Dillard University valedictorian is Denzel Washington Scholar; Washington serves as commencement speaker

May 12, 2015

NEW ORLEANS – Ariel Lucius and Dannielle Thomas were recognized during commencement ceremonies on May 9 as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for Dillard University’s Class of 2015. Actor Denzel Washington served as keynote speaker for the commencement.

Lucius, a theatre performance major from New Orleans, just completed her first feature film, “Rodeo and Juliet,” and hopes to attend graduate school at either Yale, New York University or Juilliard. Immediately after graduation, she will join Teach for America in South Louisiana.

Lucius is the recipient of the Benjamin E. Mays-Samuel Dubois Cook Presidential Scholarship and is also a Denzel Washington Scholar. She is the daughter of Shelley and Oliver Lucius, Jr.

Thomas, an accounting major from Harvey, La., has accepted employment with the accounting firm of Postlewaite and Netterville. She is the recipient of The Michael L. Lomax Presidential Scholarship. Thomas said she came to Dillard because she felt she had reached the glass ceiling in her job as an office manager in an doctor’s office. She is the daughter of Gerald and Audrey Thomas.

Thomas, left, and Lucius, right, are pictured after commencement with Denzel Washington.

Enjoy this You Tube video of Denzel Washington’s May 9 commencement address here.