TUlane GREAT IMAGINE THE EXPECTATIONS POSSIBILITIES
THE MAGAZINE OF TULANE UNIVERSITY
Privileged to Lead
Formal inauguration of President Fitts
Mike Fitts “wowed” by potential of the university
FORK IN THE ROAD
Millennial foodies enhance flavor of New Orleans
Knowledge industry makes great strides in local economy
AUSPICIOUS DAY Mike Fitts, wearing the presidential chain of office, is applauded by Darryl Berger, chair of the Board of Tulane; and Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, on stage in McAlister Auditorium on March 17, 2016. Also clapping for Fitts are (back row, left to right) a member of the Original Liberty Jazz Band; Peter Cooley, English professor; and Madeline Hicks, president of the Undergraduate Student Government. Fitts was formally inaugurated as president of Tulane University during the academic ceremony. Cooley, who is poet laureate of the state of Louisiana, wrote a sonnet for the occasion.
Inauguration Day Front cover: Tulane President Mike Fitts listens intently during the ceremony. Back cover: Faculty and inauguration delegates process down Drill Road. (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)
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L E T T E R
P R E S I D E N T ’ S
Bold and Adventurous by Mike Fitts
The following is an excerpt from President Mike Fitts’ inauguration speech on March 17, 2016. A transcript of the entire speech is available online at tulane.edu/president. We often say that Tulane is different. I want to explain to you why. Our difference has deep roots. Most universities, historically, have been inward-looking. The traditional European model is of a cloistered, ecclesiastical institution—a place of learning and studied introspection. Tulane, on the other hand, has always looked outward. From its origins, it has focused on solving problems. In 1834, a group of young doctors wanted to solve a crisis then ravaging New Orleans. Epidemics of yellow fever and cholera were killing thousands of people. Together, those doctors founded a medical college, the seeds of a university that would grapple with the world’s toughest challenges for the next 182 years. Generations of faculty and students tackled the mystery of how yellow fever spread. It turns out that it was not by “vapors,” or even human contact, but through a tiny mosquito. These doctors then pioneered the public health responses necessary to transform the lives of everyone who lived in the tropical world. That is Tulane. Bold. Creative. Interdisciplinary. Generating knowledge to solve the world’s problems. In the words of our motto, “not for one’s self, but for one’s own.” Tulane grew over the years with the same visionary approach. It added a uniquely international law school. It founded the country’s first public health school, one that continues to battle infectious diseases from Ebola to Zika. Josephine Louise Newcomb founded the country’s first women’s coordinate college. And now everything that Tulane does reflects those unique beginnings, from those original schools to liberal arts, science and engineering, business, social work, architecture and continuing studies. In a world with increasingly little use for boundaries, Tulane, from
M A R C H 2 0 1 6 TULANE MAGA ZINE
A BRIDGE TO EVERYWHERE Tulane graduates— bold, creative, innovative—make the world a better place, wherever they go.
the beginning, has leapt over them. At a moment when society is demanding that higher education demonstrate its relevance and its value, Tulane provides the answers. This does not represent the latest academic trend for us, but the code of our DNA. We cross boundaries and we transform lives. Tulane has always embraced New Orleans. And 10 years ago, the flood washed away any walls that had crept up between the city and our campus. The binding of our fates became absolute. The extraordinary men and women who led Tulane through its greatest crisis—and many of you are here in this room—understood that Tulane could not survive by attempting to isolate itself from the trauma around it. You realized students would never choose to come here despite Katrina. Instead, they would come here because of Katrina. Once again in our history, Tulane would choose to reach out, to answer urgent needs, to teach students through engagement. This was not a course change, but a magnification of who we already were. I remain in awe of what Tulane accomplished. Tulane and New Orleans have risen together to become epicenters of entrepreneurship, educational reform, and a siren call to every young person eager to live their passions. We are part of the same zeitgeist. We learn from each other. We draw energy from each other. After Katrina, Tulane sent our students into the community to learn by doing. The students who choose Tulane tend to be bold—intellectually and culturally adventurous. They travel farther from home to get here than any other student body in the country. They are willing to leave their comfort zones and to seek out the most foreign city in America. When they join together with our local best and brightest, they create a powerful Tulane community that works together to cross boundaries around the world. Tulane is the university that the 21st century needs. Together, we will make Tulane a place known worldwide for instilling creative combinations of knowledge in all of our students. Tulane faces its future with an unparalleled boldness—a fearless desire to innovate, to cross boundaries, to shatter barriers, to inspire our community and to change the world. It is a great and humbling responsibility to lead any university. It is the privilege of my life to lead Tulane.
TUlane C O N T E N T S NOLA Icons Barrett Conrad (TC ’02) of CotingaSoft led a collaboration to form CityKey to create New Orleans–themed emojis. (See page 26, for more about the digital industry in the city.)
COURTESY CITY KEY
2 PRESIDENT’S LETTER Inaugural themes
Great Expectations Tulane inaugurates its 15th President. By Mary Ann Travis
Imagine the Possibilities Tulane President Mike Fitts guides the trajectory of the university, following the principles of listening well, preparing for anything and challenging assumptions. By Faith Dawson
Fork in the Road Millennial Tulane alumni shape the dining gumbo of New Orleans. From far-flung hometowns, they’ve cooked up ways to stay in the Crescent City to enrich the food scene. By Fran Simon
Digital Revolution High growth in the high-tech industry in post-Katrina New Orleans bodes well for the future while computer science at Tulane comes back and is ready to be a player. By Mary Ann Travis
6 NEWS Mussafer Hall • Rally for inclusion• In That Number • Who Dat? Jamie Connelly • Study of Katrina’s effects • Finding ways to help trauma-exposed public school students • Devon Walker, mentor extraordinaire • New dean of social work • A campus bell tower • Troy Dannen 13 SPORTS New coaches: Willie Fritz, football • Jim Barnes, volleyball 30 TULANIANS Justin Bloom • NY club • Lee P. Gary Jr. • Diana Howie • Awards • Anthony Vanky 31 WHERE Y'AT! Class notes 37 FAREWELL Tribute: James M. Cain 38 WAVEMAKERS Weekend for Wavemakers • Bernick gift • Erna Deiglmayr 40 NEW ORLEANS Concert in the house
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TUlane ADVENTURES ABROAD
SITY F TULANE UNIVER THE MAGAZINE O
Study around the world expands horizons, opens minds
Athletic pros behind the scenes and on the field
STAGES OF ARRIVAL
Thomas Beller settles into New Orleans
Y O U
A LOVELY STORY Editor’s note: Thomas Beller, associate professor of English, received the following letter in response to his article, “Stages of Arrival” in the December 2015 Tulane magazine. My son is a junior at Tulane University and thus my wife and I routinely receive correspondence from the school. … Much to my delight, and appreciation, my wife made sure that I saw your piece, Thomas Beller: “Stages of Arrival,” and I am so glad she did. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed not only reading the essay but also watching the short video that accompanied the piece. [http:// tulane.edu/tulanian/index.cfm and the iPad TulaneMag app] We have had the good fortune to visit New Orleans a number of times since our boy began his freshman year. I have become smitten with the city and have even toyed with the idea of one day residing in a 100-year-old home in the Garden District. Your writing on that very subject definitely resonated with me. What also resonated with me was the old adage, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Ah, to be a student. To sit in a classroom and be stimulated, encouraged, challenged and educated and to bring that education forward … what a fabulous gift. My days at the University of California Santa Barbara were more focused on getting out than staying in and absorbing what was offered like a sponge. I regret not taking that deep breath and appreciating that the opportunity to learn every day was the greatest gift that I was able to give myself and that the hurrying to get to the next step … whether it be a decision, a meeting, a deadline, would come in the not too distant future. And lo and behold, it did. Now I just reflect back on the experience and live through the tales that my son shares with me as he navigates his future. Hopefully he won’t be in the same hurry that his father was. And who knows, one day I may
M A R C H 2016 TU LANE MAGA ZINE
W R I T E just be sitting in your class appreciating your writing skills and attempting to refine mine. In any case, thank you for a beautifully written reminiscence about your New Orleans experience. It will, no doubt, enhance our future visits. Neil Resnick, Parent Los Angeles MEDICAL HISTORY I’m writing because of what you published in Tulane Magazine about Dr. Matas [“Who Dat?” September 2015] and what you did not mention about Dr. Mike DeBakey. Facts about these distinguished Tulane physicians
this alumni magazine to firstclass status. Now it is something to be read cover to cover as soon as I receive it. And I have special reason to understand the effort and skill involved. In 1948 I married Evelyn Anderson Fruthaler (A&S ’46). Evelyn had been editor of the Tulane Hullabaloo and co-editor of the Jambalaya. Her first job after graduating was as Bea Field’s assistant. Together, they were the entire Tulane Alumni Department. … Evelyn was hired by The Times Picayune and eventually was radio editor. ... Also she was “Aunt Jane,” Children and Young
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PRINT COPY, PLEASE! Gayle Rosenthal (NC ’64) of Dallas writes to say that she looks for the paper copy of Tulane magazine in the mail every issue. “I love mater!” sitting down and reading it! Alma mater!
