The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


    Denzel Washington Visits Dillard

    Amid a hectic movie shoot schedule and flying back to see his family, Denzel Washington spent an hour with Dillard students and faculty sharing thoughts, life lessons and experiences.


    At 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, eager students and faculty filled the Napoleon Ballroom to get a chance to chat with the legendary actor Denzel Washington. Attendees got more than they expected from Washington and students alike.


    “I’m a huge fan of [Denzel] and I’m interested to hear what he has to say,” said Britini Hill, a sophomore International Business major from Shreveport, La. “I think it’s cool that he chose to come speak to us.”


    But that left a looming question in the air; why is Denzel Washington visiting Dillard?


    “I’m not sure why Denzel came but I’m sure that he wants to see how the students are doing,” said Isaiah Stewart, a senior Political Science major from Richmond, Calif. ” The media puts up a façade. To really find out what is going on you have to see it for yourself.”


    And Washington got a first hand look. He is currently in New Orleans filming his newest movie “Dejà Vu.”


    The movies is about an ATF agent that travels back in time to save a woman from being murdered and falls in love with her during the process.


    According to, the movie went through pre-production in New Orleans. Just weeks before production was to begin, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Finally, three months after the hurricane, the film returned to New Orleans and began pre-production once again.


    But most students weren’t interested in Washington’s upcoming film.

    “I know its being filmed here, but I really want to hear him talk about New Orleans,” said Hill.


    When Washington entered the room he was greeted with flashing cameras along with the screams of students, faculty and teachers.


    “I didn’t go crazy but I was happy to see him,” said Marquina Watts, a freshman Nursing major from Chicago. “I’ve never met an actor like Denzel. I was honored to see him”


    Senior Mass Communications major Rebecca Roussell moderated the question and answer session.


    Washington expressed the thoughts and feelings that ran through his head after seeing the devastation left behind after Hurricane Katrina. Two days prior, he stopped by Dillard’s campus to survey the damage.


    “My visit has been good. Its been educational, inspiring, shocking and a testament to the will of the people,” said Washington. “A story of their spirit. God is good.”   


    Dillard University staff participated in the discussion. Most were impressed by Washington and his comments.


    “It’s a very positive thing for Denzel Washington to visit our school,” said Dewain Lee, director of Dillard University Career Services. “It shows them that people care and want to help [Dillard]. They want to see how we’re doing.”


    Washington took his support for Dillard to a national level by sporting a Dillard University baseball cap in his new movie. He later mentioned that he donated money to the school. The amount has not been disclosed yet.


    Throughout the session various questions probed Washington’s thoughts about Hollywood, spiritual life, philanthropy and the future of African American artists.


    “God is the key to my success. Not my boss, friends or even my family,” said Washington, as he touched on the importance of maintaining a healthy spiritual life.


    When students asked for advice on becoming an actor, Washington told them to “stay on the stage” because the best acting starts in the theatre.


    Soon the topic changed to the New Orleans Mayoral Election. One student wanted to know Washington’s view on the growing controversy.

    “I believe the election shouldn’t go on if displaced citizens aren’t allowed to vote,” said Washington.


    No topic was off limits. Roussell brought up the recent debate over African Americans and the Oscar Awards. Many African Americans were enraged when Washington and fellow actress Halle Berry received awards for the controversial roles they played.


    Washington addresses this question by saying that many awards are given as make-up awards for the ones actors should have received. But he reminded the audience that, “man gives awards, but God gives rewards.”


    Senior Political Science/Urban Studies major Theodore George took the opportunity to present Denzel Washington with a poem he wrote titled "Man On Fire" as a tribute to the actor’s career. To George’s surprise, he was invited on stage to perform his poem for the audience.

    George proceeded to steal the spotlight as he read his poem, which alluded to many of the movies that Washington starred in throughout his career.


    As the session came to close Washington gave a word of advice for all students. “The decisions you make early in life will influence how you are viewed later in life,” he said.


    Current SGA president, Cortez Watkins, along with Ms. Dillard, Christy Malbrew, presented Washington with a Dillard University sweater.

    “His visit inspired students and also increased school pride,” said Malbrew. “We wanted to give him a gift so that he would always remember Dillard, and be able to keep Dillard close to his heart.”


     Slide Show: Denzel Washington Visits Dillard



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