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Patti LaBelle to headline Dillard University Founding Anniversary Celebration

NEW ORLEANS DATA NEWS WEEKLY — To mark its 150th founding anniversary, Dillard University will welcome singer Patti LaBelle as its featured performer for its gala event on May 11. The Grammy-award winning artist, actress, and entrepreneur will perform at the event, which also serves as a fundraiser for students attending this historically black university. The gala at the Hyatt Regency downtown will recognize the university’s contribution to the city, and work to sustain its legacy.

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Patti LaBelle

By Mark Veals

To mark its 150th founding anniversary, Dillard University will welcome singer Patti LaBelle as its featured performer for its gala event on May 11. The Grammy-award winning artist, actress, and entrepreneur will perform at the event, which also serves as a fundraiser for students attending this historically black university. The gala at the Hyatt Regency downtown will recognize the university’s contribution to the city, and work to sustain its legacy.

“For me, Dillard is an integral part of the history of New Orleans. It was built by a diverse coalition of local and out of state citizens,” said Walter Kimbrough, Dillard’s president.

“It has been supported by two religious denominations. It provided the state’s first nursing program. It has a unique location in a residential community important in building the black middle class of the city. So, all of those factors help build the legacy,” Kimbrough said.

It is not the first time LaBelle has brought her philanthropy to help the local university. A decade ago, she headlined their 140th anniversary fundraiser. LaBelle will be joined by Hip Hop artist Lana Michelle Moorer, also known as MC Lyte, who serves as a Dillard Board Trustee member, and will also be the host of the event. The proceeds of the gala fundraiser support the university’s Student Assistance for Financial Emergencies (SAFE) fund that helps retain students most at-risk of not completing their degrees because they could not pay their outstanding balances. Since its inception, the SAFE Fund has so far helped 300 students to remain enrolled at Dillard and over 100 students have graduated.

“While there is federal, state and institutional aid available, sometimes a [financial] gap still exists because funding runs out. SAFE is used to help make up that difference so that students can persist and ultimately graduate from Fair Dillard,” said David D. Page, Dillard’s vice president of Enrollment Management. “The support of our alumni, family/friends, and donors is critical and ultimately makes this happen.”

The gala will also pay tribute to past university presidents, campus life, and more. Additionally, distinguished alumni will be honored at the gala. The honorees include: Dr. Millie Charles, recipient of the Dave Dennis Lifetime Achievement Award which is presented to an alumnus who has exhibited significant achievement in their career or community. Michael Griffin, the recipient of the Henry ‘Plook’ Lucas Service Award, which is awarded to an alumnus who has exhibited significant leadership through service to his/ her Alma Mater. Warren Jones, the recipient of the Justice Revius O. Ortique Professional Excellence Award, which honors an alumnus who has attained high achievement in his/her career field. Crystal McDonald, the recipient of the Young Alumni Award, which recognizes established and future leaders among Dillard’s young alumni or those who have demonstrated such during their first 15 years as an alumnus. Lastly, Dorothy Perrault, the recipient of the Frank Mason Leadership Award, which honors an alumnus who has been a momentous supporter of Dillard University.

“Today we are focused on ensuring that we contribute not just locally but globally in a range of areas. This means continuing to be a leading producer of physics graduates, to continue to develop a hands-on film program, as well as address the dearth of people of color in the legal community.” “We definitely aren’t simply interested in celebrating 150 phenomenal years; we are essentially launching a new era of creative innovation,” Kimbrough said.

Both Hyatt Regency and WDSU Channel 6 will sponsor the event and the public can find out my information at http://bit.ly/du150gala

This article originally appeared in the New Orleans Data News Weekly

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. David Louis Whitehea

    David Louis Whitehea

    April 28, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    @MsPattiPatti @du1869 @ladatanews @NNPA_BlackPress The world of Patti LaBelle!

  2. ava coleman

    May 7, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Its really too bad that the tickets are all sold, is there another way to get in besides that?
    I really want to see her & many others awwwwwwwe!

