Campus News

Helen Harris: A Promise Kept

Dr. April Harris Akinloye, reflecting on the life of her grandmother, Helen Harris, remembered her grandmother’s commitment to support the education of Akinloye’s deceased father, Helen Harris’ only child. That desire to support her son’s education grew over the years to a commitment to help young people access a college education.

“As a dedicated elementary school teacher and counselor, she always pushed her students to do better, to reach their full potential…she felt that all students should have access to a college education, not just those who could afford it.” Stated Akinloye.

In recognition of her generous gifts totaling over $1.5 million, The Office of Institutional Advancement, in cooperation with the Office of the President, Financial Aid, and Legal Affairs unveiled a portrait of the late Mrs. Helen Harris, educator and philanthropist. The portrait is displayed in the lobby of the Office of Financial Aid.

Harris Portrait Unveiling - family pictured with portrait

Akinloye and her family flew to New Orleans from California to attend the unveiling. The donation represents proceeds from a Planned Gift bequeathed to Dillard by the Helen Harris Foundation. The funds will be used primarily to provide financial assistance to remove financial barriers for students who are graduating seniors at Dillard University.

Mr. Rock Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, joined Dr. Monique Guillory, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, and Mrs. Denise Spellman, Director of Financial Aid, in expressing their appreciation. Senior Cabinet members Stephanie Rogers, Executive VP of Institutional Advancement, and Mr. Brendan Greene, Chief Legal Officer, who worked with Dr. April Harris Akinloye to secure the gift, also emphasized the impact the donation would have on students and the University. Other attendees included DUNAA President Ms. Tiffani Moore; Executive Executive VP for Operations and Student Success Dr. Ceeon Quiett-Smith; Mrs. Nichelle Harper O’Conner, Asst. VP for Sponsored Programs; Dr. Kendrick Stewart, Assistant VP for Advancement; and members of the Financial Aid and Advancement teams.

For more information about how to make a planned gift to Dillard, contact members of the IA team at srogers@dillard.edu, kstewart@dillard.edu, or tchase@dillard.edu.


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