Bell Atlantic Celebrates a Century of Service to Delaware
Company Marks Centennial With $350,000 Award to Delaware Schools
March 31, 1997
WILMINGTON, Del. -- For the first time, Delaware had a
company that served the entire state. The year was 1897. The company
was Diamond State Telephone.
Known these days as Bell Atlantic-Delaware, the company today marked
its 100th anniversary across the state with events involving Bell
Atlantic Corp. Chairman HREF="http://www.ba.com/speeches/profiles/smith.html">Raymond W.
Smith and corporate spokesperson
James Earl Jones and Bell Atlantic-Delaware president and CEO HREF="http://www.ba.com/speeches/profiles/martin.html">Joshua
W. Martin, III.
In honor of the occasion, the company announced a $350,000 award that
will bring advanced technology to Delaware's classrooms.
"Bell Atlantic has a long, proud heritage in Delaware, but as we
our second century, we are clearly focused on the future," said Bell
Atlantic-Delaware president and CEO Joshua W. Martin III. "Delaware
can continue to look to Bell Atlantic for quality service at a
reasonable cost, advanced technology to fuel the state's economy and an
unswerving commitment to improve the quality of life in communities we
"Education has always been Bell Atlantic's special mission in
Delaware, and that won't change," he said. "Information
is the coal, iron and steel of future generations. We are happy to
provide $350,000 in seed money and high-tech equipment so students
can use the revolutionary learning tools that will shape Delaware's
Martin said Bell Atlantic's $350,000 award to the Delaware Center for
Educational Technology (DCET) includes a $200,000 grant to fund
educational technology in the classroom. In addition, the company and
Bell Atlantic Network Integration,
Inc. will contribute a distance
learning classroom and other equipment valued at $150,000 to foster
innovative teaching methods and resource sharing in Delaware schools.
DCET was founded in 1995 to create a modern educational technology
infrastructure for each of Delaware's 7,000 classrooms.
Bell Atlantic's 1,145 employees working in Delaware enjoyed slices of
giant birthday cakes and other food brought in for the occasion.
Employees at Bell Atlantic-Delaware's 901 Tatnall Street headquarters
were treated to an on-the-job visit by James Earl Jones.
Speaking to business and community leaders, elected officials and
employees at a centennial dinner in Wilmington , Bell Atlantic
Chairman Smith said Bell Atlantic-Delaware is building on a strong
foundation to better serve customers in a digital age.
"When you look at the past, present and future of Bell
Atlantic-Delaware, there's a common thread between 1897, 1997 and even
2097," Smith said. "That thread is our belief in what we're
that we're building a future and working in a company that is more
than the sum of its parts ... that what we do matters a great deal to
us and to the people we serve."
Bell Atlantic has deep roots in Delaware. The company was chartered
on March 31, 1897 as the Diamond State Telephone Company. Since
then, it has grown steadily, from 4,746 phones in service in 1906 to
more than 524,000 phone lines serving Delaware today. Along the
way, Bell Atlantic has kept Delaware on the cutting edge of
technology. The state has recorded many telecommunications
Delaware was first in the nation with statewide direct dial
capability, first to have statewide computerized switching and first
with a statewide 911 system.
In January, 1994, Diamond State Telephone changed its name to Bell
Atlantic-Delaware. Although the name changed, the company's
reputation for performance and superior service did not. A recent
survey by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce found that Bell
Atlantic-Delaware had the highest brand recognition and favorability
rating of any company in the state.
While Bell Atlantic-Delaware marks a significant milestone, a century
of service to the First State, the company faces a turning point more
critical than any in its history, Martin said.
"Our company and our employees are energized by the opportunities
challenges as we begin our second century in Delaware," he said.
will work very hard to ensure our customers see us as a company that
is trusted, reliable, proud of our heritage, but focused on the future
and our commitment to improve the quality of life for all
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is
at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corp. of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth
national and international business opportunities in all phases of the