The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


 Dillard University’s 2024 Commencement: A Story of Resilience 

Dillard University

Dillard University held its Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11, on the Rosa Freeman Keller Avenue of Oaks, marking the beginning of a new chapter for over 200 of the institution’s latest alumni. The ceremony was a jubilant affair that paid tribute to the graduating class of 2024  for their unwavering spirit in conquering the unique and formidable challenges they encountered, ranging from the unprecedented trials of COVID-19 to the resilience-testing adversity of hurricanes and power outages.

Rochester Anderson ’84, First Vice Chair for the Board of Trustees, set the tone for the event by acknowledging the remarkable journey of the class of 2024. His encouragement and pride resonated with the graduates as he lauded their achievements and resilience. Anderson warmly welcomed the graduates into the esteemed Dillard family, underlining the enduring support and camaraderie they would carry beyond the university’s gates.

” Class of 2024 – you should be extremely proud of yourselves. You made it! Give yourselves a round of applause! Your life will always be filled with challenges. Rest assured, however, that armed with your Dillard degree, you will leave the Oaks prepared to live our mission to make the world a better place. I am honored to welcome you into the elite Dillard family tree, whose branches extend far and wide. Know that no matter where you go, you have the support of your fellow Bleu Devils,” Anderson said to the sea of graduates.

During her address, Senior Class Representative Sanaa Bradley ’24 reflected on the remarkable resilience displayed by her peers.

“COVID took so much from us, our loved ones, our freedom, how we interact, and most of all, our graduation. But through strength, determination, prayer, and other things, we have made it here today, and I couldn’t be more excited!”

Commencement Speaker Ayo Davis ’98 delivered the graduating class a powerful message of faith and possibility. Reflecting on the transformative impact of a Dillard education, Davis urged the graduates to trust in the solid foundation they have built and remain open to the unpredictable twists and turns of their future paths.

“Have faith, graduates, that no matter what is happening in life, no matter where life takes you, Dillard has helped you build a solid foundation to write the next chapter of your story and our collective story. And as you chart your path forward, be open to the notion that your story might be different than you expected. Like the best, most compelling stories, we don’t know what will happen next,” said Davis.

Among the graduating class were five valedictorians and one salutatorian who stood out for their exceptional academic achievements. George Alvarez, Ashley Brown, Travionne Bob, Rajah Thomas, and Callia Thompson were recognized as valedictorians, while Covay Joseph was celebrated as the salutatorian. During their speeches, they thanked God, family, friends, and teammates for their unwavering support throughout their academic journey. Each of them eloquently reflected on the adversities the class has conquered over the past four years, emphasizing how these challenges have equipped them with resilience and fortitude for the paths ahead.

The university proudly awarded honorary degrees to three remarkable individuals during this year’s commencement ceremony. Each recipient was recognized for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields and society as a whole.

Warren Bell Jr., Ayo Davis, and Edgar Poree Jr. received honorary doctorates of humane letters. Bell made history as New Orleans’ first Black weekday prime-time TV News anchor at WDSU-TV from 1974-1980. Davis was named President of Disney-Branded Television in 2021. She is a Dillard University alumna and a member of the Board of Trustees. Poree has served his community in a number of roles with the New Orleans Public School System, BellSouth Telecommunications, and Total Community Action, among others.

In addition to celebrating the graduating class, a time-honored Dillard tradition is recognizing our golden graduates. Our golden graduates are invited to return to the Oaks on their 50th anniversary of receiving their Dillard degree. The class of 1974 had 55 participants return to receive their Dillard degree again.

The 2024 commencement ceremony was a tribute to hard work, perseverance, and the triumphant journey of its graduates. Family, friends, and loved ones came from near and far to celebrate all the class of 2024 has achieved. We are incredibly proud of our graduates and look forward to all they will accomplish in their careers.

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