What is the Dillard University Brand?

With every graduating class Dillard University produces, it is on the verge of creating a new brand for itself. The physical appearance of Dillard’s campus is changing; its students are changing alongside having a new female president and heading in a different direction for the upcoming year. So if someone asked you what the Dillard brand is, what would you say in response? Mark Raymond, a professor of mass communications posed that question to many faculty and staff members and they were clueless as to what the right answer was.


 This question might spark the interest and curiosity of anyone that wanted to find out what he meant by this. With research and determination of one’s mind one might come to find that the Dillard brand was not the logo plastered on every banner, letterhead, folder and sign.


The answer was in fact the current students and alumni are Dillard’s brand. The graduates that Dillard produces are its brand because they are the individuals that market the school to the rest of the world. Current Dillard students let people know what type of school Dillard is and what types of students attend Dillard, according to Raymond. “Dillard’s brand is well qualified and well rounded students that are prepared to go into the world ready and able to compete with the best of them, stated Dewain Lee, director of educational enhancement options.


In July 1, 2006, 355 students graduated from Dillard University at the student’s commencement ceremony on the Avenue of the Oaks. They were the first class to graduate after the events of hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Being that the students at Dillard attended classes up until early July of 2006, many of the students that graduated had to go straight from Dillard into their graduate programs without any form of a vacation.


 Despite all of the obstacles that were placed before them many of the 2006 graduates have gone on in pursuit of careers, graduate programs and professional schools. Lee said, “Although Dillard is relatively small, it still turns out the same number of graduates that attend professional and graduate schools and that enter the workforce. Our students are just as capable as the students that attend larger institutions.”


For example, the valedictorian of the class of 2006, Nekeitha Wade, biology major, is attending Vanderbilt University’s biological/bio medicine doctoral program. Wade along with three other graduates maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout their duration at Dillard Scott Morrella was one of those students. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. Morrella is also one of three Emerging Faculty Fellows, all of which are recent Dillard graduates. Upon completing his term as an Emerging Faculty Fellow in 2008, Morrella plans on earning a master’s degree in development studies and social policy analysis from the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. “I wanted to come back and work with Dillard students because I felt that I received so much from this community. After graduation I knew that I had to leave my contribution to the New Dillard because I had gained so much here,” said Morrella. Stephanie Woods is also an Emerging Faculty Fellow. She stated that she knew she wanted to become an Emerging Faculty Fellow since she was a freshperson at Dillard. She plans on attending a graduate program to receive a PhD in Higher Education Administration, Social Work or Counseling after her Emerging Faculty Fellow contract is up in 2008.


Woods said, “This position will help me further my knowledge of aiding youth and young adults, thereby aiding my future goals of obtaining my PhD and giving back to my alma mater.” Emerging Faculty Fellows is a program at Dillard that helps new students with the transition from high school or other institutions to Dillard University. Faculty Fellows are the advisors for the incoming freshpersons. Most Faculty Fellows have recently graduated from Dillard and want to give back to the student community and help with progress through their first year at Dillard.


William Bradford, a political science major, was accepted into three different law schools which were more than any other graduating political science major. He is now attending Southern University School of Law. Patrice Coleman and Rebecca Rousell, who were both fellow mass communications majors have taken jobs at The Los Angeles Times and The St. Louis Post. Tanika Casson, an accounting major, is now working for Deloitte and Touche, a top accounting firm, with a generous starting salary.


Lee said, “Career services role is to define the student’s career path and help identify who they are and how that affects the career goals and provide basic information to guide the students in the right direction.” The office of career services is at the center of the student’s resource accessibility. They provide information on community service, internships, graduate school programs, test preparation and career guidance to name a few.


       “Being the current SGA president, I interact with many of my peers, many of which do not take advantage of their resources and seek the various opportunities they have in front on them. I will even admit that I didn’t do all I could have in my years at Dillard. But looking back I have accomplished a lot of things and plan of giving back to Dillard after I graduate in May 2007,” said Dominique Hayes, SGA President.


The class of 2007 will walk down the avenue of the oaks in approximately seven months. Many of those students might not have a concrete plan as for what we are going to do after graduation. Maybe it was a lack of seizing the moment and using our resources effectively. Those that have used their resources efficiently have a running start on becoming the brand for the New Dillard brand.


 The class of 2010 has plenty of time to start on the right career path and Career Services is the office to assist with this issue. Not only that, it is a great place to start the networking process.