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Brain Food Lecture Series opens with Michael J. Morton’s “A Conversation about Hazing: The Trials and Truth” PDF Print E-mail
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Morton 011 -ONLINE

NEW ORLEANS— Dillard University’s 2015 Brain Food Lecture Series starts with Michael J. Morton, an ex-convict, turned corporate and civic leader, whose life was forever changed in college. On September 24, at 7 p.m., during “A Conversation about Hazing: The Trials and Truth,” Morton will share the pivotal moments of his experience and where it has led him to today. The event will be held in Lawless Memorial Chapel on Dillard’s campus. Morton’s talk coincides with National Hazing Prevention Week, September 21-25. Locally, Dillard students, including athletes, greek organizations and support groups, will visit area schools and the university will host several workshops leading up to the lecture.

In 2006, Morton was an honors student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Florida A&M University. He served as president of the Student Body Senate and two consecutive terms as president, of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. The course of his life was altered after he and four of his fraternity brothers were charged with hazing. In a nationally publicized trial, he was convicted of hazing and received a two-year prison sentence. The judge in the case said she wanted to send a message with the state's first prosecution under a felony hazing law.

After serving his sentence, Morton went on to finish his bachelor’s degree at Florida A&M and earn a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University. Morton was recently appointed to the Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering advisory council for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Morton believes in “paying it forward” and has a strong desire to help those in most need. He serves on the Board of Directors for Pentorship, an educational products company that provides skills-based training to incarcerated persons. He actively volunteers with Junior Achievement, the world's largest organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise. Morton is also a member and former Secretary of the New Jersey INROADS alumni association, an organization whose mission is to develop talented underserved youth and connect them with opportunities in business and industry, while preparing them for corporate and community leadership.

Now, Morton comes to Dillard University to deliver a candid, personal and empowering talk about his journey and the realities of hazing.

The remaining Brain Food lineup continues with diverse and powerful speakers. All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information please call (504) 816-4800 or visit 

Upcoming lectures: 

September 24-Michael J. Morton

“A Conversation about Hazing: The Trials and Truth”

Hazing Prevention Week Event

Lawless Chapel, 7 p.m.

October 21-Karrine Steffans

New York Times Best Selling Author

“Vindicated: Confessions of a Video Vixen 10 Years Later”

Georges Auditorium, 7 p.m.

November 20-Dance Theater of Harlem

Cook Auditorium, TBD

The Revius O. Oritque Jr. Lecture on Law and Society

November 23

Bryan Stevenson

Attorney, human rights activist, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of “Just Mercy”

Georges Auditorium, 7 p.m.

A Brief History of the Dillard Presidential Lecture Series

Beginning with the university’s first official president, William Stuart Nelson in the 1930s, public intellectual discourse has been a part of Dillard’s heritage. In the 1950s, Albert Dent organized the Edwin R. Embree Memorial Lecture Series whose guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. Subsequently, Dillard presidents have assembled lectures that reflected their sensibilities. During Samuel DuBois Cook’s tenure, 1974 to 1997, he established a lyceum series and also built a fine arts center to provide a new venue for lectures, theater and music. Walter M. Kimbrough launched Brain Food in 2013, and has continued the tradition with speakers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Misty Copeland, Benjamin Crump and Michael Steele.  


Dillard Professor to talk about City’s Post Katrina Planning Challenges during K10 Panel PDF Print E-mail
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colins head shot(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – During a panel presentation “From Recovery to Resilience: Post-Katrina Planning in NOLA” at noon on Friday, August 28 at the Sheraton Hotel Dr. Robert Collins, professor of urban studies and public policy at Dillard University, will present his research on the recovery process, the current state of city planning, and the state of preparedness for future hurricanes. Collins will also provide recommendations on how the city planning process can make New Orleans a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable city.  

 In June, Collins’ essay “No More Planning by Surprise: City Planning Ten Years after Katrina” was released by The Data Center in their New Orleans Index at Ten Collection. The Data Center is an independent analysis group in Southeast Louisiana. In his essay, which is a sequel to one published five years ago, Collins focuses on land use in New Orleans and the difficulties encountered by the city as it sought to develop a unified recovery and rebuilding plan.

 "The city planning process in New Orleans during the decade following Hurricane Katrina was arguably one of the most challenging periods of city planning in any city, at any point in U.S. history,” said Collins. “The first five years were spent primarily in a recovery planning phase, and the second five years were spent dealing with complexities and conflicts of the comprehensive zoning process,” he added.

 Collins pointed out that the challenges were made more daunting by the fact that before the storm the city lacked a history of strong traditional urban planning practices. As a result, most processes had to be constructed from scratch. “Despite few financial resources and a series of stops and starts, New Orleans now has a Master Plan as of August 2010, and a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance as of May 2015,” he noted. “The New Orleans recovery experience can inform other communities about what to do and perhaps more importantly, what not to do when planning to rebuild after a disaster.”

 The panel on Post Katrina Planning will be held in the Waterbury Room at the Sheraton Hotel at noon on Friday, August 28. The discussion will also be live-streamed from the city’s Katrina 10 website

Dillard to Celebrate its Progress 10 years After Katrina PDF Print E-mail
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professional schools building

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Ten years after the most catastrophic event in its 145-year history of Dillard University is set to commemorate as well as celebrate its progress and its future through an array of events to be held on campus August 26-30. After sustaining nearly $400 million in damages with its campus virtually destroyed, Dillard never lost faith but persevered and has built a better and stronger institution.

