Bleu Notes: Catching Up from August & September

I’m behind in sharing some of the stories from this fall so today is my catch up day! Here are some of the highlights from August and September.

We welcomed a new chief of police this fall, Angela Honora.

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  • We recently lost 3 alumni. Two of our very active, long time alumni supporters, Charline Jacob of Washington DC and Barbara Julian of Los Angeles died last week. In addition, 2018 graduate Avionne Thomas of New Orleans, who battled Lupus, also died. Please be in prayer for their families.
  • Nick Harris, Director Dillard University Community and Church Relations donated PPE to New Orleans First District Baptist Association. Rev. Calvin Woods, President 1st District Missionary Baptist Association and Pastor of Greater Liberty Baptist Church accepted the donation. Also present were Kaye Dioron, CEO of Women Understudy and Rev. Herbert Brisbon, chaplain.
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  • In an effort to guide the university community in practicing healthy behaviors during COVID-19, the Division of Student Success has launched the Bleu Troop Public Health Ambassador program to address questions regarding campus health and safety measures. In partnership with the Dillard University Office of Community and Church Relations over six hundred face masks were donated, additionally hand sanitizer and digital thermometers were donated to the newly created Bleu Troop.
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  • Dr. Kiki Barnes was a guest on the special, “WGNO Forward: Race in Our City Episode 105.”
  • Zella Palmer talks about Black chefs and the Ray Charles Program at Dillard University.

  • Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy discusses the controversy around the Claiborne Avenue vendors:
  • I discussed the Kamala Harris pick with the Los Angeles Times:
  • Dr. Robert Collins was quoted in the article, “A Metairie wedding venue has stayed open despite complaints about flouting coronavirus restrictions.”
  • Dr. Collins was interviewed by Fox 8 for the story, “Scalise says video he posted of Biden on Twitter should not have been edited; political analysts react”
  • The following students conducted an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education on how the pandemic and attention to racial inequities are affecting their academic interests and life plans: Emiia Charles, Yahnah Lighthall, Carlos Pollard, Jaylah Richie, and Toiya Smith.
  • Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, Eddie Francis, and Dr. Roland Bullard shared thoughts in the article, “HBCUs Bracing for Major Hurricane Forecast to Hit Gulf Coast.”
  • Malik Bartholomew was quoted in The New York Times concerning the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Alumnus Floyd E. Wilson Jr. was quoted in the Washington Post story, “There’s a reason it’s hard to discipline police. It starts with a bill of rights 47 years ago.”
  • Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy interviewed for the PBS News hour story, “After Katrina, a storm of words restored these poets’ resilience.”
  • Alumnus David Baker, VP at The Louisiana Weekly, was featured on WWL-TV speaking on the history of the paper and the place of the Black Press along with the publisher.
  • Jada Sayles ’22 participated in a webinar by The Chronicle of Higher Education on student activism. This story hits the highlights of the discussion, “College Activists Aren’t Backing Down”
  • Dr. Robert Collins was interviewed on Fox 8 for the story, “Pandemic affects Labor Day campaigning; retail politics for the fall elections”
  • Alumna Dr. Leyte L. Winfield, a chemistry professor at Spelman, is featured in the article “Who has the most success preparing Black students for careers in science? Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”
  • Trent Dalcourt ’22, a Microsoft Ignite 2020 Humans of IT student ambassador, wrote the blog post, “HBCU Student Ambassador Voices: My Journey in Trusting the Process”
  • Dr. Robert Collins discussed “La. native is Trump’s choice for Supreme Court says CNN; political analyst reacts”


