DOVER, Del. - Delaware State University President Harry L. Williams announced the appointment of the university's next Provost.
Dr. Williams says that the new provost is banking executive and long-standing Wilmington civic leader Dr. Tony Allen. Dr. Allen will be the Chief Academic Officer and he will lead a faculty of 212 professors and 21 academic departments serving more than 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Williams called the appointment an important move for D.S.U and he noted that Dr. Allen is well respected locally and nationally for his keen intellect and strong character.
Dr. Williams said, "His substantial educational background, coupled with a successful career in the private sector and extensive public service credentials make him an excellent fit to be the No. 2 executive leader at D.S.U and to lead the institution's academic transformation. Dr. Allen's leadership will put student success first and support the continued growth in the scholarship, research and community service that distinguishes our institution."
Right now, Dr. Allen is the Head of Corporate Reputation for Bank of America, officials say it is a discipline he designed to help the bank's brand among influential external audiences including media elites, national social justice advocates, academics, and elected officials at the federal and local levels. During his time at Bank of America, Allen was reportedly a key advisor to retired Vice Chairman David Darnell, led corporate communications for three of the company's largest businesses and co-chaired the Diversity & Inclusion Council for Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs.
Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Chairman and Bank of America Market President Chip Rossi says, "Tony and I have worked together for 13 years. I know his commitment, his expertise and his passion for people. He went about his work here with a diligence and savvy that has served our company quite well and has helped me lead Bank of America in Delaware with a focus on our teammates and the communities they call home."
Officials say that five years ago, Rossi and Dr. Allen co-led the donation of a 450,000-square-foot facility to the Longwood Foundation to build a campus of city schools, primarily focused on eliminating the achievement gap for 2,500 students of color and their mainstream counterparts. Rossi said, "Tony's departure is a bittersweet moment for us, but we are all very proud of him and know that this next step in his journey will serve D.S.U's students, faculty, staff - and Tony - well."
Officials say that Allen who was previously an Executive Vice President with M.B.N.A and the founding President of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League also spent several years working for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as a speech writer and special assistant. 23 years ago, Dr. Allen reportedly started his career as the co-founder of Public Allies Delaware, a leadership development organization for young adults interested in full-time public service careers. Since then, more than 600 "Allies" have reportedly graduated from the program, contributing nearly 1 million hours of volunteer service to Delaware communities.
Former Vice President Biden says, "I have known Tony for 20 years. When he worked for me, he was a full-time staffer, pursuing his doctoral studies, raising a family and serving on just about every board or committee of consequence in the state. In the past few years, he has proven to be a tireless advocate for the overlooked, underserved or ignored, 100 percent committed to making this a better, more hospitable, opportunity-filled place to live and raise a family."
"Del State is a perfect fit for Tony. He embodies the school's ideals of providing the highest quality education for all, regardless of what you look like, where you come from or who you love. The University is lucky to have him, and the state of Delaware is lucky to keep him, right here, where I am sure he will continue to serve our communities with passion and purpose."
Officials say that Dr. Allen joins D.S.U at a critical time in the state's history. Governor John Carney said, "D.S.U has created opportunity for diverse populations of students for generations, and it is critical that the University assume an even larger role as an economic driver in Delaware in the coming years. Tony's experience in both the public and private sectors make him uniquely qualified to lead these efforts."
D.S.U officials say that as provost, Dr. Allen will continue several of his ongoing commitments to Delaware communities, most notably his Chairmanship of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, which was created to strengthen public education for low-income students of color throughout Delaware. The Commission's mandate is outlined in two seminal reports, Strengthening Wilmington Education: An Action Agenda (2015) and Solutions for Delaware Schools (2016).
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, who serves on the Congressional Committee on Education and the Workforce, said, "As a member of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, I am elated to hear of the appointment of Dr. Tony Allen as D.S.U Provost. Tony brings to the post impeccable management skills, a service-minded code of ethics, great intellect, and a humble spirit. He is an educational hero in the eyes of Delawareans - from the boardroom to our communities."
Dr. Allen says that he is excited about the opportunity and "I am extraordinarily grateful to President Williams, the Search Committee and the entire Delaware State University community for this tremendous chance to join an institution I have watched undergo an unmistakable transformation under President Williams' leadership."
He goes on to say, "I am equally buoyed by the tasks in front of us. Delaware State University's future depends on its success in meeting the challenges of a changing environment for higher education, and a more connected global community. Addressing these challenges requires higher levels of innovation, a strong institutional profile and the development of a unique and stable niche in an increasingly competitive and turbulent marketplace." "Our country is better positioned for the future if every segment of society sees success as a link to that of their fellow citizens. And so we will begin with the end in mind: rigorously supporting the success of our students, promoting the outstanding scholarship of our faculty, and contributing to our communities - in Delaware and around the world - in every field of human endeavor."
Dr. Allen will start his tenure with Delaware State University on August 15.
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