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Men and Women of The Green

Profiles of people whose names are frequently associated with The Green

Sharp Warner Gore Coffin Mitchell Hullihen Brown Morris Day & Klauder du Pont Robinson

Hugh Rodney Sharp

Hugh Rodney Sharp (1880–1968) was born in Seaford, Del., in 1880. At 16, he was admitted, on probation, to Delaware College, now UD. He graduated in 1900 with a bachelor's degree and taught school briefly in Odessa. Later, Mr. Sharp joined the accounting department at the Du Pont Co., eventually working as the private secretary to his brother-in-law, company president Pierre S. du Pont. Both men became instrumental in the revitalization and expansion of the University.

Mr. Sharp became a trustee of Delaware College in 1915 and was already involved in planning to expand and redesign the campus. He chaired the committee on campus development and new buildings during the 1910s and 1920s. In 1918, Mr. Sharp became a life member of the Board of Trustees, remaining an active member for most of his life. He was also a major philanthropist during his years as a trustee. His gifts funded Mitchell Hall, Kent and Sharp residence halls, the wall surrounding the Women's College campus and professionalization of the Alumni Office, along with numerous other donations.

Mr. Sharp’s single greatest contribution came on June 3, 1950, when he signed over his interest from a trust established by his late wife to the University’s perpetual endowment fund. The University of Delaware received this interest until Sharp’s death in 1968, earning $32,590,000.

Mr. Sharp’s love for his alma mater knew no bounds. For example, he personally joined students in planting a row of elm trees on the campus to carry out Marian C. Coffin’s landscaping plan.

In 1949, when both Mr. du Pont and Mr. Sharp were in advanced years, Mr. du Pont wrote to his brother-in-law, “If I have been able to bring happiness into the lives of others, it was you who first showed me the way.”

Mr. Sharp died at sea on August 9, 1968, while returning from a trip to Italy with his son, Hugh R. Sharp.

Sharp Laboratory | Sharp Hall Residence | Top of page


Emalea Warner

Emalea Pusey Warner(1853–1948) was a major force in the establishment of the Women’s College of the University of Delaware. In 1911, she was appointed as the chair of a committee organized by the State Federation of Women’s Clubs, which lobbied and organized the effort to start a Women’s College in Delaware. Following a call by Delaware College President Harter to garner interest in higher education for women in Delaware, Mrs. Warner began lobbying the Delaware Senate, Delaware College (now UD) and private businesses for funding to build and open a Women’s College in Newark.

In 1928, Mrs. Warner was the first woman appointed to the University of Delaware Board of Trustees, serving on the Board until 1942. In 1934, as part of the University’s Centenary Celebration, she was awarded the University of Delaware Medal of Honor for her distinguished service to both the Women’s College and the University.

Warner Hall, formerly known as Residence Hall and one of the original buildings on the former Women’s College campus, was named in her honor in 1936.

Warner Hall | Top of page


The Gore Family

The Gore Family
Forty-five years ago, when Bill and Genevieve Gore moved their family to Delaware, they chose Newark as their hometown primarily so their children could have the benefits of living in a University town. Their son, Robert W. Gore, now president of the company his parents founded, attended UD as an engineering student and got a head start on his career by patenting a method of insulating electronic cable while still a student. Later, he would discover a method of expanding the polymer PTFE, which led to GORE-TEX®.

Mr. Gore graduated from UD in 1959, and his wife, Sarah I. Gore, earned a master’s degree from the University in 1976. Mr. Gore has served as a trustee since 1992. The Gores donated $17.5 million to UD for the building of Gore Hall. The construction was as envisioned nearly a century before by campus planners. University President David P. Roselle called the Gores’ gift “truly remarkable.”

Gore Hall | Top of page


Marian Cruger Coffin

Marian Cruger Coffin (1876–1957) was born in Scarborough, N.Y. and was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At a time when men dominated the field of landscape architecture, Miss Coffin served as the University’s landscape architect from 1918–52 and played a significant role in the union of Delaware College and the Women’s College, now UD.

Miss Coffin was responsible for designing and planting the landscaping on both campuses. The plan for Delaware College called for two ordered rows of elm and oak trees, along a Green, emphasizing the order and austerity of the Men’s Campus.

