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Carver Theater to be site of coronation

By John Lawson II, managing editor
On September 27, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (September 26, 2019) – For the second year in a row, the coronation of Mr. and Miss Dillard University will be held at the historic Carver Theater on Orleans Avenue, with the event set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.

This year’s coronation theme is “Sparkling Soiree,” curated by Brianna Thomas, the senior business major from Luling who will reign as the 84th Miss Dillard University. Todd Welch, a senior physics major from St. Louis, will be crowned the 14th Mr. Dillard University during the event, as part of Founder’s Day weekend activities.

Courtney Williams, director of student engagement and leadership, said the positive reviews from last year’s coronation prompted the decision to schedule coronation at the Carver Theater again.

“Last year’s coronation went very smoothly, and we received very good feedback from students, faculty, staff, administration and even alumni about last year’s ceremony,” Williams said. “The Carver Theater is also a black-owned space in a prominent and historic black neighborhood, and this gives students a chance to get off campus, dress up and enjoy themselves.”

The theater, originally built in 1950 as a state-of-the-art theater for New Orleans blacks and named after George Washington Carver, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It reopened in 2014 after an $8 million renovation post-Hurricane Katrina.

Prior to last year, coronation was held at the Civic Theater; before that, it was held on campus in Dent Hall.

The royal court will include:

  • Miss Senior: Nia Randolph, a business major from Memphis, Tenn.
  • Mr. Senior: Anthony Harrell, political science, Washington D.C.
  • Miss Junior: Mishayla Murrell, physics, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Mr. Junior: Mekhi Hayes, vocal performance,Baton Rouge.
  • Miss Sophomore: DeJoan Mitchell, English major, St. Rose.
  • Mr. Sophomore: Terrence Gragg, biology major, St. Louis.
  • Miss Freshman: Chandler McBride, mass communication, Seattle.
  • Mr. Freshman: Spencer Jones, urban studies/public policy, West Memphis, Ark.

This year’s coronation will feature a waltz by the royal court, along with performances from the DU Diamonds and a Concert Choir ensemble. For the first time, a live musical performance is scheduled during Mr. and Miss Dillard’s royal promenade.

Thomas and Welch said they are looking forward to a beautiful night.

“Besides graduation, this is the day I am looking forward to the most this school year,” Thomas said.

Welch said, “Although I have served as Mr. Sophomore and Mr. Junior, this will be the first event my family will be able to come to [coronation]…which makes this night even more special.”

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