Tulane Magazine March 2017

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RAISING CONSCIOUSNESS New angles of awareness to explore

AMPED UP Artificial intelligence takes the wheel of cars and decision-making

TECH-SAVVY HERO Steve Gleason (B ’11) pushes for pioneering technology


MARCH 2017

Drive to Innovate


POPPING GOOD TIMES Hester Hung, left, photographs her classmates YangLiang Zhang and Jialin Ma on the uptown campus in January. The three, who earned master of ďŹ nance degrees from the A. B. Freeman School of Business in December, had set out with a bubble machine they purchased in the French Quarter to memorialize their time in New Orleans and at Tulane. They have since returned to their native China.

No White Flags Front cover: Steve Gleason (B ’11) attends the Green Wave vs. Temple football game on Nov. 19, 2016. (Photo by Jackson Hill)

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P R E S I D E N T ’ S




by Mike Fitts

From the first person to strike rocks together and generate fire, to humankind’s increasing mastery of digital technology, the story of humanity is one of innovation—individuals using their knowledge to drive progress across the world. Our unyielding thirst to grow, improve and advance the way we live is utterly human; for all of our flaws, humanity’s commitment to advancement and societal growth has never wavered. At a time when society demands that institutions of higher education prove their worth, Tulane continues, again and again, to answer the call. Our commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration drives the universal tradition of innovation, moving the earth and its people forward. What makes Tulane uniquely innovative is the way we choose to think differently about the world and draw connections that others ignore. At Tulane, we teach our students how to build something—a bridge or a vaccine or a business. We provide the skills to think nimbly across disciplines, and to tackle problems from multiple perspectives. We offer vast, original opportunities to innovate at every turn. Dr. Ramesh Ayyala, born in Hyderabad, India, is a professor in the School of Medicine here at Tulane. He has obsessed his whole life with curing glaucoma—a disease that is easily preventable and yet is the world’s second leading cause of blindness. In this country, it is easy to get tested and diagnosed. But around the world, it’s not so easy. Millions live in places where access to traditional glaucoma tests is impossible, because they require the big, expensive and heavy machines you see at the eye doctor’s office. Countless go blind as a result.



NEW PERSPECTIVES At Tulane, students and faculty engage in worldaltering research.

He wanted to find a solution to these problems. There must be some way to make a test small and portable enough to bring to the underserved masses of the world! A kind of “Backpack Ophthalmology.” When Dr. Ayyala saw his first virtual reality headset, he had an incredible idea to use video game technology to conduct glaucoma tests. But this wasn’t a problem that could be solved with solely his own medical understanding. He went to the Department of Computer Science, a department that wasn’t just open to working across fields—it is set up to do so by design; our entire computer science department is made up of faculty who work on the application of technology to solving other problems, which has led to some truly amazing results. It was the perfect department for Dr. Ayyala to enlist a team of faculty and undergraduate students, whom he tasked with creating a virtual reality glaucoma test that can literally fit in your backpack. One of these students is Carolyn Ma, a senior majoring in finance and computer science. For the rest of her life, she’ll get to brag about how her capstone project will help prevent blindness in millions of people. Today the project is nearly complete. It will be cheap and entirely portable, and it will stop blindness in its tracks. That’s what Tulane does; we make innovation possible by thinking about problems from every perspective. We push our students to engage, hands-on, in world-altering research. Walter Isaacson, a great friend of Tulane, once said, “Innovation will come from people who are able to link beauty to engineering, humanity to technology and poetry to processors.” This is the beauty of Dr. Ayyala’s ambitious project. This is the future of higher education and research, and it is undoubtedly the future of Tulane. I wonder how Tulanians will continue to change the world in 2017?

TUlane C O N T E N T S Innovation Within A robot programmed at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Florida, processes bytes of data faster and faster. (See page 20.)

2 PRESIDENT’S LETTER Tradition of innovation


6 NEWS Immigration issues • DesignIntelligence ranks Architecture No. 14 • In That Number • Who Dat? Sandra Karp • Engineers in Ecuador • UNICEF Report • The Blue Dog • Resiliency along the Gulf • In Your Own Words: Madina Papadopoulos


Raising Consciousness Some scientists reject consciousness study outright, arguing that there is no mystery to consciousness—the brain creates the mind, end of story. To explore consciousness is to invite scientifically unprovable concepts such as higher powers, miracles and intelligent design. But philosophers say, wait a minute, there is much more to discover about how we understand and experience the world. By Faith Dawson


Amped Up Computer scientists are in the thick of the hot field of artificial intelligence. They touch

13 SPORTS Baseball coach Travis Jewett • Rugby 30 TULANIANS Jonathan LaMare • Clubs worldwide • Keith Dorman • Howard F. Marx • Alumni Awards 31 WHERE Y'AT! Class notes

lives in all kinds of ways from programming ethics into self-driving cars to interpreting

37 FAREWELL Tribute: Irwin Isaacson Jr.

how the brain reads sounds. By Leslie Cardé


Tech-Savvy Hero Forever famous in New Orleans Saints’ lore, Steve Gleason (B ’11) never backs down from a challenge, not even a diagnosis of ALS. He now strives to find and develop new technologies to live life fully. By Carolyn Scofield

38 WAVEMAKERS Presidential chairs • Tulane Fund for Undergraduate Education 40 NEW ORLEANS Artillery on display

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CRESCENT NICKNAME COMES FROM DOWNRIVER Dave Denson, B ’92, of C New N Orleans, writes that the December 2016 cover photo is of Nine-Mile Point, looking upriver toward the Huey P. Long Bridge. Entergy’s Nine-Mile Point power plant is left, and Avondale shipyard is in the background.

Y E A H,


COPPER AND MOSQUITOES Congratulations on your recent issue [Tulane, December 2016] on living with water. It provided some useful insights and some hints of places that might make interesting bike rides. It also reminded me of a question that I’ve been dying to ask some expert for years. Tulane has exactly the kind of experts who can handle it. In 1969 I got my PhD in economics from Tulane and my dissertation was a spinoff on the economic issues surrounding the malaria eradication program in the then Ceylon. In my 20 years working for the World Bank in and out of the Third World, I learned a great deal about mosquitoes and malaria and acquired a lot of local craft. When my house was torched in the Washington, D.C., area in May 1993, a large Egyptian copper bowl that I had in the room where the fire was started got thrown out into the garden by the firefighters or the people who repaired the house. I didn’t find it for many months. When I did find it, I noticed that no mosquitoes had laid larva in it. I returned to New Orleans in 1999 after retiring. In the subsequent 17 years I have used that copper bowl to catch the drip from my antiquated outdoor spigot. I have never seen a mosquito larva in it. Nor do they appear in my copper birdbath. I put old pennies in my small fountain, which only runs sporadically, and that too seems to stop the little buggers. I don’t know the exact chemical properties involved, but I seem to recall that the Copper T IUD used copper because it was not an abortifacient, but it prevented the multiplication or division of cells or something. Perhaps someone from the Tulane School of Public



W R I T E Health, the medical school or the chemistry department can tell me whether the copper solution is just an old wives’ tale. Often, of course, such tales have efficacy. Susan Collina Jayne, G ’69 New Orleans Reply from Dawn Wesson, associate professor of tropical medicine in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine: How observant! Yes, low levels of copper have been shown to kill mosquito larvae. So the mosquitoes are probably laying their eggs in the copper containers and the eggs may hatch (or not), but if they do, the larvae die at a young age and never get large enough to be noticed. One of the first reports of the insecticidal properties of copper was the observation, published in 1992, that copper vases in cemeteries didn’t have mosquitoes in them while other containers did. Unfortunately, with the increase in the cost of copper, they were all stolen from the cemeteries! But tossing in a few pennies is a good idea, and evidently it’s still safe for animals to drink from. KUDOS TO MARK DAVIS I enjoyed your piece “Living With Water” [December 2016]. I was glad to see the wisdom of Mark Davis, a great water expert, thinker and theoretician cited in your good article. Robert K. Dawson, A&S ’68 Washington, D.C. PATRIOT NEAL JONES You have an error on page 8 of the latest issue [Tulane, December 2016]. Col. Jones flew the F-105 (not a F-150, which doesn’t exist, except as a Ford pickup). And a minor

point: The author states Jones was on his “third tour of duty.” The term “tour of duty” refers to the 12-month assignment to Southeast Asia. Jones was on his third “mission” when he was shot down. A true patriot, nevertheless. James F. Clark, Col., U.S. Air Force (Retired), L ’77 Denver, Colorado

FANS OF BEN WEINER We enjoyed Angus Lind’s article about Ben Weiner (“War Stories,” December 2016). Angus wrote that few of today’s Tulane students have any reason to remember Ben Weiner—as they weren’t alive yet when he was around. We were alive then and remember him well. He gave us jobs in his furniture rental

Ben Weiner

NEAL JONES, MAN OF COURAGE Thank you for Ryan Rivet’s fine piece about M. Neal Jones in the December 2016 edition, on the occasion of the dedication of the Colonel Murphy Neal Jones Football All American Wall. I had the pleasure of meeting Neal at an alumni function in Miami many years ago and was immediately taken with his obvious love for Tulane. As I got to know Neal and learned more about him it became apparent that this is a man of uncommon courage and honor. I am humbled to know Neal and to be a fellow alumnus and veteran. Congratulations to both Neal and Tulane for creating this fine tribute to him and to Tulane Athletics. Jack R. Brewer, A&S ’68 Apalachicola, Florida

business. He taught us about the business world. We benefited from his love for Tulane and Tulane students. To us he was a game changer. We are sorry today’s students do not know more about his generosity and kindness, as we do. Paul N. Arnold, A&S ’68 Covington, Louisiana and Michael K. Fitzpatrick, A&S ’68, L ’71 New Orleans ________________________ DROP US A LINE! Email us at: tulanemag@tulane.edu or U.S. mail: Tulane, Office of Editorial & Creative Services, 200 Broadway, Suite 219, New Orleans, LA 70118

Letter From The Editor

TUlane M








EDITOR Mary Ann Travis

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melinda Whatley Viles



Elise Moore, a School of Science and Engineering engineering physics major, puts finishing touches on a model of Gibson Hall that she produced in MakerSpace.

A PLACE FOR INNOVATION “I don’t think I would have gotten to know and collaborated with art majors, if there hadn’t been MakerSpace,” said Cody O’Cain, a School of Science and Engineering biomedical engineering major. MakerSpace is a workshop on the Tulane uptown campus, where students, faculty and staff from all disciplines produce tangible things inspired by abstract ideas. O’Cain can attest that MakerSpace is a place where participants bring their curiosity and creativity. And then they go to work, inventing and innovating. In MakerSpace, O’Cain created a model of a geometrical Cosine Map. (See the end product and more about MakerSpace in the Gallery on page 11 and In That Number on page 7, where O’Cain is pictured as a “Maker Ninja.”) MakerSpace is just one manifestation of the culture of innovation and collaboration at Tulane. This culture of breakthroughs and achievement is what sets a Tulane education apart. New ideas are everywhere at Tulane. For example, there’s the Brain Institute to explore the organ that controls so many aspects of human existence. The Department of Computer Science is diving into artificial intelligence, studying its applications and impact on our lives.

This edition of Tulane reports on innovators who are committed to discovering solutions to problems. The remarkable Steve Gleason, B ’11, a Freeman Business School alumnus (and football hero), has propelled technology to make a better life for himself and others. Steve Gleason graces our cover and is featured in “Tech-Savvy Hero” on page 26. In “Amped Up,” on page 20, we focus on Ken Ford, who earned his doctorate in computer science in 1987. He founded the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Florida, where, in collaboration with associate professor of computer science Brent Venable and others, including Venable’s Tulane students, he explores the power and limits of computing. And in “Raising Consciousness,” on page 14, we look at how scientists and philosophers study awareness of our very existence. These stories show how Tulane is driving innovation. Now there are further boundaries to cross. And a Tulane education, as always, is building bridges to the future. In the next issue of Tulane, we’ll look at entrepreneurs who also are making the world a better place through their enterprise and ingenuity. —MARY ANN TRAVIS

CONTRIBUTORS Keith Brannon Barri Bronston Linda P. Campbell Mary Cross, SLA ’10 Allison Hjortsberg Alicia Duplessis Jasmin Angus Lind, A&S ’66 Kirby Messinger Ryan Rivet, UC ’02 Carolyn Scofield Mike Strecker SENIOR UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHER Paula Burch-Celentano SENIOR PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Sharon Freeman GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Marian Herbert-Bruno Kimberly D. Rainey


PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY Michael A. Fitts SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR STRATEGIC INITIATIVES AND INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS Richard Matasar VICE PRESIDENT FOR UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS Deborah L. Grant, PHTM ’86 Tulane (ISSN 21619255) is a quarterly magazine published by the Tulane Office of Editorial and Creative Services, 31 McAlister Drive, Drawer 1, New Orleans, LA 70118-5624. Periodical postage at New Orleans, LA 70113 and additional mailing offices. Send editorial correspondence to the above address or email tulanemag@tulane.edu. Opinions expressed in Tulane are not necessarily those of Tulane representatives and do not necessarily reflect university policies. Material may be reprinted only with permission. Tulane University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Tulane, Tulane Office of Editorial and Creative Services, 31 McAlister Drive, Drawer 1, New Orleans, LA 70118-5624. MARCH 2017/VOL. 88, NO. 3

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PRESTIGE IN MEDICINE AND HEALTH Dr. Maureen Lichtveld, professor and

chair of environmental health sciences and Freeport McMoRan Professor of Environmental Policy in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has been elected as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine.