Thomas Beller may not be available to your generation, and possibly I am one of the oldest surviving members of the Tulane School of Medicine faculty. Dr. Matas in 1944 was world famous as being the first surgeon anywhere to successfully repair an aortic aneurysm and have the patient survive. (Until reading your publication, I’d never heard his name associated with anesthesia, spinal or otherwise.) My class (of 1948) probably was the last class to have Dr. Matas presented to us on the stage of the auditorium of the Richardson Building in December 1944. Dr. Alton Ochsner introduced the old gentleman to us and told us his history. I’ve been told that Dr. Matas had donated his personal library to Tulane and that is why the library bears his name. … Another reason I write is to congratulate you on developing
People’s Section editor. … My class of 1948 was the youngest ever graduated, not only at Tulane, but throughout the nation. I was the median age of our class, 22 years old. ... Some of us in the class of 1948 did quite well. Dr. Flora Finch Cherry (M ’48, PHTM ’66]—No. 1 in our class—retired as Professor of Maternal Child Health at Tulane. Dr. Henry Blackburn [M ’48] retired as Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Henry served on three World Health Organization commissions. Dr. G. James Fruthaler, A&S ’46, M ’48 Mandeville, Louisiana MORE ON DR. DEBAKEY I noticed the letter to the editor about Michael DeBakey [Tulane, December 2015]. I am a rare book dealer, history buff and attorney. …
One of my specialties in rare books is autographed books and yearbooks. ... I wrote a college history paper on the history of Tulane football, so when I had the opportunity to pick up two 1931–32 Tulane yearbooks, I jumped at it. It was the year that undefeated Tulane played USC [University of Southern California] in the Rose Bowl and lost. … While going through the 1932 Tulane Yearbook, I noticed Michael DeBakey in the senior medical section, so I called DeBakey’s office in Texas, and asked for his secretary to see if he would sign my yearbook, assuming that I wasn’t going to get within a country mile of Dr. DeBakey, himself. To my surprise, the secretary said, “He’s standing right here. Why don’t you ask him yourself ?” And she put him on the phone. I planned to offer him one of them as a gift. He was so gracious and declined to accept the gift but told me to mail the book to his secretary and he would sign it for me. The rest is history. I still have both of them. Several months later he died, months short of his 100th birthday. One last thing, though, very few people seem to know this, but two Tulane Medical School professors, Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Alton Oschner, co-wrote the first article in a medical journal connecting smoking cigarettes to lung cancer. As obvious as it may seem, apparently, lung cancer was quite rare before packaged cigarettes, not to mention that just about everyone, including doctors, was afraid to take on the tobacco lobby. George Whitworth, A&S ’62, L ’63 Memphis, Tennessee ——————— Drop us a line! Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or U.S. mail: Tulane, Office of Editorial & Creative Services, 200 Broadway, Suite 219, New Orleans, LA 70118
Letter From The Editor
EDITOR Mary Ann Travis
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melinda Whatley Viles EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Faith Dawson “TULANIANS” EDITOR Fran Simon
BUILDING ON WHAT HAS BEEN BUILT The inauguration of Tulane President Michael A. Fitts—the 15th president of Tulane in 132 years—marks a memorable moment in the life of the university. Fitts is moving the university forward by building on what has gone before, adding to the legacy of the Tulane presidents (pictured here) who came before him. Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, delivered the Call to Service at Fitts’ official installation into the presidency on March 17, 2016. (See “Great Expectations” on page 14.) “In a world that faces unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty, in a world that demands a return to rational discourse undergirded by a deep compassion, in a world that asks us to forge new collaborations to answer our most complex questions, in a world that requires us to grapple with entrenched challenges of racial, social and economic injustice, Mike Fitts has devoted his life to answering, to addressing these concerns,” said Daniels. Fitts is making his mark on Tulane with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations. (See the “President’s Letter” on page 2 and “Imagine the Possibilities” on page 16). Two Tulane presidents—Robert Sharp and Albert Bledsoe Dinwiddie—
have brick-and-mortar memorials to them on campus: Sharp Hall, a residence hall on the uptown campus, and Dinwiddie Hall, home of the Middle American Research Institute and the anthropology department. And then there is Cowen Circle, the semicircular driveway that fronts Gibson Hall on the uptown campus. It’s named after Scott S. Cowen, who led the university through its rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. So what will it be for Mike Fitts? Daniels, like many others, expects great things. He said, “Mike, I cannot wait to see the lofty heights to which you will take this great university.” —MARY ANN TRAVIS ——————— The 15 presidents of Tulane University: top row, left to right: William Preston Johnston (1884–1899), William Oscar Rogers (1899– 1900), Edwin Anderson Alderman (1900– 1904), Edwin Boone Craighead (1904–1912), Robert Sharp (1912–1918); middle row, left to right: Albert Bledsoe Dinwiddie (1918–1935), Douglas Smith Anderson (1935–1936), Robert Leonval Menuet (1936–1937), Rufus Carrollton Harris (1937–1960), Maxwell Edward Lapham (1960); bottom row, left to right: Herbert Eugene Longenecker (1960–1975), Francis Sheldon Hackney (1975–1980), Eamon Kelly (1980–1998), Scott S. Cowen (1998–2014) and Michael A. Fitts (2014—).
CONTRIBUTORS Keith Brannon Barri Bronston Melissa Felcher Catherine Freshley, ’09 Alicia Duplessis Jasmin Angus Lind, A&S ’66 Kirby Messinger Ryan Rivet, UC ’02 Mike Strecker, G ’03 SENIOR UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHER Paula Burch-Celentano SENIOR PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Sharon Freeman GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Tracey Bellina-Milazzo Marian Herbert-Bruno
IPAD AND ANDROID VERSIONS OF TULANE ARE AVAILABLE.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY Michael A. Fitts VICE PRESIDENT FOR UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS Deborah L. Grant, PHTM ’86 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL AND CREATIVE SERVICES Carol J. Schlueter, B ’99 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 email@example.com. 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/APRIL 2016/VOL. 87, NO. 3
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BEAUTIFUL AND UPBEAT Tulane ranked No. 7 on the most beautiful college campuses list posted by Luvo (an online source for academic support for students). Tulane has been on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly 40 years.
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The building that for more than half a century housed the Tulane School of Social Work will soon become Mussafer Hall, thanks to a $5 million gift from David Mussafer (B ’85) and his wife, Marion. Mussafer Hall will be a transformative space uniting career programming, academic advising and success services. “David Mussafer is a model of the success that great academic and career planning can achieve,” Tulane President Mike Fitts said. “His generosity will make us one of the few universities in the country to combine in one central location services dedicated to the success of students in their academics, careers and lives.” Mussafer is managing partner and co-chairman of the executive committee of Advent International, a Boston-based global private equity firm. He is a member of the Board of Tulane and the Tulane President’s Council and founder of the Mussafer Family Endowment Fund. Mussafer was drawn to the project after discussing Tulane’s needs with Fitts during a recent visit to campus with his father, Maurice Mussafer (A&S ’60). “It struck a chord with us,” David Mussafer said. “Young people are looking to take their studies and careers to the next level, and how great it will be to have a central place in the heart of campus to showcase these important services.” Maurice Mussafer said he was equally impressed with Tulane’s plans for the building and is proud that it will bear his family’s name. Many members of his family graduated from Tulane. “It’s a great school where we all got a good education,” he said. “We’ve all done well in life, and it means a lot to give back.” David Mussafer said he is honored to contribute. “Tulane holds a special place in my heart. My parents met there, and it was a good launching pad for me to start my career.”—Barri Bronston
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Renamed Mussafer Hall, the 16,000-squarefoot former School of Social Work building is being renovated. Plans are to add a 7,400-square-foot extension in 2017. Together, the two buildings will feature 72 private offices, a multipurpose room, a research room, conference and breakout rooms, flexible-use spaces and an outdoor study space.
UNITY RALLY Students and others, including professor Michael Cunningham, front row, left, gather at the Call for Unity rally in Pocket Park on the uptown campus on Nov. 18, 2015.
A 52-person Presidential Commission on Race and Tulane Values is looking at ways to make the university more inclusive and welcoming to all members of its community. Formed after Tulane minority students staged a “Call for Unity” in the fall and after President Mike Fitts held a town hall meeting on racial issues in January, the commission is a starting point for identifying racial perceptions and the behaviors they prompt, says Michael Cunningham, commission co-chair. Cunningham and co-chair Tania Tetlow (NC ’92, L ’95) “want to get a lot of different perspectives, and we also want to keep this project moving forward.” Cunningham is a psychology professor and associate provost for graduate studies and research. Tetlow is vice president and chief of staff to Fitts and a law professor. Commission subgroups include undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and board members. The groups focus on different areas and meet regularly. They have “a clear line of communication” in reporting their findings to the commission and the president, according to Cunningham. “We want to think about how race plays out on Tulane’s campus,” he says. But race won’t be the commission’s sole focus. The commission will evolve as university issues evolve. With no built-in end date, it can continue indefinitely and in new directions. “Not everybody’s going to agree with everything,” Cunningham says. “As a university we should be able to have intellectual discussions about what it means.”—Faith Dawson
Unity in Diversity
In That Number 50 Years of Amistad Research The AMISTAD RESEARCH CENTER in Tilton Memorial Hall on the Tulane University uptown campus documents the history of slavery, race relations, African-American community development and the civil rights movement. Established in 1966 by the United Church Boards of Homeland Ministries at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, to house the historical records of the American Missionary Association, Amistad became an independent nonprofit organization in 1969. It relocated to Dillard University in New Orleans in 1970, moved to the U.S. Mint building in the French Quarter in the early 1980s and found a permanent home at Tulane in 1987.
3,285 250,000 There are approximately 250,000 photographs in the center’s collections.
An average of 3,285 visitors and researchers contact Amistad annually.
The oldest photograph in the center’s collection is an 1860 daguerreotype of Barnabas Root, a student at the Mendi Mission in Sierra Leone.
The first female to lead Amistad, Kara Olidge, was named executive director in 2015.
INFOGRAPHIC BY TRACEY BELLINA-MILAZZO AND ALICIA DUPLESSIS JASMIN
Amistad’s books and paper documents are stored at a temperature between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity close to 50 percent.
Amistad’s archival collections measure approximately 6,600 linear feet of material.
For 29 years the Amistad Research Center has been housed at Tulane and utilized by researchers from around the globe.
Late New Orleans writer Tom Dent’s personal library of more than 1,600 books is part of the Amistad collection. Dent was known for mentoring young black writers and for his work with the Free Southern Theater.
