A new partnership announced Thursday saw Capital One's building along the Wilmington Riverfront, valued at $4.7 million, donated to Delaware State University.
The donation expands DSU's presence in northern Delaware beyond their sole Kirkwood Highway location, and the school plans to use the facility to offer additional pathways for students of the university's School of Graduate, Adult, and Extended Studies. The building, constructed in 1885 and renovated in 2001, includes 35,000 sq. ft. across six floors.
"This dramatically expanded footprint inside Wilmington and Capital One's commitment to long-term engagement with the area's young people is exactly what the University needs to bring our particular strengths to bear on the issues facing the city," said President Tony Allen. "Together we will be able to reach the city's youth more directly to create an innovative pipeline to college and career; offer both graduate courses and workforce development training in an accessible location; and better support our Center for Neighborhood Revitalization Research in addressing the structural and economic challenges facing Wilmington."
It will also expand directly into opportunities for DSU students who hope to pursue careers in business, analysis, tech, and product development with Capital One, school representatives said. A dedicated recruiter will be assigned to the facility from the banking institution to increase Capital One's hiring of DSU graduates.
"This is a historic moment for Delaware State University, and for Historically Black College…
The donation comes on the heels of an expansion by Delaware State University into downtown Dover, when it became the first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to absorb another institution of higher learning, with its acquisition of Wesley College and transition into DSU Downtown. That process was finalized at the beginning of July 2021.
"At Capital One, we know that HBCUs are engines of economic mobility," said Joe Westcott, the bank's Delaware Market President. "We're proud to be investing in Delaware State University's proven ability to champion educational equity, academic excellence, and the creation of innovative career pathways for it students. This partnership invests in the talent and promise of those students and represents an important milestone in reaffirming Capital One's longstanding commitment to Wilmington and the entire state of Delaware."
The university also plans to offer workforce development with a partnership with the Teen Warehouse and an incubation hub for micro and small businesses with a focus on minority-owned and women-owned companies.
Westcott said the partnership was made in the spirit of Capital One's Impact Initiative, an effort to advance racial equity through a $200 million, five-year commitment launched in 2020 to support growth in underserved communities.
“The partnership between Capital One and Delaware State University will help build on our world-class workforce and help make Delaware the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Governor John Carney. “Today’s announcement shows what we can do when we work together. Delaware State University is a pillar in our state, educating many Delawareans who end up becoming leaders across our economy. We look forward to seeing many more leaders in the future benefit from this partnership.”
The Kirkwood Highway site will not be discarded. After receiving a $5.5 million CARES Act grant from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer to aid in the construction of a Molecular Diagnostic Lab at the facility--which resulted in the university helping to lower COVID-19 testing from $50 per test to just $8--it will be expanded to test and analyze other infectious diseases.
”Once we have completed the transition period, the university will have a presence in northern Delaware that exceeds 100,000 square feet and is capable of having a major impact on the greater metropolitan area,” said Graduate School Dean Patrice Gilliam-Johnson.