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HBCU

Feds Give Morgan State U. $1.5M Grant for STEM Programs

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced Friday more than $1.5 million in federal grant funding for Morgan State University to foster its STEM-related programs. The grant, to be administered over a three-year period through the National Science Foundation, will fund innovative ways to train MSU faculty to better engage learning among undergraduate and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

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Courtesy of morgan.edu

Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced Friday more than $1.5 million in federal grant funding for Morgan State University to foster its STEM-related programs.

The grant, to be administered over a three-year period through the National Science Foundation, will fund innovative ways to train MSU faculty to better engage learning among undergraduate and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

The grant is also the latest federal support for the university’s STEM programs.

“STEM education is the key to Maryland’s modern innovation economy, and one of the best ways to expand the opportunities for students in STEM fields is by providing more chances for undergraduate students to receive hands-on learning,” said Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “This grant award recognizes Morgan State’s record in educating African American students and will provide Morgan with the ability to deepen its range of already high-quality STEM offerings. Ongoing federal investments like these are critical to increasing the diversity of our nation’s STEM fields.”

Van Hollen said that in addition to hands-on learning being more fun for students, it’s proven to increase their retention and knowledge.

“This funding will help teachers across the country combine this proven technique with STEM education programs, and it will help better prepare our students for the jobs of the future,” said Van Hollen, member of the Senate’s budget and appropriations committees. “This is an exciting opportunity that puts Morgan State at the forefront of this work, which will benefit our students, our communities, and ultimately our economy. I will continue working to support STEM education and secure funding in Congress to prepare our children for future success.”

In May, the two Democratic senators also applauded the award of $1.25 million for MSU to broaden opportunities for African American students in STEM fields.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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HBCU

UnitedHealth Invests $8M to Educate, Train Minority Data Scientists

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University are among historically Black institutions poised to receive funding for analytics and data science training through an $8.25 million investment by UnitedHealth Group.

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Dave Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group (Courtesy of unitedhealthgroup.com)

Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University are among historically Black institutions poised to receive funding for analytics and data science training through an $8.25 million investment by UnitedHealth Group.

The five-year funding initiative will help Atlanta University Center Consortium Data Science Initiative improve education in health care analytics at historically black colleges and universities.

“Many universities have refocused existing programs or developed new efforts to respond to the need for this, yet these responses are still insufficient based on projected demand,” AUCC Executive Director Todd Greene said in a statement. “The UnitedHealth Group funding will help to establish the base for this broad initiative, including hiring an accomplished director.

“Through UnitedHealth Group internships, guest lectures, faculty development opportunities and other joint efforts, our students will greatly benefit from this partnership with the world’s largest managed health care company,” Greene said.

UnitedHealth, which notes that job openings for data experts in the U.S. will exceed more than 2.7 million by next year, also emphasized that the investment is aimed at continuing to develop a 21st-century health workforce that can develop “personalized, culturally competent care, particularly in underserved communities.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer.

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Afro

Howard Leads HBCU Awards

THE AFRO — Howard University is leading with 12 finalist nominations in the 2019 HBCU Awards.  Presented by HBCU Digest, the HBCU Awards are the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievements at history Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

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Howard University led with 12 finalist nominations for the 2019 HBCU Awards presented by the {HBCU Digest}, including President Wayne A.I. Frederick, pictured in the suit, who was nominated for Best Male President. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]

Howard University is leading with 12 finalist nominations in the 2019 HBCU Awards.  Presented by HBCU Digest, the HBCU Awards are the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievements at history Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Known as “The Mecca,” or “Black Ivy” some of Howar’s nominations include College of the Year, Male President of the Year, Best Student Government Association (SGA) and Best Board of Trustees.