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COURTESY OF JAMIE CONNELLY
Who Dat? Jamie Connelly
PREPARED When JAMIE CONNELLY (A&S ’75) transferred to Tulane University in the early 1970s, he quickly picked up the beat of New Orleans. Members of the The Radiators band became his next-door neighbors. And after a history of jazz class, he took up the harmonica (and he continues to carry a harmonica in his pocket at all times). Connelly says he had a wonderful opportunity while he was a student at Tulane, which continued after he graduated. The young entrepreneur built and ran a fresh fruit, frozen yogurt and smoothie business at the Tulane student union. In the early days, he catered one night each week in three different residence halls. Connelly also set up his frozen yogurt, healthy food and drink refreshment service on the Loyola University campus. “Not many places were offering smoothies and frozen yogurt at that
M A R C H 2 0 1 6 TULA NE MAGA ZINE
time,” recalls Connelly, who discovered “liquadas”—frozen concoctions made with fruit, honey and ice—on a trip to the beach in Cozumel, Mexico. In 1977, he built his first tiki hut enterprise adjacent to The Boot, a prime location and student hangout near the uptown campus. Soon, Dr. Banana (above, in 1984) and his fresh pineapple on a stick, smoothies and frozen yogurt became renowned. “Lots of [Tulane] friends worked at Dr. Banana in the day,” he says. Connelly bought a pickup truck for $50 and made daily runs to the French Market in the Quarter for fresh fruit. In addition to his three locations in the uptown campus neighborhood, Dr. Banana had a mobile tiki hut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as well as a concession under the monorail at the Italian Village for the
1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. After graduation, Connelly stayed in New Orleans until 1985. In the Crescent City, he wore many different hats in addition to Dr. Banana’s straw hat: He was a Times-Picayune copy boy, real estate entrepreneur and waiter at Commander’s Palace, where Ella Brennan gave him permission to play harmonica at the jazz brunch in the Garden Room, after the dessert was served. He later gave away his pickup truck to a plumber “because it was good karma” before moving back to his hometown, Washington, D.C. Since then, he has worked as a government relations and commercial real estate executive, with many assignments involving projects with international nonprofit organizations and foreign governments. A recent project was a a new cultural center for the Oman government near the White House. His interest in international business was spurred by a semester abroad in Kenya during his sophomore year at Tulane through the Intercultural Action Learning Program which he said was “an eye-opener.” Connelly owns the trademarks for Dr. Banana, and he can be found wearing his signature Hawaiian shirt and playing his harmonica at special events, including Tulane homecoming, and for charities and organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Boy Scouts. On a selective basis, he is evaluating license agreements to continue the Dr. Banana tradition both nationally and globally. “Carpe diem. Be prepared and seize the moment,” says Connelly, a.k.a. Dr. Banana. “For me, the harmonica can be a global door-opener. Because music goes beyond language.” —FRAN SIMON
PEACE CORPS Tulane is the No. 1 graduate school nationwide in producing Peace
Corps volunteers. Tulane also ranks No. 12 among midsize undergraduate schools on Peace Corps’ 2016 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. More than 520 Tulane graduates have served as Peace Corps volunteers since 1961.
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PHOTOS BY PAULA BURCH-CELENTANO
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $6.7 million grant to Tulane University to support a multiuniversity network of researchers studying the lasting health, demographic and socioeconomic impacts of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the broader region. Researchers will collect data during the next two years to gauge whether trauma or resiliency exhibited in the aftermath of the hurricane persists and how different populations have recovered or faltered. The goal is to create a detailed portrait of where the city and different groups of Katrina survivors stand more than a decade after the disaster, says Mark VanLandingham, a principal investigator for the study. “There are very few studies that look at the long-term consequences of a major event like Katrina because it’s so difficult and complicated,” says VanLandingham, Thomas C. Keller Professor of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane. “We’re interested in who came back to the city, who didn’t and why. Also, who are the newcomers? Regarding outcomes, disparities is a central theme: Why are some faring better than others? Change over time is another theme: How does the long term differ from the short and medium terms? “The commemoration of the storm’s 10th anniversary this past August made clear that there are a lot of impressions about how these themes are playing out, but there isn’t a lot of hard data, especially with regard to how disparities might persist—or dissipate—over time.” The five-year grant establishes the Tulane Center for Studies on Displaced Populations. It consolidates funding for several ongoing studies that focus on vulnerability and resiliency for different populations affected by the storm, including low-income parents enrolled at a local community college, Gulf Coast families who were displaced into temporary housing, Vietnamese-American families and a representative sample of affected New Orleans residents. —Keith Brannon
Who Came Back? A shotgun house in the Holy Cross neighborhood of New Orleans tells a tale of Katrina rebuilding with defiant, spray-painted signs: “No Bulldozing!” and “Not 4 Sale @ Any $. I’m Staying Put!” in May 2006 (left) and its carefully restored appearance (right) nine years later.
SAFETY Students like these children at Harriet Tubman Charter School in New Orleans—and across the country—may benefit from a study of trauma-informed approaches to create safe environments in schools. COWEN INSTITUTE
A Tulane psychology professor and a team of community partners will spend the next four years in New Orleans public schools as part of a first-of-its-kind study to determine the best ways to meet the needs of trauma-exposed students. The study, which will be led by Stacy Overstreet, chair of psychology at Tulane, is being funded by a $2.6 million grant from National Institute of Justice. “In New Orleans and other urban areas, children are regularly exposed to trauma, and it’s important to have all adults in the school understand the educational implications of such exposure,” Overstreet said. Six schools will be randomly selected from Firstline and ReNew charter schools to participate in the study. Overstreet will conduct the study with Courtney Baker, assistant professor of psychology at Tulane, and several community partners, including the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans, Project Fleur de Lis, Strategies for Youth Development and the Louisiana Public Health Institute. Overstreet said, “Schools across the country are rushing to scale up implementation of trauma-informed approaches as a way to create physically and psychologically safe environments for all students.” Overstreet said the findings will provide some of the first rigorous data on the impact of trauma-specific practices on issues such as disciplinary referrals, bullying, victimization, and suspensions and expulsions. —Barri Bronston
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NFL PLAYER CARE Tulane School of Medicine has been named the official
screening partner for the NFL Player Care Foundation’s Healthy Body and Mind Screening Program, offering free medical evaluations and mental health resources to former NFL players.
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Mentoring Role Devon Walker (SSE ’14), former Green Wave safety and football team captain, returned to Tulane this fall to pursue a master’s degree in neuroscience and mentor student-athletes during their collegiate careers. Throughout the entirety of his Tulane career, Walker has exemplified how one’s heart, courage and determination can extend far beyond the gridiron. After experiencing a spinal injury during the second game of his senior year—one that ended his football career and left him paralyzed from the neck down—Walker fearlessly returned to Tulane in 2013 to complete his bachelor of science in cell and molecular biology. (See “A Different Type of Will,” Tulane, December 2013). “I was a guy who really never quit. My time as an athlete, including my injury, gave me the will to keep fighting. I think it takes a certain character to turn a negative situation into a positive one,” says Walker. Walker’s fighting spirit motivated him to take his valuable experiences and share them with first-year athletes. Last fall, while teaching them how to balance their classes with rigorous athletic schedules, Walker explains how, “I’m really trying to be that role figure that tells them what to do, what not to do and how to transition. I’m happy to be someone that guides them.” Walker hopes to pursue a career in motivational speaking to communicate his emotional experiences with the world. “I want to help people who are disabled figure out their new road in life and what makes them happy.” Walker is working with a nonprofit organization to establish a recreational center in New Orleans for people with disabilities, allowing them to engage in activities and find fulfillment in their lives. —Melissa Felcher
M A R C H 2 0 1 6 TU LANE MAGA ZINE
Inspirational Figure Devon Walker advises Green Wave studentathletes, including members of the Green Wave football team, on how to balance academics and the demands of their sport.
Patrick Bordnick, professor and associate dean for research in the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work, will serve as the new dean of the Tulane School of Social Work, effective July 1, 2016. He joins Tulane as Ron Marks concludes a distinguished 15-year tenure as the dean of social work. Bordnick has a PhD from the University of Georgia School of Social Work and a master’s degree in public health from the University of South Florida. He also completed an NIHfunded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center–Houston focused on substance abuse. A member of the University of Houston faculty since 2007, Bordnick also has served on the faculties of the University of Texas Health Science Center–San Antonio and the University of Georgia. His first NIH grant was to deploy technology to study nicotine dependence. At the University of Houston, he founded the Virtual Reality Clinical Research Laboratory, which uses computer technology to study human behavior for the assessment and treatment of addiction, eating disorders and other mental health problems. Bordnick has received federal, state and foundation grants for research involving alcohol, cannabis, heroin and nicotine addiction; obesity; HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; and mental illness. With a research background rooted in collaborations in the fields of medicine, pharmacology, psychology, public health and social work, Bordnick works on integrating behavioral healthcare models with mobile data-collection techniques and virtual reality methodology.
SCHOOL LEADER Patrick Bordnick is the ninth dean of the Tulane School of Social Work, founded in 1927.
