1:05 p.m., May 6, 2016–The Ratledge Family Award for Delaware Public Service has been presented to three members of the University of Delaware community – Darryl Chambers, James Flynn and Joanne Whalen – for their contributions to the well-being of the people of the state.

Yasser Payne (left) presents the award to Darryl Chambers.

The recipients were honored during a ceremony April 28 at Marriott’s Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware campus hotel.

Darryl Chambers

Chambers, a graduate research associate in the Center for Drug and Health Studies who is pursuing a doctorate in criminology, was honored for his work with local, city and statewide community-oriented programs.

As a member of the Wilmington HOPE Commission Street Outreach Program, he worked to improve quality of life and reduce crime and violence in communities in the city. He was lead associate researcher on the Wilmington Street Participatory Action Research Project, in which members of a population under study conduct research in and on their own communities.

In 2014, Gov. Jack Markell appointed Chambers to serve on the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission, working to conduct an examination of public safety strategies in the city.

Chambers is the executive director of the Youth Empowered to Strive and Succeed Program, which has as its mission is to provide youth with quality education regarding drug and alcohol prevention, gang and gun violence, and issues related to fatherhood and family reunification. 

He was recognized at the Ratledge Family Award ceremony by Yasser Payne, associate professor in the Department of Black American Studies.

James Flynn

Flynn joined UD’s human resources team in 1979, and now serves in the Institute for Public Administration in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA). As an assistant professor in SPPA, he served as the director of the master of public administration (MPA) degree program and SPPA’s internship program.

Flynn has worked on projects ranging from strategic planning to education policy to local government training programs. He served as project manager for the Blue Collar Task Force, a joint executive and legislative initiative authorized by the 147th Delaware General Assembly, and led a team that facilitated a series of task force meetings and statewide public hearings to examine the state’s unemployment rates, climate for long-range business growth, and workforce-readiness strategies. 

Flynn’s impact on the community is also demonstrated through his management of six superintendent searches for the state’s school districts. This role required him to tap his professional background in human resources to create an impartial application and selection process to identify candidates with the skills and experience to lead. 

Also, he served as a project team member to provide support to the Delaware Youth Opportunities Initiative’s working group. This work contributed to Delaware House Bill 163, designed to assist older teenagers transitioning to adulthood as they “age out” of foster care. 

He was recognized by Jerome Lewis, director of the Institute for Public Administration.

Joanne Whalen

Whalen joined the University in 1979 as an associate in Cooperative Extension’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. She became the Extension IPM coordinator and Extension entomologist for agriculture in 1983. 

Whalen, who received her master’s degree in entomology and wildlife ecology from UD in 1983, has served on statewide, regional and national committees. She is a current member and past chair of the Northeast Region’s Technical Committee on Integrated Pest Management, responsible for improving communication and cooperation throughout the region. 

As a past member of the International Certified Crop Adviser Exam Committee and current Mid-Atlantic Certified Crop Adviser Board member, she has worked to establish base standards of knowledge and continuing education for individuals who advise growers on crop and pest management practices. 

As the Extension IPM coordinator, she focuses on developing and delivering recommendations that have both economic and environmental benefits. She conducts research and extension programs that educate agricultural clientele on a range of practices including the use of cover crops, reduced tillage, conservation biological control, trap cropping, insecticide resistance management and the proper use of insecticides to manage insect pests in crops.

She was recognized by Michelle Rodgers, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of Cooperative Extension.

George Watson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presented welcoming remarks, and Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, closed the program. Dan Rich, University Professor of Public Policy, presented a talk on the value of community engagement.

About the Ratledge Family Award

The Ratledge family, Delawareans who can trace their roots back to the 1700s, established the award to encourage and recognize significant public service contributions with at least one award of $1,000 made each year.

Recipients of the award must be members of the UD community. Professional staff, faculty and students are eligible.

Preference is given to members of the School of Public Policy and Administration and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The award is presented to those who exemplify excellence in public service to citizens in the state, and those contributions are defined to include both paid and volunteer work.

Photos by Duane Perry