Dillard University in New Orleans, which was forced to cancel its fall semester due to massive damage to its campus from Hurricane Katrina, celebrated its 137th commencement July 1. Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman was named one of three winners of Dillard's first Presidential Medal of Honor at the commencement ceremony, in recognition of Princeton's efforts to help Dillard resume operations.
Photo by Lauren D. Robinson-Brown
Tilghman honored by three universities
Posted July 3, 2006; 03:47 p.m.
Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman was awarded a Presidential Medal of Honor by Dillard University at the New Orleans institution's commencement July 1, in recognition of Princeton's efforts to aid Dillard's rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.
Tilghman also recently received honorary degrees from Rutgers and Rockefeller universities for her contributions as a university president and a pioneering molecular biologist. Rutgers and Rockefeller honored Tilghman at their May 17 and June 15 commencement ceremonies, respectively.
At Dillard's commencement, Tilghman was named as one of three recipients of its first Presidential Medals of Honor along with Brown University President Ruth Simmons and the late Sidney Frank, a businessman and philanthropist who donated $5 million for scholarships to students at institutions affected by Katrina.
Dillard, a historically black institution, reopened in January after being forced to shut down last fall as Katrina caused more than $400 million in damage to its campus. Following the disaster, Tilghman and Simmons, a Dillard alumna, announced a partnership between Princeton and Brown to work with Dillard President Marvalene Hughes to help restore operations and to assist in long-term planning.
As part of this effort, Princeton faculty, students and staff have assisted the Dillard community in numerous areas, from organizing fund-raising events to donating computers to providing critical academic and administrative support. More information is available on Princeton's Hurricane Katrina Relief Initiatives Web page.
While beginning the reconstruction of its 55-acre campus, Dillard resumed classes at a downtown hotel and various campuses around New Orleans. The university conferred undergraduate degrees to 354 students -- its largest graduating class ever -- at its 137th commencement July 1.