With minimum admission requirements becoming more stringent this fall at state regional universities, Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) has intensified its efforts to get the word out to graduating high school students.
As approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents in April 2010 to take effect in Fall 2014, all four-year regional state universities, including SUNO, now require first-time freshmen to:
- Graduate from high school with 19 credits in the Louisiana Core Four curriculum
- Have a 2.0 or better overall high school GPA
- Have a 2.0 or better Core 4 GPA OR an ACT Composite of at least 20
- Have at least an 18 ACT English AND 19 ACT Math
For the past year, SUNO recruiters and administrators have been meeting with high school counselors and students to provide information regarding the new standards. With the summer session about two weeks away, they have taken the message to churches and community groups in the metropolitan area and nearby parishes to make sure students are prepared for the fall.
“We want students to know that if they don’t currently meet the Fall 2014 admission requirements, there are still options available,’’ said Leatrice Latimore, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management. “For example, new freshmen may still qualify for summer admission and take college–prep English and Math courses. They also can begin their college careers on SUNO’s campus as a SUSLA Connect student.”
Through an agreement between SUNO and Southern University-Shreveport (SUSLA), a two-year community college, new freshmen admitted to SUSLA can take their classes while on the SUNO campus. They also are eligible to live in SUNO housing. After successfully completing 18 college-level hours, including freshman English and Math, they can seamlessly transfer to SUNO to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
“It is critical that we spread the word about the new admission requirements,” Latimore added. “It is not too late for students to enroll under the new fall requirements, and there are options available for students who don’t currently meet them, but they must act now.”
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), not only delivered the keynote address Saturday, May 10 at the Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) 2014 Commencement, but he also delivered a $100,000 donation.
The TMCF gift, which will provide scholarships to deserving SUNO Students, capped off a year in which the University made tremendous progress in renovation projects on buildings damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
“We all know that getting to college is half the battle,” Taylor said. “However, education only pays off for those who actually graduate and TMCF is proud of the 498 SUNO graduates.”
SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said the TMCF donation is coming at a critical time for the University. “Hurricane Katrina was more than eight years ago, but many of our students still are feeling the financial and emotional effects from that storm,” Ukpolo said. “The TMCF donation will help those students faced with financial challenges complete their college education and achieve their career goals.”
During his speech at the Lakefront Arena, Taylor told the graduates that the degrees they received are not theirs. “At the end of the day, that degree belongs to a whole group of people who brought you here. You may possess it, but the state of Louisiana helped pay for your education. Then there were the people who prepared you: your K-12 teachers … the SUNO faculty and staff … and your families,” he said. “I want you to use ‘our’ degree to make this world a better place.”
Taylor leads the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending this country’s 47 publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). With approximately 80 percent of all HBCU students attending TMCF member-schools, the organization is responsible for providing this country with a diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders.
SUNO’s Class of 2014 consists of 54 honor graduates: five Suma Cum Laude, 10 Magna Cum Laude, 27 Cum Laude and 12 Honors. Business Administration Major Bruce O. McLean graduated with the highest grade-point average of 3.975. The University also granted a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems to David Perryman posthumously. Perryman, 42, was killed in an auto accident Sept. 18, 2013.
“On behalf of the students at Southern University at New Orleans, I join the world in the outrage being expressed about the abduction of these girls. As a native Nigerian and leader of a higher-learning institution in the United States, I personally condemn Boko Haram for committing this horrendous act.
“The group’s name means ‘Western education is sinful’ in the local Hausa language, and it opposes the education of women: two issues that are in direct conflict with everything I stand for.
“I implore the United States and other nations to do everything possible to rescue these girls and bring this terrorist group to justice.”
Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) has received a $10,000 grant from the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention to help retain first-time freshmen admitted to the University in 2011 and 2012. By providing this financial assistance to these students, the grant is expected to have a positive impact on the SUNO’s graduation rate.
Many students have families to support and other life situations that prevent them from having access to needed dollars to finish their college education within a six-year period, which is the benchmark used for determining universities’ graduation rates. The Lott Carey grant will provide needed resources to 65 students.
Several people played an important role in the University being selected to receive the grant. The Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr., a member of the Southern University Board of Supervisors, worked with Dr. Brandon K. Dumas, vice chancellor for Student Affairs at Southern University and A&M College, and Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley, executive secretary-treasurer of Lott Carey, to determine which Southern University System campus would best benefit from the $10,000 grant.
“Because of Dr. Dumas’ experience with home and foreign missions through this church, we were able to receive his valuable guidance and input,” Tolbert said. “Through collective wisdom and effort, SUNO was selected as the recipient of the funds.”
In addition to helping the 2011 and 2012 students, the grant will help College of Education students defray 50 percent of the registration fees for PRAXIS 1, the licensure exam they are required to pass before graduation.
