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Campus News, Newsletter

Dillard University Awarded $80K from Department of Energy for Clean Energy Solutions

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Dillard University with its second prize this year in recognition of its commitment to advancing clean energy solutions. According to their website, “The SOLVE IT Prize looks to promote the commercialization of promising energy technologies that will lead to an equitable and just energy transition.”

The Phase 1 $80,000 award is a testament to Dillard University’s commitment to the local community.  It supports collaboration for community-scale planning, fostering engagement and building a support network for clean energy or decarbonization projects. This initiative is a significant step towards implementing these projects and making a positive impact on the community.

Chief Transformation Officer and Chief of Staff Dr. Charles Prince and Director of Sustainability Kem Opperman-Torres were critical  in establishing the partnership with Opportunity HUB (OHUB) to secure this funding. OHUB has been a strategic partner on campus providing startup master classes, an immersive boot camp, and investment capital for students, faculty, founders, and the greater New Orleans community. 

“Dillard is living its vision of being a “Communiversity,” said Charles Prince. “The value, economic development, and cultural impact that Dillard University will bring over the next five years to the Southeast Louisiana Region will be unmatched by any other university in the region.”

This work further supports Dillard’s focus on clean energy programming. The prize will build on the work of the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize ($100K), in which Dillard is partnering with Xavier University, Tulane University, and Delgado Community College to spread awareness of clean energy opportunities in the region. Dillard has also partnered with GNO, Inc. to create a clean energy workforce certification program that will be launched later this year. 

“We are pleased that the Department of Energy recognizes Dillard as a clean energy catalyst and is supporting our work with additional prize funding,” said Kem Opperman-Torres. “OHUB will bring innovative ideas and applications to the SOLVE IT prize process to benefit our community.”

“OHUB is excited about the traction Dillard University is gaining in the climate technology and new energy ecosystem,” says Dr. Rodney Sampson, Executive Chairman & CEO. “Our team on the ground is excited to be a part of the vision advancing this part of the university’s curriculum and programming for students, facility, and the larger ecosystem.”

About Dillard University

Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private, faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs Ranked 5th on 2021 The New York Times Overall Mobility Index and 14th in 2022 by Academic Influence for Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship, Dillard’s call to future leaders is to Write Your Legacy. Find out more about Louisianan’s oldest HBCU by visiting

About OHUB

Opportunity Hub (OHUB), co-founded in 2013 in Atlanta, GA by Rodney and Shanterria Sampson as a follow-up to the highly successful Kingonomics’ conferences in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC grew to become the largest Black-owned multi-campus entrepreneurship center and technology hub in the United States definitively focused on diversity, inclusion and equity as a business development and investment thesis for the upskilling of in-demand technical talent, new high growth company building and innovative capital formation as a path to creating shared prosperity and multi-generational wealth creation for everyone, everywhere in the future of work, fourth industrial revolution and beyond. Each year, thousands of people learn, engage, build & work via the OHUB ecosystem. Learn more about how OHUB is leading the charge to build an inclusive climate tech ecosystem in South Louisiana at OHUB x NOLA and join the conversation by joining the OHUB x NOLA Ecosystem Channel.


Dillard University will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth and will reopen on Thursday, June 20, at 8 a.m.