“It is fitting for Howard University to lead this year’s sterling panel of nominees,” said HBCU Digest Founding Editor Jarrett Carter according to a press release.  “They had an extraordinary academic year highlighted with several individual and collective accomplishments that represented the best of America’s flagship historically black institution, and the spirit of the HBCU mission at large. The Howard community and the District of Columbia should take great pride in HU’s work this year.”

All winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalists, HBCU executives, students and alumni.

President Wayne A.I. Frederick, who is nominated for Best Male President of the Year, weighed in on the accomplishments.

“It is an honor to receive 12 nominations in the 2019 HBCU Awards,” he said.  “HBCUs produce many of the best and brightest scholars and these nominations reflect the hard work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to embody Howard University’s mission of Truth and Service.”

Howard’s full nominations include:

Best Research Center– Howard University Data Science and Cybersecurity Center

Best Business Program – Howard University School of Business

Best Social Work Program – Howard University School of Social Work

Best Student Newspaper – The Hilltop

Best SGA– Howard University Student Association

Female Student of the Year – Jaylin Paschal, immediate past editor of The Hilltop

Female Faculty of the Year – Keneshia Grant, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science

Alumna of the Year – Ezinne Kwubiri, H&M head of Inclusion and Diversity, North America

Alumnus of the Year – Charles D. King, MACRO founder and CEO

Male President of the Year – Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA

Board of Trustees of the Year – Howard University Board of Trustees

HBCU of the Year – Howard University

The actual awards ceremony will be held on Friday, August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in downtown Baltimore.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Black History

369th Experience Band Ties HBCU Musicians to WWI Black History

VOICE AND VIEWPOINT — In 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles ended WWI, two years after the U.S. entered the fight with France and Great Britain against Germany, 44 Black colleges existed. Today, 100 years later, there are 101 public and private HBCUs, and they and their students are playing an important part in reclaiming the role African American soldiers and artists played in that conflict.

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By Leonard E. Colvin

In 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles ended WWI, two years after the U.S. entered the fight with France and Great Britain against Germany, 44 Black colleges existed.

Today, 100 years later, there are 101 public and private HBCUs, and they and their students are playing an important part in reclaiming the role African American soldiers and artists played in that conflict.

Thanks to the United States World War I Centennial Commission, Coca Cola and the network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), a band of 42 accomplished musicians from HBCUs are traveling around the country playing the sounds of the 369th Infantry Regimental Band that made its mark in history during WWI and WWII.

The old wartime regimental band was reincarnated four years ago in the form of the 369th Experience. Most of the new band’s 42 members are current students or pending graduates of the HBCUs.

Its namesake, the 369th Infantry Regimental Band of WWI and WWII, used musical instruments and its artists with a flair for Jazz, originated by African Americans, to establish its legacy, and introduce the art form to the Europeans.

The WWI band was formed to accompany the 369th Infantry Regiment, a group of Black fighting troops. Its assignment was to boost the morale of the Black troops comprising the 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment and commonly referred to as the Harlem Hellfighters.

The Black soldiers in the field fought valiantly with their grit and guns to help the allies win WWI and show that Black men could fight for freedom.

The accompanying band was led by and composed of established musical professionals. In the process of performing their assignment, they also exported Jazz music,crafted by African Americans to the allied nations.

One of the band’s leaders, James Reese Europe was a respected artist in Harlem music circles before he was assigned to the military band. He went on to direct the regimental band to great acclaim.

In February and March 1918, James Reese Europe and his military band traveled over 2,000 miles in France, performing for British, French and American military audiences as well as French civilians. Europe’s “Hellfighters” also made their first recordings in France for the Pathé brothers.

According to the key organizers of the current project involving HBCU students, The 369th Experience is designed to introduce people of all cultures, especially the band members, to the band’s legacy and the role it and the fighting soldiers of the 369th played in WWI.

Also, a goal is to use the band to display the Jazz music art form to audiences domestically and abroad.

It is taking place at a time when HIP-HOP and Neo-soul are overshadowing Jazz as an art form among Black people, despite efforts since the 1970s, to repackage Jazz as a popular and “profitable” genre of music to the masses.