Architecture Honored

Legal Migration



Refugees Arrive Migrant men, women and children along with tourists and locals board a ferry bound for Athens on June 4, 2015, in Kos, Greece. The migrants from Turkey are among more than 30,000 refugees who have entered Greece.

PROGRAM RANKED AMONG BEST Tulane architecture students are well prepared for future careers through the rigorous design studio approach to learning.


The mass migration of people seeking safety or a better life is a thread running through human history: It connects settlers of the American West, Irish who landed on the U.S. East Coast, Cubans fearing persecution, Cambodians fleeing the deadly Khmer Rouge, Central Americans seeking economic opportunity—and, most recently, Syrians displaced by civil war. The political, practical and legal ramifications of migration are more unsettling than ever, with immigration a major factor in the British vote to leave the European Union and President Donald Trump’s executive orders for a travel ban from predominantly Muslim countries to the U.S. The June 2016 “Brexit” vote that narrowly favored leaving the EU raises numerous questions besides how many refugees the U.K. can absorb, including what happens to European nationals living in Britain and what hurdles future immigrants will face. To explore this timeliest of topics, Tulane Law School is offering a summer abroad program featuring faculty experts on constitutional, human rights and European Union law. Refugees, Migration and the Legal Future, scheduled for July 16–29 at Cambridge University’s Trinity College, will tackle issues facing world governments, diplomats, human rights lawyers, legal systems— and migrants themselves. “The issue of refugees is a pressing one, not only for Europe, but all over the globe,” said Cambridge summer program director Stephen M. Griffin, Tulane’s Rutledge C. Clement Jr. Professor in Constitutional Law and holder of a W.R. Irby Chair. “I hope students will better understand the broad scope of refugee and migration problems worldwide—and how the issue in the U.S. is one piece of a larger puzzle.” The program is open to law students from Tulane and other schools. —Linda P. Campbell

In its annual ranking of accredited undergraduate programs, DesignIntelligence Quarterly ranked the Tulane School of Architecture as the nation’s 14th best architecture and design school, and architecture dean Kenneth Schwartz as one of the 25 most admired educators for 2016–17. Each year, the publication conducts the America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools survey, which ranks undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of professionals who hire and supervise graduates of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design programs. The ranking is among the most prestigious in the design professions. “This is a historic event for our school and a positive reflection of the continued increase in national recognition for design excellence among our students, faculty and alumni,” Schwartz said. “There are many fine architecture programs across the U.S., but there are few that combine the strong traditions of architectural design with public service and civic engagement.” The architecture school fosters excellence and innovation in architecture, preservation, sustainable real estate development and urban and environmental design. Among its programs is the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, which works in partnership with community organizations across New Orleans.—Barri Bronston

The Office of Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property Development at Tulane serves as a pipeline between faculty and student innovations and the marketplace. Director John Christie (B ’03) heads the office, which consists of three licensing professionals who work closely with researchers to develop patentable prototypes suitable for commercial distribution. To help cultivate inventions, the office helped initiate MakerSpace at Tulane (see the Gallery, on page 11) and the Novel Tech Challenge, a competition for students.


In That Number Tech Transfer & Intellectual Property


3-D printers


MakerSpace offers eight 3-D printers.

MakerSpace is a 4,100-square-foot student-run workshop on the uptown campus. It has laser cutters, 3-D printers and other design tools and is open to the Tulane community.


“Maker Ninjas”—18 trained student workers—are in charge of MakerSpace, helping their peers use equipment in the workshop.

15 minutes

In 2016, 12 licenses for Tulane technology and intellectual property were executed.





In 15 minutes, a device developed by a Tulane researcher can detect an Ebola virus infection. (Lab-based diagnostics for the virus formerly took four hours.) The Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development facilitated Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization approval for the device.

Since 2012, Tulane has received $6,970,933 in federal research support to develop prototypes for inventions.

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Who Dat? Sandra Karp

TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Seven hundred women marched peacefully through the streets of New Orleans. The date: January 1980. The time: nighttime. “It was a thrilling event,” recalled SANDRA KARP (G ’78), an organizer of the Take Back the Night march, the first of its kind in New Orleans. “We were an energetic, focused group,” said Karp. “And we were disciplined, even the police said so.” The day before the march, Karp called a press conference to spell out its goals. (She’s shown here talking to the media along with other organizers.) Janet Allured in Remapping SecondWave Feminism: The Long Women’s Rights Movement in Louisiana, 1950–1997 (University of Georgia Press, 2016) writes that at that media event, Karp “explained that threats of violence curtailed women’s freedom of movement.” (Allured did much of her research at the Newcomb Archives of the Newcomb College Institute.) Karp and the coalition of women who



assembled for the march were “putting the community on notice ‘that these conditions are intolerable.’” Karp also “presented a report to city officials outlining what the city and others could do to combat violence against women.” These proposals included a “clearinghouse of information and referrals to agencies that could help female victims who did not know where to turn following an attack.” The main goal of the marchers was “to signify their strength in numbers and their refusal to limit their mobility,” writes Allured. The march from St. Mark’s Community Center on Rampart Street through the French Quarter, down Bourbon Street, to end with a rally at Washington Square “exceeded my expectations in size and enthusiasm,” said Karp. “It was an amazing, hopeful time,” she said. “Our intent was to make the world a better place.” And she believes the marchers did succeed in bringing attention and action

toward curbing violence against women. The march was “a small step with important repercussions.” Karp, who earned her PhD in history, has a significant place in the women’s liberation movement in New Orleans—and Tulane. While a graduate student, she was a co-founder of Tulane Women for Change, a group recognized by the faculty University Senate in 1971. Tulane Women for Change acknowledged and supported women who aspired to “serious, scholarly careers.” A short biography of Karp is in the encyclopedia Feminists Who Changed America, 1963–75 (University of Illinois Press, 2006). She’s had a career as a teacher, community activist and book indexer. She now lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where she is writing a book, “Origins,” about evolution from a sensory perspective. The tradition of Take Back the Night continues today in New Orleans. Tulane students participate along with students from other New Orleans universities in the annual candlelight march.—MARY ANN TRAVIS

BLACK RIO IN THE ’60S AND ’70S Christopher Dunn, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Africana Studies in the Tulane School of Liberal Arts, has published a new book, Contracultura: Alternative Arts and Social Transformation in Authoritarian Brazil (UNC Press, 2016), about the early soul movement.



Health Inequities

Water Sources Engineers Without Borders Engineering students (left to far right) Max Woody, Briley Bourgeois and Quentin Boose along with adjunct professor and alumnus (second from right) Brad Moore bring their engineering know-how and listening skills to Ecuador to improve water access for the village of Laquigo.

PREVENTING DISEASE Rates of immunizations of infants in Latin America and the Caribbean are part of a study by UNICEF and Tulane public health researchers whose goal is to facilitate the development of policies aimed at improving health outcomes in the region.


In the tiny Ecuadorean village of Laquigo, hundreds of residents get their water from ditches. Water for bathing. Water for cooking. Water for drinking. There’s a reason: The town of 2,400 tripled in population between 2000 and 2016, but the water distribution supply has not kept pace. Enter the Tulane University chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which connects undergraduates with developing nations in need of engineering skills that it otherwise could not afford. Under the guidance of Tulane professor of physics Douglas Chrisey and alumnus and adjunct professor Brad Moore (E ’76), the group recently traveled to Laquigo to study the problems up close. That meant meeting with village leaders, and trekking up mountains and through jungles to get a clearer picture of how water makes its way from town to town. One thing they discovered is that Laquigo is the last village using a shared pipe system among many other towns. “This leaves them at the mercy of the other villages upstream,” said Tulane student Max Woody. “When those upstream need more water, Laquigo gets less and less.” The group’s challenge—to increase the water supply to Laquigo while making sure Laquigo’s access to water cannot be cut off by other villages. They spent the rest of their trip taking water samples and learning about ownership rights and the process used by the government to award water to different groups. Back at Tulane, they are working on plans to build a reliable, independent water system for Laquigo residents. “Every day, millions of people struggle worldwide with the basic tasks of life,” Chrisey said. “Engineers Without Borders allows students to participate in community-driven development programs worldwide through the design and implementation of sustainable engineering projects, while fostering responsible leadership.”—Barri Bronston

Researchers at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine partnered with UNICEF to produce the Health Equity Report 2016, analyzing health inequities in Latin America and the Caribbean. “The report emphasizes the importance of understanding who is left behind and why,” said lead author Dr. Arachu Castro, holder of the Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America at Tulane. Castro hopes this report will be used as a tool to guide policymakers. The researchers reviewed dozens of health surveys and reports on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in the 33 countries that make up Latin America and the Caribbean. The region has the highest percentage of adolescent births worldwide, as high as 27 percent of all births in some countries. “That tells us a lot about gender inequities, lack of opportunities for young people, poor quality of education and gaps in access to contraceptives,” said Castro. Castro and her team found most of the differences in infant and under age 5 mortality as well as perinatal and neonatal care are related to a mother’s wealth and education, more so than whether she lived in a rural or urban setting.—Carolyn Scofield

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TIME AND PLACE FOR FOOD A new course, The History of Eating and Drinking,

explores the production and consumption of food and drink—from examining fasting practices in medieval Europe to researching the manufacturing of moonshine in America’s Deep South.


True Blue Dog “I grew up in a world where dogs were blue,” Jacques Rodrigue (L ’07) told dozens of law students who filled a New Orleans Magazine Street art gallery this past fall. Tulane law student groups—the Civil Law Society and the Entertainment and Art Law Society—sponsored the talk. Rodrigue explained how he protects the beloved Blue Dog by his father, George Rodrigue, from copycats: intercepting illicit cellphone covers shipped in from Mexico; stopping bogus merchandise, like a French Market vendor’s framed Blue Dog “prints” that were just cut from books featuring George Rodrigue’s art; getting sites like eBay to take down listings offering custom-made (but fraudulent) Blue Dog paintings. And when Jacques Rodrigue saw on Instagram that Ty had come out with an unlicensed Blue Dog–hued Beanie dog with what he described as “pouty lips and take-me-home eyes,” he pursued a copyright infringement claim—and secured a confidential settlement that went to the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts. “We’ve done a pretty good job of educating the public about what can and can’t be done” under copyright law, said Rodrigue, who serves as executive director of the foundation, which was started in 2009. George Rodrigue died in 2013. Proceeds from prints of his artwork help his foundation award college scholarships, donate art supplies and support a program that trains teachers to incorporate the arts into every subject in every classroom as a technique to boost learning. Jacques Rodrigue said he focused on intellectual property law while a student at Tulane, and using his legal skills to protect his father’s brand and legacy requires keeping up with evolving challenges. “In many ways, the law is trying to catch up with artists and the art world,” he said.—Linda P. Campbell



Copyright Protection The Limb I Swung On is an 18-by-24-inch acrylic on linen painting by George Rodrigue, 2006. It is reproduced here with permission.

RESILIENCY ALONG THE GULF OF MEXICO The River and Coastal Center of the Tulane ByWater Institute hosts Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities workshops to assess and address public health, social and economic impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Former Plaquemines Parish president (and now Louisiana Lt. Gov.) Billy Nungesser vividly remembers, in the days following the BP oil spill in 2010, how difficult it was to get disaster response leaders to listen to the dire warnings from local officials about the spill’s looming impact on wildlife and the state’s delicate coastal marshes. “It felt like we were fighting against the team that should have been in place to help us,” said Nungesser. Local leaders must be better prepared, Nungesser told officials gathered at Tulane ByWater Institute’s River and Coastal Center on Nov. 14 for the launch of the Southeastern Louisiana Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellowship program. Fifteen emerging leaders from five coastal parishes—Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Terrebonne and Lafourche—trained at a fiveday workshop to more effectively develop plans that strengthen and coordinate the resilience of their communities to future disasters such as flooding, oil spills or hurricanes. As a member of the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities, Tulane’s ByWater Institute has adapted the Tulane Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) curriculum to identify and address leadership challenges facing Gulf Coast communities. (The DRLA program has been implemented across the world.)—Keith Brannon



Coastal Leaders


Gallery A Cosine Map: MakerSpace

OBJECTS OF INNOVATION Tulane University now caters to its artists, engineers, craftspersons, makers and kinesthetic learners in the MakerSpace on the uptown campus. Intricate creations, like the cosine map (pictured here) by Tulane student Cody O’Cain, are constructed by visitors utilizing the workshop. The student-run workshop, located on Engineering Road, offers accessibility to laser cutters, 3-D printers and other design tools. The equipment is available for academic assignments as well as for extracurricular projects that require mechanical manufacturing. “The cosine map is intended to be an example of how a 3-D shape can be created using slices of material as opposed to 3-D printing,” said O’Cain. “It’s a faster process, and it allows for the creation of objects that are larger than what 3-D printers allow.” Cedric Walker, professor emeritus, spearheaded the establishment of MakerSpace at Tulane alongside colleagues Tim Schuler, senior professor of practice in physics and engineering physics, and John Sullivan, a lab supervisor in biomedical engineering.

