University of Delaware alumnus Chet Dickerson and his wife Sally celebrated half a century of wedded bliss on Friday, June 11. To mark their 50 years together they chose to celebrate another marriage — that of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension with its constituents in the state of Delaware.
As the outreach arm of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Extension has served the people of Delaware, the Delmarva Peninsula, and beyond for more than 90 years.
At a celebration of Cooperative Extension event held on Thursday, June 10, and hosted by the Dickersons at their farm in Dover, Del., they announced a gift of $50,000 to establish an endowment to help fund the Cooperative Extension Scholars Program.
This innovative program, open to rising UD juniors, seniors and graduate students, offers a 10-week internship with Cooperative Extension during the summer months.
Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, created the Extension Scholar program in 2004 to give UD students an opportunity to become fully engaged in service learning, which has long been a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.
Extension Scholars receive a stipend of $3,000 and, if needed, an allowance of $500 for job-related travel and/or housing.
“The goals of the Extension Scholars program are to give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to see Extension up close and personal; to provide them with experiences connected to their courses of study at UD, and to encourage them to think about Extension for their life’s work,” Seitz said.
She noted how each year applications for the program grow in both quantity and quality, making the selection process more and more challenging. Currently in its sixth year, 35 scholars have been served through the program.
Addressing a crowd of more than 100 friends of Extension, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, himself an alumnus and also a former UD Extension agent, said, “Extension is always current, relevant, and connected to the people in the state (of Delaware). Chet and Sally’s gift will help us to continue to connect.”
“The support of the Dickersons is greatly appreciated,” said Seitz. “With them on our side, we go forward with renewed energy as we continue our efforts to make a difference in the lives of our youth, their families, and the community in which they live.”
Article by Katy O’Connell
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