Parents in touch March 2013
University of Delaware


in touch

March 2013 - Full Stories

Save the Date! Parents and Family Weekend will take place November 8-10, 2013.

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Thank you, parents!

As our students learn and grow at UD, parent contributions are critical. As of March 1, more than 1,400 parent donors have contributed $203,879 toward the Parents Fund goal of raising $250,000 from 2,000 families. For more information about parent giving, visit

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Parent Spotlight: Toni Bonaviso and Family

Parents constantly remind their sons and daughters about the importance of education: the doors it opens, the future it ensures. For one UD family, education is all those things and more. It’s a living memory of a loved one no longer with them. Toni and family

Parents Fund Council member, Toni Bonaviso, her daughter Lisa, a UD freshman, and her younger daughter, Francesca, walked into the University’s development office last summer, before Lisa had even started her first semester, and dropped off a gift to UD in honor of the girls’ late father, Frank Bonaviso.

While the girls were in middle school, Frank was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 2009, he passed away, unable to see either of his daughters graduate from high school. “He fought so hard to stay alive to see the girls grow and graduate and begin the next chapter of their lives,” said Toni.

“My education has always come first, my parents made that point,” said Lisa. “Sports always came second to school, and college has always been part of my future. The day after the funeral, my sister and I were back in school – that’s how important education was to my family. It’s always been our base.”

The Bonaviso family supports the University as a way for Frank’s memory to live on, as a way for him to experience college with his eldest daughter, and to solidity the importance of education to their family.

“We need to keep his memory alive somehow,” said Toni. “He is missing so much of their lives.”
“Giving to UD is a way for my dad to be here with me, a way for him to experience this with me,” said Lisa.

Toni and Lisa wish Frank were alive to experience every moment of Lisa’s freshman year at UD. Both women cited move-in day as the time they most wished Frank had been there to experience— a big moment for all new UD families.

“Dropping her off the first day, moving in,” said Toni. “He would have loved meeting the other students – he just would have taken it all in and been so happy.”

“Moving in, definitely, and Parents Weekend,” said Lisa, “were those big moments I shared with my mom that would have been great to share with him.”

As Toni adjusted to having one third of their close-knit family away at college, she, too, looked for a way to be involved at the University. She became a member of the Parents Fund Council after learning that the Parents Fund supports out-of-classroom programming for students, like career services and leadership development, for students, areas that the Bonaviso women were sure that Frank would feel strongly about.

“I wanted something positive to come of the donation] and enrich the lives of the students at UD,” said Toni. “I feel that I have a purpose [volunteering for the council]. The programs and services the Parents Fund supports make it the perfect area to support.”
Toni’s involvement with the Council was also a way for Frank’s memory to live on. “He used to volunteer as well. My work with the Parents Fund Council is another way to give back and honor him,” said Toni.

“Volunteering is priceless. If I can raise funds to benefit any student at UD, I’ll feel like I’m contributing to the greater good,” she added.

“Giving in memory of my father is a way for him to be here with me,” said Lisa. “But my family’s support won’t just benefit me. That’s the best part: it benefits the entire University.”

Note: Francesca Bonaviso received her UD acceptance letter on March 11 and is excited to join her sister on campus this fall.

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State-of-the-art research facility nears completion

ISE LabThe University of Delaware's Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab) is scheduled for completion later this year. The 194,000-square-foot facility will be a hub of teaching and research on campus, bringing together students and faculty from various disciplines to teach, learn and conduct research in a collaborative environment. Research will provide content for the curriculum, and students will learn through exploration of real-world problems.

There are still many opportunities available to name a space in this new facility. Thanks to a generous donation from the Unidel Foundation, Inc., all new gifts to the ISE Lab of $50,000 to $2.5 million are eligible for a 1:1 match that will entitle the donor to an increased naming opportunity within the building. (For example, a gift of $50,000 would entitle the donor to a naming opportunity valued at $100,000.) To learn more about the ISE Lab, the Unidel Challenge and other funding opportunities, visit

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New residence halls part of East Campus emphasis on first-year experience

The opening of two new residence halls this fall will mark a major step in the plan to enhance the student experience on the East Campus.  

"The completion of these two new residence halls is an important step in our goal of establishing this part of the campus as a first-year student neighborhood," said Michael Gilbert, vice president for student life.  Read the full UDaily story.

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Students have a new option for spring break travel home

Starting this spring break, New England parents might not have to make the trek to Newark to pick up their sons or daughters from the University of Delaware.

A new partnership between the University’s Transportation Services and the bus company My Bus Home will allow students to book a ride home with the company that specializes in student break transportation to and from the New England area.

The partnership was spearheaded by a UD parent who suggested My Bus Home as an option for her student and for other UD families from New England.

"In a continuing effort to provide the University community with varied transportation options, My Bus Home will serve as an ideal complement to the already popular Megabus, Greyhound and Catch-A-Ride services due to the addition of direct service to New England," said Richard Rind, UD Transportation Services director.

“It [taking a bus] is definitely less of a hassle for my parents,” said sophomore Adrian Acevedo who takes Megabus to New York. “And way cheaper than taking the train home.”

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Did you know?

UD’s Career Services Center is always available to your child. Gifts to the Parents Fund allow the University to continue to offer and enhance this lifelong benefit for all alumni.

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New faces

Meet some of the University of Delaware's newest leaders:

Aviles Brock Grasso
José Aviles
Director of Admissions
Dave Brock
Head Football Coach
Domenico Grasso
Hayes Rieger Ziady
Deborah Hayes
Vice President of Communications and Marketing
Mark Rieger
Dean of College of Agriculture and Nature Resources
Eric Ziady
Director of Athletics

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Maya Angelou visits campus

MayaIn recognition of Black History Month, Maya Angelou visited campus on February 22 to speak to a sold-out crowd. Due to its high popularity, the event was moved to the Bob Carpenter Center to accommodate more attendees. “We were thrilled with the overwhelming interest in hearing Maya Angelou speak,” said Kasandra Moye, director of the Center for Black Culture. “If it weren’t for funding from the Parents Fund, the event would not have been able to take place in the larger facility, and numerous students would have missed the opportunity to hear this amazing woman.”

Read the UDaily story.

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Seniors give back

The Senior Class Gift Campaign officially launched in late February. The Campaign is an opportunity for seniors to show their appreciation for the many opportunities they have had at the University of Delaware.

Seniors are encouraged to give back to any area about which they are passionate – whether it’s their college, academic program, student organization, athletic team or any other area that had a positive influence on them during their UD experience.

All seniors who participate in the Senior Class Gift Campaign will be listed on the online honor roll at  and will receive a special invitation to a donor reception with President Harker’s home on May 14, 2013.

Please note that gifts from parents do not count toward Senior Class Gift recognition. Seniors who make a gift of $250 or more will be entitled to membership in the Delaware Diamonds Society. The results of the Senior Class Gift Campaign will be announced at Commencement on May 25, 2013. 

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New online service for parents to access student information

A new web application, Parent/Guardian Secure Services (PGSS) allows students to share components of their education information with individuals they designate as parents or guardians. Students are now able to share information, including:

  • Finances (to view or pay a bill)
  • Class schedule
  • Honors & awards
  • Final grades
  • Final exam schedule
  • Dining and Flex information
  • Housing assignments

After the student has authorized information sharing, the parent/guardian receives an invitation with instructions on how to create an account and view the information the student has shared.  With the new features available through Parent/Guardian Secure Services, students now have the option to grant access to view the information that is most often requested by their parents or guardians. Read the full UDaily story.

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