Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 27
Fall 1991
Duo earns special place in Class of '91

     April Michelle Jackson, Delaware '91, and Leonard P. Stark,
Delaware '91, sit together under a tent, waiting for their cue to lead
the alumni delegate procession into Delaware Stadium for the 142nd
Commencement exercises.
     That brief period of rest signaled the pair's realization that
their individual relationship with the University was about to change.
"It took a few days for it to sink in. Then it just hit me, I'm done,"
Stark says, remembering the moment.
     As recipients of the Emalea P. Warner and the Alexander J. Taylor
Sr. awards to the outstanding senior woman and man of the Class of
1991, Jackson and Stark earned the special role of leading the alumni
commencement delegates.
     This final recognition capped many honors for both students.While
earning a bachelor of arts degree with distinction in psychology,
Jackson, who grew up in New Castle, Del., participated in an
undergraduate research program with Marion C. Hyson, associate
professor of individual and family studies.
     Jackson's research developed into her senior honors thesis on
stress and support among African-American college freshmen and their
parents. Her interest in educational as well as African-American
issues will continue when she enters the Ph.D. program in clinical
psychology at Kent State University this fall.
     The average student in the United States takes longer than four
years to complete an undergraduate degree. Although Stark might tell
you he is a typical student, he is hardly average. In four years,
Stark, originally from Huntington, N.Y., earned a bachelor of arts
honors degree in political science, a bachelor of science degree with
distinction in economics and a master of arts in European history with
a minor in women's studies.  When the final tally is posted, Stark
will have accumulated more than 200 college credits.
     Stark will leave Oct. 3 for Oxford University as the first Rhodes
Scholar from the University of Delaware since 1961.
     Stark and Jackson were drawn to the University by its Honors
Program and took advantage of other opportunities during their stay at
Delaware.  Stark spent a Winter Session in Europe, and Jackson was
president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
     Both young alumni developed personal relationships with faculty
and administrators.  Jackson recognizes the guidance she received from
Hyson and Judith Y. Gibson, assistant vice president for affirmative
action and multicultural programs. "They are my fairy godmothers," she
says. Jackson also says she believes psychology prof. James Jones
helped focus her career path through his course, "Psychological
Perspectives of the Black American."
     The admiration between Jackson and these faculty members is
mutual.  "April's success, or her achievement, will only be limited by
the ways in which she limits herself. I can see her doing everything,"
says Gibson.
     The relationship with Delaware will not end for either
outstanding senior upon the framing of their diploma. In fact, Stark
will continue to be active in the Volunteer Admissions Support Team
(VAST), as he was through all four undergraduate years. "He has a
versatility that makes him an excellent volunteer," says Stirling
Miller, assistant dean of admissions and director of the VAST program.
     As Jackson and Stark led the alumni delegation, the University's
living history, through the rows of the Class of 1991, the stadium
filled with resounding applause.
     Says Stark, "I hope that Commencement will be as special to me
years from now as it was for all the alumni who came back."
                                   --Skip Cook, Delaware '89