Dillard News

Dillard’s Brain Food Lecture to Feature Award-winning Journalist and Domestic Violence Awareness Activist Sil Lai Abrams

(New Orleans) – On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Sil Lai Abrams, National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) award-winning writer, inspirational speaker, and domestic violence awareness activist, will deliver the next Brain Food Lecture in Georges Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Dillard’s campus. The event is free and open to the public. Seats are on a first come basis.

Sil Lai Abrams is founder and CEO of Truth in Reality, a media advocacy organization dedicated to changing the manner in which women of color and violence are portrayed on reality television programs. Through public awareness and educational campaigns, including digital media, specifically her weekly #RealityTVCheck tweet chat, Abrams engages audiences in conversations about real-life social issues regarding gender-based violence. She also launched “Redefining HERstory, a campus-based educational and social action program that is currently in place on several college campuses. According to Abrams, the goal of the organization is to empower students with media literacy tools that will enable them to think critically about their media consumption; provide education on domestic violence, bullying and sexual violence; expose students to women of color who are models for redefining history. Ultimately, the organization seeks to mobilize individuals in a collective effort to changes the narratives and negative depiction of women of color on reality TV.

Abrams is a living testament of transformation through self-empowerment as she has overcome addiction, mental health issues and domestic violence to become a nationally recognized expert on relationships and domestic violence. She has appeared on a number of TV shows including ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, FOX, BET, and TruTV, to name a few. She has also been featured in national magazines such as Modern Woman, Oprah, Redbook, EBONY, Black Enterprise and Sister 2 Sister.

For more information go to @DUBrainFood, visit www.dillard.edu or call504.816.4800.

Note: There will not be a book signing after the lecture.

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(New Orleans, LA) – Two-time Academy Award® and Tony Award-winning actor Denzel Washington will deliver the address at Dillard University on Saturday, May 9, when 247 students of Dillard University’s Class of 2015 walk down the Avenue of the Oaks during the commencement ceremony at 8 a.m.  

“We are excited to have Denzel Washington as our 2015 Commencement Speaker,” said Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard. “He has been a supporter of our Theater Program, which happens to be the oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Theater Program in the country (now in its 79th season), for the past ten years,” he added. “Several Denzel Washington Scholars are candidates in this year’s graduating class and they will be ecstatic about having him as our speaker.”

From Trip, an embittered runaway slave in Glory, to South African freedom fighter Steven Biko in Cry Freedom; From Shakespeare's tragic historical figure Richard III, to the rogue detective, Alonzo in Training Day, Washington has amazed and entertained audiences with a rich array of characters distinctly his own. Washington most recently appeared in the film, The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua. Playing the role of Robert McCall, the thriller portrays a veteran covert operative who seeks redemption for his dark deeds. This past spring he appeared in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon.
A native of Mount Vernon, New York, Denzel Washington is one of the most versatile actors in the industry. The eldest of three children born to a Pentecostal minister and beauty shop owner, Washington had his career sights set on medicine when he attended Fordham University.  During a stint as a summer camp counselor he appeared in one of their theatre productions; Denzel was bitten by the acting bug and returned to Fordham that year seeking the tutelage of Robinson Stone, one of the school's leading professors.

Denzel Washington to Deliver Commencement Address at Dillard… add one

Upon graduation from Fordham, Washington was accepted into San Francisco's prestigious American Conservatory Theater.  Following an intensive year of study in their theater program, he returned to New York after a brief stop in Los Angeles.

His professional New York theater career began with Joseph Papp's Shakespeare in the Park and was quickly followed by numerous off-Broadway productions including "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men;" "When The Chickens Came Home to Roost (in which he portrayed Malcolm X);" "One Tiger to a Hill;" "Man and Superman;" "Othello;" "A Soldier's Play," for which he won an Obie Award.    

Washington was 'discovered' by Hollywood when he was cast in 1979 in the television film Flesh and Blood.  But it was Denzel's award-winning performance on stage in "A Soldier's Play" that captured the attention of the producers of the NBC television series, "St. Elsewhere," and he was soon cast in that long-running hit series as Dr. Phillip Chandler.  His other television credits include "The George McKenna Story," "License to Kill," and "Wilma."  

