'A sign of awakening': The birth of Dillard University
Graduates line up for the 2017 Dillard University Commencement in New Orleans on Saturday,
May 13, 2017. (Photo by Brett Duke, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)
The Times-Picayune is marking the tricentennial of New Orleans with its ongoing 300 for 300 project, running through 2018 and highlighting the moments and people that connect and inspire us. Today, the series continues with the origins of Dillard University.
THEN: On Jan. 29, 1929, more than 30 public leaders and educators of all races, religions
and ages gathered at the behest of A.D. Danzinger, then president of the Association
of Commerce in New Orleans, to explore the possible merger of two existing and upstanding
historically black universities in the Crescent City: the all-male New Orleans University
and its all-female counterpart, Straight College. What resulted was the signing in
1930 of the charter for Dillard University, a private, rigorous, liberal arts institution
of higher education in the Gentilly neighborhood. Five years later, the first classes
were held on the newly minted university's sprawling campus in Gentilly.