University of Delaware


[page 2]

In 1964, fourteen years after her husband’s death, Jean du Pont wrote to the University of the need for "a training and educational program for the State’s correctional workers" to include those working in probation, parole, family court, and youth services, as well as the guards in state prisons.[19] She offered to create the E. Paul du Pont Endowment for the Study of Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections if the University would agree to train correctional personnel.

Her greatest concern was that this Endowment be used to enroll all of the State’s correctional and law enforcement workers in special training seminars. She also provided a smaller grant over ten years to encourage the University faculty to study prison reform and prisoner rehabilitation issues.

The University rose to the challenge. The Division of Continuing Education hired a specialist in criminal justice who organized non-credit training seminars for state correctional employees. Beginning in 1970,
the University also sponsored a lecture series aimed at judges, lawyers, politicians, and interested citizens. The series, which ran for several years, addressed such topics as "Modern Corrections: A Collaborative Effort," "Violence In American Life," and "The Administration of Justice In America." Most significantly, Jean du Pont’s financial support and encouragement led to the creation of a Criminal Justice concentration in the Department of Sociology. Frank R. Scarpitti, the first Professor of Sociology hired to teach criminology, credited the lecture series and the publications that arose from it with putting the University of Delaware on the map as a place giving serious attention to important, complex, social issues heretofore all but ignored in academic circles. Thanks to Jean Foulke du Pont’s initial gift, University of Delaware programs in Criminal Justice are recognized as among the best in the country.

The list of du Pont family members who have targeted their benefactions to address particular concerns or interests also must include S. Hallock du Pont, son of Pierre S. du Pont’s brother, William Kemble du Pont. Like his cousin, Harry du Pont, Hallock raised livestock, an interest that led him to provide funds over many years to the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for research in cattle and swine diseases. Rosa P. McDonald, a daughter of Mary du Pont Laird and William Winder Laird, is a major supporter of the University’s program in nursing. Betty Paulanka, Dean of the College of Health and Nursing Sciences, calls Mrs. McDonald "a strong advocate for health education," whose gifts include a scholarship in the Department of Nursing given in memory of her parents and many other benefactions that support the education of nurses and nurse practitioners.[20]

Hobbies among the du Ponts also have benefitted education and research at the University. In 1969, Willis du Pont, the son of Lammot du Pont, Jr., presented the University with a large collection of Indian artifacts and a twenty-volume portfolio edition of The North American Indian by nineteenth-century ethnographer Edward S. Curtis. The artifacts included pots, masks, bowls, statuary, gold ornaments, and a fifty-pound stone axe. Most items were North American in origin but others were from Mexico and South America. The collection had been kept in a large, purpose-built wooden cabinet in Lammot du Pont’s home at St. Amour for as long as Willis could remember. Some thought that Lammot, Jr., had amassed the collection, but a bit of research revealed that Willis’s father had inherited it from his father, Lammot, Sr. Further enquiry revealed that the elder Lammot’s interest in Native American artifacts had been aroused when workmen at Hagley brought him some arrowheads that they had found in the powder yards. Lammot subsequently collected artifacts from other parts of the country where
Du Pont Company business took him or where the company had agents. He also purchased artifacts from dealers. Lammot cataloged his acquisitions to keep track of where he had obtained them. His interest in collecting Native American objects was shared by his uncle, Henry du Pont, who presided over the Du Pont Company in the mid-nineteenth century. Items from the Henry du Pont artifact collection are on display at the Hagley Museum. Several scholarly articles have been written about these collections. Since 1979, when the University’s Department of Anthropology hired Jay Custer, a specialist in Native American archaeology, the Lammot du Pont Collection has had an important educational function. "It is now used primarily for teaching purposes," Custer reports, "and provides a wonderful array of samples of prehistoric Native American technology and art for our students to see and experience."[21]

Irénée du Pont, another son of Lammot, Sr., was fascinated by minerals. He collected examples from around the world for display in a special room at his Granogue estate. In 1966, Irénée du Pont, Jr., contributed his father’s collection to the University of Delaware. The collection features many rare specimens, including jade, amethyst, topaz, and quartz, as well as precious metals–silver, gold, and diamonds. Another du Pont, Wilhelmina Laird Craven, has augmented the collection with several additional gifts, including cabinets to house the minerals. Beautifully displayed in the Irénée du Pont Mineral Room in Penny Hall, the home of the Geology Department, the collection is recognized as one of the best in the United States. It is heavily used by students in geology courses—from the introductory level through graduate levels—and is a popular destination for elementary- and middle-school field trips.