Lawmakers give new DSU president warm welcome on first LegHall visit

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DOVER – Harry Williams honeymoon as Delaware State University’s new president won’t last forever, but Williams got his relationship with lawmakers off to a strong start Tuesday as he was honored by the General Assembly.

Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover North, and Rep. Bill Carson, D-Smyrna, co-sponsored a resolution recognizing Williams’ accomplishments and wishing him well in his new job. Lawmakers in both chambers gave Williams standing ovations.

For his part, Williams said he’s ready to start the hard work of building the relationships needed to help DSU grow move to a new level for both its students and the state.

Williams was selected in November to take over as DSU’s 10th president after Allen Sessoms left to become president of a university in Washington, D.C.

“I know that honeymoon periods do not last long, and part of the work we’re really going to have to grapple with is building relationships with the people here,” Williams said. “We are at a crossroads as it relates to moving to another level and what we are going to do as a team at the university is pull together to come up with a new vision for Delaware State.

“We also want to work with the General Assembly to help develop that vision because we want that vision to include improving educational opportunities for residents of Delaware and making Delaware State a major economic engine in the state.”

Bushweller said he thinks Williams will find a receptive audience in Legislative Hall.

“Dr. Williams is very interested in working with the General Assembly to advance the interests of Delaware State University and the state of Delaware,” Bushweller said. “And I think that most of the members of the General Assembly are going to have the same interest.”

Gov. Jack Markell, who signed ceremonial copies of the resolutions, said opening a relationship with lawmakers was always a good strategy and that he’s heard good things about Williams.

“I’ve talked to a number of people on the board, who have come up to me unsolicited, as well as people who work at Delaware State who have told me they are really very pleased and excited about the prospects at the university under your leadership,” Markell said.