Thursday, December 31, 2015

10 Dillard University Notables of 2015: #5 to #2

The countdown continues of memorable moments at Dillard in 2015.

#5 80th anniversary of DU Theater

Dillard has the oldest HBCU theater program in the nation and this year we celebrated our 80th anniversary. For Founder's Day this past October, Dillard alum Garrett Morris was the speaker. He of course got his start in DU Theater, and has gone on to do Saturday Night Live, Martin, Car Wash, and the Jamie Foxx Show.

Current theater students are doing well, with recent performances in local productions of The Color Purple and The Bluest Eye.

#4 Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture

2015 was the year the Ray Charles program finally took off. In 2014 Zella Palmer joined us as the chair of the program and she creatively jumped started a program which was established when Michael Lomax was president. In this past year there have been lectures, conferences, cooking demonstrations, and trips to better understand cooking and food culture. Look for more from this exciting program.

#3 MC Lyte

Lots of colleges and universities like to have celebrities on their boards who lend their names. That's not what MC Lyte has done. With her Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, she has provided scholarships for men to attend Dillard, the first two are freshmen now and she recently made another award on the Steve Harvey Show and two more at the Soul Train Awards.

MC Lyte though is an active trustee. She attends and ACTIVELY participates in board meetings, including conference calls. She offers ideas and suggestions, and shows a genuine interest in the students. She is doing this because this is her passion, and she has brought so much to Dillard. I am personally very thankful for her and her team.

#2 The Million Dollar Man

This year we received the largest, one time gift from an alum- $1 million. I had dinner with Mr. Edwards soon after the gift. He recounted how he attended Dillard due to the generosity of others, and vowed that one day he would do the same. He did. No talk, no fanfare, just action. All HBCUs need more alums who will follow his lead.

I'll share the top memory tomorrow, but you should know the answer which can be given in one word...