The University of Delaware (UD) is a public university with a main campus in Newark, Delaware, and satellite campuses in Wilmington, Georgetown, Dover, and Lewes.
UD was founded as a free school in 1743 by the Reverend Francis Alison. Three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were in the first class at the school—George Read, James Smith, and Thomas McKean. The school went through many locations and names, until, as the Delaware College, it merged with Delaware Women’s College to form the university. Today, with over 19,000 students, UD is the largest school in the state of Delaware.
UD contains 3 schools and 7 colleges: School of Education; School of Marine Science and Policy, School of Public Policy and Administration; College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; College of Arts and Sciences; Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; College of Earth, Ocean and Environment; College of Education and Human Development; and College of Health Sciences. Of these, the highly rated College of Arts and Sciences has the highest enrollment. There is a faculty/student ratio of 12:1, which is very low for a public university.
The engineering program is considered to be one of the best in the nation. Other highly rated programs include education, urban affairs, public policy, history, agriculture, science, chemistry, biochemistry, and business. The music programs are also internationally known—the school features their own orchestra, symphony, wind ensemble, steel drum ensemble, early music ensemble, and several jazz groups and choirs. The UD Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band, with over 300 members, has a strong reputation for excellence.
UD is remarkable in its emphasis on studying abroad. The university sponsors more than 80 study abroad programs in more than 40 countries. Roughly 45% of undergraduate students go abroad to study at some point during their college careers.
Special Academic Programs
The school features a number of accelerated programs in which programs earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. A bachelor’s in hotel management, followed by a master’s in business administration, is available through a plan in which the student attends college for 4 years, works in complementary employment for one year, then returns for a last year of classes.
UD also offers a partnership with Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Once admitted to the joint program, students move seamlessly from earning a bachelor’s at UD to the MD program at Jefferson.
There are several notable research centers on campus. The Disaster Research Center (DRC) researches a wide range of issues and technologies concerning disasters. UD researchers further the academy of information about hazardous spills, crashes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other disasters.
The Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) partners the school with medical facilities, industries, and government bodies across the state. Around 25 faculty members from a dozen departments investigate life sciences in marine, agriculture, health, genomics, and other fields applicable to biotechnology.
In recent years, The institution has launched the University of Delaware Energy Institute (DEI) to advance the field of solar research and the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) which seeks to integrate engineering, environmental science, and policy.
The library system contains more than 2.8 million volumes. Through WorldCat Local, the library can get students virtually any resource available in any library in the world. There are 300 databases available to students. The library subscribes to over 31,000 journals and magazines, over 80% of which are available online and available to students from their own computers.
There are over 200 workstations with computers for student use in the Morris Library, plus wireless access throughout all libraries. And for ultimate accessibility, Morris Library is open until 2 in the morning, although the library commons at the entrance to the building (with wireless access) are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions at UD are quite competitive. 66% of first-year applicants from Delaware and 42% from out of state are admitted.
There are two main student centers on campus, the Trabant University Center and the Perkins Student Center. The Trabant University Center houses a movie theatre, the Trabant Package Center, the YoUDee Shop, study areas, an information desk, and the Vita Nova Gourmet Restaurant, which is a fine dining restaurant run by students in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management program. The Perkins Student Center is home to the Counseling Center, the Dining Services Office, the Event Services Office, the radio station, the Student Media Office, Bacchus Theatre, the bookstore, and several other amenities.
Clubs and Organizations
There are nearly 300 registered student organizations on campus, including community service organizations, cultural clubs, honor societies, religious groups, student government, media, and an extensive multicultural student network. Nearly 20% of undergraduates belong to a fraternity or sorority. There are more than two dozen fraternities and sororities coordinated by the Greek Council.
Student publications include The Review, an award-winning independent weekly newspaper; DEconstruction Magazine, an editorial publication; UDress, a twice-yearly fashion publication; and The Mainstreet Journal, a forum for creative writing. Students also produce aUDio, an online music magazine. The student-run radio station, WVUD, broadcasts at 91.3 FM. The Student Television Network (STN) broacasts original content, live sports coverage, and movies.
The college offers a full range of student services. The university is well known for being on the forefront of wireless access—there are wireless connections in all major locations, including dining halls, residence hall lounges, the library, the student centers, and most of the classroom buildings.
Students with disabilities have the use of The Assistive Technology Center, including software such as ZoomText, JAWS for Windows, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Duxbury Braille translation, and Kurzweil 3000.
First year students are required to live either in university housing or at home with a parent or guardian. Most of the residence halls offer both single and double rooms. There are a limited number of suites and apartments, which are mostly assigned to upperclassmen. Residence halls are nearly all coeducational, some by floor and some by alternating room. All residences provide furniture, ethernet connections, and laundry facilities for student use.
Special interest housing is available to students who wish to live and study with like-minded people at the Ray Street Complex. Special interest houses change on a regular basis, but recent and popular living complexes have included an eco-house community, a healthy living community, a crafts community, a music community, the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanities community, and the H. Norman Schwarzkopf Leadership community.
Dining on Campus
There are around 15 dining locations on campus, including the snack bars Bleecker St, Figure Eight, Walter’s Café, Roundhouse, and Smittys; dining halls in the residence hall complexes; convenience stores; and food courts with fast food and other easy dining options such as Starbucks, Konomi Sushi, Quizno’s, Zoca, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Grille Works.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletic department is known as the Fightin’ Blue Hens. The department’s mascot, YoUDee, is a Blue Hen chicken, the state bird of Delaware. UD participates in 22 intercollegiate varsity sports in NCAA Division I and belongs to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
Football is the most popular sport at UD. The team has won 6 national titles in recent years. Other strong teams at the school include the men’s lacrosse team, the women’s field hockey team, the women’s volleyball team, and the women’s rowing team. The university also features a large and well-known figure skating club.
Notable athletic alumni include head football coach at Western Michigan University Bill Cubit; quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco; CBS sports analyst Rich Gannon; NFL referee Scott Green; fitness guru (of Oprah fame) Bob Greene; ESPN anchor Tom Mees; and Hall of Fame baseball player Vic Willis.
Successful alumni in business and industry include CEO of McAfee Dave DeWalt; Sony Pictures Entertainment president Steve Mosko; Senior vice president of Walt Disney Kristin Nolt Wingard; senior managing director of Blackstone Group Ken Whitney; senior researcher for Mirriam-Webster Jon R. Caloia; and CEO of National Association of Corporate Directors Kenneth Daly.
Other well-known UD alumni include Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States; Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States; actors Steve Harris, Suzanne Graff, and Page Kennedy; singer and guitarist George Thorogood; astronaut Lodewijk van den Berg; inventor of Gore-Tex Robert W. Gore; Nobel Prize winner Daniel Nathans; and astrophysicist Peter Thejll.
Notable faculty at UD include philosophers Richard Hanley and Donald West Warward; Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry Richard F. Heck; economic advisor to the Sri Lankan government Ravi A. Yatawara; former president of the Federal Reserve Bank William Poole; and former Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Shien Biau Woo.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.