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Dillard has four selected as finalists for 2016 HBCU Awards PDF Print E-mail
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NEW ORLEANS – Dillard University has finalists in four categories at the upcoming Sixth Annual HBCU Awards.  The ceremony will be held on July 15, 2016 and is sponsored by HBCU Digest.  Finalists were selected from more than 600 submissions from around the country and were “based upon media exposure and impact on institutional progress made during the 2015-16 academic year,” according to the announcement released by HBCU Digest.

A panel of previous HBCU Award Winners, presidents and chancellors, media members that cover HBCUs, alumni, and students, selects the winners.  Winners are to be announced at the awards ceremony. 

Dillard University Nominations

Awards in Athletic Excellence

Male Coach of the Year – Mike Newell, Men’s Basketball

Male Athlete of the Year – Demetric Austin, Men’s Basketball

Men’s Team of the Year – Dillard University Men’s Basketball

Awards in Individual Achievement

Male Faculty Member of the Year – Robert Collins

Dillard University's Commencement 2016 Recap PDF Print E-mail
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NEW ORLEANS – Dillard University held its 80th Commencement on Saturday, May 7, at 8 a.m., on the historic Avenue of the Oaks and conferred more than 200 undergraduate degrees.

Terrence “J” Jenkins, actor, philanthropist, and author delivered this year’s commencement address. Jenkins may be best known for his seven-year stint on “BET’s 106 & Park” and his starring role as Michael in the films “Think Like a Man” and “Think Like a Man Too.”  Most recently he spent three years co-hosting “E! News” on the E! Network.  In 2013 he published his first book, “The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom,” which was an in-depth look at his mother’s journey raising him as a teenager.  In addition to his thriving entertainment career, Jenkins is also a spokesperson for Ronald McDonald’s House Charities Future Achievers Scholarship Campaign, a mentor with Steve Harvey’s Disney Dreamers Academy and an avid supporter of the Newark New Jersey Boys and Girls Club.  The Queens, New York native spent his formative years in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from North Carolina A & T University.  Jenkins is also a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are President of the Ray Charles Foundation, Valerie Ervin and actor Garrett Morris ’58 (“2 Broke Girls,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Saturday Night Live”).

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 5.05.09 PMValerie Ervin began her career hand-selected by international music icon Ray Charles to serve by his side and today stewards his legacy as president of the foundation that bears his name.  She played an important role in the production of the Oscar-winning film “Ray” and in the release of the best-selling album “Genius Loves Company,” featuring duets with Mr. Charles and some of music’s most legendary names.  Ervin also orchestrated the establishment of the Ray Charles Memorial Library, the U.S. Postal Service’s Ray Charles Forever Stamp, the naming of a Los Angeles USPS branch in Charles’ honor, and the recognition of his RPM Building as a historic site.  Today, she oversees the work of the Ray Charles Foundation in the fields of hearing and education that began some 30 years ago, including the Dillard University Ray Charles African-American Material Culture Program, which was established by Charles in 2003 to help preserve the unique culinary traditions and culture of New Orleans and the South.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 5.05.20 PMGarrett Morris, who has been entertaining audiences for nearly six decades, is a native New Orleanian and proud Dillard alumnus.  After graduating from Dillard he attended Manhattan School of Music and studied voice for five years at Julliard.  His professional career as began as a performer with the Harry Belafonte singers, with whom he performed for a decade.  During this time Morris branched out into acting, appearing in both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of “Porgy and Bess,” “Show Boat,” “The Great White Hope,” and others.  He took on his most-well known role in 1975 as one of the original cast members of the landmark sketch-comedy series “Saturday Night Live.”  Since leaving SNL in 1980, Morris has been a fixture on television.  He is also the playwright of two original works, and in 2014 he added recording artist to his list of credits, releasing the CD “Black Creole Chronicles,” with jazz musician Billy Mitchell.  Morris currently resides in Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa honored him in 2007 for his work and contributions to the black community.

Each of this year’s honorary degree recipients will be conferred a doctorate of humane letters by Dillard President Walter M. Kimbrough.

“Our honorary degree recipients are all extremely accomplished in their fields and are embodiments of the type of success that should inspire our graduates,” says Dr. Kimbrough.  “They also reflect Dillard’s enduring commitment to the arts and celebrate the transformative power of the platform that each of these individuals have worked so hard to reach.”

As part of the commencement ceremonies, the University also presented Golden Citations to members of the Class of 1966, who celebrated its 50th anniversary.

