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Honorees

 

Dillard University celebrates those who have made an impact on communities either through courage, leadership, creativity, scholarship or overall efforts to improve people's quality of life. Since 1975, the University has honored individuals by awarding Doctors of Humane Letters, Doctors of Laws and Doctors of Divinity degrees. Dillard has also honored community leaders with Medals of Honor, a Doctor of Music, a Doctor of Literature and a Doctor of Science.


2022 Honorees

 

PRESTON EDWARDS SR. '65

 

Preston Edwards Sr.

Preston A. Edwards Sr. is the founder of THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Magazine, imdiversity.com, diversityemployers.com and Diversity Employers Magazine. He also created BlackCollegian.com in 1995, the first Black magazine on the internet. Prior to his stellar career as a publisher, Edwards held positions as the local vice president for the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity, regional manager of Affirmative Action for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company and assistant professor in the College of Business at Southern University and A&M College. During the infamous Kent State University riots, Edwards engaged his students at Southern in a robust discussion seeking non-violent means for them to express their displeasure. It was during that discussion that he realized that Historically Black Colleges and Universities were not afforded the same level of respect by the media when it came to reporting on their issues. That realization led to the creation of THE BLACK COLLEGIAN, which went on to become the premiere advice, guidance, career and self-development magazine specifically created for all underrepresented minorities.
 
Edwards has also served his community as a member of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Cluster and its Business Advisory Council as well as on the boards of the Council on Career Development for Minorities, Junior Achievement, The Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Central Business District Historic Landmark Commission, the Employment Management Association Foundation and the Orleans Private Industry Council in addition to other organizations. Among his many awards are the Distinguished Service Award om Jersey City State College, Scroll of Honor from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and both the American Male Image Award and Presidential Power of One Award from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Edwards earned an M.B.A. om Atlanta University and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Livingstone College.
 
Edwards is married to Rosa Hughes Edwards, Esq. of Birmingham, Alabama; and they are the proud parents of two adult sons and five grandsons.
KERN REESE
 
Kern ReeseJudge Kern A. Reese is a proud graduate of St. Augustine High School. He attended Pomona College in Claremont, California and Loyola University Law School in New Orleans. He entered the legal profession in 1977. He entered service to his community by working at New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation at the beginning of his legal career. He also taught at the Urban League’s New Orleans Plan, which assisted individuals in becoming skilled tradesmen. Judge Reese became an associate adjunct professor at Tulane University School of Law in 1984, promoting effective trial advocacy. He served in this capacity without recompense for over 30 years. He coached a Loyola University School of Law trial advocacy team to an ABA national championship in 2007. He also coached Loyola’s BLSA team to a national championship in 2012. Both teams were comprised of women and minority students.
 
Reese helped found the Mock Trial team at Dillard University in 2015. In two years, the Dillard team reached the opening round of the championship tournament. All seniors on the Mock Trial team for the past five years have gone on to law school. Judge Reese recently completed a term as a member of the Board of Directors of St. Augustine High School. During his tenure, the school raised over $11 million dollars to better its services to its constituent population.
 
Judge Reese has served on numerous boards and commissions to serve the people of New Orleans, including the Regional Planning Commission, the Regional Transit Authority, and the Finance Authority of New Orleans. He served as chair of these organizations among others. He is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the National Bar Association/Judicial Council, the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society and the American Judges Association. He has strived to promote inclusion and diversity in the legal community and beyond.

Past Commencement Honorees

 

1975
Benjamin E. Mays

Doctor of Humane Letters

   
1977
Albert W. Dent Doctor of Humane Letters
Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Doctor of Laws
   
1978
Coretta Scott King Doctor of Humane Letters
Samuel D. Proctor Doctor of Humane Letters
David Spitz Doctor of Laws 
   
1979
Robert Frederick Collins '51 Doctor of Laws
John Hope Franklin Doctor of Humane Letters
Howard Thurman Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1980
Lerone Bennett Jr. Doctor of Laws
Rosa Freeman Keller Doctor of Humane Letters
Martin Luther King Sr. Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1981
William Talbot Handy Jr. Doctor of Laws
Benjamin L. Hooks Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1982
Terry Sanford Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1983
Joseph N.W. Gayles Jr. Doctor of Laws
Mitchel W. Spelman Doctor of Laws
   
1985
Charles G. Adams Doctor of Laws
Shirley A. Chilsholm Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1986
Jerry H. Coleman Doctor of Laws
Joseph E. Lowery Doctor of Humane Letters
John L. Wilson Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1987
George H.W. Bush Medal of Honor
   
