Dillard University has been awarded a $750,000 grant from The U.S. Department of Interior to restore the historic academic building Howard House.

The restoration grant is one of the first awarded by the U.S. Department of Interior, which protects cultural heritage under the National Historic Preservation Act.

The grant was presented by the agency’s Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Shannon Estenoz at a press conference on Friday.

Credit: Biz New Orleans

“At the Interior Department, it is our job to help steward America’s story. By preserving sites like Dillard University, we not only honor long-underappreciated Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but we also safeguard important pieces of American history,” said Estenoz. These investments are part of the Biden-Harris administration’s work to ensure that vital cultural, educational, societal and aesthetic legacies will live on for future generations.”

The grant will go to restoring the historic Howard House, originally named the Practice House.

The 2,400-square-foot building was designed by campus architect Moise H. Goldstein and was built in 1936. Its rich history includes being used by Homemaking Educational Program during World War II when mostly young female students attended Dillard University.

The building was damaged by a fire in 1945 and was later restored and expanded to double its size, housing primarily young female faculty members when it reopened later that year.

In 1948 the Practice House was renamed Howard House in honor of the late Alvin P. Howard, a New Orleans businessman who had served as the university’s First Treasurer of the Board of Trustees and was on the building committee for Flint-Goodridge Hospital, which was the original buildings of the university, according to Biz New Orleans.

“Dillard’s architectural treasures are a link to our collective heritage,” said Dr. Rochelle Ford, president of Dillard University. “This grant marks a step towards Dillard serving as a communiversity with facilities that withstand the forecast that shapes our living, learning, serving community that cultivates leaders that will make our world healthier, safer and more innovative.”

“For nearly two centuries, HBCUs have stood as beacons of hope, providing education, empowerment, and opportunity to generations of African Americans around the country. The significance of the National Parks investment cannot be overstated. It is an investment in our past, our present, and most importantly, our future. These funds will breathe new life into the very buildings that have been the backdrop to the education of trailblazers, visionaries, and leaders who have shaped the course of our nation’s history,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr.