Dillard Announces Physics and Film as Signature Programs

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Continuing the tradition of academic excellence, Dillard University is pleased to announce the designation of film and physics as signature programs. The University’s signature programs are majors that epitomize Dillard’s mission and define its distinctiveness in the local, state, and national marketplace.

Dillard’s Physics Program encourages students to augment their theoretical pursuits with practical endeavors such as assisting professors and publishing journals.  Already ranked as the second highest producer of African-Americans who go on to earn PhDs in physics, as well as one of the top 15 programs in America, according to the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Physical Society (APS), Dillard’s Physics Program has a solid reputation among its peers. According to the AIP over the past 30 years 34,500 PhDs were awarded in the U.S. with only 246 of those awarded to African Americans. Of that number 42 were women. “It’s impressive that of the 42 African American women with PhDs in physics five of them are graduates of Dillard,” said Dr. Yolanda Page, Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

“In making physics a signature program, we sought to build on our tradition of preparing students for careers as researchers, educators, engineers and beyond,” explained Page. Last year, the University added a Medical Physics concentration to its Physics and Pre-engineering program in a response to a need for well-trained medical physicists in Louisiana.  “Expanding the physics curriculum and designating it as a signature program gives us a strategic edge in the growing medical economy,” she added.

Dillard Film is one of a few undergraduate film programs at an HBCU.  In just two years, the program has achieved significant growth with about 20 students majoring and another 20 minoring in Film. Dillard Film students have worked on more than 30 productions, including Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” and Spike Lee’s “Old Boy” and make up to four films per semester as a program.

“New Orleans has become one of the leading cities for filmmaking, so it is naturally a preeminent location for students to learn and work in that field,” President Walter M. Kimbrough said.  “We pride ourselves in the fact that we strategically place students with professional crew members giving them the opportunity to learn all aspects of filmmaking,” Kimbrough added.

Page went on to explain that as signature programs both film and physics will receive major support and increased visibility. Moreover, other possibilities exists such as a financial aid strategy tailored to students majoring in a signature program, endowed professorships, additional faculty and staff positions as well as additional equipment. “The possibilities for these two programs are limitless,” noted Page.