Walker said that Tulane’s MakerSpace is unique in that it has a partnership with the Newcomb Art Department, bringing together students of science and engineering with art students. In full operation since 2016, the 4,100-square-foot workshop is used regularly by students and faculty across many disciplines. “An anthropologist wanted to show his students an excavated deer mandible that had human teeth marks on it from 8,000 years ago,” said Walker. “It was too fragile to pass around, but the professor was able to use a CAT scan of the bone to create a 3-D model for the students to view up close.” Similarly, Walker recalled a linguistics student who came in to replicate a flute made of bone that was too fragile to play. The student, who was studying the sounds of ancient instruments, “was able to give voice to a flute that had not been heard in 3,000 years.” Another selling point of Tulane’s MakerSpace is the fact that daily operations are entirely student run. Walker, who retired from his 39-year

career as a professor of biomedical engineering at Tulane in 2015, works parttime to help students with training and ordering supplies. “When you come in to the workshop there is no staff and no faculty. Students are in charge,” said Walker. “They are here to help users, but they also have the authority to throw someone out if they are doing something that isn’t safe.” To encourage creativity among students, the Maker of the Year award was established in 2016 to recognize those who have mastered the complexities of building using the items available in the workshop. Afsheen Sajjadi, the inaugural Maker of the Year, is a biomedical engineering student who took the prize for designing a weight-bearing bridge using a laser cutter. He is also one of the workshop’s student workers, who are affectionately known as Maker Ninjas. “I enjoy helping people who come in with an idea make it into something real,” said Sajjadi. “Most people come in with a plan and they leave with this thing they’ve made that they are proud of.” —ALICIA DUPLESSIS JASMIN

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In Your Own Words Madina Papadopoulos

IN YOUR OWN WORDS is a space in Tulane magazine for recent graduates to express how their Tulane education opened up the world to them. After receiving a BA in French and Italian from Tulane in 2006, Papadopoulos went on to earn an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. Currently based in New York, she is a lifestyle writer by day, and a fiction writer by night. She comes home often to visit her father, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, professor of chemical engineering at Tulane. “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” the familiar Cajun expression that translates to, “Let the good times roll,” drips in every drop of the New Orleans humidity— it might as well be the city’s official motto. Upon first hearing it, it sounds hedonistic—even decadent. But on the other side of that rolling coin is a relaxed, resilient and resourceful approach to life. It’s a philosophy I learned as a New Orleans native, and as a Tulane student during Hurricane Katrina.



While many universities are microcosms, functioning apart from the city they are nestled in, it’s impossible to separate Tulane from New Orleans. The city’s culture of hospitality, curiosity and joy permeate through the old hallways. Tulane holds in its balance a hunger for life with an appetite for intellectual curiosity. As the daughter of a Tulane professor, Tulane was as much a part of my childhood as the city, a home away from home. And during Katrina, Tulane literally became my home as we sought refuge there when the storm hit. From Freret Street, I looked down to a campus drowning in water. When we finally left, I bid the city farewell, not imagining that it could ever bounce back. Many of my local friends lost their homes, their pets. Some even their family. My Tulane classmates were temporarily transferred to other universities around the nation. Whichever classmate I would talk to on the phone and ask how they liked their temporary school, I would hear

the same answer: “It’s not the same here. It’s cold. It’s uptight. I want to get back.” Adding to the deluge, I cried myself to sleep every night until finally, in December 2005, we went home. The city, usually so vibrant and bright, was dark and quiet. But then, in stark contrast to an otherwise empty neighborhood, one house was lit up for Christmas. Before the spring semester started, I met with my thesis adviser at Newcomb— who put me straight to work so that I could complete my honors thesis by graduation. That semester, every Tulanian, every New Orleanian, committed to making it work. And like that one house with the lights on in the darkness, they found resilience through rejoicing in the little things. That laissez les bons temps rouler perspective fed the rebirth—a reminder to take part in any small joy life has to give you. And while the waves might roll over our city from time to time, we always ride the wave.—MADINA PAPADOPOULOS

MEN’S BASKETBALL RECRUITS The Tulane men’s basketball is about to get taller,

thanks to the official signing of two new recruits for the 2017–18 season. Bul Ajang is a 6-foot-10 power forward, and Buay Koka is a 7-foot center. Both are from South Sudan but played high school ball for the top-ranked Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey.



What do you do after winning a national championship? Sure, you celebrate. But you also look to the future, which means recruiting and developing new talent and building on the skills that got you to the winner’s circle in the first place. But Tulane’s women’s club rugby team is not necessarily looking to win a second consecutive Division II National Championship as it did April 21, 2016, against Humboldt State University. Not that they would turn it down. “We definitely want to continue working hard and doing as well as we can,” said Lily Wissinger, team president. “If that means a championship is in the cards for us again then of course we’ll go for it with everything we have. But we don’t want to lose sight of why we play rugby in the first place.” Simply put, most of the women joined to have fun and make friends—two things they refuse to sacrifice. “We are a really close group of women and we genuinely enjoy spending time with each other,” she said. “We are motivated to go to practice and work hard not only because we like rugby, but because we like our teammates and feel that we owe it to each other to put in our best effort day in and day out.” The rugby season, including playoffs, runs from January through April.—B.B.


Fun and Friends

Love of Baseball Coaching in His Blood Travis Jewett, new Green Wave head baseball coach, comes to Tulane from Vanderbilt with high expectations for the education—and success on the diamond—of his players.

FRIENDS ABOVE ALL Coming off a championship season last year, the women’s rugby team is ready to put in its best efforts this year—and have fun.

Travis Jewett never imagined himself as a baseball coach, much less the head coach of an exceptional college program. But what started out as an offer to “help out” at the junior college level quickly turned into a string of coaching gigs at the Division I level. “I love baseball, obviously,” said Jewett, who began his first season as Tulane’s head baseball coach on Feb. 17. “But I really had to be talked into coaching. And then it gets in your blood, and the next thing you know you’re moving up.” On the way to Tulane, there were stops at Gonzaga, the University of Washington, Washington State, Arizona State and Vanderbilt, where he was part of the Commodores’ national championship season in 2014. To leave such an elite program would not be easy—that is, unless the right school came calling. That school was Tulane University, where athletic director Troy Dannen described Jewett as “the one”—a man who combined high character and integrity with demonstrated success in college baseball coupled with high expectations for players, both as students and athletes. Jewett said he was drawn to the job largely because of Tulane’s world-class education, a major selling point to recruits who may or may not play at the next level. “Of course we want these kids to pursue that, but if they don’t they will have a degree in their back pocket and all the opportunities that go along with that.” Since arriving at Tulane, Jewett has enjoyed getting to know his players and likes what he has seen. He is especially mindful of the seniors, most of whom are playing for their fourth head coach. “I’m trying to be respectful of their thoughts,” he said. “This is their last season, and I want their senior year to be one of great memory.”—Barri Bronston

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“Creativity appears to originate with unconscious mental processes; solutions to difficult problems may appear to ‘pop out of nowhere’ after an incubation period in the unconscious.” —Paul L. Nunez, emeritus professor of biomedical engineering and author of “The New Science of Consciousness”



Underneath your mental state, your mood, your biases and perceptions, your daily habits and to-do list, your cravings and aversions, there lies a fluid cognitive barrier between you and the rest of the world: consciousness. The easiest definition of consciousness is a state of awareness of your own existence and environment. But there’s a deeper, more complicated definition—at least we think there is—that explains not so much what consciousness is but why we have it and how it exists. Consciousness is a fairly new field of study. It can be difficult to track because it does not seem to present a clear pathway to controlled experiments that deliver concrete results. It’s challenging to pinpoint subtle preferences such as why one person likes the sound of classical music and another likes jazz. What we do know about consciousness is that it creates a fascinating intersection of philosophy, psychology, neuroscience and even quantum mechanics. THE CONSCIOUS MIND “The human mind in general is puzzling in an evolutionary sense, why it evolved and why it’s so different from animal minds,” says Radu Bogdan, Tulane professor of philosophy and director of the Cognitive Studies Program. “Other species are smart for their environment, but they don’t do science, math, art, religion and so forth.” Bogdan has written several books on the human mind, including Our Own Minds: Sociocultural Grounds for Self-Consciousness (MIT Press, 2010). “With intense debate, it is not very clear what consciousness does for us,” he says. If all that sounds like a lot to take in, maybe that’s the point: It’s an exciting time for consciousness research. PHYSICAL CLUES Brain and mind activity are closely linked. Consciousness is associated with the cerebral cortex and the underlying white matter, says Tulane professor emeritus of biomedical engineering Paul L. Nunez, who wrote The New Science of Consciousness: Exploring the Complexity of Brain, Mind, and Self (Prometheus Books, 2016). Consciousness also requires the proper functioning of certain brain systems, such as the cortical-thalamic system. With electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging, some of these brain sites can be monitored, thereby providing reliable brain signatures of consciousness. The relationship between the physical brain and consciousness are promising on more than one level. “There’s all kinds of new information showing a direct correlation between mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as developmental disorders like autism. All these diseases have white matter involvement—and their understanding could benefit from further consciousness study,” says Nunez, who now runs a San Diego consulting firm that specializes in brain research. Other brain sites associated with higher cognitive functions include the hippocampus, frontal cortex and basal ganglia.

“The human mind in general is puzzling in an evolutionary sense, why it evolved and why it’s so different from animal minds.” —Radu Bogdan, professor of philosophy and author of “Our Own Minds”

ATTENTION AND MEMORY Julie Markant, Tulane assistant professor of psychology and a faculty member at the Tulane Brain Institute, studies attention and memory, two critical markers of consciousness. Her research concentrates on infants. Because humans rarely form memories before age 2 or 3—a concept known as infantile amnesia—scientists previously thought that babies do not have conscious awareness. But, in fact, young brains rapidly take in and store information, learn to control their attention span, and develop ways to understand their surroundings, says Markant. “Infants are good learners. They’re pulling in a huge amount of information from the environment,” she says. “The idea that I’m working with in my lab is that learning and memory are developing over the first

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“The self and social factors go hand-in-hand.” —Carrie Wyland, senior professor of practice in social psychology



two years of life not just because of the memory system developing, but also because the attention system is developing.” The important link between attention and memory allows children to learn to filter out seemingly extraneous information and store the useful information. UNCONSCIOUS VS. CONSCIOUS This filtering suggests a conscious process is at work. It turns out that most of the mind functions on an unconscious level, even though the conscious and unconscious systems are in constant communication. Neurophysiological experiments have shown that the brain initiates an action—such as voluntary movement—well before the movement takes place, before even awareness of the desire to move sets in. Think about a person who is learning to play an instrument: Her conscious mind is hard at work, memorizing what the notes look and sound like, how to hold the instrument, how to time her breaths. But after years of practice, many of these fundamentals fall into the unconscious, and the musician’s hands and breath operate almost on their own.

“We’re bombarded with all this information from the outside world; most of it goes into the unconscious and is processed in some way without our awareness. The process is like a bunch of workers in the basement of an office building [that’s the unconscious mind] who are processing all this data, and the executives at the very top [that’s the awareness of a healthy, alert person] don’t want all this data. They want simplified versions of it,” Nunez offers in a common analogy. The unconscious mind tends to stay busy in the brain’s “background.” But even as it filters out unnecessary items, it supports cognitive processes overall. “Creativity also appears to originate with unconscious mental processes; solutions to difficult problems may appear to ‘pop out of nowhere’ after an incubation period in the unconscious,” Nunez points out in his book. That’s why you might blank on the name of your 10th-grade teacher while you’re talking about your high school days; it might suddenly come to you when you’re thinking about something else entirely. But even if you grew up to have a terrible memory, it means little for actual consciousness. True disruptions to consciousness occur when the brain has been severely injured or is affected by illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. “That’s getting a lot closer to losing conscious awareness,” Markant says. “At that point you start to lose the sense of continuity in life. Memory is what provides this idea of continuity in our identity and how we move through the world.” UNPREDICTABLE ENVIRONMENTS Consciousness may be shaped by executive functions such as attention and memory, but outside influences have a bearing on it, too. Children who grow up in extreme isolation or neglectful or abusive situations may suffer lasting cognitive impairment. Being deprived of social interaction in the early years can actually change the development of the brain’s white matter, which aids in the transmission of brain messages. At one time psychologists considered motor, social and cognitive development to be separate domains, says Carrie Wyland, Tulane senior professor of practice in social psychology. “In reality all of them develop together—the self and social factors go hand-in-hand.” Around age 2 or 3, children start to display social emotions like guilt and pride. “They’re developing in part because kids are learning to communicate with language. Social relationships are key ingredients,” she says. Later they begin to understand that their own knowledge is a separate entity from the knowledge of others. “Young children must be conscious in the sense that they must activate mental tools that suggest consciousness; children develop consciousness precisely because they live in an unpredictable environment,” Bogdan argues. At birth, “they don’t know what language they will speak, they don’t know in what culture they will grow up. All of this taxes their minds; they have to be prepared for whatever” the environment presents. EASY AND HARD PROBLEMS A discussion of consciousness can drift into two channels of thought: the easy and the hard problem. What’s called the “easy problem” deals with measurable facets of cognitive science—biological processes in the brain, for example, or the neuromotor ability to react to stimuli. But it’s the so-called “hard problem” that makes people squirm: How to characterize the subjectivity of an individual’s experience. Remember “the dress” that inspired passionate debate across the internet in 2015? In reality, the dress was blue and black. But many people saw it (and still see it) as white and gold. Philosophers have considered the individual conscious experience for centuries. But an introspective exploration on the nature of consciousness will only get you so far, says Bogdan. That’s why in his book, on the hunt for “fresh angles” into consciousness discussion, he used human evolution and development to probe the topic.

