Capital One Announces Partnership with Delaware State

Donation of $4.7 million riverfront facility brings Delaware's only HBCU back to Wilmington with expanded recruitment partnership


After nearly a decade of operating in northern Delaware solely through its satellite campus on Kirkwood Highway, Delaware State University is partnering with Capital One to return to the City of Wilmington and expand its offerings in the heart of the state's only metropolitan core. 

Capital One's historic donation of its facility at the Wilmington Riverfront, valued at $4.7 million, to the University will be paired with enhancements to its recruiting partnership with the school to create more opportunities for Delaware State students to pursue careers at Capital One in fields including business analysis, tech and product development. 

"This dramatically expanded footprint inside Wilmington and Capital One's commitment to long-term engagement with the area's young people is exactly what the University needs to bring our particular strengths to bear on the issues facing the City," said Delaware State University President Tony Allen. "Together we will be able to reach the City's youth more directly to create an innovative pipeline to college and career, offer both graduate courses and workforce development training in an accessible location and better support our Center for Neighborhood Revitalization and Research in addressing the structural and economic challenges facing Wilmington."

"At Capital One, we know that HBCUs are engines of economic mobility," said Joe Westcott, Delaware Market President at Capital One. "We're proud to be investing in Delaware State University's proven ability to champion educational equity, academic excellence and the creation of innovative career pathways for its students. This partnership invests in the talent and promise of those students and represents an important milestone in reaffirming Capital One's longstanding commitment to Wilmington and the entire state of Delaware."

Westcott emphasized that this partnership marks an important milestone in Capital One's HBCU recruitment and advocacy strategy and larger commitment to advancing racial equity through the Capital One Impact Initiative, an initial $200 million, multi-year commitment launched in 2020 to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity.

Capital One's donation of its One South Orange building to the University is the anchor for the new partnership. Built in 1885 and renovated in 2001, the property was occupied by a portion of Capital One operations in Delaware until late 2018 when the bank consolidated its offices into downtown Wilmington. The facility contains 35,000 square feet with six floors, an open floor plan and custom meeting space.

“The partnership between Capital One and Delaware State University will build on our world-class workforce and help make Delaware the best place to live, work and raise a family,” says Delaware Governor John Carney (D-DE). “Today’s announcement shows what we can do when we work together. Delaware State University is a pillar in our state, educating many Delawareans who end up becoming leaders across our economy. We look forward to seeing many more leaders in the future benefit from this partnership.”

The new space will initially headquarter the University's School for Graduate, Adult and Continuing Education, a new partnership with the Teen Warehouse and its workforce development center and also serve as an incubation hub for micro and small businesses with a particular focus on minority and women-owned companies. 

Capital One and Delaware State will also be deepening their recruiting relationship to expand opportunities for students to pursue careers within the company, as the bank will be assigning a dedicated recruiter to work with the University to increase Capital One's hiring of its graduates. It will also seek to prime the early talent pipeline by extending access to Capital One up-skill programs for freshman and sophomores, such as First Gen Focus, a program that supports first-generation college students, and the HBCU Tech Mini-Master, a two-week coding skills program that prepares students for STEM-focused internships.

“I am so proud of Delaware State University for growing to become the first-class research HBCU and economic driver for the region that it is today,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE). “Now, DSU will breathe new life into downtown Wilmington when it moves into the Capital One building. I commend Capital One and DSU for seizing this opportunity to reach more students in our state. This is a win-win for Delaware! Hornets rising!”

This partnership builds on Capital One's ongoing support to HBCUs, as it recently provided $1 million total grant funding to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the United Negro College Fund to help strengthen HBCUs as part of Capital One's The Match: Champions for Change in 2020.

“As a proud graduate of an HBCU, I know the critical importance of preserving the rich history and significant contributions of HBCUs in our communities," says Corey Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Operations at Capital One. "I am proud to see Capital One take another step to advance racial equity through its deepened partnership with Delaware State by providing access to space for growth and opportunities for skill building and career development. Nurturing diverse perspectives is a central tenet of our Capital One culture, and I look forward to the way these actions will fuel the talent pipeline in Wilmington.”