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
Gallery Carillon Tower by Moise Goldstein
SOUTHEASTERN ARCHITECTURAL ARCHIVES
THE TULANE TOWER THAT NEVER WAS A cloud of mystery shrouds a rendering in the Southeastern Architectural Archives at Tulane University. The image pictured here is an undated sketch of a nonexistent bell tower with connecting breezeways to Tilton Hall at left and Gibson Hall to the right. While it is not surprising that Tulane may have considered building a tower—a popular structure on American university campuses—the unsigned rendering found in the archives contains little information regarding its origin. The entry reads: “MOISE GOLDSTEIN (1882–1972), architect; Proposed Carillon Tower for Tulane University, St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA.; Never built. Architectural rendering. Undated.” Goldstein, a 1902 graduate of Tulane, practiced architecture in New Orleans and along the Gulf South for nearly 50 years. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Tulane School of Architecture and the design and construction of several campus buildings including Dinwiddie and Jones halls. MILTON SCHEUERMANN JR. (A ’56) had a long-standing relationship with Goldstein after working as his intern while a Tulane student. Scheuermann says that while the drawing is definitely done in Goldstein’s style, he believes it was actually drawn by Goldstein’s silent partner Nathaniel Courtland Curtis. It is uncommon, he says, for architects to leave renderings unsigned and undated because they are often drawn for submission to a client. “Goldstein was always thinking about how to make things better,” says Scheuermann. “Considering the way the human figures are dressed, I would say this rendering was likely done sometime between 1915 and 1925.” That might be a solid guess. Gibson Hall was completed in 1894, and Tilton Hall followed in 1902. Closer inspection by Scheuermann, who worked as an adjunct professor at the Tulane School of Architecture before retiring in 2015 after 56 years, revealed that the positioning between the two buildings is not feasible from a construction standpoint. “I looked at the composition of the building using Google map’s aerial view, and the positioning of the tower as drawn wouldn’t work,” says Scheuermann. “I guess it’ll be a mystery as to whether the tower was drawn by request or if it was just an idea that may never have been presented.” The rendering is on display as part of the “Medieval Louisiana” exhibit through May 20, 2016. Call 504-865-5699 for more information.—ALICIA DUPLESSIS JASMIN
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Interview Troy Dannen, Director of Athletics be further from the truth. The way the city cares and desires the success of Tulane Athletics and how the institution considers itself such a vital part of the city have been remarkable. The other greatest asset that we have are the letters AAU [Association of American Universities] behind our name. There’s a very small subset of Division I athletic programs on the FBS level that can say that. We are aspirational academically, and we’re a place that will open doors for kids because of that. Those are two remarkable assets that make us highly attractive.
What are the liabilities? The greatest liability is a culture where expectations are not high enough, and a culture where I don’t think we’ve held ourselves accountable when we haven’t met the expectations that we do have. This is a top-40 institution academically; there’s no reason this can’t be a top-40 athletic institution. But I think in the department, because we’re a top-40 academically, as long as we’ve upheld our part of the bargain from an academic standpoint, we’ve accepted that whatever happened happened in athletics. I told football recruits when I met with them, “Tulane is your place if you aspire for excellence in everything you do.” That’s the culture we have to have.
TROY DANNEN officially became director of athletics at Tulane in December 2015. He came to the university after serving eight seasons at his alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, in the same capacity from 2008–15. He brings 27 years of experience in athletics administration, including the last 13 years as a chief executive officer, to Tulane Athletics. What made this job attractive enough to leave Northern Iowa? It’s hard to leave your alma mater, but I was at a point at Northern Iowa where I wanted to move up in football and do this at the Football Bowl Subdivision [FBS] level. I was looking for a higher-end
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academic institution because I didn’t want to have to worry about motivating the kids in the classroom. Our mantra in this department will be “set the standard to which others aspire.” I wanted to make sure that I went to a place where that was innate in the academic culture. What do you see as Tulane’s best assets? Tulane’s greatest asset is the city in which it’s located. I think I underestimated that in the search process for my own job. I thought that this was a small, private school that would be very highbrow, in a city that didn’t really care about it. Since I’ve been here I’ve found that nothing can
What can fans expect from the athletics department under your leadership? I will make sure this department does nothing to poorly represent the students, the alums, the fans and the friends of the university. We control how we represent the institution. We’re going to position ourselves for success, and those that don’t want to buy into a successful program can go somewhere else. Starting with me and going all the way down to the last graduate assistant, if you’re not committed to setting the standard to which everyone else will aspire, then this isn’t your place. What do you hope will be your legacy here at Tulane? Empowering the success of others, that’s really what my job is, and that’s the job of our staff. I’ve told all the student-athletes that we work for them—that doesn’t mean we nod our head and say yes to everything they ask for—but we have to keep the endgame in mind and hold ourselves to a really high standard. At whatever time the institution decides they no longer want me to be the athletic director, or whatever the case may be, I want to be able to look back and know I had a hand in this when it turned around. That’s what I want to be a part of.—RYAN RIVET
SEVENTH SRAIGHT SEASON OF 20-PLUS WINS Green Wave women’s head
basketball coach Lisa Stockton reached another milestone this season: For the seventh year in a row, the team won more than 20 games. The team also earned a postseason berth at the WNIT Tournament.
S P O R T S
The Green Wave women’s indoor volleyball team will be under new leadership next fall: Jim Barnes will serve as the ninth head volleyball coach. Barnes, a Lake Charles, Louisiana, native, comes to Tulane with 19 years of head coaching experience, most recently spending 11 years at Baylor University, where he led the Bears to two 20-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances including a berth in the “Sweet 16” in 2006. Barnes has also proved to be an able recruiter, putting together six top-20 recruiting classes, something that Green Wave athletic director Troy Dannen says helped seal the deal for Barnes during the search. “He has an established track record of achieving competitively what we, as a program, aspire to right now. Jim is a Louisiana native and is well connected and highly respected by his peers in the collegiate coaching community.” Barnes says he is already eyeing the American Athletic Conference title. “The school does a terrific job of putting volleyball in a great position to succeed, and that is what we are ecstatic about,” Barnes says. “I think we’ll start competing with our first conference match. We have talented student-athletes, and we are trying to build our depth so that we have the ability to compete right away.”—R.R.
The Right Fit New Football Coach New Green Wave head football coach Willie Fritz, left, chats with Troy Dannen, director of athletics, during the announcement of Fritz's hiring in December.
VOLLEYBALL LEADER New Green Wave head volleyball coach Jim Barnes already has his eye on an American Athletic title. PARKER WATERS
Troy Dannen had little time to bask in the glory of being named Tulane’s 33rd athletic director. Less than two weeks after the December press conference introducing him to the Tulane community, Dannen tapped Willie Fritz to take over as the head football coach for the Green Wave. “Willie was our No. 1 target of this coaching search from the day it began,” Dannen says. “It was clear Willie was the right fit for our institution and our football program. He has rebuilt three football programs and led each of those programs into national prominence at its respective level. In his 23 years as a head coach, Willie has an established track record of producing quality men, high academic achievements and great competitive success.” Fritz has led his teams to six combined conference championships and two bowl appearances. In his last head coaching position, Fritz led the Georgia Southern University Eagles to a 2014 Sun Belt Conference title and the school’s first-ever NCAA postseason bowl game with their berth in the 2015 GoDaddy.com Bowl. He was also twice named national coach of the year. “New Orleans and the surrounding areas are a hotbed for high school football,” Fritz says, “and I look forward to the challenge of building Tulane into a consistent winner.” With a career record of 193-74-1, Fritz is currently the fourth winningest active head coach among coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. —Ryan Rivet
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Expectations T ULANE INAUGURATES ITS 15TH PRESIDENT. By Mary Ann Travis “We are perfectly poised to lead in the century ahead,” said Michael A. Fitts at his inauguration as the 15th president of Tulane University on March 17, 2016, in McAlister Auditorium on the uptown campus. Before an audience of approximately a thousand that included nearly a hundred delegates from other institutions of higher education as well as students, faculty, alumni, friends and staff, Fitts reiterated the inauguration theme—“crossing boundaries”—as he spoke of his passion for interdisciplinary academic work. Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, made the official presentation of Fitts. She has known him for a dozen years from his tenure as dean of the law school there, where she said that he was a “truly transformative dean.” “Ask Mike about this, and he will talk about interdisciplinarity. It’s a mouthful. Ignore that,” said Gutmann. Instead she suggested another word: bricolage, a French word meaning something created from a diverse and sometimes entirely unexpected range of materials. “Bricolage is the spirit that animates New Orleans,” she said. “The unique genius of New Orleans is to put great things together and come up with something greater still.” Fitts has an “absolute mastery of academic bricolage,” said Gutmann. “President Fitts will bring together the best minds from across Tulane to enhance education, to electrify research and to address the greatest questions of our time and of all time,” she said. “Out of the disparate corners of this great university, President Fitts will inspire you all to create something more beautiful, more exciting and greater than anyone ever expected.” Fitts spoke of the importance and grandeur of universities, which rank among the oldest institutions in the world. He said, “Universities take the measure of the world.” Tulane has one great hurdle left, said Fitts. “We have not yet bridged the racial and economic barriers within our own community. We must diversify our students, our faculty and our administration to build an institution that mirrors the society around us. We simply cannot fulfill our mission of creating great leaders when there are people missing from the table.” But it is not enough to merely open the doors to the best and brightest, said Fitts. “We must support every member of our community, and we must create an environment that lives out the Tulane values of equality, respect and dignity.”
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Tulane University President Mike Fitts addresses the inauguration audience. Below: The celebration continues outside McAlister Auditorium.
— Mike Fitts’ Own Words — MEMORABLE LINES FROM HIS INAUGURATION SPEECH
“In a world with increasingly little use for boundaries, Tulane, from the beginning, has leapt over them. At a moment when society is demanding that higher education demonstrate its relevance and its value, Tulane provides the answers.”
“We must diversify our students, our faculty and our administration to build an institution that mirrors the society around us. … Tulane is the university that the 21st century needs.”
Interdisciplinary “First, Tulane crosses the boundaries within our own campus, the disciplinary silos that too often separate faculty and students from each other.”
Engaged “The second boundary that Tulane crosses is the one between our campus and the city. Tulane and New Orleans have risen together to become epicenters of entrepreneurship, educational reform and a siren call to every young person eager to live their passions.” JACKSON HILL
Global “For a school so rooted in its own city, Tulane has, from the beginning, also been an utterly global institution.” T UL A N E MAGA Z I N E M A R C H 2 0 1 6
POSSIBILITIES TULANE PRESIDENT MIKE FITTS GUIDES THE TRAJECTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY, FOLLOWING THE PRINCIPLES OF LISTENING WELL, PREPARING FOR ANYTHING AND CHALLENGING ASSUMPTIONS.
