Spellman: About 80 students say ‘thank you’ to benefactor

NEW ORLEANS (April 13, 2017) – More than half the Dillard students who were assisted with their TOPS shortfall this semester submitted a “thank you” letter to philanthropist David Dillard, according to Denise Spellman, director of financial aid and scholarships.

Spellman said about 80 students sent the letters requested by a March 3 deadline.

Dillard, a relative of James Hardy Dillard for whom Dillard University is named, has been a ¨faithful friend and donor” to the school, Spellman said.

University President Walter Kimbrough earlier had said “very generous donors” had covered the $225,000 reduction in TOPS funding for Dillard students this semester. Spellman said Dillard had donated more than $100,000 to the school’s SAFE Fund to help cover the shortfall.

Spellman said when the state made its plans known to cut TOPS funding, the university reached out to the DU family at large.

“An appeal was asked, and donors, including alumni, stepped up and met the call,” she said. “David Dillard, to date, has provided the largest gift to this effort.

Through this effort, the school was able to cover the 42 percent cut that students would have faced this semester after the Louisiana Legislature “front-loaded” TOPS payments in the fall. Dillard had 161 students affected.

(Logan Pugh contributed to this report.)