Appearing in more than 42 movies and theatrical productions, Washington has been nominated for 91 awards and has won 39 including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe awards, five Black reel Awards, 13 NAACP Image Awards, 12 Tony Awards, and 11 Film critic awards, among others.
Notable films in which Washington appeared include Crimson Tide (1995), Courage Under Fire (1996), The Hurricane (1999), Bone Collector (1999), Fallen (1998), He Got Game (1998), Remember the Titans (2000), Antwone Fisher (2002), Inside Man (2006), American Gangster (2007), Fences (2010), and Flight (2012). He won Academy Awards® for Glory (Best Supporting Actor, 1989) and Training Day (Best Actor, 2001).

In addition to his accomplishments on screen, Washington took on a very different type of role in 2000.  He produced the HBO documentary “Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks,” which was subsequently nominated for two Emmy Awards.  Also, he served as executive producer on "Hank Aaron: Chasing The Dream," a biographical documentary for TBS which was nominated for an Emmy Award.  Additionally, Washington's narration of the legend of "John Henry" was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award in the category of Best Spoken Word Album for Children and he was awarded the 1996 NAACP Image Award for his performance in the animated children's special "Happily Ever After: Rumpelstiltskin."

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Dillard University to Honor Business Leaders at “Champions of the American Dream” Luncheon

(New Orleans, LA)  The Dillard University College of Business will honor business leaders at their Champions of the American Dream event on Friday, April 10 at 11:30 in the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom of The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel. Business leaders in six categories will be recognized and receive a “Best in Business” Award for their work and contributions in their respective communities. 

“Champions of the American Dream” is an initiative of the Dillard University College of Business designed to recognize and honor local and statewide business leaders and entrepreneurs for their success and persistence in business pursuits, their history of philanthropy, and their service as role models for the business community.

Richard Harley, regional manager for the Office of International Trade with the U.S. Small Business Administration, serves as a “Best in Business” core committee member. “Entrepreneurship coupled with ingenuity have been at the core of what has built America,” said Harley. “Dillard University takes pride in honoring some of our local Champions of the American Dream who have made their mark on our community and our nation,” he added.

The  “Best in Business Award” will be presented during the event to the following nominees for awards indicated: Rose Hudson, CEO, Louisiana Lottery - the David Dillard Award of Excellence; Dr. Blanca Rosa Maldonado, Ochsner Medical Center - Excellence in Innovation; John and Donna Cummings, philanthropists, curators of the African American Museum of Slavery - Social Justice Award; Rafael Saddy, Louisiana Executive Council Member and Latino activist-Pioneer of Purpose Award; Todd Chambers, general manager, Roosevelt Hotel - Cultural Pioneer Award; and Irvin Mayfield, entrepreneur, musician, and Cultural Ambassador for New Orleans - Virtuoso Award.

The keynote speaker for the event is Cindy Nuesslein, CEO of the Interim LSU Hospital (ILH) slated to open soon. “I’m proud to be a part of this year’s Champions of the American Dream - Best in Business Awards to honor the innovators, pioneers and leaders who are inspirations to us all. This is such an exciting time for our city, our region and state,” said Nuesslein.  “We are nationally recognized as a great place to live and do business, as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, and as one of the most amazing comeback stories ever. On behalf of LCMC Health, our board, academic partners, physicians and staff, congratulations to the honorees and thank you for your vision, persistence and leadership.”

For more information about the event, sponsorships and tickets, please call Dillard University at 504.816.4669.

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Dillard to Host Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Oral Arguments on Feb. 24

(New Orleans) – On Tuesday, Feb. 24 the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal will convene at 11 a.m. in the Justice Revius O. Ortique Jr. Mock Trial Courtroom in the Professional Schools and Sciences Building on Dillard’s campus. The session, which is being held in honor of Black History Month, is part of an ongoing effort to educate students and the public about the work of the appellate court. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judges Terri F. Love, Roland L. Belsome, and Joy Cossich Lobrano will hear the oral arguments.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we are cognizant of the fact that we stand on the shoulders of many great legal scholars, including Justice Revius Ortique, Jr.,” said Court of Appeal Judge Terri Love. “To have the privilege of conducting appellate arguments in a courtroom named in his honor is a true representation of his legacy,” she added.