By Faith Dawson Tulane University still has the “wow” factor for its 15th president, Michael A. Fitts. From his first day on the job in July 2014 to today—when he marvels at the beauty of the urban campus, the enthusiasm of the students, and the dedication of the faculty and staff—Tulane impresses his eye and his heart. “The overwhelming impression is that students appreciate this community,” he says. “They love Tulane, they love the community, they love their classmates … they get who we are and embrace it.” As a native Philadelphian who spent most of his life in the Northeast (but whose family also has some Southern roots), Fitts has embraced New Orleans: For a public service project, he planted trees in the Bayou Sauvage wetlands. As a Carnival participant, he rode in a Mardi Gras parade, an experience he calls “fascinating.” Global View “One of the joys and educational benefits of coming to New Orleans Facing page: Pierre is moving to a place that is not exactly like where you grew up,” he says. Buekens, right, dean “[Here] it’s a little bit slower pace, but it’s a little more caring about oneof the School of Public on-one interactions and relationships. It’s more musical, more creative.” Health and Tropical Tulane magazine asked Fitts to reflect on his first year-plus in office Medicine, presents a and New Orleans and talk about his experiences in terms of his speechglobe to Mike Fitts at es and other missives. an inauguration party.
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ON BEING PREPARED From ‘View From Gibson,’ the president’s email message to the Tulane community, May 8, 2015: “This week I was telling some students, who were in the midst of final exams, that I still have a dream in which I am a college student facing a final I have not prepared for at all.” In fact, the opposite is likely true: Fitts likes to be ready. “I probably overprepare—that’s based on having been trained as a lawyer,” he says. A Harvard and Yale graduate, Fitts most recently served as dean of The University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was on the faculty for almost 30 years. As dean, he grew the law school’s academic program significantly by establishing new links with Penn’s other schools; the endowment quadrupled. The faculty increased by half. Every building on the law school campus was either rebuilt or renovated under his watch. “Mike is incredibly smart; he is focused on understanding both the details and the big picture,” says Richard Matasar, adding that the president is “the perfect person to work with.” Matasar, a Penn alumnus and Tulane University’s new senior vice president for strategic initiatives and institutional effectiveness, says Fitts is often cautious about putting details in the right context before he acts or makes a decision. But Mike Fitts did not arrive at Gibson Hall with a master plan in hand, Matasar says. “He is very mission driven. Mike didn’t come in here and say, ‘I’m going to make Tulane into the school I want Tulane to be’; he came to understand what Tulane is and then [to] begin to understand what he could do to add and build on what already had been built.” “He thinks about the issues and takes time to understand them, and then, in his approach, Mike is quite strategic,” says Darryl D. Berger, chairman of the Board of Tulane and member of the presidential
search committee. “He has correctly taken the time to view the whole enterprise and tried to come up with some overarching strategic areas that can continue our excellent trajectory at Tulane.” Fitts has identified collaboration across different groups at the university, what he describes as “crossing academic and social boundaries,” as a core strength of Tulane. He says his goal is to build that into a model for Tulane’s future in both education and research. His initiatives so far focus heavily on a creative mixing of ideas in research areas such energy, the environment and global studies, and in the undergraduate program with more connections between living, learning, public service and interdisciplinary approaches to academics. And he even has a plan to “prepare” for the unexpected—be ready to think fast. As a law school dean, he routinely recommended that new graduates find work as prosecutors or public defenders in order to improve their quick-decision-making skills. Nonetheless, he admits that he relies on the organizational skills of his staff to keep him moving forward. Otherwise, “I will lose things on occasion,” he says good-naturedly. ON LISTENING From Fitts’ Commencement address to graduates, May 16, 2015: “As you venture onward from here, my advice … is to keep listening.” It’s likely that everyone wants a university president’s ear; right before Homecoming 2015, Fitts’ staff estimated that they would keep him moving through crowds of alumni every five seconds or so—and that was only a slight exaggeration. Listening is so important to Fitts that he actually has a listening strategy, starting with hiring smart and creative people. “I seek their advice; I want their input on every decision,” he says. “I talk to lots of
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people and ask a lot of questions. I can make colleagues uncomfortable with the number of questions I ask. But you also need to get input from totally unexpected places.” Fitts’ newly installed chief of staff, Tania Tetlow (NC ’92, L ’95), agrees. “He likes to solve problems by gathering the facts, listening to every side and talking things through,” she says. So if a personal encounter yields unsolicited advice or bright ideas regarding education, Fitts is paying no less attention. In response to a wild pitch involving a university partnership with the penal system, he didn’t brush the speaker off with a polite nod; instead he asked for more information and earnestly questioned the logic of the argument. He is a lawyer, after all.
’Round campus From left: President Fitts goes to meetings, plants trees in the wetlands, speaks at a student vigil, mingles at the unity rally and talks onstage at a town hall.
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In his office in Gibson Hall in mid-December, Fitts talked about a few instances that called for his own inner strength. College campuses had been in the news a lot during the fall semester: Nationwide, racial issues and students’ reactions to them were making headlines. On the Tulane campus, racially offensive messages appeared on social media and prompted minority students to stage a “Call for Unity” rally in Pocket Park. During the rally, they asked Tulane to address the social media issue and other concerns.
“Clearly I have a job that requires lots of different approaches at different times.”
ON FINDING INNER STRENGTH From Fitts’ Convocation speech to incoming students, Aug. 23, 2014: “Put yourself in situations that will require you to summon your strength.”
Fitts spoke at the event, stating his condemnation of the messages and his support of the minority students. “The unity rally was a recognition that the goals of Tulane are to be a community that is welcoming and respectful and supportive of people from a variety of different backgrounds,” Fitts says. “That’s part of what education is about. It’s not just in the classroom; it’s the whole community—and I talk about this all the time.” He followed up with a town hall on race and diversity and also appointed 52 people to a campuswide Commission on Race and Tulane Values. Especially in crisis moments, you have to be supportive of everybody, he adds. Andrew B. Wisdom, a member of the Board of Tulane who cochaired the presidential search committee, says, “I am amazed at how fast Mike has been able to analyze and understand an organization as large as Tulane. And beyond simply understanding the institution, he has been able to lay out a course forward that builds on the tremendous job done by Scott Cowen.” The tough times don’t detract from Fitts’ enjoyment of his new position, though. “The variety of it makes it very attractive; you get to do a lot of different things. Figuring out how they all come together to make this institution called Tulane even greater than all its parts is one of the greatest jobs in the world.” ON DINING From ‘View From Gibson,’ Nov. 7, 2014: “The one burning question everyone seems to ask me: Do you like your po’boys dressed?” The rumor is that Fitts eats Subway sandwiches every day. Yes, he does like Subway well enough, but his staff reports that sometimes he doesn’t even bother with lunch, using the midday break to catch up on emails and other lagging tasks. Food, so central to New Orleans culture, is still making an impression on Fitts. Dining out goes with the job description—he meets regularly with faculty, staff, students, alumni, board members and
others over lunch or dinner—but absent an official or obligatory event, he can make do with a bowl of cereal. (Grape-Nuts, in case you were wondering.) “I’m happy having Grape-Nuts and fresh-squeezed orange juice. I am a fresh-squeezed orange juice addict,” he says. (He buys it at Whole Foods.) He leaves the impression that he favors cereal just to keep things simple, but Fitts is also keen on fried chicken and names Creole landmark Commander’s Palace as a favorite place to take groups of students. Nonetheless, if he were going to eat a po’boy, it would be roast beef. And it would not be dressed.
ON CROSSING BOUNDARIES From Fitts’ Convocation speech to incoming students, Aug. 22, 2015: “Top economists predict the most successful people will be those who combine different skills.” “Crossing boundaries” is a recurring theme in Fitts’ speeches. He often recommends that students open themselves up to new fields beyond their majors, beyond their usual way of thinking, to effect change on a broader scale. In his career, he’s made the leap from legal counsel to academia, from the classroom to the dean’s office, each step along the way yielding something useful. “Clearly I [now] have a job that requires lots of different approaches at different times,” he says. Addressing financial issues, brainstorming ideas with board members, listening to students weigh in on the new Bruff Commons Dining Hall—each skill set allows him to connect with a different group on campus. R. Hunter Pierson Jr., another Board of Tulane member who served on the presidential search committee, says, “Mike has a genuine liking for people and is comfortable in large groups or one-on-one.” Tetlow, Fitts’ chief of staff, adds, “His favorite moments are connecting with students, going to their sporting events on weekends and becoming part of the Tulane community.” Fitts tries to take in as many games as his schedule permits. In the fall semester he watched Green Wave teams compete in football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and swimming and diving. He generally prefers collegiate sports to professional sports, he says, although he once threw out the first pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. Baseball was his childhood passion, and Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves outfielder and home-run king Hank Aaron, who successfully crossed a boundary from Major League Baseball into entrepreneurship and philanthropy, is his sports hero.
ON LEARNING FROM STUDENTS From ‘View From Gibson,’ Nov. 14, 2014: “Many of you have asked me if I plan to dye my hair for the big game.” No, he did not dye his hair for the big game, or for any game. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have plenty to learn from the university’s undergraduates. Even though he has spent much time in graduate education, Fitts sees undergrads as being at a special crossroads. They “are still at a time when they’re imagining who they want to be and what they want to do. They’re creative, they’re optimistic, they’re idealistic. … They can be idealistic when they’re sitting in my office and objecting to this or that.”
