The University of Delaware Department of Physics and Astronomy (DPA) began as a small teaching department back in 1920. Forty years later, with the construction of the Sharp Laboratory and the development of a doctoral program, the DPA began to grow into a major research department. It blossomed in the next two decades, gaining international recognition for its research on experimental condensed matter physics. The DPA’s early PhD research on atomic, molecular and optical physics afforded graduates diverse employment opportunities. Today, the department houses 86 undergraduate majors, 78 graduate students and obtains $7.3 million per year in research grants.