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Dillard University’s 2017 Top Grads hail from Lagos, Nigeria and Shreveport, La.

Dillard University Communications and Marketing

NEW ORLEANS – Two students will be recognized during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13 as the top graduates in Dillard University’s Class of 2017. Valedictorians Aaliyah Cummings and Oluseun Joaquim each earned a 4.0 grade point average.

Aaliyah CummingsAaliyah Cummings, a business administration major from Shreveport, La. has accepted employment with ExxonMobil Corporation as a full-time sales advisor in the Fuels, Lubricants, & Specialties Marketing Division. Cummings is the recipient of a Dillard University Institutional Scholarship and, as a top graduate, will receive the Benjamin E. Mays-Samuel Dubois Cook Presidential Scholarship.

During her time at Dillard, Cummings has held membership and served in a number of organizations including the Alpha Chi and Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Societies, the American Marketing Association, and the Alpha Beta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. As a Fellow of the Melton Foundation, a global citizen organization, Cummings traveled to Africa, Asia, Germany and South America.

As a scholar athlete, Cummings not only made the grade in academics but she made her mark on the track field as a 100-meter hurdler on Dillard’s Women’s Track and Field team. In 2014, she set a conference record as the 100-meter hurdle Conference Champion for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Cummings was also recognized as Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2015.

Dillard University’s Top Grads…two

Although she will begin employment immediately after graduation Cummings’ long-range goals include obtaining a Master of Business Administration as well as a doctorate degree. In addition, Cummings, who completed more than 281 hours of community service while at Dillard, aspires to establish a foundation to help mentor African American teens as they transition from high school to college.

Cummings is the daughter of Liddie Jackson Cummings and the late James Bernard Cummings.

Oluseun JoaquimOluseun Joaquim, an accounting and finance major from Lagos, Nigeria, has accepted full-time employment at Deloitte & Touche. Prior to her job offer, Joaquim completed impressive summer internships at JP Morgan as a Credit Trading Analyst and as an Assurance Launch Intern at Ernst & Young.

Joaquim is the recipient of a Dillard University Institutional Scholarship and the Benjamin E. Mays-Samuel Dubois Cook Presidential Scholarship.

Joaquim, who describes herself as a global citizen, is passionate about the financial industry. She has garnered leadership experience in a number of organizations serving as President of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), President of Dillard University’s Investment Club (DUIC), Lead Fellow in Dillard’s Melton Foundation, a global citizen organization, and Vice President of African World Network Organization (AWNO). In addition, Joaquim is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Alpha Chi Honors Society, the Pearson Student Advisory Board (PSAB), and Global Shapers, New Orleans.

Joaquim is already laying the foundation for her mentorship platform, MentsPower, to help African American high school students achieve educational goals. She has completed nearly 577 hours of community service volunteering in such places as the University of Northampton, England, Change Makers exchange program and Martin Luther King Charter School in New Orleans.

Joaquim graduated from Air Force Secondary School in Ikeja, Lagos where she was valedictorian of the class. She enjoys photography, motivational speaking, modeling and dancing. She is the daughter of Adefunke Joaquim and the late Akinwunmi Richard Joaquim.


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