Richard D. DeCosmo, Former President of Delaware County Community College, Passes Away
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • January 19, 2023)—Richard D. DeCosmo, EdD, president emeritus of Delaware County Community College, passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Dr. DeCosmo served as the College’s second president from 1980 until his retirement in 2003.
Under Dr. DeCosmo’s leadership, the College became even more visible, accessible, and comprehensive, as well as increasingly recognized for its contributions to Delaware County‘s economic development. Enrollment rose significantly, new skill-based degree and certificate programs were added, and there was an increased focus on the needs of non-traditional-students. Among Dr. DeCosmo’s accomplishments was the building of a 37,000-sq.ft. addition to the College’s Academic Building, including a Technology Wing. He also created a new technological infrastructure featuring greater efficiencies and enhancements to learning.
Additionally, Dr. DeCosmo advocated for improved economic conditions for Delaware County residents though access to adult basic education, GED preparation and skill training. To accomplish this, he championed reduced federal Pell grant eligibility requirements to make higher education accessible to the increased percentage of Delaware County residents living below the poverty level. He also oversaw the expansion of the College into Chester County to serve the needs of Chester County residents, with new locations opening in Downingtown and Exton.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. DeCosmo began his career in community colleges in 1958 as a professor of Political Science. He received his doctorate from Loyola University of Chicago.
In an interview at the time of his retirement in 2003, Dr. DeCosmo said that his greatest accomplishment as president was expanding the vision of the college. “That’s what I wanted to do when I came here, to really fulfill and serve the needs of the community.”
“Dr. DeCosmo left an indelible mark on Delaware County Community College during his 23 years here, and he continued to stay involved with the institution he had so significantly shaped and expanded,” said Delaware County Community College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black. “His passing is a loss to the entire College community, and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Arlene, and his family.”
A date for Dr. DeCosmo’s memorial service will be announced in the future. Online condolences may be made on the Donohue Funeral Homes obituary page for Dr. DeCosmo. In lieu of flowers, his family has requested memorial contributions to The Richard DeCosmo Presidential Scholarship Fund at Delaware County Community College, which supports students demonstrating outstanding academic achievement. For more information, please contact the College’s office of Institutional Advancement at 610-359-5131 or [email protected].