“Infants are good learners. They’re pulling in a huge amount of information from the environment.” —Julie Markant, assistant professor of psychology

“To me, consciousness is a distant outcome of unpredictability— meaning, not by itself, but rather being a byproduct of the mental tools that an organism needs to deal with unpredictability” in the environment over the millennia. Likewise, Nunez appreciates the interdisciplinary nature of consciousness, so he looks to philosophy for clues. “Your enemy is your best teacher,” he says, quoting Buddhist thinking. “I tried to concentrate on the works of philosophers that I disagreed with.” Some scientists have rejected consciousness study outright: One argument is that there is no mystery to consciousness—the brain creates the mind, end of story. Another argument against its exploration suggests that to do so invites scientifically unprovable concepts such as higher powers, miracles and intelligent design. Nonetheless, chipping away at the “easy problem” will lead us to a greater understanding of the hard problem, Nunez says, even if it involves philosophy or concepts that may appear a bit mystical, given the limits of our current understanding. FUTURE OF THE FIELD Some scholars have wondered whether even the most modern scientific techniques are capable of unlocking all of the brain’s secrets. Nunez thinks the appetite for consciousness research is substantial. The science of consciousness can be expected to advance in a series of small steps. “It’s perhaps the most important area of philosophical and neuroscientific investigation—where the two meet,” adds Bogdan. The next generation of consciousness scholars may be found in Tulane’s Cognitive Studies Program, where students pursue a coordinate major while they study the mind, cognition and language from a multidimensional perspective. (Bogdan runs a similar summer program called Open Mind at the University of Bucharest in Romania.) Then again, part of the intrigue of consciousness is that it may ultimately be an unsolvable mystery because we’re not finished evolving as humans. By the time we’ve got consciousness figured out, Mother Nature may have changed the code again.

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Does the notion of artificial intelligence have you conjuring up Hollywood’s images of cyborgs, posing as humans, coming back from the future to change the fate of the world? Or is the mere concept of AI (as scientists refer to it) emblematic of a world in which sentient computers like HAL, from 2001: A Space Odyssey, override the wishes of the humans they’re designed to assist and, while speaking in a soft eerie monotone, diabolically plan the deaths of an entire spaceship crew? If the androids of Westworld are the pejorative side of AI, heightened by a moviemaker’s poetic license, the truth, in fact, is that artificial intelligence, analogous to the science fiction of yesteryear, is already responsible for bettering the lives of humans in the real world. Artificial intelligence can be found in the electronics of your car, the Roomba that vacuums your home, or those smartphones we’re all tethered to. And, that doesn’t take into consideration thermostats that know when you’re home and adjust the temperature, sophisticated fraud detection alerts on your bank account, or the music or movie recommendations provided to you by Spotify or Netflix. “The notion of artificial intelligence has been around for a long time, but only recently have we had sufficiently powerful computers to actualize the ideas in this field,” said Ken Ford, who earned a PhD in computer science from Tulane in 1987. Ford is the founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Florida.

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Champion Robot Previous pages: A robot programmed at IHMC can drive a car, navigate debris and turn a valve. This page: Ken Ford, founder and CEO of IHMC, says robots aren’t about replacing humans but instead amplifying them.



“The term artificial is a singularly poor name. Perhaps enhanced, augmented or amplified intelligence would be more apropos. Artificial implies something fake.” —Ken Ford, G ’87, founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

To walk around the institute is to come face-to-face with impressive robotic figures. In fact, Ford’s team from IHMC beat an array of competitors at the international Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge in June 2015. It earned first place against American teams, including MIT and Carnegie Mellon, and second place overall, garnering $1 million in prize money. Ford emphasizes that this institute isn’t about replacing the human, but about amplifying them. “There are various camps in the AI community,” said Ford. “Some are trying to build machines whose behavior is indistinguishable from humans. That was the original group. IHMC is a reaction to that as we’re not into building artificial humans. They are in good supply, already. And, by the way, the term artificial is a singularly poor name. Perhaps enhanced, augmented or amplified intelligence would be more apropos. Artificial implies something fake.” To be sure, there’s nothing fake about the sort of intelligence that computers have been imbued with. Witness IBM’s Watson, which beat out the best human contestant to win “Jeopardy,” or the stunning win by the British company DeepMind, whose AI AlphaGo beat the 18-time world champion Lee Sedol at the Chinese board game called Go. It had long been considered an impossible task for computers to play Go at a world-class level. ETHICS OF SELF-DRIVING CARS “Artificial intelligence that enables computers to display intelligent behavior comes about by programming in various ways,” said Brent Venable, associate professor of computer science at Tulane, who has a joint appointment with IHMC. “One can write the rules into a computer, and then it will respond appropriately, or you can show it examples, where it will learn, and improve at tasks, with experience,” she said.

However, expecting a computer to exhibit appropriate reasoning becomes a bit more complex when thrown into the arbitrary world of morals and ethics. “Autonomous cars are the current hysteria, when it comes to AI,” said Ford. “But, at this point, I feel the media tends to exaggerate what they are capable of. At best, they are not autonomous, but rather self-driving. Self-driving simply means that the car’s computational systems have physical control of the car. I hear the term ‘autonomous cars’ being bantered around, but who wants an autonomous car? If that were the case, the car might say to itself, ‘Ken wants to go get a martini, but I think he’s had too much to drink already, so I’m taking him for a pizza.’” If this is starting to reflect shades of the inmates running the asylum, we need to remind ourselves that how computers learn, and the inferences they make from the data we feed them, are critical to them making good decisions. With self-driving vehicles, decision-making must take into consideration whose ethics are serving as a template for behavior. Venable, who formerly worked on NASA’s Mars rover, now has a grant from the Future of Life Institute, funded by Elon Musk, among others, to investigate safety and ethics in self-driving cars, like Musk’s Tesla. She finds the subject of AI at once confounding and fascinating. “The AI system in a self-driving vehicle has far more information than a human driver,” said Venable. “Because it has 360-degree sensors, it sees things from all perspectives simultaneously. The car also knows how fast the cars around it are going, and can take evasive action in the event of an impending accident, with a lot more information than a human can call up quickly.” But there’s nothing simple about some of the ethics questions that come into play. Imagine you’re driving down the road, with a passenger in the front seat, when a child suddenly darts out in front of you into the

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middle of the road, to chase a ball. Your only choices are to hit the child or swerve into a tree, which could injure you and your passenger. How do you program the computer driving the car when these sorts of moral dilemmas arise? “These are just some of the ethical questions facing the manufacturers of self-driving cars,” said Venable. “There are some situations that a human driver wouldn’t know how to handle either in a split second. Recently Mercedes-Benz announced that the company’s future autonomous vehicles would always protect the passengers inside the car. They got a lot of criticism for that decision, but they feel a need to protect the people who buy their cars.” Polls show that most people believe the self-driving autos should always make the decision to cause the least number of fatalities, but most people also said they’d only buy one of these cars if it meant their own safety was a priority. DATA DRIVEN The IHMC ethics project, which Venable is charged with designing, involves many researchers, including some of her Tulane students. School of Liberal Arts undergraduate and economics major Kyle



Bogosian is exploring various ways to balance legal and social issues, by programming in moral philosophy, represented by an algorithm. “When you entrust a machine with large amounts of data, it’s not possible to override or check every decision that it’s making,” said Bogosian. “However, if it’s programmed correctly, you hope its decisions will fall in line with the ethics you’ve programmed in. At any rate, it’s still more reliable than a human being behind the wheel, who is often distracted, and unable to make good split-second decisions.” Venable also collaborates with other neuroscientists like Edward Golob, a former Tulane professor, now at the University of Texas–San Antonio. They are determining how our brains specifically function when it comes to predicting auditory responses. “Let me give you an example,” said Venable. “If you tell me to pick up a pen on my desk, there is a sequence of events that occur. And now, our computation models can tell us how long it takes you to create the concept of what a pen is, then to realize the pen is actually here on the desk, and then tell your brain to pick it up. We’ve now learned that what direction the sound is coming from, in terms of the command to pick up the pen, matters. The brain reacts very quickly to auditory stimuli from the direction where one’s voluntary attention is allocated, say, in

front of the person. Then, there’s an auditory black hole on either side. But directly behind you, there’s a strong auditory response, no doubt programmed into our brains evolutionarily, from the days when early man needed to know who or what might be sneaking up behind him.” Venable’s research assistant, PhD candidate Jaelle Scheuerman, believes the data they’re gathering will be useful in a variety of ways, from cockpit audio in a jetliner, to emergency warning systems. “Many applications become clearer, once you figure out which sounds are most attention-grabbing,” said Scheuerman, “but trying to understand how people focus their attention is critical when you’re programming artificial intelligence to work with humans.” Perhaps the most stunning application of AI is in the medical arena, where a helping hand from a well-programmed robot can mean getting research and treatment plans at warp speed. “Computers,” said Ford at IHMC, “can be trained to read thousands of chapters about cancer pathways, which would take humans an enormous amount of time. A machine can then make inferences from this knowledge, which allows for personalized treatments based on genetics.” And many feel that in the near future, AI will be reading and interpreting MRIs and recommending treatment, from its vast database of knowledge. But beyond diagnosis and treatment, the computer, through some clever and rather theatrical AI, will soon help Alzheimer’s patients. “Many Alzheimer’s patients, who in the midst of losing brain function, can be combative, are especially wary of their doctors, so a computer avatar, which looks like a dog, but wears a wig, was devised to interact with the patients, and was deemed to be friendly and funny,” said Ford. IHMC researcher Yorick Wilks leads the dog avatar work, which he began at Oxford University, and is now continuing. “The patient can actually interact with the computer in a two-way chat,” said Ford. “The patient tells the friendly ‘dog’ that the family went on holiday in Morocco. The ‘dog’ knows what a family is, and knows what a holiday is, and at the lightning speed of a computer, it hooks up to Wikipedia to learn about Morocco, then consults with TripAdvisor to find the most interesting things to do, then replies seamlessly, ‘Oh, did you go to Fes el Bali?’” Venable added, “It’s only 600 milliseconds between utterances in a dialogue, so these agents must be incredible at computing on the fly, allowing them to engage in normal conversation.” Venable’s work extends to the science behind recommender systems. If you’ve ever received e-mails from Amazon suggesting what you should buy or watch, these are the preference fields they’ve collected on you, based on past purchases or viewing, to determine what your future choices will be. It may sound like Big Brother is watching your every move, but the technology seems here to stay. Moreover, younger people don’t seem to find this data collection to be invasive. “The hazard is that as a society, we seem to have traded privacy for convenience,” said Ford, “and perhaps we should complain more about apps collecting information about us without distinct permission. If you ever read the fine print, you’d be amazed. One company nefariously had put in a clause that said, ‘You must give us your first-born child.’ No one read it. But it’s called informed consent. It’s neither ‘informed’ nor ‘consent,’ in any real sense.”

“The AI system in a self-driving vehicle has far more information than a human driver. Because it has 360-degree sensors, it sees things from all perspectives simultaneously.” —Brent Venable, associate professor of computer science

Team Work HUMAN INGENUITY At the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, there are robots aplenty, but they are a means to an end. “At IHMC, we don’t sell products,” said Ford. “We do basic and applied science, build prototypes and then license intellectual property, when appropriate. Any technology can be used for good or ill. But machines are the products of human ingenuity, so we shouldn’t feel threatened by them. But interacting with devices at the expense of social interaction with other humans is one of the dangers of this technology. We should figure out the right way to interact with these devices, so that we, as people, are amplified, and not diminished.”

Brent Venable, associate professor of computer science, collaborates with Kyle Bogosian, School of Liberal Arts economics major, and Jaelle Scheuerman, PhD candidate in interdisciplinary computer science, on various projects.

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By Carolyn Scofield



How Are You? Steve Gleason speaks and moves his wheelJACKSON HILL

chair with eye-tracking technology.

