Getting to where Delaware State is today was a challenge my friends - a challenge proudly met by the people of this community and the Delaware State family.
The teachers were focused on helping these students. The students benefited from hands-on teaching and a faculty who cared about them and their success in life and soon the students began to believe in themselves and the reality that they could make something of their lives.
We have long honored those who gave their lives during the unfortunate reality of war.
These ivy league students are in the upper echelon of the college boards and had great opportunity in front of them regardless of where they go to college. Its in their very nature and it is something they expect.
But all of this success came at the end of a long climb.
Their families helped them realize that there was more out there for them. These students came to Delaware State because of its inexpensive tuition, closeness to home, and solid reputation.
These fallen heroes represent the character of a nation who has a long history of patriotism and honor - and a nation who has fought many battles to keep our country free from threats of terror.
They were often the first students in their family to go to college and the very idea of higher education was still foreign to them. They had to make a conscious and often difficult decision to come to college.
Through the years you, the Delaware State family and your predecessors, have faced many challenges. You worked through them with fierce determination and good will, and you have made great progress.
By climbing a steeper road, the value and appreciation Delaware State students took and continue to take from their education and their experiences is just as great, if not greater, than students attending ivy league schools.
We have to instill in them the skills they need to succeed at a young age and open up their imaginations to the very real opportunities they can be afforded if they put their minds to it.
After completing a Delaware State education, they were afforded opportunities beyond anything they might have imagined - and they opened doors for themselves that surely would have remained closed if they only had a high school education.
Delaware State began as a school bent on service - teaching education, social services and nursing.
This is a value-added college education if I have heard one described. And what is the most remarkable about Delaware State University graduates - is they just keeping giving back.
Ensuring a bright future for all our children is the responsibility of the community, the schools, families and like it or not- politicians as well.