“While we will never forget what was lost in Hurricane Katrina and the impact that the storm had on all of us, we don’t want to dwell on the pain, we want to highlight what has been accomplished through hard work and resilience,” said Mona Duffel Jones, spokesperson for Dillard University.   “We have been through the flood and the fire, as several of our buildings burned while standing in flood waters,” she added. “Its time for us to highlight our achievements and continue moving forward.”

With that in mind, Dillard will host a number of events over the course of the week including an ecumenical convocation themed “Faith in Action,” which is in keeping with the University’s motto Ex Fide Fortis, meaning “Strength from Faith.” Former President Dr. Marvalene Hughes will be a guest speaker at the service. Hughes had only been at the university for six weeks when Hurricane Katrina devastated the campus.

Other events include literary presentations on Wednesday, August 26 at 6 p.m. by award-winning author and Dillard professor Mona Lisa Saloy and author Fatima Shaik; ecumenical service on Thursday, August 27 at 10:15 a.m. as well as a spoken word open mic event that evening at 6 p.m.; and on Friday, August 29 at 11 a.m. a jazz funeral will process down the Avenue of the Oaks to the rear of campus. The university will also participate in the citywide day of service in partnership with Hands on New Orleans on Saturday, August 29. On Sunday, August 30 at 4 p.m., there will be one-hour musical performance “What’s Goin’ On” featuring Tonya Boyd-Cannon, who recently appeared on NBC’s “The Voice.” Dillard students will also perform Motown hits and original compositions. Admission to the musical performance is $15. All other events are free and open to the public.

A detailed schedule of Dillard’s Katrina 10 commemorative events is attached. For more information call 816-4800. 

Click here to view events.

Dillard Awarded $10.5 Million from National Institutes of health PDF Print E-mail
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(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Dillard University recently received a major grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Institute awarded the $10.5 million grant to Dillard’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), which will train individuals in asbestos, lead, construction, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER).  The award to Dillard was one of only 10 grants awarded nationwide to institutions including UCLA, Rutgers Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences, and the United Steelworkers. 

The worker training initiatives will occur at strategic sites across the Gulf Coast and throughout the country with training programs established in Houston, Detroit, Pensacola, Savannah and New Orleans. Dillard’s consortium of training sites will attract and provide training for over 500 participants. Through formal arrangements with HBCUs, community based organizations, unions and industry; Dillard’s program staff will provide environmental health and safety training for underserved populations as well as currently employed workers within environmental remediation and related fields.

In addition to training and outreach, Dillard’s DSCEJ programming also includes a research focus, which is spearheaded primarily by the Center’s project director and principal investigator, Dr. Beverly Wright. Under her leadership, the Center has produced a number of publications as well as regional and national conferences regarding environmental justice-related issues.

Dr. Wright and Dillard’s DSCEJ have managed a number of projects from NIH, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the past 20 years.  The Center also led critical training and research efforts in the gulf coast region for small businesses, first responders, residents and hazardous waste industry workers following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010.  Additionally, following Hurricane Sandy, the DSCEJ was called on to lead clean up training efforts in New York and New Jersey. “We are extremely excited to be able to continue our work exhibiting excellence and developing sound practices which have advanced the quality of our training programs over the years. We are gratified and excited about the increased support from the NIEHS to do this most important work,” said Dr. Wright.

According to Theodore Callier, assistant vice president for Sponsored Programs, Dillardfaculty and researchers have consistently secured increased support from the NIH in recent years.  “Given the list of recipients, this latest NIEHS award demonstrates the level of confidence the agency continues to have in Dillard’s Center.”

Grant activities will begin later this month and continue through July of 2020.

The David Dillard $100,000 Founders' Day Challenge PDF Print E-mail
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We have a way to turn your dollar into two--but you have to give it to us. Seriously. David Dillard, the great grandson of James Hardy Dillard, the University’s namesake, has issued a $100,000 Challenge. Mr. Dillard, a University Board Member Emeritus, has agreed to match every dollar donated up to $100,000 with a matching gift to the Fair Dillard Fund. The only stipulation is the money must come from *new alumni donors.  

This past fiscal year, we increased new alumni dollars by 74 percent. But we always have room to grow. So, heading into this fiscal year, new alumni donors can double the impact of their gifts this fall with the 1:1 match to any donation made between now and October 18, 2015, the day Dillard traditionally celebrates its annual Founders’ Day. There is no minimum level of giving required, however matching corporate or foundation gifts are not eligible.

“Gifts to the Fair Dillard Fund provide important dollars right away for student scholarships, faculty enrichment and innovative programs”, said Marc Barnes, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. He added that these types of challenges also help boost the university’s alumni participation rate, which can increase the number of gifts from foundations and corporate donors.

A gift of any size by a *new alumni donor is always important; and now, because of this challenge, that significance will be doubled. So, what class, decade, greek organization, or alumni association chapter will lead the way in giving?

The David Dillard $100,000 Founders’ Day Challenge has been extended to 12/31/2015.

(*Alumni donors whose last gift was five years ago or more count as new as well for this challenge.)

For more information contact:

Marcel R. McGee

Annual Fund Officer


This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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