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“I believe, by expanding capabilities and reducing the need for assistance, others can be motivated to continue pursuing the things they love.” —Steve Gleason

The average person types about 40 words a minute, fingers clicking on a keyboard to produce every word. Steve Gleason (B ’11) can type about 20 words a minute, an incredible speed when you consider how he does it. Gleason’s eyes search for each letter on a digital keyboard, the words become letters, the letters sentences, no fingers involved. Steve Gleason isn’t the average person. More than six years after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Gleason is busier than ever. The former New Orleans Saint can be found on the sidelines at most home games. The documentary about his battle with ALS, Gleason, debuted at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and he’s been touring film festivals and awards shows across the country for the last year. Gleason’s biggest job is keeping up with his 5-year-old son, Rivers. “I want to experience everything I can with him,” says Gleason. “He is incredibly active, so sitting idly is not an option.” But ALS robs its victims of the ability to move, speak, even breathe without assistance. The neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to weakness and eventually paralysis. Many ALS patients only have three years of life beyond diagnosis. There is only one Food and Drug Administration–approved drug to treat ALS right now. The medicine modestly slows progression of the disease in some people. Until a cure is found for ALS, Gleason is tackling it the only way he knows how, using technology. EYE-TRACKING INNOVATIONS Immediately after being diagnosed in 2011, Gleason researched communications devices. What he could find was outdated and expensive. “They were still the equivalent to 1990s’ technology with costs up to $20,000,” he says. Gleason reached out to communications device manufacturers with suggestions and began using a tablet that connects with eyetracking controls. A sensor followed his corneas to control the cursor on the screen. The makers of the tablet, Microsoft, heard Gleason’s story and put him in a Super Bowl commercial. He began working with Microsoft to improve the tablet. It’s now used by a number of ALS patients and costs less than $3,000. The company also invited Gleason to participate in a hackathon competition. Employees worked to develop technology that would enable him to play with his son, talk more easily with his wife and move his wheelchair independently. “Losing the ability to move on my own was difficult,” says Gleason. “For a long time, I had use of one finger or limited knee or head movement to control my chair. When that was finally lost, I felt discouraged and completely helpless to engage with my son and others.” The hackathon team developed an eye-tracking wheelchair and now, with Gleason’s help, a powerchair EyeDrive system with Microsoft is making its way to the FDA for approval. “Developing the system has been entirely and completely liberating,” he says. “I can now drive my chair without the help of others when using the eye-tracking interface.” A ‘BANKED’ VOICE Gleason says losing his voice was, by far, one of the most difficult things to process. Soon after his diagnosis, Gleason “banked” his voice. Most augmentative communications devices use a computerized voice. Voice banking allowed Gleason to record his own voice so it sounds much like the way he used to speak. He says the technology wasn’t new when he used it but voice banking wasn’t well known and was also cost-prohibitive. “I was one of the first with ALS to bank my voice and now many groups offer this service at a reduced cost,” says Gleason.



Burgundy and Calliope with emphasis on different syllables. As one example, Gleason types “New Orleens” so it will sound correct.



CAPSTONE PROJECTS Shortly after his diagnosis, Gleason visited the Steve Saling ALS Residence near Boston. The residence has 10 private bedrooms, each with a full, private bathroom. The bedrooms share a living room, kitchen and dining area so residents, staff and guests can gather like families. The entire home is fully automated and accessible. After returning from the trip, Gleason had the idea to build a similar residence in New Orleans. The result is Team Gleason House for Innovative Living at St. Margaret’s at Mercy Skilled Nursing Residence on Bienville Street, which opened in 2014. Four residents currently live in the home and they can control everything from the thermostat to the blinds using their communication devices or computers. Gleason is also working with a group of Tulane biomedical engineering seniors on their final project. The students spent two weeks last summer following residents of Gleason House, interacting and working with them. They then returned to campus to brainstorm ideas that would help address some of the unmet needs they observed. The students will present their project in the BME Senior Team Design Show later this spring. This so-called Capstone project enables biomedical engineering students to use the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work. Teams incorporate appropriate engineering standards and realistic constraints while they produce designs that address healthcare-related needs.

Celebrated Play Top: Gleason’s famous blocked punt is immortalized in a statue outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Bottom: On his way to a Tulane football game this fall with his son, Rivers.

The technology allows people to bank recorded phrases or even create synthesized speech using a computer file of all the sounds a voice makes from the alphabet and combinations of letters. The key phrases give a baseline for how a person says and speaks certain words. Gleason was given a few options after making recordings to select what sounded like his own voice. He still has to change some words to sound phonetically correct, important in a city that pronounces street names like

PURPOSE AND PRODUCTIVITY Gleason has always challenged life. An unlikely hero on a football team with stars like Drew Brees, it’s Gleason who is immortalized in bronze outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the statue version showing him stretched out to block a punt during the Saints’ first home game following Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 25, 2006. He sees ALS as another challenge. “I’m like everyone else who loves life and wants to experience it,” he says. “I need help doing those things but am fortunate to have an excellent care crew.” Gleason hopes to help other patients with ALS live with purpose and remain productive. Improving technology, he says, is key. “We hear constantly how the devices we provide and have helped improve have led to many choosing to live, and live fully, despite ALS,” says Gleason. “I believe, by expanding capabilities and reducing the need for assistance, others can be motivated to continue pursuing the things they love.” For Gleason, that means a full schedule, whether he’s taking the family to Audubon Park or introducing his favorite band, Pearl Jam, at a concert. The Gleason documentary is still making the rounds at awards shows and is now available to watch through Amazon Prime, gaining Gleason more fans every day. His annual Gleason Gras events and fundraisers throughout the year raise thousands of dollars for the Gleason Initiative Foundation, which helps provide cutting-edge technology to ALS patients and spread awareness about the disease. Gleason says his MBA from the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University provided valuable knowledge for running a foundation. “I learned a lot about leadership,” he says. “I have to manage a team of caretakers as well, so I definitely use techniques and strategies that came from Tulane.” “I was also taught how to manage change and I certainly have experienced enormous amounts of change in the past six years. Thanks in part to my Tulane MBA, I seem to be as productive as ever.” A football player, a businessman, an inventor, a movie star, a husband and a father, Steve Gleason could never be considered average.

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PLAY TIME Veteran actor, writer and producer Harold Sylvester (A&S ’72) recently starred in Tour Detour, a New Orleans play written by award-winning playwright Harold Ellis Clark. Sylvester also donated his personal collection of papers, which included correspondence, film and TV scripts, photographs and news clippings, to the Amistad Research Center at Tulane.


Club Ties

Helping Haiti As millions of dollars of aid and disaster workers pour into Haiti to assist in the recovery from Hurricane Matthew, alumnus Jonathan LaMare (SW ’11), is already helping his neighbors to rebuild their lives. LaMare is no stranger to hurricanes, so when the storm turned toward Haiti on Oct. 4 last year, he knew what to do even if his Haitian neighbors didn’t. “It was certainly a long week,” said LaMare, who serves as the country director for the Be Like Brit Foundation in Haiti. “It was a slowmoving storm, and Haiti has no notification system. So we went around notifying neighbors that they could shelter in place here, and people just didn’t believe us. They thought we were nuts, so that was challenging. Of course, a lot of the same people came running when the storm hit.” The foundation employs 100 people and operates a 19,000-squarefoot earthquake-proof orphanage about two hours from Port-Au-Prince. The group also runs a residential program with 66 children along with a 1,200-square-foot on-site medical facility serving 300 people per month. While the hurricane-force winds and rains reached the orphanage, they were spared much of the flooding and destruction experienced on the southern tip of the country. Starting on Oct. 11, LaMare’s foundation committed to building a home a day for those who lost their homes in their region. LaMare said his experiences at Tulane informed his organization’s disaster response. “We want this to be a community-driven response and not a topdown kind of event,” he said. “We want the local people to drive this recovery. That’s our focus right now. Everyone here is so resilient and willing and able to work to rebuild and improve their country. It’s inspiring to see during a far-reaching disaster.”—Joseph Halm



Rebuilding lives Jonathan LaMare, third from left, was working in Haiti when Hurricane Matthew made landfall. As country director for a nonprofit, he’s already helping people rebuild.

SWEET MEMORIES King cakes are a constant at Tulane alumni club Carnival gatherings. Tulane Alumni Association outfits every party with a king cake to celebrate the season.

When he first joined student government as a Tulane undergraduate, Larry Connelley (TC ’97) didn’t know that he would one day help the global Tulane community connect as president of the Tulane Alumni Association (TAA). Connelley got involved with the Tulane Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, eight years ago, and served as that club’s president. Since July 2016, he has led TAA. “We’ve seen a significant increase in alumni activity and visibility,” he said. “Engaged alumni give more support back to the university. The clubs allow people to build both a professional and social network within the hosting city. They really benefit young alumni just starting out.” Volunteers, like Connelley, lead Tulane clubs in coordination with the university. There are over 60 clubs worldwide, including in France, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico and Panama. With assistance from the Tulane Office of Alumni Relations, local alumni organize educational, social and cultural events each year in which over 15,000 Tulane alumni participate. Connelley said that events with a touch of New Orleans nostalgia are popular. This year, parties celebrating the Carnival season were held in 30 cities. “Alumni share a craving for king cake, so we send out cakes to each party around the world.”—Mary Cross

Dispatch Keith Dorman W H E R E

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1960s The Sexual Medicine Society of North America has renamed its lifetime achievement award to honor RONALD W. LEWIS (A&S ’65, M ’68), urologist and expert in sexual dysfunction at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Lewis, a pioneer in the treatment of male sexual dysfunction, was also the first recipient of the newly renamed award, which recognizes contributions in the field of sexual medicine. The Body Next Door, a second novel by GAY YELLEN (NC ’68), was published in November 2016 and has been short-listed for the Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem Award to be announced in April.

1970s ROBERT “SONNY” WIEGAND II (A&S ’70, L ’72) was elected to the board of directors of the Central City Opera House Association. Wiegand has been legal counsel to the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado, for over a decade. He is the head of his eponymous Denver law firm and has developed a reputation in tax, estate planning, probate and trust administration over three decades. He and his wife of over 40 years returned to New Orleans this past Christmas season to visit their daughter, JULIANNA W. IACOVONE (NC ’02, B ’07), and grandson. MARIAN LEVY (NC ’72), a professor and interim associate dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis, serves on the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association and is a fellow in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. MARLENE ESKIND MOSES (NC ’72, SW ’73), an internationally recognized family law expert and founding manager of MTR Family Law PLLC, was selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers and the Mid-South Top 50 Women Super Lawyers lists. Each year, no more than 5 percent of lawyers in each state are selected for inclusion. Moses is also president of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers USA Chapter and a diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. P. MICHAEL MCFADDEN (M ’74), professor of cardiothoracic surgery and surgical co-director of lung transplantation at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is the 2016 recipient of the Excellence in Mentorship Award given by the Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellows and Residents of USC and LAC–USC Medical Centers. McFadden has received numerous teaching awards at USC, including the C.J. Berne Award for Teaching Excellence in Surgery, the Faculty Teaching Award in Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Richard J. Hurvitz, MD, Excellence in Teaching Award. PATRICIA A. KREBS (G ’76, ’80, L ’83) is listed by Louisiana Super Lawyers as among the top 50 lawyers in New Orleans for the third year in a row. Additionally, she has been once again

STAMP OF APPROVAL Almost every other street corner in New York boasts a hot dog cart. But something stands out about Snap Dog’s carts: Each hot dog is stamped with the word “beef” and the Snap Dog logo, letting consumers know that they are eating a specially manufactured product. Snap Dog is the creation of Keith Dorman (A&S ’92), who traded in a job as a bonds salesman for the life of an entrepreneur. Since launching in 2013, Dorman’s company now has 30 stands located throughout New York City, with plans to add dozens more. It’s not surprising that Dorman would be drawn into the food industry given his family’s history. Back in 1896, his great-grandfather, Nathan, started Dorman’s Cheese Co., which delivered milk, eggs and cheese in Manhattan by using horse and buggy. And his grandfather, Victor, altered the way that cheese was packaged by introducing the method of putting paper between slices. Dorman hatched the idea for Snap Dog after seeing the success of Subway, noting that the sandwich business expanded globally with a lower cost than other chain restaurants. Dorman thought he could use a similar approach with hot dogs. He saw a way to both break into the business and immediately stand out. “People don’t know what they’re getting when they buy a hot dog,” he says. “But when you put your name on the side, people know exactly what they’re getting.” Snap Dog’s product is made from 100 percent beef that comes from the company’s smokehouse. A special cellulose casing shows the logo, providing a unique—and informative—brand. Starting his own business was one of Dorman’s longtime goals. He even worked as a hot dog vendor to help him better understand the market. But he credits his Tulane education, which included accounting and marketing courses, as well as art professor Gene Koss for instilling his work ethic. Koss taught Intro to Glass Blowing, which Dorman says prepared him to go forward to create Snap Dog. “I was taught valuable lessons,” he said. “It was inspirational. I learned how to think about taking that next step and how to get the end result you want.” —ANDREW CLARK

recognized by the magazine as among the top 25 women on the list, a recognition she has received every year since 2012. FRANKLIN J. “JAY” HARBERG JR. (A&S ’77) has been elected to a second term as chair of the Civil Service Commission in Houston. The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization & Education has recertified RICHARD L. PURTZ

(UC ’78) of the Southwest Florida law offices of Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz as a civil trial lawyer. Purtz was first certified in 1996 and has successfully been recertified every five years by continuing to meet Florida Bar standards, which require heightened experience and advanced skills as a trial attorney. Purtz focuses his practice on personal injury, wrongful death and insurance claims litigation.

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Dispatch Howard F. Marx GORDON LOVE (M ’78) is an LSU Medical School professor of pathology and director of clinical chemistry at the University Medical Center in New Orleans, overseeing microbiology, chemistry, immunology and molecular laboratories. Love previously was the western region medical director for Quest Diagnostics laboratory operations on the West Coast. WAYNE POWELL (G ’78) retired after 14 years as president of Lenoir-Rhyne University in South Carolina. The university named its new Health Sciences Center after Powell.

1980s In October 2016, BRUCE LANDY (M ’80), his wife, Colleen Landy, and LARRY SHORE (M ’80) hiked to Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. NATHAN BENNETT (A&S ’83, G ’84), associate dean for program innovation at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business, and Stephen A. Miles, founder and CEO of The Miles Group, have updated their book Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO, which offers a comprehensive look at the chief operating officer position. The updated edition, released by Stanford Business Books, features new interviews with current and former COOs and an examination of the contemporary forces shaping business.


