Dillard Notables of 2019: The Guest List

We’ve been able to bring a number of high quality speakers to campus. I have always believed that lectures from national experts are important out of class experiences for students. In April of 2013 we launched the Brain Food lecture series. For six years we provided these lectures to our campus community and invited the broader community to attend free of charge.

But I decided last year that the interest was not there. I always wondered why no university in the city had a lecture series when I arrived in 2012. With so many events happening all of the time, lectures can’t really compete. So while I won’t do a lecture series anymore, we will do occasional lectures; probably more during the day than trying to accommodate a large crowd in the evenings. We’ll see how it develops.

With 2019 being our sesquicentennial, all the Brain Food speakers were alums.

Rev. Pat Watson, Watson Family Ministries
Dr. Nita Landry, CBS “The Doctors”
Lisa Frazier Page, journalist and author
Jericho Brown, award winning poet

We also had an alum, board chair Michael Jones, speak for the annual Ortique lecture on law and society which was first given in 2010 by then Attorney General Eric Holder.

Michael Jones

Commencement weekend always brings out special guests. With a gala this year celebrating our 150th we had a couple of extra special guests.

Pastor Ralph D. West, Church Without Walls (Houston)
Regina Hall, award winning actress
Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF President (5th Dillard president)
MC Lyte and Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle performed for our gala and brought down the house. And there were other guest performances this year.

Yella Beezy
Choppa
Erica Falls

We had guests all year, from near and far, visit Dillard in 2019. Here are some of the other notables.

Dr. Ruth Simmons, president, Prairie View A&M University
Phillip Agnew, activist
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Beta Omega chapter
Chef and Food Stylist Elle Simone
Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson, the United Methodist Church Black College Fund
Denise Barreto, Relationships Matter Now
Deon Taylor, film director
Dr. Beverly Evans Smith, National President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
The HBCU Queens and Kings
Minda Harts, author, “The Memo”
Jodie Patterson, author, “The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation”
Dr. William Pickard, author, “Millionaire Moves: Seven Proven Principles of Entrepreneurship”
Toxic Masculinity Panel with…
Jasiri X, artist and activist
jessica Care moore, poet
Dr. Treva Lindsey, professor, the Ohio State University
Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, professor, Duke University
Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Councilman Jared Brossett
Oliver Thomas, Hal Clark, Vincent Sylvain
Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr.
Robert G. Stanton, former Director of the U.S. National Park Service; Stephanie Deutsch, the author, “You Need A Schoolhouse
Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack, Harvard University, and author, “The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students”

Dr. Jack gave the quote of the year for 2019: “It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you and how well they do.”

We’ll continue to have great guests in 2020, starting with our MLK program featuring Dr. Freddy Haynes from Dallas TX!

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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