SUS Foundation/1880 Society $15,000 Grant To Help SUNO Retain Students, Improve Graduation Rate

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. to speak at May 10 Commencement



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, 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.


Millie Charles, the consummate team player, to receive The Times-Picayune Loving Cup

Millie Charles

This article is posted on NOLA.Com
John Pope, | The Times-Picayune By John Pope, | The Times-Picayune 

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.

Loving Cup committee
Loving Cup selection committee members are, from left, Tim Williamson, Lacey Toledano, Anthony Recasner, Susan Taylor and Ronald McClain. (Photo by Brett Duke, | The Times-Picayune)



“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.”

Praxis II Workshop Saturday

The College of Education and Human Development will host a Praxis II Workshop to examine several Secondary Content and All Grades Areas delineated  by Louisiana Test Requirements for teacher licensure and certification. The sessions will discuss each  assessment’s format, content categories required for mastery, and strategies to improve test  performance.

The workshop is Saturday, April 26  at  8 a.m. in Room 607 of  the Lake Campus Modular Building. The cost to attend is $20.

Payments are accepted in person via money order or cashier’s check, or by calling the University cashier at (504) 286-5322.

Click here for a registration form.


SUNO Honda Campus All Star Challenge Team Heads To Los Angeles

The SUNO Honda All Star Challenge Team members are, from left, Amelia B. Sellers, Coach; Joshua Leavell, Junior Social Work major; Kevis Q. King, Junior Education major; Shanel Armant, Graduating Senior in Management Information Systems; Tiffany Campbell-Okereke, Graduating Senior in Education; and Ruth W. Johnson, Campus Coordinator

The SUNO Honda All Star Challenge Team members are, from left, Amelia B. Sellers, Coach; Joshua Leavell, Junior Social Work major; Kevis Q. King, Junior Education major; Shanel Armant, Graduating Senior in Management Information Systems; Tiffany Campbell-Okereke, Graduating Senior in Education; and Ruth W. Johnson, Campus Coordinator.

The SUNO Honda Campus All Star Challenge Team will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday, April 12 to participate in the national championship competition. This year, the Honda Campus All Star Challenge is celebrating 25 years of academic achievements of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Every spring, the top 48 HBCU Academic Teams, coaches and institutional representatives meet for the championship competition, team-building and networking.

Please take the time to wish our team well by posting a message of encouragement on its photo in the HCASC 2014 Teams album on the ChallegeFacebook page. The team with the most likes, comments and shares will receive a special surprise when it arrives.

Round Robin Games begin Sunday, April 13 at 10:30 a.m.  and continue until 9 p.m.  Scores, pictures and standings will be updated in real time.  Keep up with the action from the competition:

After the Round Robin games and the Sweet 16 playoff, the Elite 8 will compete on Monday, April 14 11 a.m.  to 3 p.m.  Those games will be available via a Live Webcast at

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite Jr. to Speak on Campus Wednesday

Kenneth Polite photo 3.6.14U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite Jr. will be the guest speaker at the Southern University at New Orleans annual Honors and Awards Day Program Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 11 a.m. in the University Gymnasium.

Polite, nominated by President Barack Obama, oversees the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the United States in the Eastern District of Louisiana, and supervises an office of approximately 55 assistant U.S. attorneys.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Setting the Stage for Long-Term Success.”  More than 700 students are slated to receive awards for exceptional scholarship, outstanding service and excellent leadership.  The event is open to the public.

For information, contact Committee Chair Dr. Brenda Jackson at 504-286-5274.