HBCU Storyteller Spotlight | Nicole Tison '14, Michelle Obama "Stay Hungry" + Dillard University

HBCU Storyteller Spotlight

First Lady Michelle Obama and senior class president Nicole Tison, who introduced Obama, snapped a selfie before Dillard University’s 2014 Commencement Address.

While Tison’s selfie went viral on twitter, First Lady Michelle Obama called on Dillard graduates to “stay hungry.”

So most folks back then saw education as the key to real and lasting freedom. That’s why, when New Orleans University and the other African American college in town, Straight University, first opened their doors, one of the biggest problems they faced was too many students. That’s right — too many students. Many of these students barely spoke English; they’d grown up speaking Creole or French. Few had ever seen the inside of a classroom or even been taught their ABCs… And finally, in May of 1934, they broke ground for this school, Dillard University — a university that would go on to produce some of the leading thinkers and achievers in our country. And the day the cornerstone was laid for your library, the President of Howard University spoke these words: He said, “There lies in this Southland today, buried in unmarked graves, many a black genius who would have blessed this city and this section of our country, if [only] his parents could have had before them the Dillard University you are now building…And so we owe it to those folks — the folks who had the audacity to call their little schools “universities” and name their baby boys “Emperor” — we owe it to them to reach as high as they did, and to bring others along the way. As the history of this school has taught us, no dream is too big, no vision is too bold; as long as we stay hungry for education and let that hunger be our North Star, there is nothing, graduates, nothing that we cannot achieve.