Joe W. Dillard Jr.,’12
Major: Graduate Student - Urban Affairs
Hometown: Norfolk, Va.
Norfolk State University has been instrumental in the preparation for my professional career. From obtaining my undergraduate degree in political science to continuing studies in the urban affairs graduate program, Norfolk State has provided an opportunity to design neighborhood structuring projects, complete the funding structure for their implementation, and collect and analyze data with the SPSS systems I now encounter throughout the city.
Several political science faculty members have helped me throughout my educational journey at NSU. Associate professor Carol Pretlow, Dr. Harold Hubbard and assistant professor Kimberly Hutson were key figures in honing my focus within key leadership roles. They have all guided me in my growth as an undergrad and wrote recommendations to attend graduate school. I still vividly recall each of their classrooms and our many discussions. Dr. Elsie Barnes, professor of political science, my thesis chair, continues to keep me engaged in all activities both on and off campus.
While at Norfolk State working on my undergraduate degree, I was appointed chairman of the Housing and Community Planning for the NSU Chapter and was on the spring 2011 Dean’s List. As a graduate student, I have been working with the Norfolk NAACP as chairman of the Economic Development Committee, co-chairman of the Freedom Fund Committee, and second vice president, then acting president. I currently serve as a commissioner on Norfolk’s Mayor’s Commission on Poverty Reduction and as a board member of the Elizabeth River Tunnel Community Resource Board. My awards include, the 2013 Master Norman Award for Outstanding Community Service, Chief Petty Officer Coin awarded by the Space and Air Warfare Command at Norfolk Naval Base for a speech in February 2014, Master Mason of the month in January 2014, and the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority/City of Norfolk--Hampton Roads Living Legend 2014.
It isn't often you get an opportunity to attend a strong university such as Norfolk State. So rare even, I had to jump at both opportunities. And I wouldn't change either jump. Norfolk State University is not only the largest HBCU in the state, it’s also unmatched in preparing so many young, diverse adults to become leaders. Just remember we are all Spartans. Our network is our strongest bond. I am a product of Norfolk State University, and I say that with pride.