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    Norward Roussell, '60, Leader of Selma Schools in Turbulent Time, Dies at 80 PDF Print E-mail
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     New York Times

    Norward Roussell, who in 1987 arrived in Selma, Ala., as the city’s first black superintendent of schools with aspirations to equalize educational opportunity — only to be fired three years later amid racial animosities, protests and a school boycott that recalled the historic Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march of 1965 — died on Monday in Selma. He was 80.

    The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of bone marrow cancer, his daughter, Melanie Newman, said.

    By the time Dr. Roussell came to Selma, blacks owned businesses and held administrative positions like postmaster, and many whites hoped that the bloody attack on demonstrators by club-wielding state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that had horrified the nation was distant, shameful history.

    “We were wrong,” Joe Smitherman, who was first elected mayor of Selma in 1964 as a supporter of George C. Wallace, Alabama’s segregationist governor, and served for 38 years, said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1990. “And I don’t know how to say it better than that. And I was part of that wrong.”

    In Selma, Dr. Roussell (pronounced ROO-sell), who had been a top administrator in the New Orleans school system, chose to take on a very touchy educational issue: the “leveling” or “tracking” of students by ability. Poor minority students had tended to end up in the lowest of three groupings, and black parents had been protesting that their children were segregated into inferior instruction.

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    Member Spotlight: Peter Stevenson at Dillard University has become a pro at turning disadvantages into advantages PDF Print E-mail
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    peter stevenson

    By Simon Bravo, Nazifa Islam, and Erin O’Sullivan | October 8, 2014

    Upon meeting Peter Stevenson, Director of Recreation, Health, and Wellness at Dillard University, you realize very quickly that you are in the presence of one of those individuals who—as if through magic or sheer willpower—is able to transform the resources available to him into much more than just the sum of their component parts.

    At the top of his game

    With over 20 years of experience in higher education and the private sector of health, wellness, and recreation—his current work with the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Community Advisory Board surely benefits from his experiences working in community recreation and wellness-based settings—Peter now exercises his knowhow in service of Dillard University and the broader New Orleans’ community.

    martial arts clubPeter first met Dillard’s newly appointed Chancellor at the 2010 Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference, which was being held on Dillard’s campus. Dillard had been without a dedicated campus recreation department or consistent programs for years, and so the Chancellor was surprised when Peter explained Dillard’s integral role in the founding of an association that currently supports hundreds of institutions, thousands of professionals, and millions of students across North America (learn moreabout NIRSA’s history). Shortly after that meeting, Peter was offered the chance to bring his diverse skill set and strong community ethic to New Orleans by heading up Dillard’s Department of Recreation, Health, and Wellness.

    In July of 2011, Peter recalls, he took over a department with “four treadmills, four ellipticals, and a weight room filled with donated weights that I brought down with me from Jackson in a U-Haul truck.” It truly was a frontier; there were no organized recreation programs in place, no website or mission statement, and Peter’s own position was only made possible by a grant that wasn’t guaranteed to exist beyond a handful of years.

    Serving a diverse body of around 1,200 students, Dillard University’s Department of Recreation, Health, and Wellness, Peter beams, “now offers students 20-25 programs a semester; access to swimming 5-6 days a week; participation in the Tennis On Campus program; volleyball, soccer, badminton; free movie screenings every other week” since the department—i.e., Peter—manages anASCAP-licensed movie theatre; “bowling; intramurals in xx sports a semester; access to a handful of club sports, including a nationally decorated martial arts club; nutrition and cooking classes; personalized fitness instruction; priority access to the integrated wellness clinic; an indoor track; considerably expanded free weight and cardio equipment; and so much more.”

    And not unlike other colleges and universities of a similar profile, he’s doing all of this on a shoestring budget and with the added, if expected, complications that come with sharing facility space with an Athletics Department that serves a much smaller percentage of the university’s students yet is still given first priority in scheduling.

