Logo Image
Nancy Targett honored at Board of Trustees meeting


Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

Class of 2020 previewed, President Targett honored at Board meeting

In her final presentation to the University of Delaware Board of Trustees, UD President Nancy M. Targett – acting president until trustees voted to remove the word “acting” from her title later in the meeting – lauded the contributions of students, faculty and staff at the semiannual meeting held Tuesday, May 17, in the Trabant University Center.

The board also heard reports on the incoming Class of 2020, on faculty and student awards, and on recognition of UD’s growing reputation as a national and global leader in research and scholarship in the sciences and the humanities.

“I find myself thanking a lot of people these day, and I suspect that over the next three weeks, I’ll be thanking a lot more,” Targett said. “That’s because as my time at UD winds down, I’m feeling incredibly grateful for the people I’ve met and the amazing career I’ve enjoyed over the past 32 years.”

Serving in her current position helped enlarge her perspective on changes occurring across the landscape of higher education, both nationally and at the state’s flagship university, Targett said.

”One thing has never changed, not in my 32 years, and not in the 273-year history of our institution,” Targett said. “That is our mission to inspire and transform students.”

Outstanding student events and achievements during the 2015-16 academic year included the UDance marathon, which raised a record $1.7 million to benefit the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation for children with cancer.

Also memorable for Targett were the nearly 350 students who performed service projects in communities around the country during their spring break, and the UD Mock Trial team that turned in a top 10 performance in national competition for the second straight year.

Targett also praised the University’s Army ROTC program for displaying incredible grit and commitment this academic year.

“Our cadets had placed 26th in last year’s highly competitive Ranger Challenge regional event, and went into this year’s competition determined to do better,” Targett said. “Well, they won, beating 41 other teams from the Mid-Atlantic.”

This performance was capped by a third-place finish in the even more challenging Sandhurst Competition at West Point, Targett said.

Academically, UD students have won prestigious Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater, Gates-Cambridge and Hollings scholarships, Targett added.

“I could go on and on about our students,” Targett said. “Their intelligence and hard work impress me, their optimism and enthusiasm energize me, and their achievements inspire me.”

Targett also thanked UD support staff for maintaining a beautiful campus and serving in its dining halls, also recognizing those who work in Residence Life, the Registrar’s office, Finance, Communications and Public Affairs and Campus Safety, among others.

“They create the unique UD experience,” Targett said. “This is the one that differentiates us and gives us an edge in the competitive higher education marketplace.”

Notable achievements cited by Targett include UD’s physical therapy program being tied for first in the nation, chemical engineering ranked in the top 10, an aggregate ranking of 29th among all public universities and 75th among all U.S. universities.

“We’ve worked to differentiate ourselves as an institution to better position ourselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace, and we’ve enhanced international partnerships,” Targett said. “During this academic year we’ve continued moving ahead with cross-campus initiatives and to build understanding with our state legislature to improve relationships.”

Targett closed her remarks by showing of a photo of herself holding a trumpet surrounded by a spirited group of UD Marching Band members – an image that she said perfectly captures her feelings about UD.

“It shows the joy of being around so many great students and the gratitude for all the work done by our faculty, staff, administration and trustees — everything you do, each in your own important way, to make UD a special place,” Targett said. “Those will be the feelings I take with me as I move on to this next chapter in my life. Thank you.”

Provost’s report

To open his remarks, University Provost Domenico Grasso expressed his appreciation for Targett’s service and skill in guiding UD through a year of transition and challenge.

He also took the opportunity to recognize the outstanding scholarship, research and community service efforts of several students attending the meeting.

Students receiving applause included Victoria Muir and Hannah Wastyk, Goldwater Scholars; Sarah Hartman, a Truman Scholar; and Rebecca Jaeger, winner of the Emalea Pusey Warner Award, and Jonathan Galarraga, recipient of the Alexander J. Taylor Sr. Award, as outstanding members of the graduating class.

Grasso also lauded the efforts of Mary Dozier, Unidel Amy E. du Pont Chair of Child Development and recipient of UD’s highest faculty honor, the 2016 Francis Alison Award.

“Our students and faculty are doing amazing work and gaining national and international recognition,” Grasso said. “What’s more, they’re contributing to the great debates and helping to solve the grand challenges of our times.”

These challenges, Grasso noted, include harnessing the power of the technological revolution, the evolving concept of “smart cities,” and the way big data will shape the projected dense growth of the urban environments that 80 percent of the world’s population will call home by the end of the century.

“Cities, like university campuses, are where human and technological resources can work together most effectively,” Grasso said. “We can do great things online, but we also need this face-to-face experience that we can’t get any other way.”

Grasso also noted UD’s involvement in addressing changes yet to come involving cybersecurity, big data, energy research, health and well-being, transportation and public policy – issues that also require contributions from the social sciences and the arts and humanities.

“Ultimately, it’s about making an impact on the world,” Grasso said. “That’s what drives our scholarship, and especially, our research interest.”

