A tribute event held June 9 in honor of retiring Delaware Technical Community College President Dr. Orlando J. George Jr. netted $154,378 for student scholarships. The event, held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, celebrated George’s 45 years of service to the college. All proceeds from the event will provide scholarship funds for Delaware Tech students through the Orlando J. George Jr. and Linda K. George Scholarship Endowment, established in 1995, in the college’s Educational Foundation.
George expressed his appreciation to the 340 individuals in attendance for their support of Delaware Tech and its students. “It has been my privilege and honor to lead this great college for 19 years. I have loved every minute of serving as your president because of the many opportunities it has given me to make a difference in the lives of others: our students, our Delaware Tech family and our Delaware community."
George was honored with a special presentation from keynote speaker, Gov. Jack A. Markell, who signed Senate Bill 222 naming the Wilmington Campus the Orlando J. George Jr. Campus.
Markell also presented George with the Order of the First State - the highest honor a governor can bestow. "We could not be more blessed to have had a leader of this institution who has had the vision to create opportunities for our citizens across all generations, putting them in position to make the most of their abilities and to contribute the full extent of their talents," said Markell. "And at a time when the costs of higher education are rising much faster than inflation, and institutions across the country are raising tuition, Lonnie has had the conviction to keep costs low, and to ensure that no student is denied access to opportunities at Del Tech because of an inability to pay. Because of that, his legacy is one not only of great accomplishment, but also of improving access and opportunity."
George said, “I am humbled and honored with these tributes, and I accept them on behalf of my entire Delaware Tech family - the talented and caring faculty, staff, administrators and board members, as well as our partners and donors, who are passionate about giving our students access to their future. When the college’s accomplishments and successes of the last 19 years are written, all credit should be given to this truly amazing group of people.”
George also was conferred the title of President Emeritus June 3 by Delaware Tech’s Board of Trustees through a resolution recognizing his outstanding career and leadership of the college. In addition, the board named George the 2014 recipient of the Paul K. Weatherly Award Recognizing Excellence. The award was created in 1995 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Delaware Technical Community College and who exemplify the ideals of the community college spirit. Since its inception, this prestigious honor has only been awarded to 10 individuals.
George has exemplified the community college spirit since 1969 when he began his career at the college as a mathematics instructor. He became Delaware Tech’s fourth president in 1995.
George’s influence in his 19 years as president goes beyond bricks-and-mortar improvements. Under his leadership, additional achievements include substantial growth in financial aid, from $4.5 million to over $37 million, which enables nearly 70 percent of the college's graduates to complete their studies debt-free; expansion of articulation agreements with four-year institutions from 10 to 144; increase in nationally accredited programs from 13 to 64; and growth of Delaware Tech’s Educational Foundation assets from $5 million to over $20 million.
During his tenure, the One-College Governance Structure was established to create a system of shared governance, participation, responsibility and accountability in decision-making processes that were collegewide in scope. In addition, several programs were created to recognize faculty, staff and administrators including an annual Employee Recognition Event, Excellence in Teaching, Service, and Student Success Award programs, a Faculty Mentoring Program and a Leadership Development Program.
In response to the state’s economic priorities, the affiliation with the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership was established in 1999 to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers. In addition, the college secured grants to fund the construction of three new energy education facilities and committed to a 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020.
During George’s tenure, the college was recognized with numerous national awards including 1999 National Alliance of Business Community College of the Year Award, 2000 Bellwether Award for Instructional Programs and Services, 2007 News Journal’s Best in the Business Great Places to Work Award and 2009 Council for Higher Education Accreditation Award for assessment of student learning.
George’s last day as president of Delaware Technical Community College is June 30. For more information on Delaware Tech go to www.dtcc.edu.