DU’s Gary Clark Awarded the Dr. Jewel and James Prestage Mentorship Award

Dr. Gary M. Clark of Dillard University was awarded the 2019 Drs. Jewel and James Prestage Mentorship Award. The award honors the lifetime achievements of academic professionals who mentor students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

“Dr. Clark is a dedicated faculty member of Dillard University and consistently pours into students to make them astute critical thinkers and global citizens,” Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough, President of Dillard University shared about Dr. Clark’s admirable career. 

Clark serves as the founding director of the Center for Law and Public Interest, Barron Hilton Endowed Professor and the Revius O. Ortique Jr. Endowed Chair at Dillard University. He received his undergraduate degree in political science and Government at Southern Louisiana University, a master’s in Latin American studies at Tulane University and his Ph.D. in political science from Howard University. Aside from his career in academia, he served as a commissioner on the New Orleans Civil Service Commission for seven years and  as the chair of the Louisiana State Police Commission. He is the state treasurer of the Louisiana Association of Local Housing Finance Authorities, as well. 

He is also the host and executive producer of the his cable television program, Dr. Clark Reports and radio show, Dr. Clark 101: The Living Classroom. He has served as an expert political scientist several national and international media outlets. 

National Incubator for Black Stories Picks Nailah Jefferson’s Documentary on Danielle Metz

New Orleans resident Nailah Jefferson’s documentary has been selected as a winner of PitchBLACK, an interactive pitching session held on Friday in New York City. The event culminated Black Public Media’s 13-week 360 Incubator+ for broadcast programs, web series and virtual reality projects. The national incubator and talent development program, designed to identify and pipeline quality black content while honing the skills of brilliant makers, awarded a total of $320,000 in funding. 

“Commuted” is a lyrical documentary about New Orleanian Danielle Bernard Metz, a mother of two who, in 1993, was sentenced to triple life plus 20 years for her role in her husband’s drug ring. After serving 23 years in prison, Danielle was finally freed under President Obama’s Clemency Initiative in 2016. “Commuted” documents her fight to reconcile her present life with past regrets.

Jefferson is a native of New Orleans, whose documentary film work reflects the community that raised her. Her first film, “Vanishing Pearls,” chronicles an obscure African-American oyster-fishing community’s fight for justice after the catastrophic BP oil spill in 2010. Jefferson’s first narrative film, “Plaquemines” (now on Cinemax) won the inaugural Create Louisiana $50K Short Film Grant and was an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist. 

Jefferson will be awarded $100,000 in funding and a license agreement for public media distribution. Winners were announced Friday at the inaugural PitchBLACK Awards at Apella by Alexandria on Manhattan’s East River by BPM’s Denise Greene, administrator of the 360 Incubator+, and Sandra Rattley, the program’s creative consultant. Jefferson’s mentor through the program is documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen.

“Nailah’s project is a very deserving one. We will continue to support her project as we facilitate the connections with the distributors and funders at the pitch forum and field additional interest developed,” said BPM’s Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. 

Based in Harlem, BPM is the nation’s only nonprofit dedicated solely to media content about the black experience. The 360 Incubator+ is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the MacArthur Foundation, the NEA, the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

KiKi Barnes Named Interim Commissioner of Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Council of Presidents recently named Dillard University’s Director of Athletics Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes interim commissioner of the conference.

“I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to Dr. Barnes for her willingness to serve in this critical capacity through this transition period as we work to identify a permanent replacement,” said Philander Smith College President Dr. Roderick L. Smothers.

The search has begun for the third commissioner in the league’s history. The previous Commissioner Steve Martin was recently hired as the commissioner of the Mississippi Association Community & Junior Colleges. Martin has served as the GCAC commissioner since 2014 after replacing Dr. Thomas Howell, who was the commissioner since the inception of the conference in 1980.

“Dr. Barnes helped us during the transition following Dr. Howell’s resignation,” said Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan.

Barnes, who recently was named a 2018-19 Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year recipient, will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Conference, including scheduling games and management of all championship events.

“The GCAC will be in great hands with Dr. Barnes,” said National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) President and CEO Jim Carr.

Barnes assumed the leadership role in Dillard’s athletics department in 2006 where she utilized her dynamic leadership skills and powerful speaking and coaching abilities to empower leaders, teams, and student-athletes to unlock their full potential.

To date, Dr. Barnes is the only female athletic director for intercollegiate sports in Louisiana. She has been recognized by the GCAC, New Orleans Pelicans, Girls Scouts of Louisiana and several media outlets her for sports leadership.

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