More photos from Commencement 2016

Stephanie Akpapuna Garners Media Coverage With Unique Achievement PDF Print E-mail
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 Video on WDSU

Video on WWLTV  


NEW ORLEANS – Stephanie Akpapuna, a Theatre Arts major from Lagos, Nigeria, has been named valedictorian of the Dillard University Class of 2016.  Arin Ryan, a Film major from LaPlace, Louisiana, has been selected as class salutatorian.

Akpapuna delivered the valedictory address at Dillard’s Commencement exercise on Saturday, May 7. 

Akpapuna is part of a very unique family tradition at Dillard University.  Both of her older sisters, Jennifer, ’04, and Merrilyn, ’14 were valedictorians of their graduating classes.

“I’m proud and humbled by the fact that I could do my sisters proud and also keep the legacy they started going,” said Akpapuna.  “Dillard has been a wonderful experience.  I’ve enjoyed my stay here and I’ve learned so much. I would have been a number somewhere else, but at Dillard you are treated as an individual.  Here we’re so family oriented and it’s great to have that.”

After graduation, she will attend Carnegie Mellon University where she will pursue her Master of Fine Arts in stage and production management. 

Akpapuna has been named a Presidential Scholar and is a recipient of the Humanities Talent Scholarship, the Ray Charles Scholarship as well as the Denzel & Pauletta Washington Scholarship.

 She is a member of the Dean’s list and has been inducted into Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society and Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society. Akpapuna is also a participant in the Daniel C. Thompson/Samuel DuBois Cook Honors Program.

 As a member of the Theatre Department she was worked on or appeared in 14 theatrical productions.

A graduate of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School in Lagos, Nigeria, she is the daughter of Dr. Emmanuel and Rita Akpapuna.

Top Talents Visits PHI: 444 Class in 2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Photos by L. Kasimu Harris 

Jason Mitchell, an actor of “Straight Outta Compton” and “Keanu” fame, and Karen Civil, a digital media maven, were guest lecturers of #PHI 444: Hip Hop, Sex, Gender and Ethical Behavior., a class taught by Walter M. Kimbrough. Mitchell, a New Orleans native, has steadily built a reputation as an actor on the rise, over the last five years. Mitchell has achieved critical acclaim for his role portraying the iconic “Eazy-E” in Universal Studios’ “Straight Outta Compton,” the 2015 biopic on N.W.A., that was directed by F. Gary Gray. Starring opposite Paul Giamatti, Mitchell beat out competition from around the country for this coveted role. He won the African American Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as sharing nominations with his fellow castmates for Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critics Choice Awards.

He shard his story of modest begginings in New Orleans and how his strong work ethic has helped him in Hollywood. 

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Civil, an Elizabeth, New Jersey native, learned  the power of digital media as a teen, after her fan sites led her to meeting the Backstreet Boys and Bodie from The Wire. She relocated to Los Angeles four years ago to become the social media manager for Beats by Dre and has crafted social media campaigns for artists and brands including lil Wayne. She runs websites including Live Civil, where's it's all about postivity and uses  self-motivation as a tool that the she often practices and pushes, and wrote about in her book, Live Civil: 5 Tools for Unlocking Your Potential and Living Your Purpose. 

She told the students: “When you actually believe in yourself and you’re fulfilling the life that you chose and that you want, there’s nothing more rewarding than that."

About #PHI 444

Kimbrough’s philosophy class, #PHI 444: Sex, Gender and Ethical Behavior seeks to look at this sexual revolution through the lens of the musical art form which is arguably is the most sexual- hip hop. This course provides an opportunity for substantive reflection and review of ethical principles and their relevance today in light of the creation and growth of the hip hop culture. Join in on the class discussions on Twitter #PHI444.

More Photos of Robert Mitchell 

More Photos of Karen Civil 

Central City Community Health Festival PDF Print E-mail
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 Office of Community Relations Central city Fest

For more than a decade, the Dillard University Office of Community Relations (OCR), under the guidance of Nick Harris, has been actively engaged in revitalizing neighborhoods in and around the Gentilly area. 

Last month, Dillard University along with its partners from Progressive Baptist Church, New Hope Baptist Church, and Union Bethel A.M.E. Church, hosted a Community Health Festival at Progressive Baptist Church. 

The event featured health forums, diabetes testing, fitness and exercise, health insurance enrollment, and various screenings. The focus wasn't just on physical health; the event will also featured financial planners, cooking demonstrations, vegetable gardening activities, home and renters insurance enrollment, legal services, youth summer academic program information, homebuyers counseling, along with fire safety demonstrations as well as career opportunities.

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