Campus News

School of Humanities receives support from the Southern Education Foundation to expand liberal arts education with grant from the Teagle Foundation

Dillard University Humanities students and Inspiring Health Justice residences William Shelton (English), Karen Grant-Anderson (Music), Nailah Starks (English) and Zaria Ivory (Music) pose after presenting their own poetry and prose and perform song and dance – inspired by their discussions about historic race, social, and health inequities, at an Inspiring Health Justice event in the Student Union on April 22, 2022. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)

July 15, 2022
Contact: Danielle Miller,

NEW ORLEANS — Dillard University is one of five HBCUs that received coaching and technical assistance from the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) in the cohort that worked together to secure a 225K grant from the Teagle Foundation. The grants are designed to strengthen and advance liberal arts education. 

The Teagle Foundation granted funds to SEF to support the five HBCUs’ goal of strengthening student learning through the humanities and transformative texts, including works of literature that have transformed the world and continue to power discussion in college classrooms. 

The cohort of five institutions will also work together in a unique partnership allowing collaboration across curriculums as well as an opportunity to share unique aspects of each school’s culture.

The five schools included in the pilot project include: 

  • Clark Atlanta University (Georgia) 
  • Dillard University (Louisiana)
  • Norfolk State University (Virginia)
  • Tuskegee University (Alabama) 
  • Virginia Union University (Virginia)

The grant will support Dillard’s new certificate program, “Dillard University: Where the Humanities Meet STEM,” in order to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the vital role that arts and humanities play in all fields of study. Incoming Dillard students will be able to select core courses in the program, which will create a lasting relationship between the sciences and humanities, one of the core tenets of the University dating back to its foundation. 

The Teagle Foundation believes that all students, regardless of major, should have an opportunity to experience the liberal arts. The arts help foster humility, curiosity, empathy, and a concern for others while strengthening an informed participation in the democratic process and effective citizenship.

“The Teagle Foundation is delighted to collaborate with SEF and five distinguished institutions in fostering a humanistic education that will help prepare students for thoughtful leadership in the years to come,” says Andrew Delbanco, president of the Teagle Foundation. 

“These grants illustrate the need for all disciplines to experience the importance of the humanities to achieve a well-rounded education,” said Raymond C. Pierce, president and CEO of SEF. “Historical knowledge and collaborative learning allow for more critical thinkers and effective leaders. SEF’s support allows the five schools selected to share curriculum ideas and strategies,” Pierce added.

The critical thinking skills and historic knowledge that comes with an educational focus on the humanities inspired SEF to launch the Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone Initiative. This initiative supported the participating HBCUs that applied for the Teagle Foundation’s “Cornerstone: Learning for Living” grants. 

SEF’s “Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone Initiatives” is advised by SEF Research Fellows Joyce King, Ph.D., Benjamin E. Mays, endowed chair for Urban Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at Georgia State University and Everett B. Ward, Ph.D., former president of Saint Augustine’s University.

About the Southern Education FoundationOriginally founded in 1867 to educate Black children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) also has a long history of developing leaders in education and was a pivotal source of research and data to support legislation and litigation aimed at fighting inequity in education during the civil rights era. The organization today conducts leadership development, research, and advocacy to improve educational opportunities for students of color and students from low-income families and achieve educational equity in the southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Find out more at


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. Founded in 1869, Dillard is Louisiana’s oldest HBCU, born from the union of Straight College and New Orleans University. Find out more by visiting