|Vol. 17, No. 4||Sept. 25, 1997|
Hoffecker is one of the speakers at "Celebrating the Past/Forging the Future," to be held at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, in Room 529 of the William Carter Partnership Building (formerly the Higher Education Building) on Route 18 in Georgetown.
Two of the key players in founding the Parallel Program were the late John Perkins, UD president from 1950-67 and the late Gov. Charles Terry who served from 1963-69, Hoffecker said.
Hoffecker began her research at the University Archives reading memos and other papers from President Perkins. She continued the project at the Delaware State Archives reading Gov. Terry's communications.
"In the early '60s, Gov. Elbert Carvel and later Gov. Terry were concerned about the future of Sussex County. Although New Castle County was growing and vigorous, attracting new industry and had a high standard of living, Sussex County was in the doldrums, with young people leaving because there were no jobs. The proposed solution was a technical institute that would train people for industrial jobs that, in turn, would attract companies to the area," Hoffecker said
An added incentive was that with integration, the formerly segregated Jason High School in Georgetown, built to educate African Americans, was vacant. This facility eventually served as headquarters for Delaware Technical and Community College.
Another proposal at that time was for a junior college in Wilmington or the suburbs that would be managed by the University to accommodate the growing population of New Castle County, with students coming to the University after two years of study.
At that time, a new technical institute in Greenville, S.C., was arousing interest. The Greenville Technical Institute contracted for professors from Clemson University to teach liberal arts on its campus.
A group of University representatives visited the school and learned how it was organized. The contract concept was attractive, and when Delaware Technical Institute (now Delaware Technical and Community College) came into being, a contract was drawn up between it and the University for the Parallel Program, with the University assuming responsibility for providing faculty to teach liberal arts courses for a two-year program.
The first director was Otis P. Jefferson Jr., and the first class of 26 students enrolled in September 1967.
"The faculty are UD faculty, the students are UD students although classes are held on the Del Tech campuses," Hoffecker pointed out.
By 1985 when the Dover branch opened, the Parallel Program was in three locations throughout the state-in Wilmington, Dover and Georgetown.
"Over the years, the program has expanded greatly, and graduate programs, such as the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree, are now available," Hoffecker said.
"There are many reasons students chose the Parallel Program," Hoffecker said. "The tuition is lower; the classes are smaller with more individual attention; some students prefer living at home and, for some students, it provides an opportunity to prove they can do college-level work. The proof of the program is that some of the University's best students started their college careers in the Parallel Program," Hoffecker said.
-Sue Swyers Moncure