Her plan for the Women’s College called for flowering trees and shrubs, to soften the architecture and create a “romantic” atmosphere.

Miss Coffin designed a central “recreation area” consisting of a Magnolia Circle and paths that bordered an oval-shaped Green. This area was intended to create a transitional space between the two campuses, where men and women could meet and relax without leaving the University grounds.

Landscape plans | Top of page


Samuel Chiles Mitchell

Samuel Chiles Mitchell (1864–1948) served as the President of the University of Delaware from 1914–20. He earned his master’s degree from Georgetown College in Kentucky in 1888 and entered the teaching profession as a professor of history and Greek at Mississippi College. In 1899, Mitchell received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He also was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, including an LLD from Brown University (1910), Baylor University (1913) and the University of Cincinnati (1914).

In 1914, after serving as the President of the University of South Carolina, Mitchell became the 16th President of the University of Delaware. His tenure was marked by decisive changes: purchase of the land now known as The Green; construction of Wolf, Harter and Sussex Halls; renovation of Old College; and the opening of the Women’s College. He also spearheaded the planning for the construction of Memorial Library, a monument to Delaware’s World War I dead. In 1930, H. Rodney Sharp donated funds for the construction of Mitchell Hall, the University's first auditorium for the performing arts.

Mitchell Hall | Top of page


Walter Hullihen

Walter Hullihen (1875–1944), President of the University of Delaware from 1920–44, received his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia in 1896. After earning his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1900, he entered into several fellowships before accepting a position as professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Chattanooga in 1904. In 1909, after studying in Europe, he became a professor at the University of the South, where he later served as the dean of arts and sciences (1912–1920).

Dr. Hullihen was directly responsible for facilitating the reorganization of Delaware College and the Women’s College into the University of Delaware, which was first accredited in 1921.

His many achievements include the expansion of the campus between Main Street and the Women’s College, institution of the foreign study plan and the building of Memorial Library (now Memorial Hall). University Hall, built in 1940 during President Hullihen’s administration, was the first classroom building to be shared by the Men’s and Women’s colleges, and was renamed for him in 1952. Hullihen Hall now serves as the central administration building.

Hullihen Hall | Top of page


H. Fletcher Brown

Harry Fletcher Brown (1881–1960) was a chemist and industrialist and worked for most of his career with the Du Pont Co. With degrees from Harvard College in both chemistry and physics, he was appointed, within a year of his graduation, chief chemist at the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station in Newport, R.I. There he developed a new formula for smokeless powder. In 1904, he joined Du Pont and worked there for the rest of his career, taking on ever-increasing responsibilities as his managerial skills emerged.

Dr. Brown was a trustee at UD and received an honorary doctor of science degree in 1930. His contributions to the University included gifts for a chemistry building, a residence hall and completion of other facilities. A collection of his personal correspondence is in the Special Collections Department of the Morris Library.

Brown Laboratory | Top of page


Hugh Morris

Hugh Martin Morris (1878–1966), one of Delaware’s most distinguished legal minds, had a long-standing presence on the University of Delaware Board of Trustees. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Delaware College in 1898 and, after a two-year teaching position, entered the legal profession, studying in Wilmington under The Honorable Willard Saulsbury.

In 1903, Mr. Morris was admitted to the Delaware Bar and practiced law until 1919, when he was appointed U.S. District Judge for Delaware by President Woodrow Wilson. He remained in this position until 1930, when he returned to private practice.

In 1928, Judge Morris received an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Delaware. The following year, he joined the University's Board of Trustees, serving for 30 years, the last 20 as its president. In 1964, the University recognized Judge Morris’ contributions when the new library was named in his honor. Judge Morris bequeathed his home and farm on Polly Drummond Hill Road in Newark to the University. The State of Delaware acquired the property from UD in 1998.

Morris Library | Top of page


Day & Klauder, Architects

Frank Miles Day (1861–1918) and Charles Z. Klauder (1872–1938)
In 1915, Pierre S. du Pont anonymously purchased the ground known as “no man’s land” that separated Delaware College and the Women’s College and donated it to the two institutions. His brother-in-law, Trustee H. Rodney Sharp, and President Samuel Chiles Mitchell quickly hired the country’s most distinguished collegiate architects, Frank Miles Day and his partner, Charles Z. Klauder, to develop a plan for the newly-acquired land.

