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Stern Hall, built to match Rosenwald Hall, was constructed along Gentilly ridge, a remnant of the old bayou waterways of New Orleans. Today, Stern faces the front lawns of the University along Gentilly Boulevard, a main state highway in the eastern portion of the city.
Stern Hall was built to add academic space to the campus. It was designed to house all of the campus's science laboratories, a lecture hall, and classrooms. It currently serves as the main classroom building for the Departments of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Nursing.
Dillard University was created in 1930 when two former schools, Straight University and New Orleans University, merged. Moise H. Goldstein, Sr. FAIA, a prominent New Orleans architect, designed the symmetrical, Beaux Arts inspired campus, along with all subsequent campus buildings until his retirement in 1961.
Two church denominations and several white philanthropic organizations combined forces to build "an important Negro university" within the largest city of the deep South. Dillard's educational impact has been greatest in the state of Louisiana, producing thousands of graduates who became public school teachers, scientists, nurses, doctors, musicians, and artists. Dillard continues today as a prestigious liberal arts university in Louisiana, drawing students from all over the country and abroad to its "great green spaces" and "gleaming white buildings."
Stern was expanded in 1966. The building underwent a partial renovation in 1999 and in 2003 to upgrade mechanical and electrical systems and to replace the clay tile roof. The three-story building lacks an elevator.
Bernard, Louise, and Radiclani Clytus. Within These Walls, a Short History of Dillard University. New Orleans, LA: Dillard University, 2002.
Dillard Bulletin. 1937-1951. Archives, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA.
Dillard University. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 2003.
"Dillard University added to the National Register of Historic Places." Preservation in Print 30, no. 5.
Johnson, Clifton. "White Philanthropy Builds a Black School." Manuscript. Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
Julius Rosenwald Fund Archives. Special Collections, Franklin Library, Fisk University, Nashville, TN.
Master plan. Rendering. Office of the Campus Architect, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA.