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    photo wkNEW ORLEANS, LA – Dillard University is pleased to announce that Walter M. Kimbrough, president, has been named to a new steering committee of college and university presidents that will assess the future of independent colleges. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has organized the 22-member panel to develop a plan that encourages independent colleges and universities to revitalize their missions and business models. The Lumina Foundation funds the project on the Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges.

    “I was excited to be asked to participate in this important work,” said Kimbrough.  “With increased pressure on private colleges to prove out worth, even with lots of evidence already existing that does just this, we have an opportunity to further strengthen our place in higher education."

    With the guidance of the steering committee, the project will explore new approaches to higher education, alternative college business models, and potentially disruptive trends in American society and education along with the traditional characteristics and missions of independent liberal arts colleges that are regarded as essential to their success. The project will provide a new opportunity for CIC members to lead the national conversation about what it means to offer a high-quality education in the 21st century.

    “Predictions about the future of higher education by politicians, journalists, and policy analysts often disregard or deride the effectiveness of traditional colleges and universities,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “CIC, however, has always tried to find an appropriate balance between innovations in higher education that show real promise for the future and the existing features of member institutions that have long demonstrated their value. In this spirit, CIC’s new project will explore the future of independent colleges.” 

    During its initial meeting—which will convene September 16–17, 2014, in Washington, DC—the steering committee will focus on the development of a research agenda for the coming year. CIC staff and others will then conduct the research and prepare several framing papers based on the steering committee’s guidance. The committee’s second meeting will be devoted to development of an action plan to help CIC member institutions reexamine their missions and long-term strategic plans in intentional ways. 

    The Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges Steering Committee

    Steven C. Bahls, President, Augustana College (IL)

    Luis Maria R. Calingo, President, Woodbury University (CA)

    Ronald L. Carter, President, Johnson C. Smith University (NC)

    Roger N. Casey, President, McDaniel College (MD)

    Margaret L. Drugovich, President, Hartwick College (NY)

    Elizabeth A. Fleming, President, Converse College (SC)

    Thomas F. Flynn, President, Alvernia University (PA)

    Christopher B. Howard, President, Hampden-Sydney College (VA)

    Todd S. Hutton, President, Utica College (NY)

    Chris Kimball, President, California Lutheran University

    Walter M. Kimbrough, President, Dillard University (LA)

    Larry D. Large, President, Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities

    Paul J. LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University

    Mary B. Marcy, President, Dominican University of California

    John McCardell, President and Vice Chancellor, Sewanee: The University of the South (TN)

    Kevin M. Ross, President, Lynn University (FL)

    Ed L. Schrader, President, Brenau University (GA)

    Elizabeth J. Stroble, President, Webster University (MO)

    Henry N. Tisdale, President, Claflin University (SC)

    Edwin H. Welch, President, University of Charleston (WV)

    John S. Wilson, President, Morehouse College (GA)

    Cynthia Zane, President, Hilbert College (NY)

    Dillard University is a private four-year liberal arts historically black university with a history dating back to 1869. It is located on a picturesque 55-acre campus in New Orleans, Louisiana which boasts an “Avenue of Oaks,” spacious greens and white buildings of both Jeffersonian and modern architectural styles. Academically, Dillard ranks among the top in a number of areas including Forbes’ 2013 list of Top Colleges and Universities in the U.S.; top 60 liberal arts institutions by the Washington Monthly (2013); consistently ranked as one of U.S News and World Report top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); American Institute of Physics’ top producer of African Americans with bachelor’s degrees in physics (2012); and according to the National Science Foundation (2013), among the top 50 colleges whose graduates earn doctorates in the sciences. 

    The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 744 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit  

    Dillard Professor Kemberley Washington on Fox 8 News PDF Print E-mail
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 - Michelle Obama delivers commencement address at Dillard University, listen here PDF Print E-mail
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    Michelle Obama commencement speechFirst Lady Michelle Obama's commencement speech for the 2014 graduates of Dillard University.

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address at Dillard University on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The event typically takes place outdoors underneath the canopy of oaks on Dillard's campus. But because of rainy weather the ceremony was held indoors at the UNO Lakefront Arena.

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    First lady tells Dillard grads to stay hungry PDF Print E-mail
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    — A hunger for education should continue beyond graduation and should be used to guide and inspire "the next generation of geniuses," first lady Michelle Obama said Saturday.

    In her commencement address at Dillard University, the first lady described the 226 graduates of the historically black college as a "sea of young geniuses" and told them they have opportunities and skills that their parents and grandparents never could have imagined.

    "Imagine the impact you will make," she said. "You have no excuses to stand on the sidelines. Education is still the key to real and lasting freedom. It's up to us to cultivate that hunger for education in those coming after us."

    Mrs. Obama noted how people "scrape and claw" their way to an education, acknowledging the parents who work three jobs to give their children a shot at a better life.

    "This is the realization of the dreams of so many who came before you," she said. "You should be so proud and so happy and so excited, but you shouldn't be satisfied. Ask yourselves, 'What about all those geniuses who'll never get this chance?' ... When people fall behind in school, they fall behind in life."

    She pointed the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were recently kidnapped "for wanting an education and wanting to go to school," and 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who survived a gunshot to the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for advocating education for girls.

    The first lady ticked off statistics about the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the black community and the number of people from that community in prison or who are victims of violent crimes.

    "You may be thinking those numbers are terrible, but I'm not a part of that problem ... but folks like you and me, we can't afford to think like that ever, because we're the lucky ones.

    "We got here today because of so many people who toiled and sweat and bled and died for us ... people who never dreamed of getting a college education for themselves but who worked and saved and sacrificed so that we could be here today. We owe them. We owe them. And the only way to pay back that debt is by making those same kinds of sacrifices and investments for the next generation."

    She encouraged the graduates to start small, such as through volunteering as a tutor or by rallying their communities to start a mentor program, but she didn't reject the possibility of larger contributions, such as serving on a school board, in Congress or as president.

    "Let's turn that pipeline to prison into a highway to college," she said.

    "I want you all to keep raising your bars," she said in closing. "Let the next generation know that there is no greater investment than a good education.

    Obama also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university as did U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who joined Obama for a meeting later Saturday with spouses of veterans at an event at the National World War II Museum.

    The top four Dillard graduates all coincidentally come from Nigeria. The 20-year-old valedictorian, Merrilyn Akpapuna, who comes from the southeastern corner of Nigeria, plans postgraduate study at Western Michigan University in the fall.

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    MSNBC's Coverage on YouTube - Commencement 2014 PDF Print E-mail
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    Michelle Obama's message for graduates
    First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at Dillard University's commencement in
    New Orleans, urging graduates to press on in the face of adversity.

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