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Dr. Terry McKinley Whittaker, former UD assistant provost
Dr. Terry McKinley Whittaker, former UD assistant provost

In Memoriam: Terry Whittaker

Photo by Ambre Alexander

Remembering former University of Delaware assistant provost with over 33 years of service to UD

Dr. Terry McKinley Whittaker, a former University of Delaware assistant provost with over 33 years of service to the university, passed away on Jan. 31, 2024, in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 73. 

Dr. Whittaker’s time at UD began in 1983 when he became director of the Resources to Inspire Successful Engineers Program (RISE) within the College of Engineering. The program is nationally celebrated for providing historically underrepresented students with resources and opportunities to succeed at the highest levels at UD.

From there, he continued to make his mark on the university and strove to create a home away from home for all Blue Hens. 

In 1992, he joined the Lerner College of Business and Economics as dean for special services. His role shifted again in 1997 when he became Lerner’s assistant dean for professional development. During his time as dean, he created the Fortune 2000 Program to bring businesses to UD students and expose them to a variety of career paths. 

“It absolutely would not have been possible for me to start at Kraft without the Fortune 2000 program and Dr. Whittaker bringing in the INROADS program as another stair step for me to start my career,” said program participant Lynette Braxton, who got her first internship due to the program and is now the trade marketing director for Reckitt Benckiser, a multinational consumer goods company.  

Dr. Whittaker not only connected with students but also made an impact on his colleagues. He has received several awards, including the UD Faculty Senate Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award and the Leon and Margaret Slocomb Professional Excellence Award for exemplary leadership. 

In 1999, he left Lerner and became assistant dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the Academic and Professional Development Center, and in April 2003, he was appointed Assistant Provost of Student Diversity and Success, a position where he was able to continue dedicating his time to creating a diverse and welcoming campus. 

“The American Association of Colleges and Universities challenges higher education to think more deeply about what individuals learn from their campus experiences and how that learning constrains or enriches the quality and vitality of their campus and American communities. The research shows that when a campus is recognized as making a significant commitment to diversity, all students gain educationally,” he said at the time.  

Colleagues applauded his work in this space, with then-provost Dan Rich recognizing Dr. Whittaker as “a respected and accomplished member of our community with a record of achievement in support of student diversity and success.” 

He served in several other roles both inside and outside of UD, including serving on the Delaware State Board of Education for over 10 years starting in 2007. 

After 33 years, Dr. Whittaker retired from UD in 2017. 

Dr. Whittaker got his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota Minneapolis and a doctorate in higher education administration from UD.  

He will be remembered for his dedication and commitment to seeing Blue Hens of all backgrounds succeed. 

Visit the Oman Funeral Home website for his full obituary.

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