ELEANOR COMER ODOM (NC ’84) works for the Army as a special victim litigation expert. Odom trains Army special victim prosecutors and serves as an attorney adviser in special victim cases in Washington, D.C.

FATHER OF GPS It was 1945, and the war in Europe was winding down. Hitler’s forces had collapsed, and all thoughts were turning to the Pacific. Back in the Caribbean, a young naval engineer and Tulane graduate from Monroe, Louisiana, was onboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge, bound for the Panama Canal. “Our orders were to rendezvous with the Pacific fleet,” Howard F. Marx (E ’43) recalls. “The only problem was, the war ended before we got there.” Celebrating all the way home, the crew prepared to return to civilian life. For Marx, it was an auspicious start to an extraordinary career, one that would span over 50 years of aeronautic engineering and design. Marx’s interest in aircraft began during his sophomore year at Tulane, when he learned to fly over summer break. After the war and graduate work, he joined Convair, a firm that produced numerous aircraft for the American military, including the enormous, 10-engine B-36D long-range bomber. Ship captains and pilots alike know the challenges of navigation, especially for long distances, a topic that had long fascinated Marx. As he describes it, traditional navigational instrumentation was a mixture of the mechanical (i.e. astrolabes and sextants), the celestial (i.e., Venus and Polaris) and the intestinal (i.e., guts). For Marx, the challenges were irresistible. Observing the development of gyroscopes and signal transmitters in the 1960s, he envisioned sending these devices into stable orbit, and thus calculating global location with greater accuracy. It was the birth of what we now know as GPS. Now retired, Marx, 94, has hung up his own wings, but his lifetime fascination remains. Recently, over “10 years of Saturday mornings,” he and other enthusiasts built a working replica of the Wright brothers’ first aircraft, an invention that he calls nothing less than “a cotton-picking miracle.” From this decorated pilot and engineer, that’s high praise indeed. —BENJAMIN MORRIS



Cox Automotive has promoted ROCK ANDERSON JR. (SW ’85) to executive vice president of people strategies. The policies and programs Anderson has spearheaded continually increase the organization’s ability to compete in the global talent market. Anderson is a member of the One Hundred Black Men of Atlanta, the Executive Leadership Council and the board of trustees of Dillard University. Jackson Lewis PC law firm announced that JAMES WARD (A&S ’87) joined its Kansas City region office. Ward’s practice focuses on trial and appellate work on behalf of private and government employers. Ward has first-chaired numerous cases to favorable verdict in both state and federal court, including multiple defense verdicts in employment discrimination jury trials. JAMES H. BOURGEOIS (A&S ’89) was elected to serve a four-year term as a Lafourche Parish councilman. ROBERT B. RICHARDSON (B ’89) is an ecological economist and associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. He was appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and acts as

SENATE BOUND Luther Strange III (A&S ’75, L ’79) has been appointed as the junior United States Senator from Alabama, replacing Jeff Sessions, who was confirmed as the Attorney General of the United States. Strange previously served as the 49th Attorney General of Alabama and was also inducted into the Tulane University Law School Hall of Fame in June 2016.

W H E R E chair of the subcommittee on the Sustainable and Health Communities research program.

1990s STEPHAN SLOTA (A&S ’90) has been named as national vice president of business markets for Healthpure. GALE MORRISON (NC ’93) is a feature writer for Semiconductor Engineering magazine. Her husband, Bryan, is a project manager with Martin Architectural Group in Philadelphia. Morrison co-founded a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education advocacy group in Radnor, Pennsylvania, and is active in the schools there. She also competes on a tennis team in the Del Tri league. The Kleptomaniac, a short film conceived by GENE DESROCHERS (TC ’94, L ’98) while living in New Orleans and attending Tulane Law School, was screened at the 2017 Cinema on the Bayou Film Fest. The film was also featured in the Flagler International Film Festival in 2016. Three of Desrochers’ short stories have been published, and he just completed his first novel. PEBBLES FAGAN (PHTM ’94) has been named director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is also a professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the College of Public Health. Fagan has more than 20 years of experience conducting research in tobacco prevention and control. SHELLY A. MULKEY (NC ’94) was selected to serve as a magistrate judge on the D.C. Superior Court. Mulkey was previously an assistant attorney general in the Child Support Services Division of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, where she represented paternity and child support cases. She also serves as a co-chair of the mentoring committee for the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and is an active member of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia. On Nov. 8, 2016, SHANNON L. BLATT (B ’95) was elected as the Sebastian County, Arkansas, circuit judge. Blatt took office on Jan. 1, 2017. DONALD TYER (E ’95) was selected by Adm. Scott Swift as the Pacific Fleet Headquarters’ 2016 “Civilian of the Year.” Tyer is currently the husbanding service provider and port visit management oversight program manager in the Pearl Harbor location, where he manages all logistical aspects of Navy ship port visits for the entire Pacific Fleet. He has been in Hawaii since 2007 and retired from active duty in 2013 after 26 years of service. CHIA-CHEE CHIU (NC ’96) is the middle school principal at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. Previously, she served as the division’s assistant principal for academic

life. Chiu also serves on the board of Kundiman, a national nonprofit organization focused on supporting and cultivating the next generation of Asian-American writers and poets. DONNA LYBECKER (G ’96), an Idaho State University political science professor, has been selected to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee due to her expertise on international border environmental issues. The EPA established this committee in 1994 to advise the agency’s director on environment-related issues related to the implementation of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. Commander GUY DELAHOUSSAYE (B ’97) retired from the U.S. Navy after 23 years of service. SMRUTI SHAH (PHTM ’97), fellow alumna KACHINA CHAWLA (PHTM ’03) and Elizabeth Owen recently celebrated their second year running Lighthouse Health Solutions, a public health consulting firm based in New Delhi, India. TIMOTHY J. SMITH (TC ’98) has been elected to the University of North Carolina Press Board of Governors. He is currently department chair and associate professor of anthropology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Rabbi BRIAN FINK (TC ’99) and his wife, Aileen Heiman, are happy to announce the birth of their son, Nathan Heiman Fink, born in November 2016. Nathan looks forward to his first trip to New Orleans. GENE TAFT (B ’99) is the co-owner of Boone County Distilling in Kentucky. The startup’s Eighteen33 bourbon is distributed in six states, including Louisiana, and the distillery has just been selected to the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail.

2000s After over 15 years working in retail electricity and natural gas, ALLISON PIPER WALL (B ’00) was named president at Manhattan Resources, an executive search firm based in Houston.

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manufacturing practice. The family resides in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. BRIAN J. HEDBERG (TC ’01) and his wife, Kathleen, welcomed their son, James Allsobrook, on Sept. 16, 2016. Earlier this year, Hedberg was accepted into the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES). Appointed as the director of the Office of International Aviation, Hedberg is the youngest SES member in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. LESLEY MCCALL GROSSBERG (NC ’04) and her husband, BEN GROSSBERG (TC ’05), welcomed their first child, Trevor Brennan Grossberg, on Nov. 1, 2016. Ben is an associate at Ross Aronstam & Moritz in Wilmington, Delaware, and Lesley is an associate at BakerHostetler LLP in Philadelphia, where the family resides. Baby Trevor is named after the couple’s dear friend and Tulane roommate Trevor Morton. PATRICK REILLY (B ’02) and his wife, Alisha, welcomed their son, Pierce Terence Reilly, on Nov. 29, 2016. Pierce joins his older sister, Keira. The family lives in Dallas, where Patrick is a certified public accountant, and Alisha is a certified financial planner at Lane Gorman Trubitt LLC. The Rarified Air of the Modern: Airplanes and Technological Modernity in the Andes, the first book by WILLIE HIATT (G ’03), has been published by Oxford University Press. ALEX J. TOLSTON (TC ’03) was appointed as executive vice president of Hemisphere Media Group. Tolston is responsible for overseeing all legal and regulatory affairs at the company and its consolidated subsidiaries. Leake & Andersson LLP announced that RYAN M. CASTEIX (L ’08) has been named a partner of the firm. Casteix’s practice primarily focuses on construction litigation, debt collection, insurance defense and premise liability. Ryan regularly advises and represents clients in connection with the Louisiana Private and Public Works Act, lien, bond and Uniform Commercial Code filings, security instruments and contract negotiation.

The Rev. JONATHAN C. AUGUSTINE (L ’01), the 46th senior pastor of the Historic St. James AME Church in New Orleans, authored an essay, “Sometimes Seeing Is Believing: Reflections on Faith and the Black Family Because of the Obamas.” The essay was published in the 2016 book Mr. President: Interfaith Perspectives on the Historic Presidency of Barack H. Obama. Augustine has also been appointed as national chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the oldest predominantly black intercollegiate fraternity in the United States.

2010S Former Green Wave baseball team member, former Houston Astro and current Major League Baseball free agent JOSH ZEID (SLA ’10) recently visited Israel with members of Team Israel. Zeid, who pitched in the 2012 World Baseball Classic (WBC), helped Israel win the 2016 Qualifiers in September in Coney Island, New York. Zeid will pitch for Team Israel in Round One of the WBC in Seoul, Korea, this March. He lives in Houston.

YAEL EZRA FOSTER (NC ’01) and EVAN FOSTER (TC ’01) announce the birth of their fourth child, Ethan Harry. Ethan joins big sister, Leah, 7, and big brothers, Micah, 6, and Eli, 3. Evan is a partner with the law firm of Saul Ewing LLP, where he is the vice chair of the firm’s technology and

JEFF THOMAS (PHTM ’12) is the author of Virginia Politics and Government in a New Century: The Price of Power, which describes current affairs in Virginia from 2012 to the present. The book has garnered favorable reviews in many state newspapers and The Washington Post.

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2017 Alumni Awards

The annual Tulane University Alumni Awards Gala recognizes Tulane alumni for their hard work and dedication to the university and their communities. The ceremony will be held on April 1, 2017, at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award E. RICHARD YULMAN Richard Yulman is the former chairman and owner of mattress manufacturing giant Serta International. Yulman has been a member of the Board of Tulane since 2005 and was elected as a board vice chair in 2009. He serves as chairman of the Development Committee and the Committee on Board Governance and is also a past member of Tulane’s Parents Council. In 2013, the Yulman family provided a major gift in support of the new football stadium.

Scott Cowen Service Award CATHERINE HAGAMAN EDWARDS (NC ’72) Catherine Edwards is past president of the Newcomb Alumnae Association and has tirelessly served Greater New Orleans as president of the Benjamin Franklin High School Parents’ Association and the Board of Managers for the Poydras Home for the Elderly. Edwards serves on the Tulane President’s Council, the Newcomb College Institute Director’s Advisory Council and the Newcomb College Institute Foundation Board. She was a co-chair in the campaign to renovate and dedicate Bea Field Alumni House.

Distinguished Alumni Award LUIS GUILLERMO SOLÍS RIVERA (G ’81) Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera is the 47th president of the Republic of Costa Rica. He served in the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he cooperated with the negotiation and formulation of the Peace Plan in Central America and became ambassador in Central American affairs and director of foreign policy (1994– 1998). As a history professor, he has worked in the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, the Ibero-American General Secretariat, and the Foreign Service for Peace and Democracy Foundation.

Robert V. Tessaro Young Alumni Volunteer Award EMILY M. DOLINER (SSE ’11) A pre-K teacher at Isidore Newman School, Emily Doliner is president of the Tulane Club of New Orleans, was a co-chair for her 5-Year Tulane Reunion and is a committee member on the Tulane Alumni Association Board of Directors. Doliner also serves as the advisory board chairman for Tulane’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter and is a member of the Junior League of New Orleans.

Professional Achievement Award ELDON E. FALLON (A&S ’60, L ’63) The Hon. Eldon Fallon is the U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District Louisiana. He has served as president of the Louisiana State Bar Association, president of the Louisiana Bar Foundation, and is an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School and member of the Advisory Board of Editors of the Tulane Law Review. Before being appointed to the bench, Fallon earned a reputation as a fierce proponent for consumers’ rights at a New Orleans plaintiffs’ firm.

International Award for Exceptional Achievement MARCELA VILLAREAL DE PANETTA (NC ’67) Marcela Villareal de Panetta is a dedicated humanitarian and public servant in Juarez, Mexico, where she helped to create the Fondo Guadalupano fund for Mexican citizens studying at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Villareal de Panetta has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council since 2010 and connected the public health school with the University of Juarez, helping to establish a student exchange program.



Tulane Medical School Outstanding Alumni Award DR. JEFFREY KUTCHER (M ’98) Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher is the national director of The Sports Neurology Clinic, team physician for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and was the U.S. Olympic team neurologist at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He currently serves as the director of the National Basketball Association’s concussion program and works as an adviser to the players associations of both the National Football League and the National Hockey League. Kutcher has helped develop the concussion policies of the NCAA and several collegiate athletic programs. Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Outstanding Alumni Award CANON A. SCOTT KELLERMANN, M.D. (M ’71, PHTM ’78) Dr. Scott Kellermann and his wife, Carol, are founders of the Bwindi Community Hospital in southwest Uganda. The full-service institution provides comprehensive healthcare, public health education and community outreach programs, and also assists in the training of many Tulane physicians and public health students. Kellermann’s efforts have focused on protecting the ancient Batwa tribe’s health and cultural traditions. The Kellermann Foundation has purchased land and established a variety of programs to improve conditions for the Batwa.