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    Dillard to host Black Male Summit PDF Print E-mail
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    By Jed Lipinski, | The Times-Picayune 
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    on October 03, 2014 at 3:30 PM, updated October 03, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    scientist2Dillard University is partnering with St. Augustine High School to host a "Black Male Summit" on the university's campus on Oct. 13 from 9 to 11 a.m. The goal of the summit is to allow students and officials to discuss issues related to black male success in New Orleans in light of recent incidents between law enforcement and black males around the country.

    In a statement, Dillard president Walter Kimbrough referenced the shootings of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Mike Brown in Missouri as evidence of the "complex history" between black males and law enforcement. The summit, he said, will provide an opportunity to "improve those relationships so that we can avoid unarmed black men from being killed, by anyone. 

    The summit will feature a panel of officials and experts including Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Interim Superintendent of Police Michael Harrison and Criminal Court Judge Benedict Willard. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place inside Dillard's Dent Hall. For more information visit

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    RuthSimmons-WebBorn on July 3, 1945, in Grapeland, TX; Simmons was the youngest of 12 children born to sharecroppers Isaac and Fannie Stubblefield in Grapeland, Texas. Sharecropping was on the wane, and when Ruth was seven years old the family moved to the fifth ward of Houston, a poverty-stricken neighborhood. There Isaac Stubblefield became a factory worker and later the minister of the Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church, while Fannie Stubblefield scrubbed floors in the homes of well-to-do white families. Simmons admitted that while the family was poor, the poverty made her recognize those things of true value in life, such as love and intellect. She also learned to negotiate, as her parents allowed her and her siblings to end their own disputes with a minimum of interference.


    Radcliffe College, admissions officer, 1970-72; University of New Orleans, assistant professor of French, 1973-77; assistant dean in college of liberal arts, 1975-76; California State University at Northridge, administrative coordinator for National Endowment for the Humanities studies project, 1978-79, acting director of international programs and visiting associate professor of Pan-African studies, 1978-79; University of Southern California at Los Angeles, assistant dean, 1979-82, associate dean of the graduate school, 1982-83; Princeton University, director of Butler College, 1983-85, acting director of Afro-American studies program and assistant dean 1986-87, associate dean, 1987-90; Spelman College, provost, 1990-92; Princeton University, vice-provost, 1992; Smith College, president, 1995-00; Brown University, president, 2001-.

    Ruth Simmons has made an illustrious career of serving students in higher education for more than two decades. Rising through the administrative ranks of various institutions of higher learning, Simmons made history in 1995 when she became the first African American to be inaugurated president of Smith College, an elite all-women college in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2001, making history once again, she became the president of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, thus becoming the first black woman to reside over an Ivy League institution. Simmons's many talents are acclaimed by her peers. She is known for her intellect, empathy, and ability to achieve her goals. In the words of Princeton University president, Harold T. Shapiro, quoted in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE), "Ruth Simmons represents quality, Ruth Simmons represents integrity, and Ruth Simmons has a vision of how higher education can serve the society that supports it."

    While Simmons was still at Dillard, a year-long exchange program gave her the opportunity to study at Wellesley, a prestigious all-women college in the Northeast. The experience further cemented Simmons's belief in her abilities when she compared herself favorably to the students from privileged backgrounds.

    After graduating summa cum laude from Dillard in 1967 Simmons spent a year studying French at the university in Lyons, France, on a Fulbright fellowship. For the next decade Ruth Simmons' career decisions hinged on those of her husband. When her husband's work took the couple to New Orleans, Simmons hired on as an assistant professor of French at the University of New Orleans, where she later became the assistant dean of the college of liberal arts. Other administrative positions followed. In the late 1970s the Simmons and their two children made their home in Southern California, where Ruth administered a grant for the National Endowment for the Humanities, acted as visiting associate professor of Pan-African studies at California State University at Northridge, and held positions as assistant and associate dean at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

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    WBOK-Radio Interview with Uncle Luke PDF Print E-mail
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    Dillard University will host a lecture Thursday (Sept. 25) by Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell, a founding member of the Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, about the current state of hip-hop.

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