The late Ortique was the first African-American elected to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court. As an attorney and judge, he engaged in many landmark decisions. The Justice Revius O. Ortique Jr. Mock Trial Courtroom is part of Dillard University’s Center for Law and Public Interest, which was recently established to assist undergraduate students who seek careers in law and related fields and to serve as a conduit to champion issues of public interest.

“We are excited about convening a real-life court session in ‘real-time’ on campus,” said Dr. Gary Clark, political science professor and director of Dillard’s Center for Law and Public Interest. “Our students are so fortunate to have this experience as undergraduates and to gain insight directly from seasoned judges and law professionals,” Clark said.

Following court, Judges Terri Love, Roland Belsome, and Joy Cossich Lobrano, along with Chief Judge Kern Reese of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court, will host a “lunch and learn” session at noon in rooms 131-135 (across from the Mock Trial Courtroom). The information session will provide an overview of the appellate court process to students with an opportunity to ask questions about the process. Both students and the public are invited to attend the oral arguments on Tuesday, Feb. 24.  For more information call 504.816.4800.


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Endowed Professorship and Chair Appointments

The Division of Academic Affairs announces the appointment of faculty members to several endowed professorships and chairs.

Dr. Eric Buckles, an Associate Professor of Biology and Coordinator of the Biology Program, has been appointed the Conrad N. Hilton Biology Endowed Professor.

Mr. Richard Baucum, an Associate Professor of Accounting and Chair of the School of Accounting and Financial Economics, has been appointed the Edward Schlieder Professor in Accounting. 

Dr. Charlotte Hurst, an Associate Professor of Nursing, has been appointed the Gloria Kabacoff Endowed Professor in Nursing Research. 

Dr. Mohammed Hussain, an Associate Professor of Financial Economics and Coordinator of the Financial Economics Program, has been appointed the William Arceneaux Endowed Professor in Economics. 

Dr. Sharon Hutchinson, a Professor of Nursing and Chair of the School of Nursing, has been appointed the Gloria Kabacoff Endowed Nursing Professor in Teaching and Informatics. 

Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, a Professor of English and Co-Coordinator of the English Program, has been appointed the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor in English. 

An aspect of the appointments is that the appointees will receive funds to support travel and research activities related to the goals and requirements of the endowment. Endowed Professorships and Chairs are partially funded by support from the Louisiana Board of Regents.


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Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture – 1st Annual Conference & Workshop

Compiled by Advocate

Dillard University and United Way of Southeast Louisiana are seeking chefs and home cooks to compete in the “Taste of Dillard Cook-Off, which will held from noon to 5 p.m. March 7 on the university’s campus.

Proceeds will go to scholarships for Dillard students.

Erica Durousseau, development officer for corporate relations at Dillard, said cooks will be competing for more than $1,000 in cash and prizes.

Entry fees cover registration, tables and chairs for booth set-up.

All submissions are due by Feb. 20. Cook time begins between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Judging for the competition as well as service to the public will begin at noon. Each contestant must have enough food to provide 150-200 samples.

The March 7 event will also feature music performances and entertainment, celebrity chefs, a silent auction and raffle.

For a full list of rules and regulations, visit https://give.dillard.edu/taste-of-dillard. For more information about the cook-off or corporate sponsorship, contact Durousseau atedurousseau@dillard.edu.


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Dillard, United Way Seek Chefs for Cook-off

Compiled by Advocate

Dillard University and United Way of Southeast Louisiana are seeking chefs and home cooks to compete in the “Taste of Dillard Cook-Off, which will held from noon to 5 p.m. March 7 on the university’s campus.

Proceeds will go to scholarships for Dillard students.

Erica Durousseau, development officer for corporate relations at Dillard, said cooks will be competing for more than $1,000 in cash and prizes.

Entry fees cover registration, tables and chairs for booth set-up.

All submissions are due by Feb. 20. Cook time begins between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Judging for the competition as well as service to the public will begin at noon. Each contestant must have enough food to provide 150-200 samples.

The March 7 event will also feature music performances and entertainment, celebrity chefs, a silent auction and raffle.

For a full list of rules and regulations, visit https://give.dillard.edu/taste-of-dillard. For more information about the cook-off or corporate sponsorship, contact Durousseau atedurousseau@dillard.edu.