Lucianne Carmichael (G ’65), co-founder of A Studio in the Woods artists retreat, of New Orleans on Nov. 25, 2016.

Carol D. Greene (E ’48) of Bellevue, Washington, on April 13, 2016.

Nancy Harris Calhoun (NC ’54) of New Orleans on Oct. 8, 2016.

Truman L. Ward (A&S ’48) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Sept. 26, 2016.

C.L. Chol (B ’54) of Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Dec. 13, 2016.

Frank J. Giurintano Jr. (B ’49) of Harahan, Louisiana, on Dec. 5, 2016.

Hughes D. Drumm (A&S ’54) of New Orleans on Oct. 11, 2016.

Harry L. Zengel Jr. (A&S ’39, M ’42) of Gretna, Louisiana, on Oct. 12, 2016.

Magruder G. Hays (E ’49) of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Oct. 11, 2015.

Ethel Seiler Fitzsimmons (NC ’54) of Orange Park, Florida, on Sept. 28, 2016.

George T. Schneider (A&S ’41, M ’44) of New Orleans on Nov. 27, 2016.

Wilson F. Shoughrue Jr. (A&S ’49, L ’51) of Winter Park, Florida, on Nov. 11, 2016.

Lloyd J. Rosen (A ’54) of New Orleans on Nov. 27, 2016.

Peter M. Pellegrini Sr. (B ’42) of Diamondhead, Mississippi, on Nov. 18, 2016.

Alma Smith (SW ’49) of New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2016.

Stanley Saperstein (A&S ’54, M ’57) of Encino, California, on March 16, 2016.

Lillian Naihaus Breen (NC ’43) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Oct. 30, 2016.

Donald T. Morrison (M ’50) of Vancouver, Washington, on Nov. 13, 2016.

Geraldine Parish (SW ’55) of Prentiss, Mississippi, on Nov. 6, 2016.

James G. Caire Sr. (A&S ’44) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Oct. 4, 2016.

Arthur A. White Jr. (B ’50) of Jefferson, Louisiana, on Nov. 14, 2016.

Robert J. Saia (A&S ’55) of Kenner, Louisiana, on Sept. 16, 2016.

Eugene M. Murphey III (M ’44) of Tupelo, Mississippi, on Nov. 4, 2016.

Peter A. Young Jr. (E ’50) of Berkeley, California, on Sept. 28, 2016.

A.W. Dalferes (B ’56) of Houston on Nov. 15, 2016.

Louis E. Ramos (B ’44) of Cupertino, California, on Oct. 12, 2016.

Frank S. Cannon (A&S ’51) of Gulfport, Mississippi, on Oct. 11, 2016.

Gloria Huttner Ross (NC ’45, G ’60) of Hammond, Louisiana, on Nov. 21, 2016.

Albert L. Gore (M ’51) of Terry, Mississippi, on Dec. 13, 2016.

Adele Redditt Williamson (NC ’45) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Nov. 15, 2016.

Thomas B. Guyton (M ’51) of Coral Gables, Florida, on June 23, 2016.

Eleanor Reich Griffith (NC ’46) of Akron, Ohio, on Oct. 31, 2016.

John M. Kozlovic Sr. (E ’51) of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 28, 2016.

John C. Hoffman Jr. (A&S ’46) of Fort Collins, Colorado, on Nov. 19, 2016.

Frank H. Patterson Jr. (B ’51, ’52) of Atlanta on Sept. 23, 2016.

Robert W. Leiner (A&S ’46, G ’47) of McLean, Virginia, on Oct. 19, 2016.

Estelle Reinganum Richman (NC ’51) of Highland Park, Illinois, on Sept. 1, 2015.

Herman B. Schoenberger (L ’46) of Buras, Louisiana, on Dec. 1, 2016.

Lin G. Gee (E ’52) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Nov. 14, 2016.

Bethia McCay Brown (NC ’47) of Shreveport, Louisiana, on Dec. 5, 2016.

Bill Epstein (A&S ’53, M ’56) of Dallas on Nov. 28, 2016.

Grover B. McDuff (B ’47) of Fairhope, Alabama, on Oct. 18, 2016.

Lucie Jenkins Johnson (SW ’53) of Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 15, 2016.

William C. McQuinn (A&S ’47, M ’49) of Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 16, 2016.

William A. Middleton (M ’53) of Benton, Mississippi, on May 31, 2015.

Tom H. Mitchell (M ’47) of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Nov. 5, 2016.

Henry L. Stoutz III (A&S ’53, M ’56) of Ventura, California, on Sept. 28, 2016.

Elliott M. Feigenbaum (A&S ’48) of Corte Madera, California, on Oct. 5, 2016.

Octavie Wilson Van Amerongen (NC ’53) of Columbus, Mississippi, on Nov. 27, 2016.

William Bruce Hunter, former assistant provost of sponsored research and assistant professor of biology, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, on Dec. 15, 2016.

George F. Smith (M ’56) of Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 19, 2016. Palmer J. Texada (A&S ’56, M ’59) of Alexandria, Louisiana, on Dec. 5, 2016. Ethel Naquin Knobloch (B ’57) of Thibodaux, Louisiana, on Oct. 4, 2016. Tully J. Liddell Jr. (E ’57) of Stafford, Virginia, on July 4, 2016. James L. Selman II (A&S ’57, L ’59) of New Orleans on Nov. 24, 2016. William J. Vickrey (A&S ’57) of Pensacola, Florida, on Nov. 26, 2016. George L. Virden (B ’57) of Greenville, Mississippi, on Nov. 27, 2016. Dominic B. Fontana Sr. (E ’58) of Westfield, New Jersey, on Nov. 23, 2016. Charles J. Fritchie Jr. (A&S ’58) of New Orleans on Sept. 29, 2016. Yvonne Roth Gelpi (NC ’58, G ’75) of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, on Dec. 15, 2016. Karl E. Harvey (A ’58) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Oct. 4, 2016. Robert D. Peterson (B ’58, ’61) of New Orleans on Nov. 22, 2016.

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THE ARMITAGE OAK Thomas “Tom” McWaters Armitage, grounds superintendent, died in New Orleans on Oct. 15, 2016. Throughout his 34-year career at Tulane, Armitage cared for the university’s landscape and protected the historic live oaks lining the uptown campus grounds. During his retirement celebration in 2014, the university dedicated an oak to Armitage, naming the tree in his honor.


Henri J. Roca Jr. (A&S ’58) of Destrehan, Louisiana, on May 27, 2016.

James H. Gabler (E ’64, B ’68) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Sept. 13, 2016.

Richard H. Kent (M ’73) of Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Nov. 8, 2016.

Rex R. Berglund (A&S ’59) of Kaneohe, Hawaii, on Feb. 19, 2015.

Herbert E. Longenecker Jr. (A&S ’64) of Mobile, Alabama, on Dec. 11, 2016.

Michael A. Mitternight (PHTM ’73) of New Orleans on Oct. 7, 2016.

Charles L. McNair (SW ’59) of Ridgeland, Mississippi, on Dec. 12, 2016.

Denis D. Villere (B ’64) of Beaumont, Texas, on Oct. 18, 2016.

John H. Norman (L ’73) of Huntsville, Alabama, on Sept. 29, 2016.

Wilfrid A. Villarrubia (A ’59) of Richmond, New Hampshire, on Nov. 2, 2016.

Gail Bremenstul Barcelo (NC ’65) of Princeton, New Jersey, on Oct. 30, 2016.

Joseph T. Harmuth III (E ’74) of Madison, Connecticut, on Nov. 27, 2016.

James W. Dye (G ’60) of Dekalb, Illinois, on Oct. 30, 2016.

Don R. Cantrell (A&S ’65) of Houston on Oct. 18, 2016.

Richard A. Henault (PHTM ’74) of New Orleans on Dec. 9, 2016.

Patricia Hale McLain (NC ’60) of New Orleans on Nov. 23, 2016.

John P. Mauffray Jr. (E ’65) of Jena, Louisiana, on Dec. 2, 2016.

Vernon P. Thomas (A&S ’75) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Nov. 12, 2016.

Louie C. Pilcher (G ’60) of Dothan, Alabama, on Oct. 13, 2016.

Ann Eskrigge Mitchell (NC ’65) of Mandeville, Louisiana, on Oct. 17, 2016.

Leslie R. Hightower (M ’76) of New Orleans on Oct. 24, 2016.

Dalton L. Woolverton (E ’60, ’62) of New Orleans on Nov. 23, 2016.

Millard E. Sweatt Jr. (A&S ’65) of Dallas on Oct. 11, 2016.

Steven C. Horton (A&S ’76) of Salt Lake City on Jan. 10, 2015.

Charles K. Fischer (M ’61) of Centralia, Illinois, on Oct. 31, 2016.

Thomas W. Hardin (A&S ’66) of Columbia, Tennessee, on Dec. 11, 2016.

Clyde G. Banner (A&S ’77) of Jupiter, Florida, on Oct. 15, 2016.

William McIntosh III (A&S ’61) of Charleston, South Carolina, on Oct. 10, 2016.

Michael J. Findley (B ’67) of Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 14, 2016.

Shelly Toranto Ellis (NC ’77) of Corona Del Mar, California, on May 29, 2015.

John D. Welsh (G ’61, ’67) of Richmond, Virginia, on Oct. 21, 2016.

Edward G. Randolph Jr. (L ’67) of Alexandria, Louisiana, on Oct. 4, 2016.

Paul Z. Kalavski Jr. (A&S ’77) of Canastota, New York, on Oct. 22, 2016.

Ronald F. Borne (G ’62) of Oxford, Mississippi, on Oct. 18, 2016.

Robert M. Foster (L ’68) of New Orleans on Nov. 10, 2016.

Calvin G. Durel Jr. (M ’81) of Slidell, Louisiana, on Nov. 1, 2016.

Anne Prather Huber (SW ’62) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Nov. 15, 2016.

Sally Marsh (SW ’68) of Chesterfield, Virginia, on Nov. 19, 2015.

David R. Lawson (A&S ’83) of Charleston, South Carolina, on Oct. 4, 2016.

Alfred S. Lippman (L ’62) of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Oct. 17, 2016.

Desmond F. Perschall Sr. (A ’68) of New Orleans on Oct. 19, 2016.

James W. Marks Jr. (L ’84) of Chicago on Nov. 4, 2016.

Patricia Fitzgerald MacKay (UC ’62) of Kerrville, Texas, on Feb. 9, 2016.

James P. Bodenheimer (A&S ’69) of Shreveport, Louisiana, on Oct. 20, 2016.

Kevin P. Kane (A&S ’90) of New Orleans on Oct. 27, 2016.

Patrick E. McGinnis (G ’62, ’67) of Edmond, Oklahoma, on Feb. 8, 2016.

Paul G. Donohue (PHTM ’69) of Farmington Hills, Michigan, on July 7, 2016.

Daniel W. Caskey (B ’91) of Oakland, California, on Oct. 18, 2016.

Wayne B. Pearl (A&S ’62) of Odon, Indiana, on Nov. 20, 2016.

Warren H. Spurge II (E ’69, ’70) of North Palm Beach, Florida, on Nov. 29, 2016.

Jose L. Castro Jr. (L ’92) of Snellville, Georgia, on June 6, 2015.

Jerry O. Penix (A&S ’62, M ’65) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Oct. 20, 2016.

Augustine McDaniel (G ’70) of New Orleans on Dec. 3, 2016.

Terrence C. Gorman (UC ’92, L ’94) of Modesto, California, on July 16, 2016.

Patrick J. Araguel Jr. (A&S ’63, L ’66) of Midway, Utah, on Nov. 6, 2016.

Robert N. Pundsack (UC ’70) of New Orleans on Oct. 26, 2016.

Courtney Webb McKinney (UC ’92) of Kenner, Louisiana, on Nov. 13, 2016.

William R. Bridges (M ’63) of Loxley, Alabama, on Nov. 15, 2016.

John E. Rea III (M ’71) of Houston on Dec. 8, 2016.

Malachy McCool (SW ’93) of Tupelo, Mississippi, on Oct. 31, 2016.

Jack D. Clayton (M ’64) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Dec. 1, 2015.



Thomas M. Sowa (E ’72) of Anniston, Alabama, on Sept. 25, 2016.

Jerald L. Sluder Jr. (G ’94) of Dallas on Nov. 1, 2016.

Tribute Irwin Isaacson Jr. Joseph S. Smith (UC ’06) of Bethesda, Maryland, on April 18, 2016. Kimberly Lester Toole (SCS ’09) of Sherman, Texas, on Sept. 28, 2016. Bridget Tatman (L ’13) of Columbus, Ohio, on October 5, 2016. KEY TO SCHOOLS SLA (School of Liberal Arts) SSE (School of Science and Engineering) A (School of Architecture) B (A. B. Freeman School of Business) L (Law School) M (School of Medicine) SW (School of Social Work) PHTM (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine) SCS (School of Continuing Studies) A&S (College of Arts and Sciences, the men’s liberal arts and sciences college that existed until 1994) TC (The College of Arts and Sciences changed its name to Tulane College in 1994 and existed until 2006) NC (Newcomb College. Women liberal arts and sciences students graduated from Newcomb College until 2006) E (School of Engineering) G (Graduate School) UC (University College, the school for part-time adult learners. The college’s name was changed to the School of Continuing Studies in 2006.)

