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Dillard Theater opens its 80th Season Sept. 11 with “Eartha Kitt: Unauthorized Confessions” PDF Print E-mail
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Tyra  Eartha Kitt  Hughes sm

The play is written and performed by Dillard Alumna Tyra Hughes, ‘01

NEW ORLEANS - Dillard University will begin its 80h season with a six-performance run of “Eartha Kitt: Unauthorized Confessions,” a one-woman play written and performed by Dillard alumna Tyra Hughes, ‘01. The show opens on Friday, Sept. 11-13 and runs through Friday, Sept. 18 - Sunday, Sept. 20 in the Cook Theatre on Dillard’s campus.

Hughes, ’01, has an amazing story as a woman who is now living a dream once deferred as a Los Angeles based actor. She put off an acting career to raise a family and finished with a degree in Theater Arts and Speech Communications while working full time at the U.S. Postal Service. The summer after graduating she quit her job to pursue her passion.

A native of New Orleans, Hughes, who also has a striking resemblance to Kitt, is passionate about sharing her story and has performed the play in Los Angeles and New York. During her research, Hughes uncovered little known facts about Kitt’s life, an American singer and actor. The play is an opportunity for audiences to get an in depth look at Eartha Kitt, one that goes beyond the character of Catwoman, a troubled childhood, and her ban from the White House.

As this is the 80th season of Dillard’s theater program the oldest HBCU theater program in the country, Cortheal Clark, chair of humanities, said he thought this was a perfect play to open with in this milestone year. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Dillard box office at (504) 816-4857.


“Eartha Kitt: Unauthorized Confessions”

Friday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.                   Sunday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m.

Remaining Performances for the Season:

October 23-25, 30-13, and

November 1

A Trilogy of Shine’s Plays

February 18-20, 25-27

Black History Production

Dillard University’s Cook Theatre

Samuel DuBois Cook Communications Center

2601 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70122

Box Office: (504) 816-4857

Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.        

Saturday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m.    

Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m.

April 8-10, 15-17

The Gospel at Colonus

May 8-9

Goat in the Road and Dillard Theatre


Dillard Receives $1.5 Million Federal Education Grant PDF Print E-mail
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August 30, 2015

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Dillard University has received a five-year grant totaling $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education to provide tutoring, counseling and other support services to ensure students earn a college degree. The grant was competitively awarded through the Department of Education’s Student Support Services initiative, which is designed to increase retention and graduation rates among students from low-income backgrounds and would be first-generation college graduates. According to Dr. Kevin Bastian, assistant vice president for support services and the grant’s principal investigator, Dillard’s program is designed to provide comprehensive support services.  “Some students, while they have the drive to do well academically, are faced with a number of challenges, academically and socially.  These challenges often impede or even derail their path to a college degree,” said Bastian.

Dillard will implement the grant alongside other university-run support projects within its Division of Student Success, including Keys to Success, which provides academic support for student-parents.  Dillard also currently operates two additional federal education K-12 grants.  “The Student Support Services grant initiative allows us to provide a continuum support for students,” Bastian added.

“Department of Education Data show that students from lower-income families are nearly twice as likely to not complete a college degree in six years,” said Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, vice president for student success. “We have made a conscience effort over the past few years to engage our students to make sure we provide the comprehensive resources students require to graduate and succeed,” said Barnes-Teamer. As a first generation college student, Barnes-Teamer said that the support provided to her through a TRIO Program helped to prepare her for the career she’s in today.  She also explained that the grant goals are aligned with the University’s Student Integration Model for Success that addresses increased retention and graduation rates. Student Support Services include academic advising, tutoring, study skills training, financial aid counseling, assistance with enrollment into graduate or professional school and help exploring career options.   

The grant, which is set to begin in September, will provide academic and other resources for up to 200 students each year over a five-year period. For additional information contact Dillard’s Division of Student Success at 504-816-4714.

Brain Food Lecture Series opens with Michael J. Morton’s “A Conversation about Hazing: The Trials and Truth” PDF Print E-mail
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Morton 011 -ONLINE

NEW ORLEANS— Dillard University’s 2015 Brain Food Lecture Series starts with Michael J. Morton, an ex-convict, turned corporate and civic leader, whose life was forever changed in college. On September 24, at 7 p.m., during “A Conversation about Hazing: The Trials and Truth,” Morton will share the pivotal moments of his experience and where it has led him to today. The event will be held in Lawless Memorial Chapel on Dillard’s campus. Morton’s talk coincides with National Hazing Prevention Week, September 21-25. Locally, Dillard students, including athletes, greek organizations and support groups, will visit area schools and the university will host several workshops leading up to the lecture.

In 2006, Morton was an honors student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Florida A&M University. He served as president of the Student Body Senate and two consecutive terms as president, of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. The course of his life was altered after he and four of his fraternity brothers were charged with hazing. In a nationally publicized trial, he was convicted of hazing and received a two-year prison sentence. The judge in the case said she wanted to send a message with the state's first prosecution under a felony hazing law.

After serving his sentence, Morton went on to finish his bachelor’s degree at Florida A&M and earn a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University. Morton was recently appointed to the Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering advisory council for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Morton believes in “paying it forward” and has a strong desire to help those in most need. He serves on the Board of Directors for Pentorship, an educational products company that provides skills-based training to incarcerated persons. He actively volunteers with Junior Achievement, the world's largest organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise. Morton is also a member and former Secretary of the New Jersey INROADS alumni association, an organization whose mission is to develop talented underserved youth and connect them with opportunities in business and industry, while preparing them for corporate and community leadership.