Go Baby Go

Charlie Riordan, vice provost for research, introduced Cole Galloway, professor of physical therapy, and Devina Kumar, a doctoral student, who offered a video presentation on Go Baby Go and the Gravity restaurant concept that incorporates the harness systems used on UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

“The science of Go Baby Go is shared all across the world,” Galloway said. “We are Go Baby Go. The University gave me a place to launch this program. They never said no, but they did say watch out.”

Class of 2020

Chris Lucier, vice president for enrollment management, gave a preview of the Class of 2020, the members of which will be arriving as first year students this fall. This is the smallest incoming class in three years.

“As you will recall, in light of the fact that we exceeded our enrollment targets for the past two years by several hundred students, and a third year over target would result in significant challenges related to instructional and residence hall capacity, we managed this year’s freshman admissions process to ensure we didn’t come in over target,” Lucier said. “Thus, we managed our process with an expectation that we would go to the wait-list to round out the class, which is what we were able to do.”

Almost 26,000 applications were received, including a record 3,712 from First State students applying for attendance on the Newark campus or the Associate in Arts Program, a 20 percent increase over 2013, Lucier said.

“We’ve admitted more Delawareans than we have in the prior three years — and for the fifth year in a row over 1,200 students in the entering class will be Delawareans,” Lucier said. “At this point, we project that we will enroll approximately 3,880 first year students and that we will meet or exceed our net revenue goals.”

A record number of applications, 4,407, were received from underrepresented minority students, marking a 25 percent increase, and the most admitted in UD history, Lucier said.

“At 921, we received the second most applications from underrepresented minority students from Delawareans, only 19 fewer than last year, but still 200 applications greater than for the fall 2013 class,” Lucier said. “We have the second most applications from international students, 2,115, second only to last year.”

Academically, the Class of 2020 will arrive with average SAT scores of 1810, and a 3.7 grade point average, the highest ever. Also, UD is enrolling 480 Honors Program students and nine Unidel Eugene du Pont Memorial Scholars from five states, a cohort that includes four minority students.

Recruiting and admitting students in a highly competitive enrollment environment requires that UD must be nimble and responsive to the market and must continue to build and promote academic excellence and distinctiveness that deliver real opportunities for students at graduation, Lucier said.

Special honors for President Targett

At the conclusion of the meeting, Board of Trustees Chairman John R. Cochran introduced two special resolutions honoring Targett, who soon will be departing to begin her newest assignment as provost at the University of New Hampshire.

The first resolution conferred upon her the title of dean emerita and professor emerita of marine biosciences.

The second resolution thanked Targett for guiding UD “through a period of transition with clarity, vision and boundless energy, while addressing major issues facing the institution with insight and foresight,” noting that she “has strengthened the administration’s relationships with the faculty and staff and has won the admiration, support and affection of the University’s students, alumni and donors.”

Lauding her contributions as a powerful advocate and spokesperson for UD and her leadership during a time of transition, the resolution removed the word “acting” from her title and “officially recognizes her as the 27th — and first female — president of the University of Delaware.”

The resolutions, approved unanimously by the board, were marked by standing ovations from those present, inspiring Targett to snap a trademark selfie to mark the occasion.

Earlier in the week, on May 12, lead donors from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment’s Advisory Council announced the establishment of an endowed fund, the Nancy M. Targett Graduate Tuition Scholarship in honor and recognition her dedicated service to UD.

Alumni, friends, parents, students, faculty and staff who wish to express their gratitude are invited to contribute to the scholarship, which will be awarded to graduate students matriculated in the School of Marine Science and Policy.

The scholarship recognizes Targett’s contributions as a faculty member, dean, Sea Grant director and acting president and president, and embodies the UD community’s appreciation and respect for her.

For more information and to contribute, visit the website.

Additional board business

Also at the May 17 board meeting, trustees approved several resolutions, among them:

• increasing dining plan rates and residence hall rates by an average of 2 percent;

• maintaining the current Student Comprehensive fee, Student Health Services fee, University Student Centers fee and graduate recreation fee at the current level without increase;

• approving honorary degrees to be presented at Commencement on May 28 to author and activist Bryan A Stevenson; the University’s 26th president, Patrick T. Harker; former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner; and the University’s 27th president, Nancy M. Targett;

• approving the presentation of a University of Delaware Medal of Distinction to Susan Brynteson, May Morris Librarian Emerita;

• approving faculty promotions;

• changing the name of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management to the Department of Hospitality Business Management;

• approving revisions to Article 3 of the University of Delaware Bylaws, after considering input from faculty, administrators and trustees; and

• authorizing the president to confer degrees at Commencement.

Trustees also elected David Spartin and re-elected William B. Chandler III to six-year terms and re-elected the current slate of officer – John Cochran, chair; William B. Chandler, vice chair; Terri Kelly, vice chair; and Mary Jane Willis, secretary/treasurer – to serve for 2016-17.

In addition, trustees passed a resolution recognizing the service of trustee Carey McDaniel, who is stepping down after 10 years on the board. 

Media Contact


Keep up with news, events and more with UDaily Newsletters.