Stories from the Oaks

Experience, energy and a legacy to uphold: Meet Dillard’s director of alumni relations

By Danielle Miller,

June 29, 2022

Dillard University has welcomed a new director of alumni relations, Amanda Winfield Buford ‘08. She has infectious, upbeat energy that elevates the atmosphere in any room. I stopped by to chat with my fellow Dillard alumna to learn more about her history and her plans for her new role. 

As I walked into the Alumni House to interview Buford, a nostalgic feeling came over me. There was a scent that most historic homes in New Orleans have, like that of aged wood. I started to think about the many University presidents and their families that lived and made history in this very home and how it means so much to Dillard. As I was escorted to Buford’s office by a staff member, I passed the sunroom that I always wanted to sit in during my Dillard days, the kitchen and that beautiful wooden staircase. We arrived and there she was, Buford sitting behind a desk in a spacious office with hardwood floors, with the blinds closed shut and a fan blowing in her direction. If you’ve ever visited Dillard’s campus in the summer, you know how hot it gets around here, so we relocated to the foyer where it was cooler. We plopped down on the brown sofa and started chatting. It felt comfortable. Her bubbly and energetic personality made it feel like two New Orleans friends catching up at the lake over crawfish and snowballs. As we talked, I couldn’t help but notice how passionate she is about Dillard. She would move to the edge of her seat and her tone increased when she recounted some of her experiences at Dillard. 

She remembers the community at Dillard was unlike anywhere else. “If nobody had an appreciation for Dillard, after Hurricane Katrina, you had an appreciation for Dillard.” After the hurricane, the New Orleans East native transferred to a larger university in Texas. She recalls going to talk to one of her professors about failing a test. She explained that the professor gave her a “crazy” look and politely wrote down the location and hours for a tutoring session for the course. “That day, I said I need my DU back, where teachers would just say if you need me, call me.” Buford said. She wants to maintain that same culture of lending a helping hand with Dillard alumni.

Buford will be responsible for managing the relationship between Dillard and its alumni; planning events and projects that engage alumni; and increasing the University’s social capital by providing tangible opportunities that will benefit Dillard, its alumni and students. This will be an easy task for Buford as she comes from a lineage of Dillard alums that “bleed blue and white.”

Buford’s mother, Sondra Barquet Winfield ‘72, was the 36th Miss Dillard University, a Kappa Sweetheart and was initiated into Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Her father, Arthur J. Winfield Jr. ‘70, was initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and he returned as a faculty member for over 35 years. Her aunt, Jackie W. Gray ‘60, is also a Zeta. Her sisters, Bethany Winfield ‘06 and Kellie Winfield ‘98, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., inspired Buford to continue on the family legacy at Dillard. Buford is also a Delta and earned a Bachelor of Arts in accounting with a minor in management and finance. 

Buford’s family legacy and personal experiences at Dillard gave her a space to learn about the past, and her new role as director of alumni relations will help her better understand the present to clarify a vision for the future. Having worked as an alumni coordinator and alumni communications director at her high school alma mater, Warren Easton, Buford brings over seven years of experience to this position.“I want to make sure that I serve and make DU proud. I am proud of Dillard and I want them to be proud of me,” said Buford.