Bleu Notes: Highlights from January 2020

I want to make sure this year I do a blog posting from the bi-monthly e-mails I send to the campus community. This is a good way for you to know some of the great things happening at Dillard!

  • Dillard University was one of 4 institutions awarded a Liberal Arts Innovation Grant by UNCF. The $300K “will introduce a new learning model, Humantics, blending technical and social skills to develop higher-order mental skills in students that will prepare them to effectively function in and move between jobs and tasks. Professors at Dillard will embed lessons on conflict negotiation and resolution, verbal and written communication, content creation, empathy, planning, teaching and leadership into their courses while also teaching students how to fully utilize programs necessary for data analytics.”
  • The National Council of the Society of Physics Students has reviewed all chapter reports and has awarded the Dillard University SPS Chapter as a 2019 Distinguished Chapter. All chapter award winners will be recognized on the Outstanding Chapter Award page in the coming weeks.
  • The Dillard University Omicron Delta Kappa Circle is a recipient of a 2020 Maurice A. Clay Leadership Development Initiative Grant. The grant amount is $600 to support the Leadership Lab.
  • Computer Science students received full scholarships to attend the National Retail Federation Foundation Student Program 2020 in New York City January 8–12. The retail industry wants computer science students to know of opportunities in this industry.
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  • We learned about a forthcoming gift from a venture capitalist, Arlan Hamilton, whose mom is a Dillard alumna. This news has gotten pretty significant traction. Will be working to get them both to campus- great story.
  • Dr. Robert Collins discussed the impeachment with Fox 8:
  • This is an awesome WDSU story about recent Dillard grad E’Jaaz Mason who is now teaching at Sci High. Please watch!
  • Dr. Kristen Broady was on Huntsville’s local NBC station, WAFF discussing the effect of the E.U. tariffs on local wine shops and customers. Here is a link to the article and video:
  • Dr. Steve Mobley and Leslie Hall (both of whom have been here), recently published this article where Dillard is mentioned: ‘(Re)Defining Queer and Trans* Student Retention and “Success” at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”
  • New opinions writer for the New Orleans Advocate, Will Sutton, is the son of 2 Dillard grads. Our best all-around student award, the Sutton Award, is named for his father who graduated in 1953. Here is an article he wrote about his Dillard history and being back in New Orleans:
  • Dr. Wen Zhang, director of the Chinese Female Ensemble was invited to WWL-TV Great Day morning for an interview and performance, which was broadcast on January 24th, the Chinese Lunar New Year’s eve. Dillard student Lily Yang (voice major) is also part of the group. Here is a link to the performance:
  • I was interviewed by Inside Higher Ed to answer the question- Did Trump save HBCUs?


  • Nicole Tinson ’14 selected to Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.
  • Alicia Hoey ’21 was chosen as a research scholar for the Second Annual Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference for Economics and related fields in Washington, D.C. February 20–22, 2020.
  • Maya Walker (admissions) earned her Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Boston University in October and graduates May 2020.
  • Lajeanne Shelton ’22 was ranked as the number #1 witness at the Fordham University Mock Trial Competition in November. Our team ranked 7th out of 24 teams and garnered wins against UMass Amherst, Brandeis University, and University of Texas Dallas. Other teams competing were Penn, MIT, American, West Point, and Penn State, among others.
  • Dr. Casey Schreiber served as Event Frequency Coordinator for the College Football Championship Game on January 13, and students Traelon Rodgers and Ashley Berry assisted her as Event Frequency Interns.
  • The Beta Phi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity dominates their Louisiana District awards again: College Chapter of the year, Chapter with the highest GPA, Scrapbook winner, Debate winner, Brother with the highest GPA (4.0)- Chad Fuselier, College Brother of the year- Erienne RJ Lewis, Louisiana District Miss Black and Gold 1st Runner Up: Amaya Sweeney
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  • Sydni Raymond (communications and marketing) was awarded the 2019 Public Relations Association of Louisiana Rising Professional Ember Award, which recognizes potential in the field of public relations in a young public relations practitioner who has achieved overall success at the beginning of a career, and she was awarded a Certificate of Merit for the 2019 Outstanding Social Media Campaign. The Outstanding Social Media Award was for the “It’s Time” campaign we did on social media to announce Regina Hall.
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  • Dillard University took home the 2019 Public Relations Association of Louisiana Judges Choice Award for winning in almost every category. This is the first year PRAL has given the award to any company/organization.
  • Dr. Yolanda Page was an Inspire speaker at the New Orleans HigHER workshop on January 14th. She and the other panelists did a TED talk type presentation sharing strategies on how to navigate a career in higher education. HigHER is a program for women interested in administration careers in higher education.
  • Dr. Abdalla Darwish was the lead author of a paper accepted for publication by SPIE optical engineering and Photonics and will be presented on the coming SPIE Photonic-west conference on Feb 5th in San Francisco. The paper is “Broadband photonic epsilon-near-zero transparent conductive oxide composites made by multi-target multi-beam pulsed laser deposition.” Authors include Dillard students: Simeon Wilson, Jamaya Wilson, Justin Mathews, Eboni Collins, Todd Welch, and Brenton Smith.
  • Dr. Darwish also has new book chapter published by NOVA publishers, and was invited by APS to attend the National mentoring conference of National Society of Black Physicists, National Society of Black engineers, and National Society of Hispanic Physicists in Florida.
  • Justin Matthews and Eboni Collins were accepted to present at the ERN conference in Washington next month, with a full travel grant. Four additional students had their abstracts accepted for presentation without travel grants.
  • At the Crimson Classic Mock Trial Tournament hosted by the University of Alabama, we had 2 teams participate in the 22 team field. Competitors included Emory University, Auburn University, Florida State University, the University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina. One of our teams earned an honorable mention (tied for 6th). We also saw a record five individual awards:
  • § DeAndre Bell- attorney award
  • § LydiaPaige Moffett- attorney award
  • § Amaya Ronczyk- attorney award
  • § Renee Simien- witness award
  • § Chasity Washington- witness award
  • Dillard alum Keith Woods was named chief diversity officer for NPR.
  • Radical Xchange sponsored Dillard University Ray Charles Program students to attend their Resistance Served conference from February 2–5, 2020 in New Orleans. These students are Ray Charles Program scholarship recipients, have been active in the Ray Charles Program or are current Food Studies students: Deauan McClaine, Lavonte Lucas, Sherice Campbell, Delani Kelley, Cheryl McDaniel, and Myron Solomon
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  • Dr. Nancy Dixon’s article, “The African Diaspora and the New Orleans Canary Islanders (Islenos)” is in the current issue of La Creole Journal.
  • The Pre Law program, in conjunction with the Louis A. Martinet Society won the outstanding program of the year from the Louisiana State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division for the summer 2019 mock trial camp hosted at Dillard.

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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