This grant comes at a critical time for the University. “Our retention efforts have been enhanced to assist students in meeting their targeted graduation dates to increase our graduation rate,” SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said. “Gifts, such as the $10,000 from the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, are very important to our students. Even a small amount of assistance can determine whether a student stays in college or withdraws without receiving a degree.”
Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) will confer degrees for 498 graduates during its 2014 Commencement Saturday, May 10 at 4 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), is the Commencement speaker.
SUNO’s Class of 2014 consists of 54 honor graduates: five Suma Cum Laude, 10 Magna Cum Laude, 27 Cum Laude and 12 Honors. Business Administration major Bruce O. McLean will graduate with the highest grade-point average of 3.975. The University also will grant a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems to David Perryman posthumously. Perryman, 42, was killed in an auto accident Sept. 18, 2013.
TMCF’s Taylor leads the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending this country’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Approximately 80 percent of all HBCU students attend TMCF member-schools.
An Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholar and honors graduate of the University of Miami, he earned a Master of Arts with Honors from Drake University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence with Honors from the Drake Law School. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C., and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification. He serves on the corporate board of Gallup and volunteers at several not-for-profit boards. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
A Hooding and Medallion Ceremony for graduate students receiving their masters degrees in Social Work, Criminal Justice, Management Information Systems and Museum Studies is scheduled Friday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the University Gymnasium. The ceremony will be followed by the Chancellor’s Reception.
Graduates should line up for the ceremony at 4:45 p.m. on the second floor of the gym. They should wear their caps and gowns, and carry their medallions and hoods. During the ceremony, graduates will be asked to put on their medallions and will be formally hooded. They should wear their medallions and hoods on Saturday, May 10 to march for Commencement at the Lakefront Arena.
For information, call the School of Graduate Studies at 504-284-5484.
Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) has received a $15,000 grant from the Southern University System Foundation/1880 Society to help retain first-time freshmen admitted to the University in 2009 and 2010.
Many students have families to support and other life situations that prevent them from having access to needed dollars to finish their college education within a six-year period, which is the benchmark used for determining universities’ graduation rates. The Foundation/1880 Society grant will provide needed resources to more than 50 students.
By providing this financial assistance to the selected 2009 and 2010 students, the grant is expected to have a positive impact on the SUNO’s graduation rate.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), will serve as the speaker for the Southern University at New Orleans 2014 Commencement Saturday, May 10 at 4 p.m. in Kiefer Lakefont Arena.
Named one of the “Power 100” by Ebony Magazine in its 2011 list of the 100 most influential African Americans, Taylor leads the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending this country’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). With approximately 80 percent of all HBCU students attending TMCF member-schools, the organization is responsible for providing this country with a robust and diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders.
Prior to assuming the presidency of TMCF, Taylor worked as a senior executive for IAC/InterActiveCorp – first as its senior vice president of human resources and then as the president and chief executive officer of one of IAC’s operating subsidiaries, RushmoreDrive.com. Taylor’s career also spanned nearly 15 years as litigation partner and president of the human resources consulting business for the McGuireWoods law firm; executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Compass Group USA; general counsel and senior vice president of human resources for Viacom subsidiary, Paramount Pictures Live Entertainment Group; and associate general counsel and vice president of human resources for Viacom subsidiary, Blockbuster Entertainment Group.
Taylor, an Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholar and honors graduate of the University of Miami, earned a Master of Arts with Honors from Drake University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence with Honors from the Drake Law School. While at the law school, he served as research editor of the Drake Law Review and argued on the National Moot Court Team. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C., and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification.
Taylor, who currently serves on the corporate board of Gallup, a leader in organizational consulting and public opinion research, also volunteers his time to several not-for-profit boards, including serving as former chairman of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one of the world’s largest professional associations with 250,000 members in more than 100 countries; a member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of the USA, the country’s largest social service agency; and a member of the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Union, one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher learning dedicated to preparing students for the professions of art, architecture and engineering. He is also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Don’t let the spelling fool you. There is no “I” in Millie Charles.
Whenever the legendary social worker talks about her long life, in which she has confronted the forces of segregation, taught generations of students and done as much as she could to ensure that poor people got a fair shake, it’s always in terms of a group.
“We always did things as a group,” she said on a recent afternoon. “It was never an ‘I’; it was always a ‘we.’ . . . I didn’t do any of this by myself. Not any. . . . We had to work together to accomplish things. One person can’t do it alone.”
That statement is typical of her attitude, said Ronald McClain, president and chief executive officer of Family Service of Greater New Orleans, who earned a master’s degree in social work when Charles was dean of the School of Social Work at Southern University at New Orleans.
“It’s never about her,” he said.
But this time, it is about her because Charles, 90, has been chosen to receive The Times-Picayune Loving Cup for 2013. The Loving Cup has been awarded since 1901 to men and women who have worked unselfishly for the community without expectation of public recognition or material reward.
