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Faculty, students and alumna named to '40 under 40'

November 4, 2011

Four members of the Loyola University New Orleans community were named to Gambit Weekly’s 14th annual “40 Under 40,” which profiles the accomplishments and contributions of 40 standout New Orleanians under the age of 40. The full list can be read in Gambit’s current issue.

Second-year Loyola University New Orleans College of Law student Angela Davis was featured in the issue for helping create Hagar’s House, which serves as a residential community and meets immediate housing needs of women and children. It implements a holistic program using creative, non-traditional approaches to address both individual and systemic issues affecting residents. Davis, who is director of the house, created the program in 2007 with three other AmeriCorps co-workers.

"One of my motivations is, unfortunately, the overwhelming suffering in the world," Davis said. "I feel incapable of ignoring it, bound to being present to it."

In addition to Hagar’s House and pursuing a law degree, Davis has also previously volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocates, Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, the NO/AIDS Task Force, and the YMCA.

Loyola alumna Dody Nolan ’11, was named to the list for her work as a musical theater vocalist.

A native of New Orleans and a graduate of the College of Music and Fine Arts, Nolan has performed with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, NOCCA, Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, Loyola Opera and New Orleans Opera. She also performs as a Victory Belle at the National World War II Museum and at Cafe Giovanni, as well as cantoring at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Divine Mercy Catholic Church and St. Louis Cathedral.

Last summer, Nolan was one of 35 people selected from across the nation to participate in SpringboardNYC, a highly-selective program sponsored by the American Theatre Wing that works with theater veterans Randy Lutterman, Marc Kudisch, Edie Falco, David Caparelliotis and Kathleen Marshall.

"I'll eventually be moving to New York, pounding the pavement and trying to get in the Broadway spotlight," Nolan says.

Journalism student Wadner Pierre, 28, was featured in the publication for his ongoing efforts to address the issues of poverty, human rights violations and injustice in his home country of Haiti.

In addition to writing for Loyola’s student newspaper, The Maroon, Pierre has contributed to Haiti Liberte, a Brooklyn-based Haitian newspaper, and worked at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and the What If? Foundation. He has also served on the United Nations Special Mission to Haiti.

Pierre says he is committed to telling the story that so many of his countrymen are not able to tell.

"I became a photojournalist because you can use your communication skills to be the voice of your community," Pierre tells Gambit. "I want to be the voice of my people in Haiti."

College of Law adjunct professor Morgan Williams also made this list. Williams is general counsel for the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and co-founder of the Student Hurricane Network, Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans and Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans.

As a student at Tulane, Williams, along with Laila Hlass, now his wife and staff attorney in Loyola’s Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, co-founded the Student Hurricane Network in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

SHN is a national network of law students dedicated to advancing the cause of social justice in communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by coordinating volunteer efforts, aiding public interest organizations, and educating members of the legal community about legal crises in the region.

"In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, law students responded in an effort to provide assistance to the public law community in the region," Williams said in the Gambit article.

As general counsel for the Fair Housing Action Center, Williams contested Louisiana’s method of awarding Road Home funds based on pre-Katrina property values instead of estimated damage to property. He was successful in his fight on this issue with the state and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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