Doctoral alumni Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo and Renosi Mokate met while studying at Lincoln University in the U.S., eventually marrying and earning their graduate degrees in UD's School of Public Policy and Administration with the goal of returning to South Africa to make a difference in their changing nation. Returning in 1991, Mokate helped run the country's first democratic elections, in which Nelson Mandela became the first black president in South Africa's history. Vil-Nkomo was appointed public service commissioner by Mandela in 1994 and later joined the faculty of the University of Pretoria, going on to become its first black rector. Today, he is an executive director of the University of Pretoria and a founding member and chairman of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) think tank. In February 2013, a UD faculty contingent traveled to South Africa to explore higher education partnerships as part of a State of Delaware mission, visiting universities across South Africa. The UD team also took part in a symposium sponsored by MISTRA and the Tshwane University of Technology focusing on priority areas for South African development, including public education, higher education, economic development, global marketing strategies and community development.
Suen-Zone (Jack) Lee a 1993 doctoral alumnus, has been named president of Chia Nan University (CNU) of Pharmacy and Science in Tainan City, Taiwan. Lee, who earned his doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering at UD, is a leading expert in environmental engineering in Taiwan, particularly in groundwater contamination. He began his career as an associate professor at CNU (then known as Chia Nan College of Pharmacy), rising to full professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Engineering and Science. He championed the addition of the College of Sustainable Environment to the university and served as the college's first dean. That same year, the Taiwan Water Resources Agency commissioned Lee to develop the Taiwan Hot Spring Research Center, a first of its kind center focused on water quality, recycling and sustainable development of Taiwan's hot spring resources. At UD, Lee studied soil heavy metal chemistry in order to establish soil cleanup standards, under the advisement of Herbert Allen, professor of civil and environmental engineering. Lee returned to UD this past May to receive the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering's outstanding Alumni Award. Lee attributed much of his success in research and educational leadership to Allen's influence. Read the full story on UDaily.
Marlyse Williams, a UD alumna and first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, returned to the UD campus in May to deliver the keynote speech at the 21st annual University of Delaware Resources to Insure Successful Engineers (RISE) student achievement convocation. The ceremony honored 17 graduating seniors and recognized awards and scholarships earned by students in the program.
Asking them, "Are you ready to take flight?" Williams encouraged RISE graduates to emulate the Wright Brothers' dedication and commitment, saying, "Strive for nothing short of greatness." once a RISE student herself, the Trinidad and Tobago native earned her bachelor's degree in environmental engineering at UD in 2004 and continued to earn a master's degree in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering in 2006, as a Bridges to the Doctorate Scholar and a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholarship recipient.
Following graduation, her master's thesis was published as a textbook in 2007. She subsequently earned her doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2010. Today, Williams supervises more than 1,100 military and civilians, and assists in the maintenance and repair of over 4,000 buildings and facilities on 44 acres at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the only tri-service joint base, which has more than 44,000 personnel.