“I was really surprised” by the accolade, Charles said. “I appreciate that so much, but there were so many of us together. It wasn’t just one person; it was the togetherness we had.”
Throughout Charles’ career, “her commitment to children and families and vulnerable populations has been amazing,” McClain said. “For a long, long time, she has been committed to being a change agent, to committing her life to changing things for the better.”
The New Orleans-born daughter of a Baptist preacher and a woman who believed in the value of education, Millie Ruth McClelland entered Dillard University when she was only 15 and graduated with a degree in secondary education.
But after a few years of teaching in north Louisiana and loving the children in her classes, she said she realized could find more fulfillment in social work because she would be able to help children and their families find ways to solve problems. So she earned a master’s degree in the subject at the University of Southern California in the mid-1950s.
This happened when buses and streetcars had bars denoting where black patrons were to sit – at the back.
Charles, who seethed at such restrictions, had her own way of combatting them when she grew up, when segregation still had the force of law. Sometimes, she said, she and her friends would sit by themselves in a seat meant for two, implicitly forcing white passengers to sit next to them if the bus was crowded. Or, she said, they would stand and glower at white riders to make them feel uncomfortable.
“Life was exciting then,” she said with a broad smile.
On one occasion, Charles said, she and her friend simply pitched the offending bar out the window.
“That sounds like Millie – unlike Rosa Parks, who just sat quietly,” Gloria Moultrie said, chuckling. Moultrie, SUNO’s vice chancellor for community outreach and university advancement, has known Charles since they were volunteers in the Urban League in the 1960s.
“Millie has always been an outspoken person and tried to be on the right side of what would benefit those who could not speak for themselves or be heard by the powers that be,” Moultrie said.
Though the civil-rights movement has become a subject of scrutiny for historians, Charles said she and her fellow activists didn’t think of themselves as participating in the great sweep of history.
“We didn’t think we were doing something historic,” she said. “We weren’t thinking from that point of view We wanted people to have things that other people had and not have to sit on the sidelines.”
“She’s very outspoken,” said Harry Doughty, an assistant professor of social worker at SUNO. “You always know where you stand with Millie because she’ll always let you know.”
The woman who was celebrated as a passionate firebrand in her heyday has mellowed into a gentle, soft-spoken individual in a bright flower-print blouse. She has a frizzy corona of white hair, and she smiles frequently and laughs loudly. Her eyesight is poor and her gait is unsteady, but she still enjoys visiting with children, who call her Mama Millie.
“They love me,” she said. “I’ll ask them what they’re doing and encourage them to join with others to effect change.”
It’s a continuation of what she has been doing throughout her adult life.
Charles was married briefly, to Charles Carrol Charles, in 1950, while she was working in the city welfare department. He died while she was pregnant with her only child, who goes by the name H.M.K. Amen.
“When my daughter was in school, I was always at the PTA meetings,” Charles said, “and I was always wanting to organize people at the PTA meetings, and I have done it.”
These days, the lack of such passion, especially among poor people who need help the most, worries her.
“Poor people are struggling to make it,” she said. “They have to work day and night, and they don’t get a chance to involve themselves in things. . . .
“I think most people think we’ve reached the stage where we don’t need to do that anymore, but they do. . . . They aren’t involved in social change, and that’s unfortunate. . . . There’s nowhere that I see the ferment occurring that says things can be different. Things can be better.”
That was the kind of zeal she brought to SUNO in 1965, when Chancellor Emmett Bashful asked her to form the School of Social Work.
“When she started out, she was a one-person department. Now there are 20 professors in the department,” said Doughty, who met Charles when he was majoring in social work at Grambling State University.
When Charles hired him in 2003, “I knew my profession had come full circle because she’s so highly respected in the profession,” Doughty said. “People who knew her best know that if she thinks enough of you to hire you, they know you’re in the same ballpark with her – maybe in the bleachers, but in the same ballpark.”
She could be tough. “She will confront you when she feels you’re not acting in the best interest of the client or the profession,” Doughty said.
Her work has been recognized. The National Association of Social Workers named her Social Worker of the Year. SUNO has a Millie McClelland Charles Endowed Chair of Social Work, and the Legislature passed a special resolution to name SUNO’s School of Social Work building after her, making an exception to a state law requiring that a person be dead for five years before becoming a building’s namesake.
The building is scheduled to open in 2016. “The fact that she has a building named in her honor is testament to the type of person she is,” Moultrie said, “and it represents her work.”
Charles, who retired in 2006, always held a high standard for students and faculty, said McClain, a member of the Loving Cup selection committee.
“She always challenged us to do more,” McClain said. “If you were mediocre, that wasn’t enough when you weren’t doing as much as you could do. She could push. It made all the difference in the world because she wanted to make sure we had the capacity to keep moving on.”