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2023 photo collage
Student success and faculty expertise at the University of Delaware were on display throughout 2023.

2023 year in review

Photo illustration by Jeffrey C. Chase | Video by OCM Video Team

A look back at the highlights of the past year

From recognition in national and global rankings to student success and impactful research, it was a remarkable year for the University of Delaware.

In 2023, UD celebrated the 100th anniversary of its trailblazing study abroad program, which set the standard for institutes of higher education around the globe. More than 100 study abroad programs took students to New Zealand, India, Ireland, Costa Rica, South Africa and other countries around the world. UD once again ranked as a top global university.

In June, UD successfully concluded Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, the most comprehensive fundraising and engagement campaign in the University’s more-than-280-year history.

Students racked up an impressive list of accomplishments this year, earning Fulbright awards, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and high index recognition. There were also Plastino Scholars, Critical Language Scholars, Goldwater Scholars and a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

While the Class of 2023 graduated and is already changing the world, the University’s newest Blue Hens began their UD journeys in August as one of the academically strongest in University history.

Several alumni earned recognition at Alumni Weekend, and Olive Hong, one of UD’s first Asian American students, returned to campus with her family. Other alumni are making an impact in the nation and world

UD’s distinguished faculty members drew much-deserved recognition in 2023. The University bestowed its highest honor, the Alison Award, to groundbreaking chemist Joseph Fox. Faculty were recognized for their work as top researchers, excellent teachers and advisors, inventors and physicists. Professors also shared “How I Teach” introductory subjects to first-year students in philosophy, anthropology, astronomy and materials science.

The University continued to build a diverse, inclusive and welcoming community this year. In October, the Center for Intercultural Engagement opened in Perkins Student Center, serving as a physical space for students to gather and connect to discuss current events and issues related to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion. UD celebrated its first-generation students in November, and the Center for Global Programs and Services hosted several International Coffee Hours throughout the year to connect the global campus community.

It was a big year for Blue Hen student-athletes as well. The UD Spirit Program took home three national titles. Golfer Christina Carroll played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. And UD Athletics accepted an invitation to join Conference USA as a full member, a move that will elevate the reputation and visibility of the entire University.

In 2023, the softball and men’s lacrosse teams won the CAA regular season championships, while the men’s lacrosse and volleyball teams won their CAA conference tournament championships as well, earning both programs spots in the NCAA postseason.

Among administrative leaders, UD welcomed new deans for the College of Health Sciences and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, as well as a new vice president of information technologies and a new general counsel. Jeffrey Summerhays and Chris Williams are leading UD’s new Office of Sustainability. In addition, Carlos Asarta and Rudolf Eigenmann have been tasked to co-direct UD’s collaborative endeavors at the new FinTech Innovation Hub on UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

UD’s research enterprise made a big leap forward in the National Science Foundation’s latest Higher Education Research and Development Survey rankings and is now 47th out of 626 academic institutions across the United States when comparing non-medical school R&D expenditures. The University will also play a leading role in workforce development efforts associated with the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2), which has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive up to $750 million in funding through the historic Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program.

UD’s researchers made discoveries and advancements in a broad range of fields: tackling plastic waste, testing self-driving cars, conducting fieldwork on penguins and ocean currents in Antarctica, making advancements in Alzheimer’s research, developing therapies to improve outcomes for difficult-to-treat conditions, rebuking the notion that only men were hunters in ancient times, unlocking the secrets of plant cell communication, designing cities for 21st century weather and much more.

Momentum continued across new developments of campus facilities, including the FinTech Innovation Hub, addition to Drake Hall, “Building X,” the Design Studio in Spencer Lab and a new Graduate Student Lounge.

The University continues to make a big impact in the state of Delaware — from inspiring the next generation of teachers, to working with school nurses to address pediatric health inequities, to documenting Delaware’s “colored” schools, to leading a study abroad trip to Spain for Delaware K-12 language teachers, to playing a pivotal role in Delmarva’s poultry industry.

2023 was an eventful year, and 2024 promises plenty of excitement, too, with even greater achievements and progress by UD’s students, faculty, staff and alumni. Happy New Year, Blue Hens!

2023 year in review: youtube.com/watch?v=MZb_tmdCk0M

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