KINSHIP AND KINDNESS One day when I was about 6 years old, we were driving home and heard a fire engine approaching. “I hope it’s not coming to our house,” I said. “You shouldn’t say that,” my father replied. “It means you hope that it’s going to someone else’s house.” At age 6 I marveled, and at 60-something I continue to marvel, how anyone could be so kind as to hope that a fire engine was not heading toward someone else’s house. My father, Irwin Isaacson Jr. (E ’47), died in New Orleans on Jan. 11, 2017. He was the kindest person I ever knew. He took the concept down to the roots of that word: He felt a kinship and a kindred spirit toward everyone around him, and he cared more for their own happiness than his own. Kindness can be an underrated virtue, something that is considered more sweet than noble. We more often exalt the grander virtues like duty, honor and patriotism. My father had all of those exalted virtues. He left Tulane early so that, with his friends at the engineering school, he could enlist in the Navy before World War II ended. But in his life he showed why kindness is the most important virtue of all, especially in this day and age where our national political life has become too mean-spirited. For my father, kindness was a personal thing. He actually got more pleasure doing things for others than having things done for him. Kindness also underlay his politics. He realized he was blessed with good luck in life by being born in America and specifically New Orleans, by having gone to Tulane and served in the Navy, by running a business where people liked and trusted him, by having a loving family. His awareness of his luckiness made him grateful, and his sense of gratitude made him realize that he should help others who are less lucky. As an engineer, he had a sense of wonder. He always wanted to know how things worked. That made him one of the smartest people I ever knew. He also married two of the smartest people I have known. A former dean of students at Newcomb once said that the two best students she ever had were Betsy Seff and Julanne Rose. My father married them both. Betsy Isaacson was my late mother, and she and my father went to the AEPhi dance at Tulane together after he had returned from service in the Navy (pictured above). My mother was in charge of decorations. The theme was “Rhapsody in Blue.” When she helped make the set, she misspelled “rhapsody,” leaving out the H. My father came up with a solution. He had a big cutout clarinet pasted next to the R so it obscured that there was a letter missing. It’s my favorite picture of them. After my mother died, my father was rescued from his grief by Julanne. They had gone to their Fortier prom together. My father was right about many things, large and small, and especially one big thing: He knew he was a lucky man. —WALTER S. ISAACSON Author and journalist Walter S. Isaacson is a member of the Board of Tulane and president and CEO of The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C.

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EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES You can still impact students before the end of this school year by making a gift now to the Tulane Fund for Undergraduate Education. Every dollar given to TFUE supports the undergraduate experience. Support extraordinary experiences for undergraduates by making a gift at tulane.giving.edu/TFUE.




Undergrad Support

Alyssa Cruse wanted to attend Tulane University because it would enable her to pursue both her passions: music and science. For students like Cruse, a neuroscience and music major who is cross-enrolled in the School of Science and Engineering and the School of Liberal Arts, the newly developed Tulane Fund for Undergraduate Education (TFUE) supports her studies. “I’ve been able to experience so much at Tulane—from my research opportunities, to playing in the orchestra ensemble, to studying abroad in Copenhagen,” said Cruse. “I know it’s all been possible because of the support that I’ve received.” “The financial support I received is what initially attracted me to Tulane,” she added. TFUE ensures that students continue to discover, research and explore in a learning environment that only New Orleans can offer. Every gift given to the fund strengthens the undergraduate experience both inside and outside the classroom. “When you give to the Tulane Fund for Undergraduate Education you can be confident that you are directly supporting undergraduate students,” said Robert Allen, executive director of the Tulane Fund. “This fund ensures that current students receive the same distinct Tulane education as generations of Tulanians have before them.” Cruse is currently applying for medical school and hopes to study ophthalmology. “You just can’t put a number on the opportunities that Tulane has given me and the personal growth that I’ve achieved,” said Cruse. “I’m so grateful to be here.”—Kirby Messinger



Gift Is Win-Win for Athletics Donald Peters (A&S ’81) and his wife, Lora, knew they wanted to make a difference in the lives of Tulane student-athletes. As an alumnus, Donald Peters has always had an affinity for Tulane Athletics and wanted to see every sport succeed on and off the field of play. The Peterses did just that by making a $2.5 million unrestricted gift to the Green Wave Club and a new fund for facility enhancements. This generous gift will benefit every aspect of the athletics department, from facilities to annual support. “I wanted to make this gift as a call to other Tulanians,” said Peters, a portfolio manager for T. Rowe Price who lives in Baltimore. “The momentum is building, and I expect the excitement surrounding the Green Wave to continue. There is no better time to invest in the future of Tulane Athletics. The goal should be matching Tulane’s strong academics with the same success in its athletic endeavors.” The gift also makes him a member of the newly minted Olive & Blue Society, which provides programmatic support for football and men’s basketball. Director of Athletics Troy Dannen appreciates the impact this generosity will have on his entire department. “It’s gifts like the Peterses’ that keep us competitive,” he says. “It allows us to provide our studentathletes with the best facilities, assists our coaches in recruiting and ultimately leads us to many more victories on and off the field.” The Peterses’ gift will make an immediate impact on Tulane Athletics, whose mission is to ensure Green Wave student-athletes and staff are provided with opportunities for competitive success and personal growth within the context of sportsmanship, teamwork and integrity. “It is my hope that other Green Wave supporters will follow my lead and support our great athletics program,” Peters said. “I’m looking forward to the continued success of Tulane Athletics.”—Allison Hjortsberg

Team Spirit Don and Lora Peters’ gift to the Green Wave Club and Tulane Athletics came of their wish to see the university’s teams succeed on and off the field.


Alyssa Cruse, a senior cross-enrolled in the School of Science and Engineering and the School of Liberal Arts, is one of many to benefit from financial support from programs like the Tulane Fund for Undergraduate Education.

MENTOR AND FRIEND An outpouring of support for the Yvette Jones Fund, named for the university’s recently retired executive vice president for university relations and development, will create a renewed McAlister Auditorium Plaza that will be named in her honor. This “living” tribute, chaired by alumna Jill Henkin Glazer (NC ’85), reflects Jones’ love for the physical campus and honors her years of service to Tulane. The groundbreaking takes place March 17. Visit giving.tulane.edu/yjfund for more information.


Anonymous Donors Give $10m for Presidential Chairs

Top-flight Faculty


Two gifts of $5 million each will help recruit faculty members for Presidential Chairs, who will teach and conduct innovative research that combines different fields of knowledge in order to solve society’s most complex problems.

Tulane University has received two gifts of $5 million each to recruit top faculty members. The gifts, from two anonymous donors, will establish two Presidential Chairs that will be filled by professors renowned for innovative research and teaching that crosses and combines different fields of knowledge to solve complex societal problems. Tulane President Mike Fitts hopes to eventually establish as many as 10 such professorships, through additional gifts. These pre-eminent faculty will be hired as universitywide professors with joint appointments between schools to research and teach at the intersection of different subjects. “President Fitts’ emphasis on cross-disciplinary research and studies and his efforts to make Tulane’s faculty the most renowned anywhere will not only benefit current students but will have a profound effect on shaping the next generation of problem solvers and innovators,” said one of the anonymous donors.

“An exceptional faculty is the centerpiece of a great university.” —President Mike Fitts Her fellow donor likewise said he was inspired by President Fitts. “He has laid out a fantastic plan for the continued excellence of Tulane—a plan that is based on having the highest quality professors in the country.”

Fitts emphasized the transformational nature of the donors’ generosity and noted it will serve Tulane students for generations to come. “An exceptional faculty is the centerpiece of a great university. These gifts will be a boost to Tulane’s growing reputation as one of the nation’s most highly regarded schools,” Fitts said. “We are so grateful. “When today’s students graduate, they will enter a complex world that will require expertise in a number of fields and disciplines,” he added. “These generous gifts will help these young people bring about real change and progress both as students and citizens of the world.” “To me, the No. 1, most important goal in life is education. It is what makes societies grow and improve,” said one of the anonymous donors, who also described education and gifts like his in the same way, “the ultimate investment with the highest payoff.” —Mike Strecker

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ANGUS LIND A 1966 graduate of Tulane, Angus Lind spent more than three decades as a columnist for The Times-Picayune.



Big Guns by Angus Lind This is a cannon city. Cannons to the left of us, cannons to the right of us, cannons in front of us, with apologies to Lord Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” de” and an immediate disclaimer that left and right have nothing ng to do with politics. At the Cabildo across from Jackson n Square is a 3-ton, 10 ½-foot long Spanish cannon from the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 that may have been manned by Lafitte’s Baratarians, the rogue warriors of the pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte. Hiswo 24-pound cannons and a tory tells us the Baratarians manned two 32-pounder during the battle with the British. he Battle of New Orleans was fought At the Chalmette Battlefield, where the tment with many working cannons on Jan. 8, each year there is a re-enactment fired to commemorate the occasion. Singer Johnny Horton’s famous song about the battle says: “We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down/ So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round/ We filled his head with cannonballs ‘n’ powdered his behind/ And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.” Across Jackson Square stands Washington Artillery Park at the Moonwalk, which features a Civil War cannon that pays tribute to the 141st Field Artillery of the Louisiana National Guard. Head toward Esplanade Avenue on Decatur Street and you find the gilded statue of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, the hero who led the Siege of Orléans in France against British forces in the 1420s, where cannons were used extensively. Donated by France to New Orleans in 1972, at her statue are two cannons. On Tulane’s campus in front of the Navy ROTC building at Freret Street and McAlister Drive is a naval cannon made in 1911, which has been there seemingly forever—at least since 1941, maybe earlier. Once displayed at Bart’s Lighthouse Inn on the New Basin Canal at the Lakefront, the old Coast Guard rescue cannon from the 1920s was bought privately. It was placed on treacherous reefs near the lighthouse to fire a rope across a foundering ship and rescue those on board. Refurbished and capable of firing, it is now located at the private Lakeshore Club. And don’t forget the “Cajun Cannon,” former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert, now sports talk host for WWL-AM 870 radio. It’s no secret why there are so many cannons and stories to go with them. This is an old city, founded in 1718 and involved in protecting its residents, and fighting skirmishes, battles and wars throughout its history. Perhaps the most famous local cannon story involved not any military, but a Super Bowl. In 1970, at Tulane Stadium on Willow Street, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings. At halftime, the Battle of New Orleans was re-enacted. A cannon misfired, unfortunately striking a man’s hand. The combustion sound caused the horse carrying the man playing Gen. Andrew Jackson to bolt, according to one report, thus rewriting history with the British winning. Adding insult to injury, the man with the bloodied hand was almost run over by a runaway ostrich pulling a chariot. No explanation why an ostrich or a chariot would be involved was made, except that the show was produced by a former entertainment director at Disneyland. The newest cannon on the scene is not new, nor does it have anything to do with the city’s history. In a residential neighborhood on Nashville



FIRE AWAY Cannons abound in New Orleans, the site of several battles. The city was founded in 1718.

Avenue near Tchoupitoulas, passers-by have been pas g gawking at what turns out to be a 3-ton siege o cannon made at a foundry in Liege, Belgium, circa 1820. A formidable weapon, it fired a 30-pound cannonball from a 6.25-inch bore and had 6 a range of 2,900 yards. W With its new carriage, it wei weighs 9,500 pounds. T Thieves won’t grab this big b boy and put it in the back of a pickup truck. Tastefu Tastefully displayed and restored, there is a plaque showing that the cannon is named “Miss Tini,” after 8-year-old Christina “Tini” Alequin, a thirdgrader at Lafayette Academy Charter School. Cannon owner Patrick J. Sanders said, “She inspires me because she is always so happy.” Sanders, 54, a local attorney, answered the obvious question with, “Doesn’t every man want one? Growing up, going to Fort Pike, the Chalmette Battlefield, I was drawn to cannons,” he said. When he finally had enough disposable income to fulfill his dream, he started looking around, and in March 2015, he bought it at a cannon auction in Maine. Originally found on the site of a French seacoast fort, the cannon likely had been used for defense. The logistics of collecting it in Virginia and getting this beast to New Orleans were challenging. “Every bit of heavy equipment we used was maxed out,” said Frank “Peanut” Lensmyer III, Sanders’ lifelong friend and cohort in this venture. Lensmyer, a Tulane electrical engineering student in the ’70s, said he and Sanders “watched videos to see how we could shoot it without killing ourselves.” The barrel and fuse hole were cleaned and the cannon restored to operating condition at L&L Marine in Harvey, Louisiana, then transported to Lafitte, where it was test fired. “It was loud,” said Lensmyer, despite that only one-third (5 pounds) of the normal load of black powder was used. The barrel was then plugged and silicone put in the fuse hole for safety purposes. “Don’t tell us no, you can’t do it,” said Sanders. “Say that to Peanut and me, and it gets done.” BOOM!

Are You in That Number? When you give to the Tulane Fund for Undergraduate Education, you join thousands of alumni, parents and friends in supporting current students and ensuring that they continue to discover, research and explore all that Tulane and New Orleans can offer.

Be in That Number. Give Today. P H O N E 8 8 8 . 2 6 5 . 7 5 76

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