Fact 1 – It is the 7th oldest college in the nation. However, their original charter in 1743 was as the Free School, located in Pennsylvania and it was not moved to the colony of Delaware until 1765 (the now state of Delaware was a colony of Pennsylvania until 1776).
Fact 2 – It’s first class of 10 students include 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence, one who signed both the Declaration and the Constitution, one who was known as one of the strongest supporters of independence and one who raised the 1st militia in Pennsylvania for the purpose of resisting the British. – George Read, Thomas McKean and James Smith.
Fact 3 – They are named the Fightin’ Blue Hens sports teams, after a Delaware Revolutionary War battalion with the same nickname.
Fact 4 – The mascot is a costumed bird named YoUDee, and a group of live Blue Hen chickens reside on the school farm.
Fact 5 – U. of Delaware ran the nation’s first study abroad program in 1923, and about a third of undergraduates opt to spend time in another country. The first trip was with 8 students to Paris.
Fact 6 – As of 2018, the School of Public Administration became The Biden School, named after President Biden, who graduated from Delaware in 1965 with a double major in history and political science, and a minor in English.
Fact 7 – It the the largest university the state of Delaware (the first state in the U.S.), located near the top of the state and almost equidistant from DC and NYC.
Fact 8 – The college went bankrupt in 1859, after a student fight and the death of a student in 1858. The college reopened in 1870 after the passage of the Morrill Act resulted in state funding.
Fact 9 – Similar to most federally supported land-grant colleges in the South, the U. of Delaware refused to admit African American students which resulted in the creation of Delaware State University in 1892. It was not until 1950 that the U. of Delaware was required by Delaware Supreme Court to admit Black students.
Fact 10 – The university was featured in a 2016 book called, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, in which the author highlighted the extremely high number of famous people who have graduated from the U. of Delaware including: 2 Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, Chris Christie, Joe and Jill Biden, David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt (political kingmakers), Liz Ann Sonders (finance guru), Johnny Weir (ice-skating), Rich Gannon & Joe Flacco (NFL quarterbacks) and Ellena Della Donne (WNBA All-Star).
Additional tidbit that is more for Appalachian State – in 2007, when FCS team App State (lower-division) played and beat #5 Michigan in what most consider one of the greatest college football upsets, App State finished that year winning its 3rd straight national championship by beating the Joe Flacco led U. of Delaware, whose uniforms and helmets where the same colors and almost the same designs as the U. of Michigan victory at the start of the year.