Louisiana Higher Ed: Dillard set for first graduate program, LSU honors Black trailblazers 

Your weekly update on the higher education news that didn’t make the front page 

By: - December 9, 2022 2:52 pm
Dillard University

Photo courtesy Dillard University

The Louisiana Illuminator takes a weekly look at news from universities and colleges around the state. Have a tip or want to submit a Louisiana Higher Ed news item? Contact [email protected].

Dillard to offer first graduate programs 

Dillard University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer graduate courses toward master’s degrees starting in fall 2023. 

The university intends to start with a master of science in nursing for its first graduate  program. The program is up for approval from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Once granted, the school will be able to offer the degree. 

“For us, the offering of a graduate degree in nursing is a manifestation of Dillard University’s motto: Through Faith, Strength,” Dillard nursing dean Sharon Hutchinson said. “We persevered, and received God’s blessing to begin graduate education and the continuation of the legacy of the Dillard nurse.” 

The university is still considering what other master’s programs to offer. 

Black trailblazers at LSU honored 

The LSU Board of Supervisors unanimously approved naming two schools and a building after three students and a professor who were among the first Black members of the university community. 

The School of Education will be named after Lutrill and Pearl Payne. Lutrill became the first Black graduate student at LSU in 1951 after successfully suing the university. His wife, Pearl, was the first Black woman to earn a master’s degree in education at LSU. 

LSU’s Graduate School will be named for Pinkie Gordon Lane, who became the first Black woman to receive a doctoral degree from LSU in 1967. She later went on to become the first woman to chair Southern University’s English Department, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Louisiana’s first Black poet laureate. 

The Art and Design Building, currently under renovation, will be named for Julian T. White, who in 1983 became LSU’s first black professor. Despite a childhood dream to attend school at LSU, White studied at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as LSU was not yet desegregated. White was also the second Black architect to be licensed by the state. 

Stopping cancer 

Two teams of researchers in Louisiana have received a $670,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. 

The purpose of the grant, which will go to teams at Grambling State and Southern universities, is to prepare minority students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to pursue doctoral degrees. 

The teams will focus on research identifying autophagy genes that cause cancer cells to thrive. 

“We are not attempting to cure cancer, rather, we are attempting to stop cancer,” Waneene C. Dorsey, Grambling’s team lead, said in a press release. 

“I’ve been working on this ever since I got out of school myself,” Dorsey said. “One of the things we are trying to do is to take our students and train them as research scientists. Medical school isn’t for everyone, and it’s the Ph.Ds that teach the med students their first two years in medical school.”


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Piper Hutchinson
Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.