At the end of the fall 2015 semester, Fitts managed to sneak in a men’s basketball game at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse, in more ways than one. He walked in the nearest open door, accidentally bypassing security personnel. Suddenly he seemed aware that he had breached security. “Did I just walk in the wrong door?” he asked two students in the lobby. The young woman seemed impressed that he would care. “Can’t you walk in any door you want?” she asked eagerly. Fitts ordered “dinner” from the concession stand—a pretzel and a Coke—then threaded his way not to his reserved seats, but to random seats among the students, where he watched the game attentively and during breaks asked nearby students about final exams and plans for the winter holiday. During the game, he checked his phone only sparingly. The Green Wave would go on to win that night over Prairie View A&M, 63-49, but Fitts returned to his office around halftime. As many students would, he went back to his desk and hit the books again. ON THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES From the President’s Letter mailed to Tulane University alumni, spring 2015: “Learning springs from a process of having your most basic assumptions challenged.” Tulane has been educating students and conducting research for almost two centuries, churning out talented graduates and “some of the great discoveries of the world“ in that time. Fitts seems almost in awe of the task. “That’s an incredibly important role in society, to educate the next generation so that they’ll make a difference in the world,” he says. He adds that he’s seeking to create an environment where everybody—students, faculty, staff—feels they can take risks and imagine possibilities. “That’s what great universities do,” Fitts says. “They imagine a future that isn’t obvious to us right now, but [that] we can help build.”
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FORK ROAD IN THE
MILLENNIAL TULANE ALUMNI SHAPE THE DINING GUMBO OF NEW O R L E A N S . F R O M FA R- F L U N G H O M E T O W N S , T H E Y ’ V E C O O K E D U P WAY S TO STAY IN THE CRE S CENT CIT Y TO ENRICH THE FO OD S CENE . By Fran Simon
“I didn’t think I could ever care about a place the way I care about New Orleans,” says Michael Casey (SLA ’06) who hails from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Along with Joe Seremet (B ’05) and Seremet’s wife, Alisha Lacour Seremet, Casey founded Liberty Cheesesteaks, a tiny restaurant just a dozen blocks from the Tulane uptown campus. Casey and Joe Seremet were Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers and roommates. During Casey’s senior year, Hurricane Katrina hit. But he never had any doubt he would return to finish his senior year at Tulane. “Tulane attracts the kind of person who would come 2,000 miles away from home to have an adventure. You’re on the frontier.” After graduation, Casey and Seremet went their separate ways but stayed in touch. Seremet comes from a restaurant family, and Casey had always worked in bars, but both began pursuing careers in banking. Seremet, a Connecticut native, works now as an investment banker for Johnson Rice & Co., where he is a partner. For a brief time, Casey moved back to Philadelphia. But New Orleans kept calling to him. “The city kinda claimed me,” Casey says. “The second I got off the plane in Philadelphia, I started to think about how I could get back to New Orleans.” In February 2012, the Seremets and Casey brainstormed the idea for a Philly-style cheesesteak joint. It was something that Casey knew a lot about—he had cooked his hometown’s signature dish many times for his college crowd—and Alisha Seremet had heard her husband raving about the hearty, gooey sandwiches. There was nowhere in New Orleans to go for Philly cheesesteak. The Seremets suggested the Freret Street corridor between Napoleon and Jefferson avenues, an up-and-coming neighborhood in uptown New Orleans, as a location for a restaurant. And in March 2013, they opened Liberty Cheesesteaks there.
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Surprisingly, only 15 percent of the restaurant’s customers are Tulane and Loyola university students, says Casey. Uptown families and working professionals are Liberty Cheesesteaks’ core business. The restaurant also has a large following from film crews in town. “Shockingly, it’s pretty even between men and women,” Casey says. “We had a lot of stereotypes we came in with … we had bigoted opinions. In our executive summary of our business model, we had 18- to 35-year-old football fans/beer drinkers. But now we have little high school girls come in, and can they eat!” Casey has become a part of the neighborhood. He is a member of the Freret Business Owners Association, which is trying to develop Evans Park at nearby Soniat and LaSalle streets into a green space where kids can play. Despite ongoing renovations to the city’s drainage infrastructure, which have often necessitated Freret Street closures, the restaurant entrepreneurs are afloat. Liberty Cheesesteaks has zero debt, and the restaurant is poised to announce the addition of a second location in the Mid-City neighborhood. Casey is willing to flex a bit in the restaurant’s offerings to attract customers, such as trying curbside service, but he says his authentic Philly cheesesteak is the draw: He brings his thinly sliced New York strip steak from the City of Brotherly Love to the Crescent City. Restaurateur “I’m not putting shrimp on my cheeseon Freret steak,” he insists, adding, “I’m not going to Straight out of Philly, leave New Orleans. I don’t make sense anyMichael Casey purveys where else.” a classic sandwich at Casey knows the moment he began Liberty Cheesesteaks considering himself a New Orleanian. It was in the uptown November 2007. While teaching at Frederick neighborhood of Douglass High School in the city’s Ninth New Orleans.
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Ward, the school’s secretary asked Casey if he planned to go home for his birthday to visit his family. He told her no, he considered New Orleans his home. “Oh, you from here now!” the secretary replied. Casey walked back to his classroom and cried. “I’ve never had anyone claim me like that. [Only] five years in this city, and a woman just claimed me,” he marvels. “That was so moving.”
ONLY IN NEW ORLEANS Michael Friedman (SLA ’08) and Greg Augarten (SLA ’09), proprietors of Pizza Delicious, are not above putting shrimp—along with other fresh, local ingredients—on their authentic, New York–style pizzas. The duo met at Tulane through mutual friends. They found out quickly that they had mutual interests: the New York Mets, food and pizza. As college roommates, they cooked together often and would invite friends over for elaborate meals. One night, they looked up a pizza dough recipe and rated their fledgling attempt “pretty good.” Late in 2009, they started fantasizing about opening a restaurant. “We personally wanted it: thin crust, big pizza,” says Friedman. “And in New York, you can get pizza by the slice.” The fact that they are running the (arguably) hottest pizza restaurant in New Orleans is a “complete surprise” to these New Yorkers. Friedman thought that he would be a high school English teacher. Augarten was less sure about his career path and was considering graduate school, either in business or law. Their restaurant began as a pop-up in 2012. They stumbled upon an old bakery space in the Bywater neighborhood, where they could share the bakery’s dough mixer and pizza oven. Their unusual schedule of opening one night each week attracted attention: Word spread
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by mouth and social media, and the buzz created demand. It was, as Augarten says, “a pizza adventure.” “We didn’t go to business school. We knew nothing. But with this, we had minimal overhead,” says Friedman, who volunteered to work at a local restaurant for free, while he was still teaching. The two kept their day jobs, working as a pop-up one night a week, then two nights a week, for three years. “One of the funniest accomplishments was we found out the mayor’s sister-in-law was picking up pizza from us. And then Mayor [Mitch] Landrieu came twice,” Friedman says. “It’s hilarious because we were doing something under the radar, and the mayor was supportive.” They got positive press early and would sell out of dough for 60 pizzas in one night. Long lines began to form, with customers waiting an hour for Pizza Delicious. When Mayor Landrieu heard the news that Pizza Delicious was opening a restaurant at its current location, 617 Piety St., just blocks away from the pop-up space, he reportedly said, “Then you guys won’t be cool anymore.” But business surged. When people would call to order a pizza, sometimes they got the news that they’d have to wait four hours. But the customers would still say OK. “We were making a product in the city that wasn’t available elsewhere, and at the time people responded to it,” Augarten says. “Also there was the story, the intrigue of the pop-up … people thought they were a part of it, and they were emotionally involved with it. It was cool.” The restaurant is open six days a week now, and Augarten and Friedman hold down its warehouse location with a long-term lease. The Pizza Delicious staff—now 38 employees—makes its own dough and sauce.
FOLLOWING HER NOSE Gabrielle Waxman (B ’08) is as surprised as anyone by the career she has uncorked. She is the first-ever wine director for the iconic Galatoire’s Restaurant and Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attributes her success to “luck and a little bit of talent,” plus mentoring by a Tulane alumnus. Originally Waxman was in the A. B. Freeman School of Business five-year program, but she called her mother back home in Long Island, New York, saying tearfully that a career as a certified public accountant was not for her. Waxman traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. She worked in a café and picked blueberries. She taught English in Costa Rica for a while. But as she perused wine selections in grocery stores, she realized that teaching was not her passion or calling. And the “unquantifiable” lure of New Orleans brought her back. When Waxman went into Galatoire’s to interview for a position on the wait staff, she met with a panel of top brass including Bill Kearney (A&S ’84), who was CEO and managing partner. She got the plum assignment. “It was such an honor to be hired as a waiter at Galatoire’s. People have waited tables there for 40 or 50 years,” Waxman says. But soon Kearney envisioned Waxman in a new position. “I’ve always had a passion for wine, and Bill has a passion for wine and food. He saw that in me, and he has been a great mentor,” Waxman says. She fits in smoothly with Galatoire’s philosophy of providing impeccable service to make a dining experience memorable. “Working in the food industry, there is a universal truth: No matter who you are, you’ve got to eat, and people want to feel good. Food has to be good, but people come back to Galatoire’s for the service. It’s all about creating dining experiences for people,” says Waxman. Once a young man on a date asked Waxman for a “red chardonnay”—an oxymoron. She asked the man a few questions, and using her mindreading skills, she said, “Let me bring you something that I think you will enjoy.” Waxman is a certified sommelier through the international Court of Master Sommeliers. She meets weekly with wine representatives and orders wines and updates the 26-page wine list monthly. As Galatoire’s representative, last year she met with a winery in Santa Barbara, California, to blend the first private-label chardonnay on the restaurant’s wine list. She describes Galatoire’s chardonnay as “aged in neutral oak for body and structure, with bright acidity.” Blending and tasting, Waxman and the vintner designed the wine to appeal to all palates. “Italian winemaker Michele Satta told me, ‘Some wines are good, some wines are bad, and some wines are meant to evoke emotions’— and that’s what I try to do. It’s a fun thing to be a part of,” says Waxman, who keeps wine notes in her dog-eared, 3-by-5-inch spiralbound notebook. “My sister is a doctor. She’ll keep you alive, but I will make life worth living,” Waxman declares.
