News at WilmU

Wilmington University President Dr. LaVerne Harmon Offers Keynote Address at New Castle Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner

Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner

Wilmington University President Dr. LaVerne Harmon offered an inspirational keynote address at the New Castle Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on May 6, 2024, at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. Her remarks concluded an enjoyable evening that brought together corporate and nonprofit leaders, employees, and policymakers.

Dr. Harmon began by thanking the Chamber’s newly elected President, Yvonne Deadwyler, its first woman president and first person of color president. She then congratulated awardees Senator Tom Carper (Lifetime Achievement), DETV Founder Ivan Thomas (Community Service), REACH Riverside Development Corporation Board Director Charles S. McDowell (Economic Impact), and Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki (Free Enterprise). She then welcomed the opportunity to share Wilmington University’s many successes, offering exciting news from University colleges and the Wilmington University School of Law.

After presenting a powerful video that captured the thoughts of students and alumni —including alumnus Dr. Mark Holodick, Delaware’s Secretary of Education— Dr. Harmon announced a partnership between Wilmington University and ChristianaCare developed to tackle the nationwide shortage of certified registered nurse anesthetists and expand surgical services in Delaware’s health systems. Called the Delaware Anesthesiology Program at Christiana Care and Wilmington University, the partnership will create a homegrown pipeline of CRNAs to increase access to surgical care in the community and efficiently staff operating rooms. Classes will start in 2025.

Other highlights included the University’s statewide position at the forefront of trauma-informed training, its Year-Long Teacher Residency Program and membership in the NASA space program, a new MBA with concentrations in banking and financial services, and Wilmington University’s inclusion in Forbes Advisor’s national Top 10 list for several of its online degree programs.

“I get excited when sharing our story, our mission, the heart of the institution, the growth, and the lives we’ve changed through opportunity and education.”

– Dr. LaVerne Harmon

Dr. Harmon concluded with news about the current construction of two landmark buildings at the University’s Brandywine location: a three-story, 52,000-square-foot law building and an 85,000-square-foot Convocation Center that will house a 2,000-seat auditorium with a stage for graduation ceremonies and other events.

“Dr. Harmon’s remarks sent a clear message about the economic impact that Wilmington University has on New Castle County and the state of Delaware,” says NCC Chamber President Yvonne Deadwyler. “The way she talked about her students, staff and administration displayed her business savvy, but also her heart. As people left the Chase, they told us that Dr. Harmon had made such a great impression, and they were so impressed with the direction of Wilmington University under her leadership.”

The President was met with a standing ovation from an audience of over 500 and moved by the audience’s enthusiasm and proud WilmU alumni and employees in attendance. Other attendees who had been unaware of the University’s expertise in serving traditional and non-traditional students said they were now considering attending WilmU to further their career goals.

The impact of the keynote lay in Dr. Harmon’s ability to authentically convey her respect for the University and compassion for its students, alumni, faculty, and staff. During the keynote, she said, “I get excited when sharing our story, our mission, the heart of the institution, the growth, and the lives we’ve changed through opportunity and education.”

Image Credit: Courtesy of New Castle County Chamber of Commerce

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