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Dillard University becomes first school in GCAC to launch athletics app; available on IOS and Android devices

(New Orleans, La.) The Dillard University athletics department recently launched a new app for IOS and Android devices.  The app provides convenient access to all of the latest information regarding Bleu Devils and Lady Bleu Devils sports.

"This app advances our athletic programs even more by making it simple to connect our parents, fans and supporters to our student athletes with the touch of a finger on their phones," said Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, Dillard's Athletic Director.

"We encourage everyone to download this app to get real-time experiences and stats during games, but mostly to watch the great people involved in DU athletics."

Enjoy the latest headlines including game recaps, upcoming events, and more.  The scoreboard feature puts the latest results at your fingertips, and one-touch access to our live-event feed instantly links you to the video and/or audio broadcast we provide for most of the athletic events at Dillard University.

There is simply no better way to keep up with Dillard athletics than with the new app.  For more information regarding DU athletics, please visit the newly renovated athletics website at www.dillardbleudevils.com

To download the new DU athletics app from your Apple (IOS) device, click on the following link.

App Store

Google Play

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Dillard's Film Dept. Shines in "Runaway Hearts"

UNION GAP, Wash. -- It's a story about strangers who extend a helping hand and the miracle that occurs with every decision made. A fitting plot, especially since it's written in Yakima and required some leaps of faith from investors to make it a reality. The crew, visiting the Majestic Theater in Union Gap, finally got to preview their finished piece. 

"Even as I watch it now, having written it, I still kind of welt up," said Scott Sandsberry, writer and producer of "Runaway Hearts. "Even though these are fictional characters, these are real life situations that happen." 

"Runaway Hearts" wouldn't have seen any screen time without the help from local support. Yakima-area supporters was the difference needed to make the movie a reality. 

"You can really see why this is referred to as Yakima's film, or Yakima's movie, because again the love and everything that's behind it really shows on the big screen," said Cortheal Clark, "Runaway Hearts" Production Designer. 

They feel blessed for the money raised locally -- they reached out to friends, colleagues and acquaintances who invested time and resources into the project. Although it was filmed in New Orleans, Sandsberry pictured houses along Tieton Road when he wrote the story. The plot was inspired by a dinner conversation Sandsberry had with his wife. 

The story caught the attention of a New Orleans director, who was struck by the selfless nature of the characters -- a trait Director Keith Allan Morris says is rare in the competitive movie industry.

"It's a brutal business sometimes, and we wanted to be sweet to the kids, I think they had such a positive experience out of it. That's what really mattered most to me," said Morris. 

They spent two months filming in New Orleans where the crew became family, living together in the buildings of Dillard University with big-name actors such as John Schneider, Wendell Pierce, and Jay Kenneth Johnson. 

Sandsberry feels blessed the cast was just as supportive behind the scenes as they were on camera. 

"If we aren't reaching out our hands, if we're turning away, we're missing the boat," said Sandsberry. 

There were many helping hands along the way.

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Dillard Athletics to Host Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala, Bleu Devil Classic Doubleheader vs. Xavier

Fundraiser and Rivalry Basket Ball Games set for Jan. 30 and 31

(New Orleans – LA) On Jan. 30  and 31, Dillard University’s athletic department will host the 7th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala  and the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic, the annual basketball doubleheader featuring men’s and women’s games versus crosstown rival Xavier University. The gala will be held in the atrium of the Professional Schools Building on Friday, Jan. 30 and the basketball games will be held on the “Battlefield” (Dent Hall) on Dillard’s campus.

This year’s gala honorees are Dr. Charles C. Teamer, vice president of First NBC and former vice president of Fiscal Affairs at Dillard and Eugene Lamb Jr., ’71, alumnus and former athlete. Both will receive Dillard’s “Legacy Award” for their outstanding long-term contributions to their respective communities.

Teamer, who is well known in New Orleans’ financial arena and for his service on numerous boards and civic organizations, served in a number of positions at Dillard including concurrent roles as athletic administrator and VP of Fiscal Affairs for more than 30 years. Under his leadership in athletics, the men and women’s basketball teams won nearly 20 championships in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC), District 30 and placed third in the National Final Four Tournament in 1984. He has served in a variety of civic organizations, including Chair of the following boards: The New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Greater New Orleans, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, World Trade Center, Urban League, Metropolitan Area Committee, Advisory Board Harrah’s Entertainment New Orleans.