“We chose HBCU band students because we knew we would get the best students in terms of music and marching formation!” said Stephany B. O’Neal, publicity director for the outfit.  “We had to use HBCUs to even come close to representing the Harlem Hellfighters and James Reese Europe.

“This is a totally historic event,” she continued. “Bringing the Harlem Hellfighters full circle.  They won all kinds of awards from the French and totally changed the music industry in Europe.

“Like the Black soldiers who fought on the battlefield, after the war, the band suffered many slights, despite the respect the French soldiers and later the governments bestowed upon them,” O’Neal said.

She said after the war, in Paris, France, the band was not allowed to join in the victory parade with the Americans when they marched down the Champs Elysees.

To right that wrong, plans are in the works for the 369th Experience Band to travel to Versailles, France at the upcoming International observance of the Centennial of the signing of the Treaty which ended WWI.

During the 2019 Memorial Day Weekend, in conjunction with New York’s annual Fleet Week Observance, the band performed at Rockefeller Center, Marcus Garvey Park, the Liberty Park, and in New Jersey at Harlem One Stop, a historical site.

The effort to recreate the 369th Infantry Regimental Band was launched in 2013.

After the plea was made before the House Appropriation Committee, it took several years before funding for the project was first submitted.

The U.S. Army School of Music, and their PR Personnel, Noble Sissle, Jr., son of one of the original band members, and O’Neal, even before the funding was secured, hammered together the framework andfoundation of the band’s operation.

They developed the audition criteria, auditioned the students online, hired a band leader who worked at Ohio State and once all the students were selected, began rehearsing.

“We could not get all the students in one place to rehearse and engage them,” said O’Neal, “so we did it online and in sections and we had some problems. But Coke funded a better online conferencing system, so we managed to do a lot of work even before the band members and directors met each other in person.”

Although there were 65 members of the original 365th Infantry Regimental Band, currently there are 42 members from HBCUs and 1 historically white school.

Prairie View, Florida A&M and Southern University, all southern HBCUs, have the most representatives on the band.

Eventually, the band’s membership will be expanded to 65, O’Neal said. She said that recruiting for future membership is ongoing. She said HBCU veteran band members alert and recruit band members from their respective schools to apply to be a member.

People who are interested should go to the 369th website to apply for an audition, O’Neal said.

This article originally appeared in the Voice and Viewpoint

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Commentary

COMMENTARY: Meharry’s Juul grant is good news

FLORIDA COURIER — Should Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College (HBCU) established in 1876 in Nashville, have accepted $7.5 million from Juul Labs, the controversial e-cigarette company that provides an alternative to smoking tobacco? Meharry says it will use the grant, the second-largest it has ever received, to study public health issues and African Americans, including the health effects of tobacco products. They will establish a Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health and according to its president, Dr. James Hildreth, “begin conducting fully-independent research into the health conditions and issues related to tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.”

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Photo by: mmc.edu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Should Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College (HBCU) established in 1876 in Nashville, have accepted $7.5 million from Juul Labs, the controversial e-cigarette company that provides an alternative to smoking tobacco?

Meharry says it will use the grant, the second-largest it has ever received, to study public health issues and African Americans, including the health effects of tobacco products. They will establish a Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health and according to its president, Dr. James Hildreth, “begin conducting fully-independent research into the health conditions and issues related to tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.”

Should have passed?

Critics say that Meharry has made a deal with the devil since African American people smoke more and have a higher death rate from tobacco-related illnesses than other racial and ethnic groups. They think Meharry should have passed on the Juul donation because they don’t believe that the historically Black Meharry can’t take Juul’s money and continue to make a difference in Black lives.

I say nonsense! Juul will not be dictating the topics or terms of research with Meharry. Dr. Hildreth, who has been determined to increase the amount of research that Meharry students are doing, says the college approached Juul, not the other way around – and they did it with their eyes wide open.