  • Nadia Sam ’20 was accepted into a Master’s program in criminal justice at Southern University.
  • Dr. Jaques Detiege was named by Most Reverend Gregory Aymond to the Committee for Racial Equity and Justice established by the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
  • Nick Harris, Dillard University Community Relations, has been named as a Neighborhood Navigator to assist residents with questions pertaining to available resources related to COVID-19.
  • University of Louisiana Monroe recently named Dillard alumna Ashanti Jones, DPT, PT, Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor for the DPT program.
  • Dr. Ruby Broadway’s proposal for Minority Science and Engineering Improvement (MSEIP) has been selected for funding by the U.S. Department of Education. The total award amount will be $749,997.00 over a three-year period.
  • Dr. Kristen Broady authored the piece, “We Shall Overcome: HBCUs > COVID-19” for the Urban League State of Black America.
  • Alumna Christine Mitchell won Graduate Advisor of the Year (Large Chapter) — 1st Place for the South Central Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
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  • Congrats to Dr. Kristen Broady, Dean of the College of Business, who will be on academic leave during the 2020–2021 Academic Year to serve as Fellow and Policy Director of The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. Dr. Dorian Williams began serving as Interim Dean of the College of Business effective September 1.
  • Dr. Samantha Gerlach, Assistant Professor of Biology, will be on academic leave during the Fall 2020 semester to conduct research at the Brain Chemistry Labs in Jackson, Wyoming.
  • Amaya Ronczyk ’22 and Traelon Rodgers ’21 were selected to the American Mock Trial Association’s inaugural Student Advisory Board. Almost 100 students nationwide applied and 17 were accepted. Dillard is the only school with 2 students. Other schools represented on the board include Florida State, Stanford, Northwestern, Emory, and Harvard.
  • Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy participated in “We Remember: 15th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina” a virtual poetry event on August 26th.
  • Adria Kimbrough was selected for the 2020 class of CityBusiness Women of the Year. “Women of the Year recognizes 50 women from the area whose successes in business and contributions to the community have made them movers and shakers in the region.”
  • The Dillard University Washington DC Alumni Chapter has been selected to receive the 2020 Small Alumni Chapter of the Year Legacy of Leaders Award from the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.
  • Shirley Williams Kane has been selected to receive the 2020 National Alumni President of the Year Legacy of Leaders Award by The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.
  • Jessica Justin, ’22 is the scholar of a $42,500 National Council of State Boards of Nursing scholarship administered by the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association.
  • Congrats to the following faculty and staff invited for honorary membership in Omicron Delta Kappa: Megan Byas, Herbert Brisbon III, Dr. Eartha Johnson, Angelia Lomax, Amelie Wax, and Dr. Danette Saylor.
  • Congrats to Kalaya Sibley ’23, Amaya Ronczyk ’22 and Khaelyn Jackson ’22 for being selected for the Next Generation Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. They are 3 of 12 fellows from HBCUs “dedicated to empowering their peers, advancing Reproductive Justice, and ending gender and racial discrimination while promoting better health outcomes for Black Women.”
  • La’Toya Lewis received her Masters of Education in Learning & Technology from Western Governors University, June 2020
  • Chelsea Dureseaux received her Bachelors of Business Administration from Siena Heights University, August 2020.
  • Dr. Yolanda Page & Brittney Richardson were selected as a member of the Ursuline Academy of New Orleans Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Task Force.
  • Brittney Richardson was appointed to the Delgado Community College Diversity and Inclusion Committee/Task Force.
  • Dr. Yolanda W. Page was a panelist on the Higher Education Leadership Foundation webcast, “Leading by Listening: How to Provide a Quality Virtual Education with Input from the Faculty.”
  • Film is working with Adult Swim/Cartoon Network/Warner Media AND Dreamworks AND Marvista.
  • Carolyn Nur Wistrand’s play, ELLA CINDER’S BLUES was recently released by Brooklyn Publishers
  • Dr. Rona Tyger received a Verizon Community Institution COVID-19 Funding Response grant: Remote Learning for Educational Equity (RLEE) Project. $50,000 awarded. The scope of the proposed Remote Learning for Educational Equity (RLEE) project is to support remote learning, digital literacy for adults, and day one readiness for students.
  • Dr. Abdalla Darwish received NASA STEM 2020–2021 Funding Opportunity for HBCUs and PBIs with High School Programs.
  • The Beta Gamma chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity recently received several awards at their Southwestern Province’s 84th Province Council Meeting: Chapter of the Year (Small Chapter), 2nd highest chapter GPA in the province, and Traelon Rodgers was recognized for having the highest GPA in the Province.
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  • J. Christopher Johnson (admissions) will be a presenter at the National HBCU Leading in Truth Symposium, taking place Tuesday, November 10 — Thursday, November 12, 2020.
  • The James Beard Foundation has appointed Zella Palmer, chair and director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture, to its Food and Beverage Investment Fund For Black And Indigenous Americans leadership committee.
  • Dillard film students won the following awards during a campus contest: Kendall Dolo wins Best Film, Shoot Your Short Competition; Karsten Williams wins Best Screenplay, Create A Moment; Glenn Williams wins Best Performance, Uninflected Imagery
  • Ten (10) students were inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society at Dillard University. The Dillard University’s chapter is known as Alpha Beta Theta. They are: Justin Baker, ’21, Jai Flowers, ’21, Nadiah Hadir, ’21, Yahnah Lighthall, ’21, LydiaPaige Moffett, ’21, Tyson Moss, ’20, Kira Reney, ’21, Jamya Robinson, ’21, LaJeanne Shelton, ’21, Kiara Woods, ’21.
  • Kalaya Sibley ’23 and Paulina Webber ’23 were selected for the UNCF Panda Cares Scholars program.
  • Spencer Jones, Jamika Mack, Kaylan Tanner, and Carlos Pollard were selected as interns for the Urban League of Louisiana Wake Up Geaux Vote Campaign
  • Jerika Edwards’23 who made it to the final round in the Open Division IPDA category (Int’l Public Debate) in the East Coast Early Bird Speech and Debate Competition and placed 2nd out of 23 competitors in the category. The Dillard University Debate Team (only in its 2nd year) placed 5th overall in this competition.
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7th president of Dillard University

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