Both Capital One and Delaware State University are strong advocates for the passage of the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), which would make historic federal investments in HBCUs and strengthen public-private partnerships to enhance and grow those world-renowned institutions. 

“This generous donation from Capital One to Delaware State University will invest in the prosperity of students and elevate the stature of one of America’s premiere public HBCUs,” said Senator Coons. “Right now, I’m working hard in the Senate to pass the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, a landmark bipartisan bill that would repair and modernize HBCU campuses that serve as gateways to success for thousands of students. As we work to deliver this transformational support for campus infrastructure, I’m thrilled to see Capital One and Delaware State partnering together to pave the way for future generations of Hornets to learn and grow along the Wilmington Riverfront.”

Sens. Coons and Carper were joined in their enthusiasm about the donation and expanded partnership by their fellow Delaware congressional delegation member, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). 

“Today’s announcement from Capital One and Delaware State University represents another exciting and innovative development for DSU under the leadership of Dr. Tony Allen," said Rep. Blunt Rochester. "This donation is also a remarkable reflection of the generosity and commitment of Capital One to both Delaware’s only HBCU and our state’s largest city. The return of DSU to the City of Wilmington will be a massive boost for economic development, help Delaware State with alumni relations within the City and allow DSU to engage with students earlier, giving them access to an incredible talent pipeline from which to recruit. This donation will also allow Delaware State’s adult education efforts to reach the City of Wilmington — an issue I’m passionate about as the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Future of Work Caucus. This partnership, made possible by the generosity of Capital One and the creativity of Delaware State, will create a better and brighter future for the Hornets, for the City of Wilmington, and our entire state.”

The University will not abandon its Kirkwood Facility. Last November, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer awarded $5.5 million from the Federal Cares Act to help the University build its own Molecular Diagnostic Lab at the Kirkwood site, a former United States Army Reserve site awarded to the University in 2013. 

Working with Testing for America and the County, in just six months, the University has lowered the cost for COVID-19 testing from $50 per test to just under $8. It will now expand the facility to test and analyze other infectious diseases. 

Delaware State Graduate School Dean Patrice Gilliam-Johnson noted that the University will also be using the opportunity to focus on completing necessary renovations to its Kirkwood Highway facility, which now includes Delaware's only COVID-19 testing laboratory.

"Once we have completed the transition period, the University will have a presence in northern Delaware that exceeds 100,000 square feet and is capable of having a major impact on the greater metropolitan area,” Gilliam-Johnson said.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki (D-DE) also shared his enthusiasm about the long-term impact of this partnership.

"Welcome home DSU and thank you Capital One!” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki (D-DE). “Wilmington will soon have an even better chance of helping its residents achieve prosperity because a core University partner will be part of the effort. And Capital One has again stepped up in a big way to help the people of Wilmington and this region. Through DSU’s and Capital One’s commitment to education and the community, Wilmington’s efforts to change lives forever has just become a lot more energized. DSU’s HBCU roots are important to Wilmington because many of our residents are Delaware State University graduates and have contributed significantly to our City’s success. So, the City where HBCU Week was born and nurtured couldn’t be happier about this announcement.”

About Capital One

Capital One, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, offers a broad spectrum of financial  products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of  channels. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol  “COF” and is included in the S&P 100 index. Capital One was founded on the principle that great talent, great analytics and great technology could revolutionize financial services and democratize credit. We believe that attracting, hiring, and enabling great people can change banking for good. 

About Delaware State University

Delaware State University is the nation’s #3 public Historically Black  College/University (US News & World Report) and an R2 doctoral-granting high research activity institution, with a 130-year history of providing a high-quality, low-cost education for ALL. The University is the nation’s #1 provider of professional pilots of color; Delaware’s #1 provider of nurses, teachers, social workers, and accountants of color. In expanding its footprint throughout the State, the University recently completed the historic acquisition of Wesley College in downtown Dover. For more information, visit DESU online.  

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