He says he is confident that the new research center Meharry will establish will be independent of Juul. They won’t have input to the research topics that Meharry tackles, nor will they determine the course or direction of research.

A pause

Most medical colleges, including Meharry, turn down contributions from tobacco companies. As Meharry and Juul were exploring the possibility of the donation, Altria, a tobacco company, acquired 35 percent of Juul. Should that have killed the deal?

It caused Meharry to pause. But eventually, they decided to accept the money because they believe they can use it for the greater good. I agree.

President Hildreth has been a biomedical researcher for more than 36 years. In a letter to the Meharry community, he reminded them that “The bodies of Black Americans have historically been the subject of scientific experimentation with no control on our part. If it takes an unorthodox partnership to change that dynamic, then let the research begin.”

Government approval

I can’t read that part of Hildreth’s letter without thinking of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, where the federal government-funded research on the effects of untreated syphilis on Black men. Medicine to cure syphilis was withheld from the men in the experiment. The federal government did this!

The commercial use of Black bodies included the harvesting (and reproduction) of the cells of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose DNA is still being used today for medical research. And, when we think of experiments on Black bodies, one must think of the odious J. Marion Sims, who was called the “father of modern gynecology.” He earned his fame by conducting painful experiments on enslaved women. Thank goodness New York City removed his statue from Central Park!

Meharry doesn’t aim to hurt the six million African Americans who are smokers or to profit from them. They aim to have a seat at the research table, a place from which Black researchers, and Black research institutions, have often been excluded.

Juul’s contribution allows Meharry to pull up a chair to the research table and participate in the scientific inquiry about the health effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products – critical investigation given the fact that African Americans are more likely to die from tobacco-related illnesses than others.

Some questions

Dr. Hildreth’s letter to the Meharry community outlines several research questions. What is the long-term impact of e-cigarettes? Does vaping cause developmental health issues? Are vaping devices effective as smoking reduction or cessation devices?

Will laws prohibiting tobacco sales for those under 21 improve health outcomes? San Francisco recently passed legislation outlawing the sale of vaping devices. How effective are such laws? These are questions worth answering through research.

From where I sit, Meharry should have negotiated for a much more substantial contribution from Juul, and perhaps they will. After all, according to Dr. Hildreth, the tobacco industry “has taken our money and delivered sickness and death in return.

“We at Meharry intend to advance the fight for better health and longer life by turning that insidious relationship on its head.”

The right thing

Bravo, Dr. Hildreth. If Meharry’s research can help us learn more about addiction, and if the research can be used for tobacco use prevention, then Meharry is doing the right thing. I don’t see others lining up to fund Meharry’s research, and fundraising for HBCUs is extremely challenging.

I look forward to the work that the Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health will produce.


Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. Her latest book, “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy,” is available at www.juliannemalveaux.com. Click on this commentary at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier.

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Florida Courier

‘Next Generation Legal Summit’ motivates Orlando students

FLORIDA COURIER — Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law hosted its first “Next Generation Legal Summit” on July 1 at the law school. About one dozen Jones High School students participated in the one-day summit where they explored the legal system and learned how laws are made.

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Students from Jones High School in Orlando visit the law school.

By The Florida Courier

Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law hosted its first “Next Generation Legal Summit” on July 1 at the law school. About one dozen Jones High School students participated in the one-day summit where they explored the legal system and learned how laws are made.

In addition, participants were exposed to the various careers within the legal field. They also gained in-depth information on knowing their rights and how to effectively face tough situations.

“The Next Generation Legal Summit” also consisted of a mock trial where students practiced courtroom roles, critical thinking, writing and communications skills.

“FAMU Law believes in giving back to the community by motivating local students to achieve their full potential,” said FAMU Law Interim Dean Nicky Boothe Perry. “Spending the day around FAMU Law professors and administrators, touring the campus, and learning the law school’s history are all important parts of the students’ career growth and development.”

For more information about the FAMU College of Law, visit law.famu.edu.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier

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