New president gives insight on upcoming school year

Dr. Marvalene Hughes will take office on July 1 as Dillard University’s first female president elect. Hughes is currently finishing one chapter in her life as president and professor of psychology at California State University Stainislaus. She is the wife of Dr. David Brinks and they reside in Modesto, Calif. They also have three adult sons.

Recently, Dr. Marvalene Hughes sat down to chat about some concerns Dillard students may have as told to the Courtbouillon’s managing editor, Rebecca K. Roussell.


Question: What attracted you to Dillard University?

Answer: Dillard represents, first of all, a long standing history of educational excellence among HBCUs. In my judgment it always distinguished itself. As you know I am a product of Tuskegee University and even when I chose to go there, I was very interested in Dillard-But I knew about Dillard then because it always had a very solid reputation; it was like a treasure that had been established with a legacy that is longer than any of us can imagine, and so I have never had anything other than the highest regards for Dillard University. It is a very impressive university and once you get inside it is even more impressive. I think it does not necessarily know how good it is, and that is one of the things we need to spend some time sort of revitalizing-all of the quality that is internal to this university and instilling a since of internal pride about that quality.


Q: What are some of your plans to help with the first decline in enrollment in about seven years?

A: I would not consider this to be a definite trend that we must immediately react to; I don’t want to overreact to that. What I do want to do is ensure that we have in place a solid plan for the future that will address that shortfall and prevent that shortfall in the future.

Q: Students are also concerned about visibility and availability. They want to make sure that you will be as visible as possible on campus. In the past, presidents have had sessions where they meet and chat with the students. Is this an activity that will continue once you take office and how available are you willing to make yourself to the student body?

A: My staff back in California and other places where I have been in retrospect will tell you that I am accessible to a fault, especially to students. I am just accessible, and even if I am in a meeting, unless it is a formal meeting, I will come out to the person and say that I am sorry I will have to come and see you another time. Also, I have routine activities that I plan with students.