Now, Morton comes to Dillard University to deliver a candid, personal and empowering talk about his journey and the realities of hazing.

The remaining Brain Food lineup continues with diverse and powerful speakers. All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information please call (504) 816-4800 or visit 

Upcoming lectures: 

September 24-Michael J. Morton

“A Conversation about Hazing: The Trials and Truth”

Hazing Prevention Week Event

Lawless Chapel, 7 p.m.

October 21-Karrine Steffans

New York Times Best Selling Author

“Vindicated: Confessions of a Video Vixen 10 Years Later”

Georges Auditorium, 7 p.m.

November 20-Dance Theater of Harlem

Cook Auditorium, TBD

The Revius O. Oritque Jr. Lecture on Law and Society

November 23

Bryan Stevenson

Attorney, human rights activist, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of “Just Mercy”

Georges Auditorium, 7 p.m.

A Brief History of the Dillard Presidential Lecture Series

Beginning with the university’s first official president, William Stuart Nelson in the 1930s, public intellectual discourse has been a part of Dillard’s heritage. In the 1950s, Albert Dent organized the Edwin R. Embree Memorial Lecture Series whose guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. Subsequently, Dillard presidents have assembled lectures that reflected their sensibilities. During Samuel DuBois Cook’s tenure, 1974 to 1997, he established a lyceum series and also built a fine arts center to provide a new venue for lectures, theater and music. Walter M. Kimbrough launched Brain Food in 2013, and has continued the tradition with speakers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Misty Copeland, Benjamin Crump and Michael Steele.  


Dillard Professor to talk about City’s Post Katrina Planning Challenges during K10 Panel PDF Print E-mail
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colins head shot(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – During a panel presentation “From Recovery to Resilience: Post-Katrina Planning in NOLA” at noon on Friday, August 28 at the Sheraton Hotel Dr. Robert Collins, professor of urban studies and public policy at Dillard University, will present his research on the recovery process, the current state of city planning, and the state of preparedness for future hurricanes. Collins will also provide recommendations on how the city planning process can make New Orleans a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable city.  

 In June, Collins’ essay “No More Planning by Surprise: City Planning Ten Years after Katrina” was released by The Data Center in their New Orleans Index at Ten Collection. The Data Center is an independent analysis group in Southeast Louisiana. In his essay, which is a sequel to one published five years ago, Collins focuses on land use in New Orleans and the difficulties encountered by the city as it sought to develop a unified recovery and rebuilding plan.

 "The city planning process in New Orleans during the decade following Hurricane Katrina was arguably one of the most challenging periods of city planning in any city, at any point in U.S. history,” said Collins. “The first five years were spent primarily in a recovery planning phase, and the second five years were spent dealing with complexities and conflicts of the comprehensive zoning process,” he added.

 Collins pointed out that the challenges were made more daunting by the fact that before the storm the city lacked a history of strong traditional urban planning practices. As a result, most processes had to be constructed from scratch. “Despite few financial resources and a series of stops and starts, New Orleans now has a Master Plan as of August 2010, and a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance as of May 2015,” he noted. “The New Orleans recovery experience can inform other communities about what to do and perhaps more importantly, what not to do when planning to rebuild after a disaster.”

 The panel on Post Katrina Planning will be held in the Waterbury Room at the Sheraton Hotel at noon on Friday, August 28. The discussion will also be live-streamed from the city’s Katrina 10 website

Dillard to Celebrate its Progress 10 years After Katrina PDF Print E-mail
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professional schools building

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Ten years after the most catastrophic event in its 145-year history of Dillard University is set to commemorate as well as celebrate its progress and its future through an array of events to be held on campus August 26-30. After sustaining nearly $400 million in damages with its campus virtually destroyed, Dillard never lost faith but persevered and has built a better and stronger institution.

“While we will never forget what was lost in Hurricane Katrina and the impact that the storm had on all of us, we don’t want to dwell on the pain, we want to highlight what has been accomplished through hard work and resilience,” said Mona Duffel Jones, spokesperson for Dillard University.   “We have been through the flood and the fire, as several of our buildings burned while standing in flood waters,” she added. “Its time for us to highlight our achievements and continue moving forward.”

With that in mind, Dillard will host a number of events over the course of the week including an ecumenical convocation themed “Faith in Action,” which is in keeping with the University’s motto Ex Fide Fortis, meaning “Strength from Faith.” Former President Dr. Marvalene Hughes will be a guest speaker at the service. Hughes had only been at the university for six weeks when Hurricane Katrina devastated the campus.

Other events include literary presentations on Wednesday, August 26 at 6 p.m. by award-winning author and Dillard professor Mona Lisa Saloy and author Fatima Shaik; ecumenical service on Thursday, August 27 at 10:15 a.m. as well as a spoken word open mic event that evening at 6 p.m.; and on Friday, August 29 at 11 a.m. a jazz funeral will process down the Avenue of the Oaks to the rear of campus. The university will also participate in the citywide day of service in partnership with Hands on New Orleans on Saturday, August 29. On Sunday, August 30 at 4 p.m., there will be one-hour musical performance “What’s Goin’ On” featuring Tonya Boyd-Cannon, who recently appeared on NBC’s “The Voice.” Dillard students will also perform Motown hits and original compositions. Admission to the musical performance is $15. All other events are free and open to the public.

A detailed schedule of Dillard’s Katrina 10 commemorative events is attached. For more information call 816-4800. 

Click here to view events.

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