28 Years of History in Experiential Learning: Delaware Valley University Celebrates the Inauguration of its 14th President

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Dr. Benjamin Rusiloski Delaware Valley University

Delaware Valley University (DelVal) is celebrating the inauguration of its 14th president, Benjamin E. Rusiloski, Ph.D. who has served the University for more than 28 years. Dr. Rusiloski will be inaugurated Friday, October 21 and the inaugural ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. in the Life Sciences Building auditorium on DelVal's campus.

"I'm honored to be selected to build on the work of the presidents who have come before me," said Dr. Rusiloski. "DelVal is a school that I'm proud to have served for so many years. This institution has excellent faculty and staff who are personally invested in the success of each student."

Dr. Rusiloski played a significant role in implementing one of DelVal's signature programs that continues to set it apart from other institutions. The program, Experience360, was established by a task force of faculty, staff and administrators led by Dr. Rusiloski to give students real-world experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Now in its tenth year of operation, Experience360 continues to provide students with a plethora of hands-on learning opportunities in the fields they're most passionate. The implementation of this program ensures that 100 percent of DelVal students gain real-world experience prior to graduation.

"Experience360 set the stage for students to begin building their careers from day one of their education at DelVal not only in their coursework but through an experiential learning program that prepares them and differentiates them from their peers at other institutions. As they head out to their first destination post-graduation, they will be prepared because of their DelVal education," said Dr. Rusiloski.

While Experience360 was first established 10 years ago, DelVal has been perfecting the approach of "experiential learning" since its founding in 1896. "You'll hear many say that going back 125 years, DelVal laid the cornerstone of experiential education. And we can proudly say that it has been a part of our DNA at DelVal since its inception," Dr. Rusiloski explained, referring to DelVal's founder, Joseph Krauskopf, who started the institution based on the idea of "science with practice." This combination still defines DelVal today, as Experience360 is built into the University's curriculum, engaging students in internships, study abroad, research, civic engagement, and more.

"Experience360 prepares students to be stronger contributors in the workforce and in graduate school. Employers and graduate schools all give us the same feedback that our program is a differentiator and that DelVal graduates hit the ground running. As DelVal's 14th president, I look forward to continuing to enhance experiential learning opportunities."

Following the inauguration ceremony will be The Student Harvest Festival, a relatively new tradition at DelVal. The Harvest Festival is run by students who are members of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS). MANRRS is a national society that encourages academic and professional advancement for minorities and their allies' pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields. MANRRS mission is to promote and implement initiatives that foster the inclusion and advancement of members of ethnic and cultural groups underrepresented in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences in all phases of career preparation by providing academic and professional support. Through community, affirmation, and empowerment, MANRRS will help change the agricultural industry's future to a more equitable and diverse environment.

At the festival, students will showcase their vegetables, legumes, fruit, beef and more, which they've grown and harvested, for guests to enjoy. There will also be table displays for student-run clubs and organizations with demonstrations, club information and activities, plus hayrides to South Campus for apple picking, pumpkins, DelVal's first-ever hemp maze, and more.

The University gives many thanks to Jacquelyn Dudley '24 and Natasha Robertson '23, student leaders from MANRRS, who have organized the Harvest Festival this year. DelVal also thanks MANRRS advisors, Dr. Melissa Wright, Dr. Carla Garzon, and Carlos Soto-Gil.

Much of the food served at the Student Harvest Festival is farmed and curated on one of DelVal's three properties that comprise the 1,000-acre campus in Bucks and Montgomery counties including main campus, The Gemmil Center in Jamison, and Roth Farm in North Wales.

For more information and an event schedule, please visit: delval.edu/inauguration.

Watch Inauguration: Those who cannot be there for the ceremony are encouraged to watch the live stream on DelVal's website. To view the live stream, please visit: delval.edu/inauguration.