Campus News

Dillard University’s Physics Student Chapter Earns National Honor

laser lab

The Dillard University Physics Program continues to capture the national spotlight. The Society of Physics Students (SPS), a national organization designed to encourage students to pursue careers in the field, selected the Dillard group as a Distinguished Chapter of the year for 2016-2017. The honor comes because the students along with their advisor Dr. Abdalla Darwish, demonstrated a commitment to developing students and strengthening the community through physics.

“This is a very prestigious recognition and speaks volumes for our physics department, faculty and students,” said Darwish, Dillard’s Presidential Professor and chair of the physics program. “We receive national awards, year after year, as one of Dillard’s Signature Programs.”


Each year, the American Institute of Physics gives this distinction to college chapters across the country. There are approximately 800 SPS chapters in all corners of the U.S.

Since 1998 under Darwish’s leadership, the University established an SPS chapter and Sigma Pi Sigma, a Physics honor society. Approximately 30 Dillard students are members of the SPS chapter.

As part of its mission, the chapter hosts several activities including visiting local high schools to promote physics and serve as tutors, participate in the STEM NOLA Saturday Academy and DU WISHES Program for female students of color during the summer, which is supported by the U.S. Air Force Research Lab. The chapter also conducts research and travels to national conferences to present their findings.

“We have a cutting edge education and research environment,” Darwish said. “We have state-of-the-art laser labs available for our students, which helps to assure success during their matriculation at Dillard. And all of this opens doors for them well past their time at Dillard.”


Dillard’s storied Physics Program dominated national headlines in May 2017 when the Associated Press reporter Errin Haines Whack wrote, “One of the smallest historically black colleges in the U.S. boasts a huge accomplishment: pound for pound, tiny Dillard University in New Orleans graduates more physics majors -- and, notably, more female physics majors -- than far bigger schools with more resources. With an enrollment of 1,200, Dillard ranks second in the country in black physics undergrads.”


From there, the Dillard Physics Department’s legacy became a trending story and continues to be one of the University’s strongest programs.


For more information about physics program, please contact Dr. Darwish at

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New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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