Roanoke College Continues Its Response to Hurricane Katrina Disaster

SALEM, Va.—The Roanoke College community is welcoming several survivors of Hurricane Katrina and continuing its efforts to help in the nationwide relief effort.

The D. L. Jordan endowment announces Dr. Lisa Pertillar Brevard is the recipient of Roanoke College’s Hurricane Relief Fellowship. Brevard is the Director of Women’s Studies and Associate Professor of English and African World Studies at Dillard University in New Orleans.  She has published a book entitled Womansaints: The Saintly Portrayal of Select African-American and Latina Cultural Heroines as well as biographies of African-American activists.  She is also an accomplished poet and musician.   Dr. Brevard’s lived within a mile of one of the ruptured levees, and her home and almost all of her possessions were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Brevard will participate and contribute to the academic life of the college through a series of evening lectures or performances and as a guest lecturer in several classes.  (Details on these events will be announced at a later time.)

The fellowship was set up to help a displaced faculty member from the hurricane affected areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  The fellowship includes a stipend, a three-bedroom house within walking distance of the college, the college meal plan, library privileges, office space and a computer. The home for the fellowship is provided by Roanoke College President Sabine O’Hara and her husband, Phil.  “We bought a home in Salem, which we consider our ‘get away’ and call the O’Hara retreat,” Dr. O’Hara said.  “With so many people having no home at all because of the hurricane devastation, we are glad to make it available.”  Brevard and her husband arrived in Salem this week.

Two displaced graduate students from Tulane University, Mark Clements and Lauren Nolfo, have been named research associates. Clements is a 2000 graduate of Roanoke College. Dr. Darwin Jorgensen, Thornhill Professor of Biology, helped to make arrangements for Clements and Nolfo to use space in the Life Science building to continue work on their dissertations.

The Roanoke College community to date has raised over $11,000 and collected more than a ton of food and supplies for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.  Most of the money went to the American Red Cross, with the remainder going to Lutheran Disaster Relief.  The college worked with the Salem Presbyterian Church and the Second Harvest Food Bank in their efforts to get food and supplies directly to the people affected by the disaster. The Fine Arts program’s concert raised $500 for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Roanoke College senior Amy Saxe organized a relief benefit at Corned Beef & Co., a Roanoke city restaurant where she has worked for several years, which raised $5,500 in five hours for the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief fund.  “With the total devastation down there, I knew that someone—everyone—needed to get involved,” Saxe said of her role in organizing the relief event.  “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Roanoke College, the country’s second oldest Lutheran-related college, is an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college. Roanoke is one of just 270 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the “best in the Southeast.” Roanoke’s 1,900 students represent 41 states across the U.S. and 25 foreign countries.

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.