Lamb, who was a member of the men’s basketball team during his undergraduate years at Dillard, returned to his hometown in Midway, Fla. where he taught Health and Physical Education, coached basketball, and worked with the Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Department for a combined 35 years.

Lamb also served on the city council and in 1986 as Mayor of the city of Midway. As a result of his dedication and civic involvement, Midway Recreation Center and Sports Complex for youth has been named in his honor.

New Orleans rhythm and blues band BRW will perform at the scholarship gala named for Hobley, the late Dillard basketball great who played for the Harlem Globetrotters. Tickets are $75, and all proceeds will go to athletic scholarships for Dillard students.

Starting times for the games on Saturday, Jan. 31 are as follows: Lady Bleu Devils basketball team will host Xavier at 3 p.m. on the “Battlefield” in Dent Hall Gymnasium, and the men’s game will follow at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $15 and are good for both games.

Tickets for the 7th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala and the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic are available through www.dillardbleudevils.com and the Dillard University cashier’s office on the first floor of Rosenwald Hall (M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). Limited quantities will also be available at the door to both events.

Join us for a celebration of Dillard athletics. Come out and show Bleu Pride!

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Book Signing - N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature

Nancy Dixon is an English professor at Dillard University in New Orleans and has been studying, teaching, and writing about Louisiana literature for over twenty years. Her first book, Fortune and Misery: Sallie Rhett Roman of New Orleans(LSU Press, 1999), won the LEH Humanities Book of the Year, 2000. More recently, she is editor of the 2013 Lavender Ink book, N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature

N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature is, quite simply, the most comprehensive collection of the literature of New Orleans ever. Designed as an introduction for scholars and a pleasure for everyone, this volume will set the standard for years to come.

Dixon has gathered some of the most prominent writers long associated with New Orleans, like Lafcadio Hearn, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Eudora Welty, but perhaps more fascinating are the ones we can discover for the first time, like the writers of Les Cenelles, French Creoles of color who published the first anthology of African American literature in 1845, or Los Isleños, descendents of the 17th-century Spanish immigrants from the Canary Islands, still a close-knit community today. From the first play ever performed in New Orleans in 1809, through Tom Dent’s compelling 1967 drama of violence in the streets, Ritual Murder, this collection traces the city’s history through its authors.

Louisianians, and particularly New Orleanians, do tend to go on and on about the literary heritage of this deepest South of Deep South pieces of turf. And it is with justification, of course. In the past, however, books about said literary heritage have been piecemeal and have tended to concentrate on one author or one era of our history. It's with great pleasure that I recommend to readers therefore, the new and excellent book by Nancy Dixon, N. O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature. Nancy has presented pieces of this book in the past at the Faulkner Society's annual Words & Music festival and in her presentations she's always made her subject matter not only informative but accessible, entertaining. She's done the same thing with the book, starting with the oldest known play written and produced in New Orleans, Paul LeBlanc de Villeneufve’s TheFestival of the Young Corn, or The Heroism of Poucha-Houmma dated 1809. She relates themes of that play to the pervasive violence in New Orleans today, giving the play contemporary relevance. She leads us on through the 19th and 20th centuries and winds up with Fatima Shaik's story of desegregation in the 20th Century. It's 500-plus pages of great stuff and when you see it all together like this, it's impressive and will no doubt enforce our tendency to go on and on about our literary heritage.

Value: A Free Event 
Donations to the Women's Center are always appreciated

Click here to register online or contact the Women's Center
at (985) 892-8111 or  info@womenscenterforhealing.org
to register or for more info

Held in the Great Room
Please enter at side rear door


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KIPP Now Has 65 College Partners with Dillard University being One of Them

One out of every 5 KIPP alumni in college is now enrolled at an official college partner, up from 1 in 8 just one year ago. Our growing number of college partners means there are more schools committed to building programs to support first-generation students all the way through graduation day. And, consider how this changes our students’ college experience: we now have groups of KIPPsters going off to colleges together – arriving on campus and forming support systems for each other. So that means that the 82 KIPPsters at San Jose State University, the 34 at the University of Texas at Austin, the 28 KIPPsters at Dillard University in New Orleans, the 25 KIPPsters at University of Arkansas, the 21 at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the 16 at Spelman College, and the 29 KIPPsters at the University of Pennsylvania can support each other on the climb to and through.

