DOVER, Del. – Delaware State University has established a Presidential Search Committee to facilitate the process that will lead to the appointment of the 11th president of Delaware State University as the permanent successor to former President Harry L. Williams.

The chairperson of the 17-member committee is Mr. John Ridgeway, interim vice chair of the DSU Board of Trustees, as well as alumnus and senior executive with the Toyota Motor Corporation; the committee’s vice chair is Ms. Lois M. Hobbs, DSU Board of Trustees member and former superintendent of the Indian River School District in Sussex County.

Other members of the committee include the following:


  • Devona Williams, interim chair, DSU Board of Trustees
  • The Honorable Michael Castle, member, DSU Board of Trustees
  • Irene Chapman-Hawkins, vice president, Human Resources
  • Francine Edwards, interim dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Cherese Winstead, chair, Department of Chemistry
  • Nirmaljit Rathee, Education Graduate Program director, College of Education, Health and Public Policy
  • Praveen Pinjani, associate dean/associate professor, College of Business
  • Gulnihal Ozbay, research professor, College of College of Agriculture and Related Sciences
  • Dennis Jones, director of Media Relations, Department of Athletics
  • Naima Duncan, recording secretary Student Government Association
  • Sheila Davis, president, DSU Alumni Association



  • Esthelda Parker-Selby, DSU alumna
  • Joel Coppadge, DSU alumnus, retired healthcare administrator, Aetna (community representative)
  • Jeffrey M. Fried, president and CEO, Beebe Healthcare (community representative)
  • James W. Stewart III, CEO, Epic Research (community representative)

Tamara Stoner, University Board of Trustees secretary, will serve as the committee’s administrative support.

The committee is currently actively working to retain a search firm to assist the University. More updates will be forthcoming from the University regarding the presidential search work when appropriate.