1988
Robert E. Johnson Doctor of Literature
Lou Rawls Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1989
John Hurst Adams Doctor of Laws
Marian Wright Edelman Doctor of Humane Letters
Ellis L. Marsalis Jr. '55 Doctor of Music
   
1990
Rhetaugh G. Dumas Doctor of Laws
Gardner C. Taylor Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1991
Joyce M. Roché '70 Doctor of Humane Letters
William Wallace Sutton Sr. '53 Doctor of Laws
   
1992
Leontine T.C. Kelly Doctor of Humane Letters
Eugene C. Patterson Doctor of Laws
   
1993
Millie McClelland Charles '43 Doctor of Humane Letters
Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Doctor of Laws
   
1994
Calvin O. Butt, III Doctor of Divinity
Roger W. Ireson Doctor of Laws
   
1995
Wiley A. Perdue Doctor of Laws
Louis Westerfield Doctor of Laws
   
1996
Ruth J. Simmons '67 Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1997
Nanneri O. Keohane Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1998
Ernest Gaines Doctor of Humane Letters
Samella Lewis Doctor of Humane Letters
Gordon Parks Doctor of Humane Letters
   
1999
Julian Bond Doctor of Humane Letters
Taylor Branch Doctor of Laws
John Lewis Doctor of Humane Letters
Abbey Lincoln Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2000
Samuel DuBois Cook Doctor of Humane Letters
Anita F. Hill Doctor of Laws
   
2001
Susan L. Taylor Doctor of Humane Letters
Cicely Tyson Doctor of Humane Letters
Eddie N. Williams Doctor of Humane Letters
Ichiro Yamauchi Doctor of Divinity
   
2002
Harry Belafonte Doctor of Humane Letters
Earl G. Graves Doctor of Humane Letters
Cynthia Tucker Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2003
Ray Charles Doctor of Humane Letters
Charlayne Hunter-Gault Doctor of Humane Letters
David Satcher Doctor of Science
   
2004
Shirley Franklin Doctor of Laws
Barbara Guillory-Thompson Doctor of Humane Letters
Shelton Lee Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2005
Barbara Chase-Riboud Doctor of Humane Letters
Lawrence Otis Graham Doctor of Humane Letters
Sokoni Karanja Doctor of Humane Letters
Ngugiwa Thiong'o Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2006
Mary Frances Berry Doctor of Humane Letters
William H. Cosby Jr. Doctor of Humane Letters
Revius O. Ortique Jr. '47 Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2007
Hillary Rodham Clinton Doctor of Humane Letters
Roberta Flack Doctor of Humane Letters
Frank Mason '71 Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2008
Harold Battiste Jr. '52 Doctor of Humane Letters
Leah Chase Doctor of Humane Letters
Maxine Waters Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2009
Michael Eric Dyson Doctor of Humane Letters
Doris Roche Hicks Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2010
Jihan Liu Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2011
Irvin M. Mayfield Doctor of Humane Letters
Soledad O'Brien Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2012
Hill Harper Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2013
Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre '76 Doctor of Humane Letters
Pearlie H. Elloie Doctor of Humane Letters
Jeffrey Johnson Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2014
Henry C. Lacey Doctor of Humane Letters
Mary Landrieu Doctor of Humane Letters
Michelle Obama Doctor of Humane Letters
Sheila Dinoshe Tlou '74 Doctor of Humane Letters
Andrew Wisdom Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2015
Victoria H. Barbosa Doctor of Humane Letters
David J. Dennis Sr. Doctor of Humane Letters
Alden J. McDonald Jr. Doctor of Humane Letters
Joyce M. Roché '70, L.H.D. '91 Presidential Medal
Denzel Washington Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2016
Valerie Ervin Doctor of Humane Letters
Garrett Morris '58 Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2017
Lolis Edward Elie '56  Doctor of Humane Letters
Janelle Monáe Doctor of Humane Letters
Dorothy Jacques Perrault '60 Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2018
Chancelor Johnathan Bennett Doctor of Humane Letters
Clairborne D. Haughton Jr. '67 Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2019
Broadus N. Butler Doctor of Humane Letters
Ruth C. Carter '82 Doctor of Humane Letters
Regina Hall Doctor of Humane Letters
Marvalene Hughes Doctor of Humane Letters
Thomas Joyner Sr. Doctor of Humane Letters
Pres Kabacoff Doctor of Humane Letters
Michael Lomax Doctor of Humane Letters
   
2021  
Michael Ealy Doctor of Humane Letters
Frank Mason '71, L.H.D. '07
Presidential Medal
   
2022  
Preston Edwards Sr. '65 Doctor of Humane Letters
Kern Reese Doctor of Humane Letters

 

 

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