In 1869, with support from the American Missionary Association of the Congregational Church (now the United Church of Christ) and the Freedman’s Aid Society of the United Methodist Church, Straight University and Normal Schools were founded. They were subsequently renamed Straight College and New Orleans University, respectively.
Gilbert Academy, a secondary school, was a unit of New Orleans University. Straight College operated a law department from 1874 to 1886. In 1889, New Orleans University opened a medical department, including a school of pharmacy and a school of nursing. The medical department was named Flint Medical College and the affiliated hospital was named the Sara Goodridge Hospital and Nurse Training School. The medical college was discontinued in1911, but the hospital, including the nursing school, was continued under the name Flint-Goodridge Hospital. In 1930, New Orleans University and Straight College merged to form Dillard University. The trustees of the new university called for the implementation of a co-educational, interracial school, serving a predominantly African American student body adhering to Christian principles and values. The University was named in honor of James Hardy Dillard, whose distinguished service in the education of African Americans in the South forms an important chapter in the history of American education. The University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ.
Dillard trustees elected to continue the work of the hospital but not that of Gilbert Academy. The latter continued operations as a separate institution under the sponsorship of the Board of Education of the Methodist Church until 1949. The University operated Flint-Goodridge Hospital of Dillard University from 1932 until 1983. In September 1935, on a new site with a new physical plant, Dillard University began instruction. As Dillard celebrates nearly 140 years of challenge and change, the University continues to build on its heritage of academic excellence to guide the institution along new avenues of opportunity.
Dillard University is located in New Orleans, Louisiana, a metropolitan area with a population of 250,000. New Orleans is situated on the Mississippi River, 50 miles above the Gulf of Mexico. The ports along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Baton Rouge comprise the world’s busiest port system.
Known as one of the nation’s most interesting cities, New Orleans is one of the few cities that has managed to maintain a major portion of its historical past. Indeed, the famous Vieux Carre, or French Quarter, is a veritable living museum. New Orleans has an unmatched charm, punctuated by exciting annual events such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. The city also boasts numerous parks, libraries, museums, art galleries, theaters, opera companies, a nationally known symphony orchestra, and the Mercedes Benz Superdome, one of the nation’s premier facilities for sporting and musical events.
The city is home to numerous institutions of higher learning, graduate and professional schools. Moreover, New Orleans is the state’s medical, cultural, banking and judicial center.
Dillard’s convenient location in the Gentilly area, combined with the local transit system, makes access to most places and events easy and economical for students.
Dillard University unites with the surrounding community through scholarship, teaching, civic engagement and service rooted in spiritual values. Graduates of Dillard will be global citizens excelling in a competitive world and committed to the improvement of the human condition.
True to its heritage, Dillard University’s mission is to produce graduates who excel, become world leaders, and are broadly educated, culturally aware, and concerned with improving the human condition. Through a highly personalized and learning-centered approach, Dillard’s students are able to meet the competitive demands of a diverse, global, and technologically advanced society.
To increase the institution’s ranking among the nation’s universities, rebuild a beautiful campus, attract top faculty and recruit the best and the brightest students, the university has set the following goals:
- Dillard University will be a premier private undergraduate university in our region and in the world of Historically Black Universities and Colleges.
- Dillard University will expand selectively into graduate studies, building on our best programs that also represent future projections of workforce needs.
- Dillard University will increase and enhance its commitment to and production of quality, useful research.
- Dillard University will infuse globalization into our curriculum so that it expands its reach to other languages, cultures and countries.
- Dillard University will demonstrate commitment to all students’ success.
- Dillard University will develop student leadership training and enriched educational opportunities outside of the classroom to offer a balanced environment as part of the college experience.
- Dillard University will continue to attract and graduate talented African American students, while welcoming those from a diverse background who can benefit from the unique experience we offer.
- Dillard University will demonstrate commitment to technology as subject matter, a teaching tool and the underpinnings of internal systems that are efficient, reliable and cost-effective.
- Dillard University will show fiscal integrity, with systems of financial and professional accountability and stability.
- Dillard University will be engaged in the revitalization of its home, New Orleans.
- Dillard University will develop and promulgate practices relative to greening of our campus and promotion of environmental sustainability.
- Dillard University will develop a Gulf Coast Public Policy Center.
Four Major Focus Areas
Upon the arrival of the new president on July 1, 2012, Dr. Kimbrough communicated to the university community and its stakeholders that the university would focus on the following four areas as we move to update the University’s strategic plan in 2014:
RECONNECT - reengaging with each other, alumni, community, etc.; embracing the mission, strengthen values
RENEW - recruiting students, faculty & staff
REALIZE - retaining students; reaching optimal performance
REFRESH - obtaining necessary resources