From Little Colleges Big Universities Grow

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November 7, 2010; Source: Press Democrat | Winning big jackpots isn’t just for lucky lottery winners. Delaware Valley College is the beneficiary of $30 million in property and cash from the Warwick Foundation of Bucks County, Pa. The gift is likely to transform the suburban Philadelphia college into what the Associated Press describes as a “full-fledged university.”

In addition, the donation will help the college shed its image as “that little old farm school,” said Joseph Brosnan, the school’s president. Brosnan also expects the college’s good fortune will help it attract talented faculty and other leaders to help the school implement its growth plans. They include reorganizing the college’s 27 majors into three undergraduate schools as well as adding a doctoral and three more master’s programs.

The American Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf founded Del Val, as the college is known, more than a century ago at the suggestion of Leo Tolstoy, author of “War and Peace.” Tolstoy suggested that immigrant youth in America needed a place to teach them how to farm. Over the years, the school has added subjects such as biology, business, and criminal justice.

Although half the 1,700 current undergraduates, are non-farmings students, the college is still seen primarily as an agricultural school. “We’re trying to definitely move away from that,” said Del Val senior Dariyen Carter, 21, of Baltimore. Warwick Foundation, which began negotiations with the school about the gift two years ago, has had a past relationship with Del Val. President Betsy Gemmill’s father had once served as its chairman.—Bruce Trachtenberg