Delaware State acquires non-HBCU in higher ed first

Delaware State will absorb neighboring Wesley College over the next year
By: | July 10, 2020
Delaware State University (above) will acquire nearby Wesley College in the first-ever acquisition by an historically black university of a non-HBCU.Delaware State University (above) will acquire nearby Wesley College in the first-ever acquisition by an historically black university of a non-HBCU.

In a historic acquisition, Delaware State University will become the first historically Black college and university to take over a non-HBCU as it absorbs Wesley College over the next year.

Delaware State University President Tony Allen says the neighboring college, which is only about two miles away, serves a similar student base. Allen called the purchase “a significant step closer to our broader vision—a substantively diverse, contemporary and unapologetically historically Black college or university.”

“Despite so much uncertainty on many fronts nationally … the time for bold innovation for young people is now, particularly for students who have made it to college by sheer determination against sometimes enormous odds,” Allen said in a statement.

Delaware State University is a comprehensive research institution with 104 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs. It also operates an early college high school and the Early Childhood Laboratory School.


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Wesley College, a minority-serving institution, had explored several sustainability options as it faced increased pressure over the past few years.

The two schools have partnered on previous initiatives. The acquisition of Wesley’s campus now gives Delaware State an expanded presence in downtown Dover and adds new academic programs, Allen says.

Delaware State says it needs to secure additional private and government funding to manage the acquisition as the university’s current revenues cannot be used for the transaction.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the institution’s leaders will begin to implement operational efficiencies such as shared residence halls, common vendor contract consolidations and the elimination of redundant support and administrative functions.

Leaders will also work together to plan for the impacts of COVID-19 on the fall 2020 semester.

This acquisition follows the announcement last month that four institutions in Connecticut had agreed to share the University of Bridgeport’s campusUniversity Business reported.

Goodwin University, Sacred Heart University and Paier College of Art will absorb most of the University of Bridgeport’s degree programs in the coming months.


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