Dillard Students Tyler Finley '24 and Marissa Pittman '24
Campus News

Tyler Finley ’24, Marissa Pittman ’24 selected as 2023 White House Initiative’s HBCU Scholars


August 18,2023
Contact: Victoria Alexis, valexis@webdillard-edu

NEW ORLEANS – Dillard University students Tyler Finley ’24 and Marissa Pittman ’24 were selected to participate in the 2023 White House Initiative’s HBCU Scholars cohort. 

Finley and Pittman were among 102 students from 70 HBCUs nationwide to receive the Initiative’s highest honor based on academic achievements, campus leadership, civic engagement, and entrepreneurial spirit. 

Finley and Pittman will serve as student ambassadors for the Initiative and ensure information, resources, and opportunities are distributed at Dillard University. They are invited to attend the 2023 Annual National HBCU Week Conference workshops designed to hone their skills in leadership and innovation among stakeholders in the private sector, government agencies, and philanthropic organizations. 

Tyler Finley is a senior biology major from Memphis, Tenn. He is a member of Dillard University’s Thompson-Cook Honors Program. Finley’s other activities include the Dillard University Pre-Health Institute Scholar and Code Bleu Pre-Health Academy. His past leadership experience includes Mister Freshman, Senate President Pro-Tempore, and recently, the Vice President of the 87th SGA Administration. As an HBCU Scholar, Finley plans to champion Dillard’s initiatives nationally, utilizing strategic stakeholder engagement.

“As an aspiring healthcare professional destined to make impactful strides, this program will equip me with essential skills and valuable experiences that I can leverage to enhance my professionalism and make a meaningful impact in the medical industry,” he said. 

Marissa Pittman is a senior urban studies and public policy major with a mass communication minor from Memphis, Tenn. She most recently served as the 87th Student Government Association President and the U.S. Lead for the Melton Foundation. Off-campus, she has worked for several community-impact organizations, such as UNCF, Higher Heights for America, and the Emerson Collective. As an HBCU Scholar, Pittman plans to continue to advocate for equity via policy and public service. 

“It is my honor to be a servant leader and a change agent. This opportunity will serve as a catalyst for continued community outreach and an opportunity to demonstrate to young girls that they have the power to shatter glass ceilings and pursue their dreams without limitations,” she said. 

Finley and Pittman will network with other scholars, federal agencies, and private partners throughout the academic school year to showcase individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.

Dillard students selected to participate in the Initiative in previous years included Jerika Edwards ’23, Spencer Jones ’23, and Kalaya Sibley ’23.


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. Founded in 1869, Dillard is Louisiana’s oldest HBCU. Find out more by visiting www.dillard.edu