News Release

Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 295-1164

Tribute Honoring Dr. Jack P. Varsalona Raises $150,000 for Student Scholarships

A June 23 event honoring the retirement of Wilmington University President Dr. Jack P. Varsalona netted $150,000, which will fund the newly-created Dr. Jack P. Varsalona scholarship. Held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, the event commemorated Dr. Varsalona’s 30 years of service to the University. All proceeds will benefit Wilmington University students.

The evening’s vibrant program culminated in a meaningful tribute honoring a distinguished career grounded in humility, integrity and collaboration. A video produced by Wilmington University employees depicted Dr. Varsalona’s 30-year university career. Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki presented a Proclamation honoring Dr. Varsalona’s work and also declared June 23 “Dr. Jack P. Varsalona Day” in the city of Wilmington. Dr. Varsalona’s successor, Dr. Laverne T. Harmon, unveiled a mural of Dr. Varsalona painted by former University of Delaware football coach Harold R. “Tubby” Raymond, who was present at the event. Dr. Harmon later announced the new scholarship then presented Dr. Varsalona with a yearbook, also produced by WilmU employees, which depicted his university career highlights. Additional speakers included Wilmington University Board of Trustees Chairman The Honorable Joseph J. Farnan Jr., Joe Purzycki, and event co-chairs Wendie and Laird Stabler.

During his eloquent remarks, Dr. Varsalona thanked the nearly 400-member audience for their dedication to students, paying homage to Dr. Harmon, calling her “incredibly caring, highly skilled, and wholly dedicated to students.” He also credited the Wilmington University staff, faculty, and board of trustees for the considerable growth the university experienced during his 12-year presidential tenure.

Dr. Jack P. Varsalona Highlights

·   Under Dr. Varsalona’s leadership, University enrollment grew from 10,222 in 2005, when Dr. Varsalona became president, to more than 21,000 in 2017. University locations increased from four to 11, expanding to New Jersey and Maryland.

·   Dr. Varsalona oversaw the proliferation of 118 online programs, making Wilmington University a regional pioneer in distance learning.  

·   Under Dr. Varsalona’s leadership, Wilmington College became Wilmington University in 2007 to reflect its strong strategic plan and evolving nature.  It was named the second fastest growing private, nonprofit doctoral institution in the nation (2003-2013 and 2004-2014) by The Almanac of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

·   Dr. Varsalona cultivated a caring and collaborative culture for both staff and students. More than 150 accredited, career-focused degree and certificate programs were created, making Wilmington University both accessible and affordable for working adults.

About Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at, or visit

Published: Monday, July 10, 2017 - New Castle, DE