develop the University's research
capability and have attracted outside funding as well, Hoffecker
pointed out.
     Some projects supported by Unidel are particularly noteworthy,
according to the author. Unidel, she said, was asked to help fund a
marine studies program that in time developed into the College of
Marine Studies. Later, Unidel helped purchase the college's research
vessel, R.V. Cape Henlopen.
     "Without its initial Unidel grant of $500,000, the college would
have lacked the leverage that led to its success," Hoffecker wrote.
     Another important area where Unidel has played a major role is an
ongoing committment to the Eugene du Pont Scholarship Program,
established in 1980 to attract gifted undergraduates to the
     Unidel also funded the Amy E. du Pont Music Building, named in
honor of the benefactress.
     At the end of the book, Hoffecker lists Unidel Foundation grants
totalling $77.6 million over the years through 1994, classifying them
as support for students, buildings, equipment, faculty and programs.
     "It was a revelation to me, as it will be to readers, to learn
how significant Unidel has been in the development of this
University," Hoffecker said.
     The book was designed by Barbara Broge, with art direction from
Monroe Givens, both of University Media Services. The manuscript was
edited by Elizabeth Reynolds, special sessions. It is on sale at the
University Bookstore.
                                                   -Sue Swyers Moncure