My parents and my mother-in-law came to town for Grandparents’ Day at my son’s school. At dinner we discussed the various people we’ve been able to bring to speak at Dillard, and how it is a pretty impressive list. As I thought about it, I haven’t seen a school in this state that has brought this caliber of speaker, AND have them free and open to the public.

In a history of Dillard entitled “Within These Walls,” it states that the first president Dr. William Stuart Nelson understanding “the missionary ideal of liberal arts institutions launched what he called the aesthetic spirit of Dillard with an arts festival designed to build a closer relationship between the students and the community and elevating awareness of the university throughout the nation.” Since then Dillard has always either had lectures series, or our regular choir concerts and theater performances.

So when I went back through the past 4 1/2 years, and I have to agree- this is an impressive list. Check it out!



Jeff Johnson
Michelle Obama

Denzel Washington

Terrence “J” Jenkins

Rev. Otis Moss III

Rev. Lawrence Young
Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant

Rev. Raphael Warnock

Ortique Lecture
Michelle Alexander

Sunny Hostin
Benjamin Crump

Bryan Stevenson

Brain Food
Tavis Smiley
Dr. Cornel West

Clarence Jones
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

Rev. Jim Wallis

Dr. Sampson Davis
Kirk Franklin

Joan Morgan
Joyce Roche
Andrew Young
Andrea Young
Susan Taylor
Judge Glenda Hatchett
Traci Broughton
Dr. Calvin Mackie

Michael Steele
Misty Copeland

Jason Riley
Charles Blow
Iyanla Vanzant

Sil Lai Abrams
Michael Morton

Karrine Steffans
Dance Theater of Harlem

Maggie Anderson
Mara Brock Akil

Lawrence Ross
Rich Lowry

Chris Emdin
Toya Wright

Special Programs
Dr. Mark Anthony Neal
Dr. Treva Lindsey
Joan Morgan
Bakari Kitwana

Marc Morial
Mitch Landrieu
Andrew Young

Dr. Shaun Harper
Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe
Dr. Greg Carr
Rev. Lennox Yearwood

Judge Carl Stewart
Dr. Marvalene Hughes
Shaun King

Michaela Angela Davis
Brandan B-Mike Odums
Kevin Powell

Chef Bryant Terry
Michael Twitty

FS Institute
Dr. Charlie Nelms

Dr. Belle Wheelan
Dr. Vincent Tinto
Dr. Diane Dean

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn

Dr. Jeff Gardere
Jeff Selingo

PHI444 (My class on hip hop, sex, gender and ethical behavior)
MC Lyte

Luther Campbell
Killer Mike

Shanti Das
Dr. Monica Miller

Dr. James Peterson
Dr. Dawn-Elissa Fisher
3D Na-Tee
Jason Mitchell

Karen Civil
Bishop Lamont
Dr. Torin Sanders
Audra the Rapper
Lee Mazin

And the guest list grows in the spring, starting with Father Michael Pfleger and then Van Jones.

And that’s just JANUARY!

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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