By: Norfolk State University

When it came to celebrating her 75th birthday, the best present that Mozella Delk ’68 could receive was the financial contributions from family and friends in support of Norfolk State University students. Her birthday event was a “Green and Gold Extravaganza” held at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club. The event included skits depicting her commencement graduation ceremony and a Norfolk State University “pep rally” that showcased cheerleaders and several trombone horn players.

She and her husband, William Delk ’67, set a goal and were able to achieve it. On February 21, 2022, they presented $10,000 including contributions they received while celebrating Mozella Delk’s birthday to Norfolk State University Advancement Vice President Clifford Porter.

“Mozella said that she didn’t want any gifts, and people were receptive,” said William Delk.

In 2010, the couple established the William and Mozella Delk endowed scholarship for students majoring in education. They enjoy knowing that they are helping students realize their dream of achieving a college education. Over the years, they have been given the students’ names they have helped.

Yet what has been most important to them is meeting the students. Mozella Delk described the relationship that the couple developed upon meeting Sheray Patillo, one of the scholarship recipients in 2015. “She sat at our table,” said Mozella Delk. “She graduated, and we kept in touch. She gets her law degree in April.”  During Mozella Delk’s birthday party, that scholarship recipient explained what receiving the money meant to her and that while traveling to the party her plane was delayed. “She said, she would have walked to get there,” Mozella Delk said in relaying the story. Because of their generosity, the Delks have had a long-lasting relationship with the soon-to-be law school graduate.

“It extends beyond money,” said William Delk. “When kids have goals and are striving to reach those goals, you don’t want to cut them short.”

He explained that his father was a groundskeeper for Norfolk State during Dr. Harrison B. Wilson Jr.’s tenure as president. He would watch his father labor from the windows of his classroom, and he knew that he couldn’t take his education for granted. “There were seven kids. Six of us came to Norfolk State and five of us graduated.” He has been grateful to NSU for the opportunity extended to him and his family.

Mozella Delk was the first in her family to graduate from college, and she credits her student employment in the Evening College Office with providing the extra financial help she needed to pay tuition.

“It was just the way the school opened up to us. We know that there is no way that we would have had the careers and financial abilities if it weren’t for this school.”

Both graduates of the School of Education are thankful for the education and care they received at Norfolk State. William Delk, a former principal and Senior Director of Pupil Personnel for Norfolk Public Schools, enjoyed a 37-year career in public education. Mozella Delk retired as regional manager of Human Resource Services after a 35-year career with the Department of the Navy. In 2015, they were inducted into the Emerald Society of Norfolk State University in recognition of their generosity. In 2016, the Delks were recognized as NSU’s MEAC Tournament Distinguished Alumni.