Bleu Notes from January

Walter M. Kimbrough
7 min readMar 25, 2022


Here are some of the highlights from January.

Life After Dillard for DU ’22:

  • Amaya Ronczyk who was admitted to Harvard Law School
  • LaJeanne Shelton was admitted to a total of 12 law schools, including most recently Penn (ranked #6), Cornell (#13) and Georgetown (#15).

§ Side note: In my time at Dillard this is the first time we’ve have 2 graduates admitted to Ivy League law schools in the same year

  • From Community & Church Relations: “Dillard University students participated in the MLK Day of Service at Bethany United Methodist Church. This included DU Nursing students and instructors, and members of the Beta Phi Chapter Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The students are encouraging youth adults to take the vaccination to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
  • The university received a $25,000 grant for Google’s Grow with Google program to address digital skill development.
  • I HIGHLY encourage everyone to watch this segment from Roland Martin Unfiltered about the funding of HBCUs. Lots of misinformation exists at a time when HBCUs and their students have received unprecedented Federal funding.


  • Dr. Ashraf Esmail conducted several interviews:
  • A television interview on Fox News on Jan 4th to discuss the issue of a significant amount of carjackings at the start of the new year.
  • A WWL radio interview on the morning show with Tommy Tucker on Jan 7th to discuss the 2021 crime numbers in New Orleans.
  • A Fox News on Jan 10th to discuss the recent uptick in carjacking since the start of the new year, its impact on the community, and the outlook where crime is headed in New Orleans in 2022.
  • Dr. Robert Collins was interviewed for the Fox news story, “Mayor Cantrell pledges to tackle crime during swearing in”
  • Dr. Collins was interviewed by Fox 8 about Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights in New Orleans.
  • He was also interviewed by Voice of America for the story, “Republicans Mull Trump’s Continuing Grip on Their Party
  • Dr. Kiki Barnes featured in the Sports Illustrated as one of 100 influential Black women in sports. “Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes Is Dedicating Her Own Legacy to the Next Generation of Black Women”
  • Dillard alumnus Garrett Morris turned 85 February 1. Here is a story about his career.


  • Dr. Nancy Dixon received a Pericles Grant for her fall 2021 English 409 Special Topics course, Literature and Community Involvement, which she team taught with Dr. Casey Schreiber. They partnered with One Book One New Orleans (OBONO) and DU students, Brinisha Hamilton, Bianca Ihetu, Amaya Ronczyk, Paulina Weber, Tyanna Willis-Vanarsdale, and DarLinda Wright, wrote the study guides which will be distributed along with OBONO’s 2022 book selection, Jarvis Deberry’s I Feel To Believe. In addition, the class also held a book drive collecting several boxes of paperback books for OBONO’s BOOKS2PRISONERS program to be distributed to incarcerated youth and adults throughout the state.
  • Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy recently spoke at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting 2022 on “Telling Our Own Stories — Black/Indigenous Louisiana in the 21st Century” and lectured at Hermann Grimma House, the Gallier Houses museums.
  • Dr. Saloy is featured in a new book, “Black Women Writers of Louisiana: Telling Their Stories” by Ann B. Dobie
  • Dr. Robert Collins published the article, “New Orleans and the Hollow Prize Problem” for the Data Center.
  • Sherice Campbell received the National Geographic Partners Media Scholarship. Dillard had 2 of the 4 recipients from HBCUs selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship along with the opportunity to participate in a unique two-week immersion program at National Geographic’s headquarters in Washington, DC.
  • Nya Love ’24 and Jared Ingram ’24 were admitted to the Brown University IRES research program which will include six weeks at the Vienna, Austria Zoo studying frog behavior, ecology, and evolution.
  • At the recent Luther College Mock Trial tournament, Aubri MaGee ’24 won an Outstanding Attorney award (perfect score) and Leonard Brown ’25 won an Outstanding Witness award.
  • Paulina Webber ’23 participated in the UNCF NAC King Day event.
  • Dr. Ashraf Esmail served as a keynote speaker at the New Orleans School Board meeting on Jan 18th. The School Board presented Dr. Esmail a proclamation recognizing the outstanding work the Center for Racial Justice has done in the field of Education.
  • The Center for Racial Justice was invited to participate in the San Jose State University Winter Leadership Institute. Dr. Ashraf Esmail served as a panelist in a session entitled Legal Rights. Advisory member Kaylan Tanner ’21 served as a panelist in sessions entitled “Theories of Oppression and Intersectionality and Voter Mobilization.” Advisory member Carlos Pollard ’21 served as a panelist in a session entitled “Histories of Oppression, Resistance, and Thriving.”
  • The Center for Racial Justice hosted “Louisiana Let’s Talk Redistricting: What To Know How to Engage” on January 26th with Janea Jamison to discuss how to allow Black Voters to elect their candidates of choice in areas where equitable representation has never been achieved.
  • Dr. Esmail, representing the Center for Racial Justice, served as a panelist at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Winter Faculty Institute to discuss Pedagogies of Critical Race Theory and Social Justice.
  • Dr. Samantha Gerlach co-authored the article, “Cyclotides Chemosensitize Glioblastoma Cells to Temozolomide.” Journal of Natural Products. Published online 19 January 2022.
  • She also was quoted in an article about a circular peptide derived from violets that could lead to new approaches in treating glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer.
  • From Public Health: Following the completion of their internship, three of our Public Health students have been hired by DePaul Community Health Center. These students are Alaysia Harris, Shantell Easley, and Zariah Douglas. Special thanks to our Public Health internship coordinator, Dr. Dawn Williams, for her hard work in facilitating these opportunities for our students.
  • The School of Health and Wellness (faculty and students) participated in a Community Resource and Vaccine Fair on Saturday January 29th. This event was sponsored by the New Orleans Health Department and Disability Rights Louisiana.
  • Rhodes and Rhodes (Lauren and DJ) finished their production of Dreamgirls recently.
  • Professor Patricia Bernstein is mentioned for her animation for the video of “Dear Love” by Cole Williams.
  • The Beta Phi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha once again DOMINATED their district awards, winning:
     College chapter of the year
     College brother of the year (Chad Fuselier)
     Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest winner (DeAndre Bell)
     Outstanding scrapbook
     College brother with the highest GPA (Chad Fuselier)
     College chapter with the highest GPA
     Scholar’s Bowl winner
  • On February 12th Lifetime is airing the movie “Line Sisters” starring LeToya Luckett & Kierra Sheard-Kelly. They do a segment after called “Beyond the Headlines” and for this one I was interviewed to discuss hazing.

The Prez



Walter M. Kimbrough

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