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Dillard to Offer Curriculum in Medical Physics

Written by:

Mona Duffel Jones

Director, Dillard University's Communications and Marketing

November 24, 2014

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) –Dillard University is proud to announce the opening of the Medical Physics concentration under the Physics and Pre-Engineering Program. As a response to the dire need of the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana for qualified and well-trained medical physicists, the curriculum of Medical Physics will prepare students for graduate school and work in several areas of medical physics, including Imaging Medical Physics and Nuclear Medical Physics, according to Dr. Abdalla Darwish, professor of physics at Dillard.

"To my knowledge, Dillard is the only private four-year college in the state to offer a concentration in medical physics," Darwish said. "The skills learned in the Medical Physics Concentration will provide students with the training to safely and properly operate and maintain diagnostic imaging devices, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMRs), ultrasound, and X-rays as well as the ability to analyze the resulting images," Darwish explained. He further noted that Medical Imaging and Ionization Radiation Laboratory Courses will strengthen the already well-established physics curriculum at Dillard and will give students basic hands-on introduction to imaging equipment in the new ionization radiation laboratory.

The Medical Imaging course is a general introduction to the tools and techniques used in medical imaging, the typical imaging devices currently in use, and the underlying Physics involved. In the Ionization Radiation Laboratory Course, radiation, radioisotope techniques, and radioactive tracers will be studied, with emphasis on the safe handling and storage of radioisotopes, in accordance to the various local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

According to the American Institute of Physics, Dillard is ranked as a top producer of African Americans with bachelor’s degrees in physics (2012); and according to the National Science Foundation (2013), among the top 50 colleges whose graduates earn doctorates in the sciences.

For more information on this cutting edge concentration in Medical Physics, please contact Dr. Abdalla Darwish at 504 816 4877.

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Written by:

Mona Duffel Jones

Director, Dillard University's Communications and Marketing

November 24, 2014

(New Orleans) –Dillard University’s Center for Intensive Language (CIEL) welcomed a group of 20 participants from Mexico’s Proyecta program to study the English language over the course of four weeks during Fall 2014. The Proyecta 100,000 Program is an effort by the Mexican government to provide opportunities for its citizens, both students and teachers, to study at institutions of higher education in the United States. The group arrived on November 13 and will depart on Dec. 13.

Dillard is one of the 157 U.S. English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that will host over 7,500 Mexican learners. "The goal of the Mexican Government is to send 100,000 college students and teachers to the U.S.," said Aurea Diab, interim director of the CIEL Program. "We hope this group is the first of many others who will come to Dillard throughout next year".

Over the past two years, Dillard has trained 106 learners in its CIEL program: 48 teachers and 55 students from Brazil and three students from Pakistan.

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Dillard president: TOPS drives inequality more than opportunity, should have income-level cap

The Louisiana Board of Regents recently released a report analyzing the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students from 2003 to 2014. The program, initiated in 1998, had four major objectives. They include promoting success and providing financial incentives. But a key point is to “promote access and success” in postsecondary education. Sadly, TOPS is more of an engine of inequality than it is of opportunity. 

The report analyzes recipients based on a range of demographic factors. The most telling demographic factor impacting TOPS is family income. Most recipients come from families whose household incomes are “significantly higher” than the state median average. The state median average is listed at about $44,000, while the incomes of most recipients range from $70,000 to $100,000.

This is the most important fact of the report because it proves that TOPS rewards students based on the family they were born into rather than the need for an opportunity to attend college. I can’t fathom why we refuse to acknowledge decades of data proving standardized test scores are best correlated by family income.

In July, the ACT released its latest report on college readiness and low-income families. When examining college readiness as measured by ACT scores, in each of the four categories (English, reading, math and science), low-income students, defined by ACT as those from families earning less than $36,000 a year, scored 17 to 20 points below the all-student average in each area. Only 26 percent of all takers were deemed college-ready by ACT, a figure that drops to 11 percent for low-income students.

The report further disaggregated the data by income levels. Sixty-two percent of students from $100,000-plus families and 48 percent of students from $60,000 to $100,000 (the TOPS profile) met three of the four benchmarks for college readiness. The low-income students? Only 20 percent met that level of performance.

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