Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, Dillard University this week will celebrate its progress and future.

The institution sustained nearly $400 million in damage; its campus was virtually destroyed. Now, officials say, it has built a better and stronger institution.

“While we will never forget what was lost in Hurricane Katrina and the impact that the storm had on all of us, we don’t want to dwell on the pain. We want to highlight what has been accomplished through hard work and resilience,” spokeswoman Mona Duffel Jones said.

Dillard will host a number of events from Wednesday through Sunday, including an ecumenical convocation with the theme “Faith in Action” at 10:15 a.m. Thursday. Former President Dr. Marvalene Hughes will speak at the service.

Author and Dillard professor Mona Lisa Saloy will give a literary presentation at 6 p.m. Wednesday. A spoken-word open mic event is scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday. At 11 a.m. Friday, a jazz funeral will proceed down the Avenue of the Oaks to the rear of the campus. The university also will participate in the Citywide Day of Service on Saturday.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, there will be a one-hour musical performance titled “What’s Goin’ On” featuring Tonya Boyd-Cannon, who recently appeared on NBC’s “The Voice.” Dillard students also will perform Motown hits and original compositions.

Admission to the musical performance is $15. All the other events are free and open to the public.

Xavier announces two staff appointments

Xavier University President Dr. C. Reynold Verret, who took office last month, has announced two appointments.

Dr. Pamela Franco has been named to the newly created position of chief of staff in the Office of the President, and Gia Soublet has been named interim vice president for institutional advancement.

Franco will oversee the daily operation of the president’s office. She will serve as a liaison to the Board of Trustees, the President’s Advisory Board and the Administrative Cabinet.

Franco has held teaching positions at Tulane University and the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been at Xavier for seven years, primarily in the Office of Academic Affairs. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Emory University and both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Francisco State University.

Soublet will oversee the operations of the Development, Alumni Affairs and Media Relations offices. She previously served as assistant vice president for institutional advancement.

Before that, she worked at the United Way for Greater New Orleans and Dillard University, where she was director of corporate and foundation relations. A 1991 graduate of Xavier, she holds a master’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix.

UNO student wins Gilman scholarship

University of New Orleans student Abigail Diez is one of 800 undergraduate students from across the country to win a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

The scholars are sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. They will receive up to $5,000 to study or intern abroad during the fall semester.

Diez, a senior music major, will enroll at the Codarts University for the Arts in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

She expects to graduate from UNO in the spring.

“(Codarts) offers a concentration in popular music for singer-songwriters, which is a program seemingly tailored for me,” she said.

The Gilman scholarship program is administered by the Institute of International Education and aims to diversify the ranks of students who study abroad as well as the regions and countries where they go.

Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 19,000 Gilman scholars from 1,124 American institutions have visited 144 countries.