Dillard University Is Back on Its Feet

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005, much of the campus of historically black Dillard University was left under eight feet of water. Estimates of the total damage were placed at nearly $400 million. Insurance covered only a small fraction of the damages.

Over the past two years the university has received more than $35 million in grants to help in its reconstruction efforts. In addition, Dillard was able to secure a large low-income loan from the federal government. Dillard will borrow $160 million from the federal government with a 1 percent interest rate over the 30-year term of the loan.

The university was closed for the fall semester in 2005 and reopened for the spring semester at a downtown hotel. In August 2006 Dillard’s main campus reopened but enrollments were down by 55 percent. The university hopes to enroll 375 freshman students this year, up from 200 a year ago. Prior to the storm there were 400 freshman students at Dillard.

For her work to get Dillard back up and running, President Marvalene Hughes recently was awarded an honorary degree from Brown University.