Sometimes world events affect the education of the heart and spark immediate responses in a manner that classroom instruction cannot. Such was the case of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina totally devastated Dillard University August 29, 2005. Like you, our students had just arrived with excitement about the beginning of the fall semester and the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead of them.
Soon after the storm hit New Orleans and the flood waters began to rise, I knew that our challenges were much larger. I watched our city and our campus battle the flood waters, raging fires and winds. My heart ached, but my head told me to act swiftly.
Calls and letters began to come in from colleges and universities across the country including President Donna E. Shalala’s letter from the University of Miami. Like you, she is familiar with hurricanes and she expressed genuine concern and compassion for us. For those words of comfort I will be forever grateful. She did not stop there. She inquired about our needs and wondered what the University could do to help.
To my surprise and delight I recently received a letter which indicated that students at the University of Miami had collected $40,000.00 for the students at Dillard University. It was special that students launched a fundraiser on campus and that they walked through aisles at the Orange Bowl to collect money for hurricane relief.
Thank you for adopting Dillard University as your Hurricane Katrina relief partner. My heart is filled with joy and pleasure as I reflect upon your kind spirit and generosity. You exude the qualities which we need of future generations to lead our world in humanitarianism. For this, we are very grateful. The administrators, faculty and staff should be proud of your nobleness.
On behalf of the students at Dillard University I sincerely thank you for your generosity. I am so grateful to each of you for this financial support. More importantly, I applaud you for displaying qualities that represent the compassion and civic engagement indicative of caring citizens of this country and the world.
Marvalene Hughes, Ph.D.
President, Dillard University