Volume 11, Number 2, 2002

Familiar Relations: The duPonts & the University of Delaware

April 1915: P.S. du Pont anonymously offers the college $218,000 to purchase the entire forty-acre tract (site of the present central campus) and to remove unnecessary buildings.

Middle of 1916: P.S. du Pont has given or pledged more than $1 million to Delaware College. In addition to providing land and buildings, his gifts pay for new equipment and for refurbishing the original college building, which is now called Old College

In 1920, H. Rodney Sharp chooses Marian C. Coffin to landscape the campus. An M.I.T. graduate, she is the first woman in America to become a major landscape architect.

In the 1920s, Service Citizens, P.S. du Pont’s organization, gives funding to enlarge the heating plant and to build the Kent Dining Hall at the Women’s College. He personally gives money to purchase more land for University expansion, and to build two fraternity houses on the men’s campus.

In July 1923, the first foreign-study program under Professor Raymond W. Kirkbride begins. P.S. du Pont helps launch this novel program through his support.

H. Rodney Sharp donates marble sculpture of Greek discus thrower, or Discobolus, in 1923.

Memorial Hall opens in 1924, with the largest single contribution from P.S. du Pont for $80,759.70. Other du Pont family members who contribute generously to the campaign include Mrs. Alexis I. du Pont, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene E. du Pont, Mr. and Mrs. H. Rodney Sharp, Senator and Mrs. T. Coleman , du Pont and Mr. and Mrs. Irénée du Pont.

In the 1930s, P.S. du Pont funds pensions for retirement-age faculty.

In 1930, Mitchell Hall opens. H. Rodney Sharp provides funds to build this campus centerpiece.

UNIDEL Foundation is created by Miss Amy du Pont. In the period between 1939 and 1999, UNIDEL provides more than $112 million to enhance University of Delaware programs.

During WW II, R. R. M. Carpenter steps in to fund the structure that now bears his name. The Carpenter Sports Building opens in 1943 and is expanded and improved several times in years to come. In the mid-1960s, a swimming pool wing is added and other facilities are enlarged. An extensive renovation is completed by the fall of 2000.

The Sharp Trust provides $32,589,183.84 to the University between 1950 and Mr. Sharp's death in 1968. Since the University invests much of that money, by 1968, the total value of the Sharp Trust to the University's endowment grows to $58,532,640.05.

Since 1952, the Winterthur Program, the first museum-studies-oriented master's degree in the nation, has produced hundreds of scholars, curators and connoisseurs who have become leaders of museums of American history and decorative arts and of academic programs in American studies.

The Hagley Graduate Program, founded in 1954 in the University's Department of History, concentrates on the history of industrialization, and includes students pursuing both master's and Ph.D. degrees.

In 1958, Edith du Pont Riegel Pearson provides for the University to receive income from certain of her trust funds throughout her lifetime. One-half of the income is designated for the purchase of reading materials for the library.

J. Bruce and Octavia du Pont Bredin support the University's general fund through their Bredin Foundation. The Bredins also provide salary support for the Charles E. Birchenall Professorship.

Pierre S. du Pont Hall is built in 1958 for the College of Engineering. Funding for Du Pont Hall comes from the Good Samaritan Foundation, the creation of Elias Ahuja, a former Du Pont Co. agent for Chilean nitrate, and P.S. du Pont's Longwood Foundation.

In 1962, Lammot du Pont Copeland establishes the Andelot fellowships for doctoral degrees in the humanities.

In 1966, Irénée du Pont Jr. contributes his father's mineral collection to the University of Delaware. Wilhelmina Laird Craven later augments the collection with several additional gifts.

William Winder (Chick) Laird Jr. gives the University the valuable property located on New London Road in northwest Newark, which is now fittingly called the Laird Campus.

In 1967, just one year before he dies, Rodney Sharp provides $200,000 to buy the Newark Presbyterian Church property on Main Street. In 1994, this becomes the site of a new student center.

The Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture is created in 1967 to link P.S. du Pont's Longwood Gardens with the University's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In 1969, Ellen du Pont Meeds Wheelwright, a daughter of T. Coleman du Pont, gives the University her home, Goodstay, a stone colonial house with its adjacent formal gardens located in Wilmington on Pennsylvania Avenue.

In 1969, Willis du Pont, the son of Lammot du Pont Jr., presents the University with a large collection of Indian artifacts and a twenty-volume portfolio edition of The North American Indian by 19th-century ethnographer Edward S. Curtis.

Jean du Pont's financial support and encouragement lead to the creation of a criminal justice concentration in the Department of Sociology.

H.B. du Pont donates property to be used either for future expansion or to be sold. Other life-time gifts range from the enhancement of faculty salaries to the improvement of buildings and the publication of books. At his death in 1970, he bequeathes the University a substantial legacy. His widow, Emily du Pont, contributes to the establishment of the H.B. du Pont Professorship in Chemical Engineering.

Hugh Sharp's interest in the work of the College of Marine Studies since its introduction in 1971, leads Du Pont Co. executives to fund the

E.I. du Pont professorship in Marine Biology, the raising of money to purchase the research vessel Cape Henlopen and the founding of the Marine Studies Associates.

The most visible reminder of Amy E. du Pont's ongoing benefaction to the University is the music building named in her honor, which includes a recital hall and practice rooms. It is constructed in 1973, thanks to a Unidel grant.

George W. Laird, who dies in 1977, provides a bequest to the University that is used for computer-assisted engineering.

Since 1980, the Eugene du Pont scholarships have provided aid to hundreds of highly deserving students and are the centerpiece of student financial support for the University Honors Program.

In 1987, together with Crawford and Margaretta du Pont Greenewalt and Octavia du Pont Bredin, Emily du Pont supplies the bulk of the matching funds for the University to begin the nation's first Ph.D. program in art conservation.

At Bob Carpenter's death in 1990, plans are already under way to construct the indoor sports-convocation center to be named in his honor. Members of the du Pont and Carpenter families join many other donors and the stateof Delaware in completing the $20 million structure.

In 1993, the Lammot du Pont Laboratory is dedicated. Many of the generous donors are du Ponts, mostly descendants of Lammot du Pont and their relatives by marriage.

Following a $23.7 million expansion and renovation, Du Pont Hall reopened in May. The rededication ceremony will be held in the fall.