“We’re all passionate about the food,” Augarten says. “If there’s a meatball, we made it. If there are vegetables, we chopped them. We’ll take 50 onions and caramelize them all day.” Friedman adds, “We’re happy to serve the neighborhood. We still see our regular customers who have been with us from the beginning, but now people come from all over. It’s still a lot of work, but it’s much better, maybe 50 or 60 hours per week, down from 100.” In 2015, both Friedman and Augarten, the unlikely pizza entrepreneurs, bought houses in the neighborhood. “Even if Tulane had a school of pizza, I don’t think I would have enrolled in it,” Friedman says.
CONCOCTING A MENU After growing up in Darien, Illinois, and his first year of college at DePaul University in Chicago, Brian Burns (B ’06) transferred to Tulane, where his brother Daniel Burns (B ’02, ’03) attended, for a change of pace. Heading for a career in information technology, he worked in restaurants in New Orleans during the summers, and the culinary arts got under his skin. During his junior year, Burns decided to enter culinary school after graduation. When he was a senior at Tulane, he worked for a year at Herbsaint, a contemporary FrenchAmerican bistro that was the first restaurant of prominent New Orleans chef Donald Link. Burns enrolled in the L’école Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris without knowing any French. The eight-month program was a hands-on cooking experience that involved elaborate dinners and eight- to 14-hour days.
Pizza Makers and a Sommelier Facing page: Michael Friedman and Greg Augarten use the finest ingredients in their offerings at Pizza Delicious in the Bywater, drawing customers in droves. This page: Galatoire’s Gabrielle Waxman presents the old-line restaurant’s private label chardonnay—a wine she helped blend.
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“I used to do everything by the cookbook; I would study recipes, and if I didn’t have an ingredient like fresh thyme, I would go right back to the store to get it,” Burns says. “And that doesn’t guarantee great results.” Instead, he learned to go to the grocery store or market, select the freshest ingredients in season that appeal to him and concoct a meal. “You pick your ingredients, then you go through your cooking techniques in your mind, like a Rolodex—I can roast it, I can fry it, I can peel it, I can blanch it, I can eat it raw.” Fine restaurants follow that recipe for success, he adds. “You bring in produce that looks great, that you know the provenance of, the people that grew it, and you don’t really have a plan for it at the time. You look at it and think about the ways that you can manipulate it. Usually you fire off a couple of misses before you figure out what you want to serve.” In spring 2013, Burns was executive sous-chef as part of the opening team at the 170-seat Pêche Seafood Grill in the Warehouse District of downtown New Orleans. The latest offering from the Link Restaurant Group received a James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2014. Now, as chef de cuisine at Pêche, Burns is responsible for devising each day’s menu card. The Link Group’s forager sends out a list of the produce that is available from about a dozen farms, and Burns orders the ingredients. The eight-person Pêche kitchen staff prepares several plates of each new dish, tasting and giving feedback. “I’d be hard-pressed to put my finger on a specific class to say ‘this helped me,’ but I think Tulane had a large role in my ability to function in a management role at a pretty large restaurant,” says Burns, who majored in business.
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From time to time, Burns dreams of one day opening a restaurant, but he says the hard part is “figuring out the concept and what exactly New Orleans needs, and what my skill set can bring to that equation.” He can’t imagine his dream restaurant anywhere else. A UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCE Francisco “Paco” Robert (B ’11) cooked up an intriguing concept that is creating a stir across the country, largely by word of mouth. Robert founded Dinner Lab, along with Bryson Aust (B ’11), Ravi Prakash (B ’11), Zach Kupperman (L ’09) and Brian Bordainick. The membership-based supper club, which originally launched in New Orleans, now offers unique, one-night dining experiences in 30 additional cities across the United States. Robert, Dinner Lab’s chief operating officer, lived in Puerto Rico until he was 10 years old, when his family moved to Birmingham, Alabama. As the youngest of three children, when Robert was in elementary school, the bus would drop him off at his grandmother’s house. His grandmother, an avid home cook, taught Robert how to cook traditional Puerto Rican family meals, such as chicken fricassee, arroz con pollo and roasted pig. During his undergraduate years, Robert worked in Zagat top restaurants to gain experience. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and premed studies (his father is a hematologist-oncologist). But while Robert was completing his studies, his father was hospitalized for cancer. After spending a lot of time with his father in the hospital, Robert realized that he didn’t want to pursue a medical career. Cooking was his passion.
He completed a nine-month culinary internship in Spain. And he worked for free at some of the best restaurants in New York City, to build his résumé. After working in a Vietnamese fine-dining establishment, Robert went to Vietnam as a sous-chef to help open a new restaurant. He liked it so much that he stayed there for a year. “From an entrepreneurial standpoint, that ignited the bug,” says Robert. Everyone in his family holds graduate degrees, so Robert decided to come to New Orleans six years ago to pursue an MBA at the A. B. Freeman School of Business. Dinner Lab held its first dining event, for 18 people, in August 2011. Robert’s “aha moment” came when a Korean sous-chef approached Dinner Lab to prepare a meal she envisioned. She wanted to present the meal she was passionate about and to obtain feedback on the food she prepared. Diners play food critics by filling out comment cards “for feedback that is constructive in nature, course by course: taste, creativity. Would you put this on a restaurant menu? What would you change? So the chef can take that, iterate and grow.” The Dinner Lab concept injects diversity into the culinary landscape by introducing a wide variety of guest chefs, says Robert. Experimentation and nimbleness are key. The target market for these dining experiences is the young professional with an average age of 35, plus empty nesters who enjoy sampling different cuisines. “We are providing a different dining experience,” Robert says. “We are going after the person who wants what’s new or what’s next. That’s the added value we bring to the table.” A brand developed around the “underground” dining phenomenon, and it came to a boil without any marketing efforts. After holding successful, bimonthly dinners in New Orleans, in 2013 Dinner Lab expanded to Austin, Texas, and then to larger cities—New York and Los Angeles—where Dinner Lab engages up-and-coming chefs. Dinner Lab continues to grow, now with expansion into smaller cities such as Baton Rouge and hosting corporate events, for clients such as Tulane Athletics, Google and Mercedes, and even singer Solange Knowles’ New Orleans wedding. And he is cultivating the next generation of foodies: Robert cooks or prepares pastry dough at home with his two preschool children.
“I’d be hard-pressed to put my finger on a specific class to say ‘this helped me,’ but I think Tulane had a large role in my ability to function in a management role at a pretty large restaurant.” —Brian Burns (B ’06)
Innovator and Entrepreneur Facing page: Brian Burns is chef de cuisine at Pêche, among the best new restaurants in New Orleans. This page: Paco Robert (with his children in his home kitchen) has developed a supper club—Dinner Lab—that introduces exciting new chefs at singular dining events in cities around
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Digital REVOLUTION HIGH GROWTH IN THE HIGH-TECH INDUSTRY IN POST-KATRINA NEW ORLEANS BODES WELL FOR THE FUTURE WHILE COMPUTER SCIENCE AT TULANE COMES BACK AND IS READY TO BE A PLAYER. By Mary Ann Travis
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says Sus. But now, “It’s not a cliché to say that we have a work hard, play hard culture.” The city, however, needs more talent, whether they're expatriates returning, experienced developers moving here for the first time or new college graduates staying in town. His company’s need for talented, creative people with computer skills is a big reason why Sus is pleased with the return of computer science at Tulane. BRINGING BACK COMPUTER SCIENCE In 2010–11, after a five-year post-Katrina hiatus of computer science at Tulane, Nick Altiero, dean of the School of Science and Engineering, put together a task force to establish a new computer science department at the university. Mike Mislove, longtime professor of mathematics, led the task force that recommended that the university create a department that was “new and different.” The administration embraced the proposal, and in 2011 some courses were offered and the new program began to take shape. “What we focused on, and what the department and its programs are now focused on, is leveraging the existing strengths in research at Tulane,” says Mislove, now chair of the department. The study of computer science has moved toward the interface with other disciplines, he says. Consequently, “it is having a disruptive effect on how research is done across a wide range of areas.”