Known for their work at Princeton, Yale and Cornell universities and the University of Pennsylvania, the firm’s first task was to design a new campus that would incorporate the looks of both campuses, using the colonial Georgian idiom that Sharp admired. The result was their proposal for The Green.

A Philadelphia native of British descent, Mr. Day opened his own architectural firm in Philadelphia in 1887. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, the South Kensington London School of Art and the Royal Academy. He further formulated his ideas about architecture during a seven-year period of study and travel throughout Europe.

A child of German immigrants, Mr. Klauder was born in Philadelphia in 1872. He attended public schools and the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, and received his architectural training at the office of Theophilus P. Chandler from 1887–93. In 1900, he went to work for Frank Miles Day & Bro. In 1911, the firm changed to Day Bros. & Klauder and was renamed Day & Klauder in 1913.

Architectural plans | Top of page


P.S. du Pont

Pierre S. du Pont (1870–1954)
One of the state’s most generous philanthropists, Pierre S. du Pont was persuaded to befriend higher education efforts in Newark by his brother-in-law, H. Rodney Sharp. His first gift to the Men’s College was contingent on three conditions–that his gift be anonymous, that college alumni demonstrate support for their alma mater and that Mr. Sharp join the Board of Trustees and supervise the development projects.

His second gift, in April 1915, was $218,000 to the College to purchase the entire 40-acre tract that separated the Men’s and Women’s Colleges.

Later, he provided half a million dollars to be used to enhance the college’s endowment and to construct and maintain new buildings. By the middle of 1916, he had given or pledged more than $1 million to Delaware College, now UD. When funds were being raised for Memorial Hall, du Pont donated some $80,000 to the effort.

While Mr. Sharp traveled in Europe, Mr. du Pont developed a relationship with President Walter Hullihen that would greatly influence campus development in the 1920s. Through Mr. du Pont the University received funding to enlarge its heating plant, to build Kent Dining Hall and two fraternity houses and to purchase more land for expansion. He also supplemented the salaries of the Dean of Engineering and a professor of economics whom President Hullihen was eager to attract to Delaware. In the 1930s, he funded pensions for retirement-age faculty.

Among his more flamboyant contributions to the University in the 1920s were his annual invitations to staff and students to attend theatrical performances in Wilmington. He provided tickets for all and supplied a special train to bring several hundred people to Wilmington. He then arranged to have trolley cars transport them to the Playhouse Theatre.

Other contributions include the initial funding of UD’s groundbreaking study–abroad program. In 1958, Pierre S. du Pont Hall was constructed as a home for the College of Engineering. In 1961, a Georgian-style portico was added to maintain The Green’s architectural style and to honor the building's namesake. Recently, du Pont Hall was expanded again at the end of the century, and rededicated in September 2002. The three-story addition of 60,000 square feet cost $26.4 million. It features a large entranceway, an office for the dean, faculty offices and state-of-the-art laboratories to support research and teaching of the departments of Materials Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Among the building's specialized facilities are a clean room for electrical and computer engineering; a cold room, a dark room and autoclave for materials science; and a Bridge Design Laboratory, funded by the Unidel Foundation, for civil and environmental engineering.

P.S. du Pont Hall | Top of page


Winifred Robinson

Winifred J. Robinson (1867–1962) received her bachelor’s degree in pedagogy from the Michigan State Normal School in 1892. Seven years later, she earned a second degree from the University of Michigan. There, she began a lifelong interest in botany, which she later studied at Columbia University, receiving her master’s degree in 1904 and her doctorate in1912. Before coming to Delaware, Miss Robinson served as principal of numerous secondary schools in Pennsylvania and as a professor in the biology department at Vassar College.

With her appointment in 1914, Miss Robinson became the first Dean of the Women’s College, which consisted at the time of a muddy field and two unfinished buildings. During her tenure, she helped the Women’s College evolve.

Dean Robinson was twice elected President of the College Section of the National Association of Deans of Women and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women. She is the author of History of the Women’s College of the University of Delaware, 1914–1938, which was published in Delaware Notes in 1947. Dean Robinson retired in 1938 and, in 1940, Science Hall was renamed in her honor.

Robinson Hall | Top of page