7 Dillard Notables from 2017: The Honorable Mentions

It’s time for my annual list of memorable DU moments from 2017. I really had more than 7 (I use the number 7 because I’m president #7), so I think I am going to start cheating by sharing a few extras as honorable mentions.

In Memory of Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook

We lost our legendary 4th president this year. Dr. Cook was a giant of a man, in all respects. I was honored to speak at his service of celebration. He definitely goes down as one of the legends for college presidents. As I shared with our campus community, you had to respect the fact that he had a significant obituary published in the New York Times.

Partnership with the Human Rights Campaign

We were one of a few institutions that participated in an HBCU leadership summit led by the Human Rights Campaign to improve campus life for LGBTQ students. We had a student participate in the student leadership conference in October of 2016 and this year as well. One of our take a ways was to have an LGBTQ working group on campus. We met twice this fall, and in January, the opening speaker for the Faculty-Staff Institute is HRC HBCU Advisory Council member Dr. Steven Mobley, who authored a seminal piece, “The Role of HBCUs in Addressing the Unique Needs of LGBT Students.” We’re serious about this work.


I’m not a huge fan of rankings, but particularly for one that I think is fair and substantive, we made significant gains.

For the annual Washington Monthly rankings, we moved up 26 points to #49 out of 240 ranked national liberal arts institutions. This ranking makes us the #2 HBCU behind Tougaloo at #44, and ahead of institutions including #64 Spelman, #77 Fisk, and #202 Morehouse. Our previous high for Washington Monthly was #59 in 2012.

For the same publication we ranked #29 for Southern Universities providing Best Bang for the Buck, and again #2 for HBCUs.

For the much discussed US News rankings, we were the #11 HBCU. Katrina impacted rankings so we dropped down to #14 but now making a clime with stronger retention and graduation numbers, as well as record alumni giving.

Individual Superlatives

We’ve had lots of individual honors this year. Here are a few:

Dr. Abdalla Darwish, HBCU Male Professor of the Year, HBCU Digest Awards

Shelby Stewart ’18, GCAC volleyball player and attacker of the year, first team all conference, and all-region team.

Dr. Nancy Dixon, executive editor, official New Orleans Tri-centennial book

Board chair Michael Jones was the lead co-counsel who won the landmark Maryland HBCU case.

Board member Kim Boyle, named one of four Louisiana women named to Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation

Board member MC Lyte got married!

The National Black College Hall of Fame named alumnus Jimmie Edwards as alumnus of the year and Dr. Sidney Green as National Alumni Association president of the year. Mr. Edwards was featured in a recent Dillard Today for his $1 million gift to Dillard.

Marc Barnes, Best Leadership, Silver Level, HBCU Grow Awards

L. Kasimu Harris, Louisianan of the Year

Brittney Richardson, elected President of CUPA-HR’s Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Coast Chapter

Dr. Yolanda Page, one of the Top 25 outstanding women to higher education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education



12th president of Philander Smith College. 7th president of Dillard University. Now in an Intermission.

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Walter M. Kimbrough

12th president of Philander Smith College. 7th president of Dillard University. Now in an Intermission.