PHOTOS BY PAULA BURCH-CELENTANO
The technology industry has arrived in New Orleans. And by all accounts, it is booming. From a painted-white brick building in Metairie to a venerable location near Mother’s Restaurant in the Central Business District, high tech is here to stay and spreading out. The growth of the technology sector of the New Orleans economy has been “massive.” That’s how Neel Sus, owner of Metairie-based Susco Solutions and a 1999 Tulane engineering graduate, describes it. A study released last year by Greater New Orleans Inc., a regional economic development organization, reported that the knowledgebased sector of the New Orleans economy increased by 37 percent from 2007–2015. Software development jobs alone increased 101 percent in New Orleans in that time period, according to data gathered by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. Sus has been in on the growth since the start. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, he went to work for Avondale Shipyards, eventually moving from engineering projects to internal work process improvements, including the creation of Avondale’s first digital work order system, among other things. Like every New Orleanian, transplant or native (Sus came to Tulane from South Carolina), he had his “and-then-Katrinahappened” moment. “It’s at that point that I decided that I wanted to be part of New Orleans long-term. If you think about this city, we had two choices after Katrina. We could either become a quaint tourist town like Charleston with a rich history but not particularly high growth or become like Denver. A city that reinvents itself.” Sus wanted to be involved in an American city reborn. “I fell in love with the idea,” he says, “so I started Susco.” Susco has a dual identity. First, it’s a company that provides the service of digitally automating workflows, which goes back to Sus’internal-process-improvement days. Second, it does web development and mobile apps. In 2010, Susco was one of the first companies to get into mobile development for iPhone. The third app ever to come out of Louisiana was created in Sus’ shop. It was Election Hub. With that app, “we developed brand equity in the mobile space,” says Sus. “All of a sudden, people wanted us for consumer-facing apps.” Susco reached $1 million in business in 2012 and is averaging 20 percent annual growth since then. And it continues to expand. Its mission is to “improve lives via technology.” Sus says, “I believe in helping reduce suffering through technology.” He points to the app CareBacks launched by Susco as an example of how technology can be used to quickly give aid to someone in dire straits. Accessed by a PIN, CareBacks funds can be spent at designated grocery stores. This personal identification number, however, disallows the purchase of cigarettes, liquor and drugs. Sus is positioning his company to grow even more. He’s looking to hire more people with the right skills. The sky’s the limit in New Orleans, he says. Zest for life and joie de vivre have always been big pluses here,
And Tulane computer scientists are in the thick of that “disruptive effect” in areas The Sky’s the Limit as diverse as computational structural biNeel Sus is the founder ology, computational geometry, computaand owner of Susco tional social choice, artificial intelligence, Solutions, a digital scientific visualization and large data, and company that's taken quantum computing. off in the last decade. “If you look, certainly throughout the sciences and engineering,” says Mislove, “but also in the social sciences, the health sciences and even the liberal arts, there is a strong influence of computer science tools and techniques driving how research is done. This involves not just using computers, but applying the principles of computer
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Women in Tech
It’s an industrywide problem: Fewer women than men practice computer science. Fast Company reported in March 2016 on a new study by the financial software and data firm Smart Asset that women in the United States make up only 26.5 percent of the tech workforce. And women earn, on average, just 85 percent of what male workers do in similar positions. (Fast Company is a business media brand that focuses on innovation in technology.) The stats are even worse at famous tech companies where women are represented in startlingly low percentages: Twitter (13 percent); Amazon (11 percent); Google (18 percent); Microsoft (16.9 percent); Apple (22 percent) and Facebook (16 percent). There is, however, good news for gender diversity in New Orleans, where women hold 38.1 percent of the tech jobs. Analysts found that “organizations such as New Orleans Women in Tech encourage a more inclusive culture for women.” Anastasia Kurdia, a professor of practice in the Tulane Department of Computer Science and coordinator of the undergraduate coordinate major, acknowledges the seriousness of the gender gap in computer science and software engineering jobs— and she traces part of the problem to education. “In the past, computers and video games were marketed as toys for boys. Schools and after-school programs didn’t offer programming classes. As a result, many persons arrive to college without prior experience with computer science, and hence, without confidence that they have what it takes to succeed in this field. “They are often afraid to try computing, or if they do, they quit too early to see their great progress. The media image of a stereotypical nerdy programmer who dreams in code wasn’t helpful either for making most people believe that they could belong to the computing field,” says Kurdia. At Tulane, though, there is a friendly learning environment for computer science, says Kurdia. Computer science is offered as an interdisciplinary program, with students pursuing another major, such as mathematics, neuroscience, biology, chemical or biomedical engineering, music, linguistics, business and accounting. Today, computer science drives innovation and progress in every field. And the mission of the Tulane computer science department is to educate students to be efficient problem-solvers. Students break down large problems into manageable pieces, reason abstractly about sophisticated systems, describe solutions logically and precisely, and generalize or adapt existing solutions to other problems. “Almost everything we do in the classroom has direct applications to several areas of real life,” says Kurdia.—M.A.T.
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science to other areas. It’s different. It’s not the way research was done before.” Applying computer science broadly across disciplines is a priority of the computer science department at Tulane as it trains its students to become domain experts. Students learn to understand the new age of computer science and develop computational thinking skills that can solve problems in any area. “From the outset,” says Mislove, “we are training our students not to be coders who simply write programs, but instead to be problemsolvers who can take a problem in a related discipline and recast it in such a way that computer science techniques can be used to find a solution.” Altiero, the dean, says that the opportunity to build a computer science department from the ground up is “a lot of fun. It gives us an opportunity to make it what we want.” The long-range goal is to have 10 to 15 computer science faculty members and re-establish a PhD program in computer science (an interdisciplinary PhD is also currently offered). Now with six faculty members (with five new hires in the past five years), the department offers a coordinate major. Three of the faculty members—Brent Venable, Carola Wenk and Anastasia Kurdia— are women, an uncommon demographic in the high-tech industry and academia. “We’re intentionally building a department that women students are attracted to,” says Altiero. That’s not only because the students have role models on the faculty, but also because women students are likely to be drawn to a program that is focused on applications of computer science. As for the high-tech industry in New Orleans, Altiero sees Tulane as a driver of the knowledge economy in the city. “If you look at Tulane’s impact locally, the kind of students that we attract and the kind of graduates that we produce are going to be entrepreneurial. They are going to want to do new things. They are the kind of people that are going to want to start companies.” A RARE BIRD Barrett Conrad is a Tulane graduate who has thoroughly experienced the phenomenal growth of the technology industry in New Orleans from its staid pre-Katrina state to today. “I used to know three people in software development,” he says. “Now I can call 300, right in this city.” Conrad majored in computer science, graduating in 2002. He exemplifies that entrepreneurial spirit that Altiero says Tulane students have.
“... technology is about people. It absolutely is. No technology is built just to be built and do nothing.” —Barrett Conrad, owner of CotingaSoft, a New Orleans software development firm
Conrad says, “I trained as an engineer but I was born an artist.” Drawn to Tulane for the computer science program, he also came to the university to study art, hoping to become a video game creator. Openings for software engineers were few and far between in the early 2000s in New Orleans. But Conrad, from Arkansas, stayed in the city, determined to make a go of it. And then the storm came. “I was able to participate in the regrowth of New Orleans,” he says. The city began to attract waves of young people, bringing their skills. “They saw opportunities but they also saw a life here, too. It’s what we all know and say. People are locked in and engaged in the community.” Around 2008–09, Conrad saw the tech industry in New Orleans start to take off. “Key people put the right energy in the right places,” he says. “And I was lucky enough to find them and join them.” The tech community began and continues to congregate at meet-ups, which Conrad helps organize. “I think many people would agree, we would not have a tech industry if we did not have a tech community.” And this being New Orleans, of course, food and drink bring people together. “I think that’s what makes our industry incredibly sticky for people who come here,” says Conrad. “They feel welcomed.” The New Orleans front-porch culture draws people in. They hang out—and not in an organized way. It’s more in an organic fashion. “New Orleans lends itself to a lack of organization,” Conrad says. “But really it’s people organizing without being told to organize but on a massive scale, i.e. a Mardi Gras krewe.” Problem-solvers This community is a major strength of the (Facing page, left) tech industry in New Orleans, says Conrad. Professor of practice It’s not everywhere that people in tech Anastasia Kudia teaches fields so easily find networks and camaraderie. solutions; (right) math “Everyone in the tech industry is on everyprofessor Mike Mislove leads computer science one else’s side [in New Orleans],” says Conrad. at Tulane. “We all have each other’s back. Success for
one is success for all. We know what it means to be at the bottom and not care about each Success for All other. And we don’t want that anymore.” Barrett Conrad, owner Conrad owns and leads CotingaSoft, a and founder of Cotinsoftware development firm, which he estabgaSoft, says people in lished in 2008 and has been his full-time job the tech community since. (He made his first staff hire in 2014.) in New Orleans are on CotingaSoft’s offices are on Magazine Street each other’s side. just off Poydras Street in downtown New Orleans. Like the Aztec bird Cotinga, the company—currently a team of six—tries to differentiate itself by being “rare, valuable and highly sought after,” says Conrad. Conrad also has come back to game development through his other company, Red Ticket Games, and he plans to pursue more game development in the future. “Many game companies are opening up in town,” he says. “It has a good community of its own, too.” The philosophy of Conrad, similar to that of Neel Sus, is that “technology is about people. It absolutely is. No technology is built just to be built and do nothing.” With technology touching every facet of commerce and communication in the world today, a vibrant, growing entrepreneurial city must have a tech industry in order to prosper. Conrad now has local, national and international clients. As for the future of the tech industry in New Orleans, Conrad says, “I tell people to have some patience. It will grow into whatever it is going to. It will tell our story.” While the high-tech growth of New Orleans will not replicate Silicon Valley, or maybe not even Austin, Texas, Conrad says, “We will have our version of it.” Expansion and innovation may be in food tech or entertainment tech. And technology for nuts and bolts sectors of the economy, such as insurance and manufacturing, is increasing in New Orleans, too. People have seized on opportunities in New Orleans, says Conrad. “The community is here. And it’s hungry. It’s trying. People power is an amazing thing.”
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HISPANIC HERITAGE Larry Clayton (G ’69, ’72) was inducted into the Imperial Order of Charles V in Segovia, Spain, in November 2015. Clayton is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Alabama.
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M A RCH 2016 TU LANE MAGA ZINE
Justin Bloom’s mission is to protect the waterways of the Southwest Florida coast.
MUDBUGS ON THE HUDSON Coming up next for the Tulane Club of New York is a crawfish boil on May 21.
Southwest Florida attracts thousands of sun-seekers to its coast every year. Its main waterways—between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor —are not just beautiful but important to the ecosystem that makes up the Florida Suncoast. As the Suncoast Waterkeeper, Justin Bloom (L ’96) is a guardian of those waterways. Even before law school, Bloom knew he wanted to pursue a career in environmental studies. He chose Tulane Law School because of its environmental law program. Today he practices environmental and public interest law, while serving as the executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper, which he founded four years ago in Sarasota. In law school, he “read about the efforts of the original riverkeepers in the ’60s and ’70s and their growth into the Waterkeeper Alliance [Robert F. Kennedy Jr. co-founded Waterkeeper Alliance in New York in 1999],” Bloom says. “I was interested in that model of environmental advocacy.” Bloom leads an all-volunteer staff to run the nonprofit—raising money, handling advocacy work, developing programs and recruiting members. The Suncoast’s waterways are relatively healthy or are at least recovering from poor environmental practices, says Bloom. But the area is under pressure from residential development, industrial pollution, storm-water runoff and dredging projects for beach renourishment. His biggest concern is loss of mangrove habitat around Sarasota Bay and in other areas. His favorite part of the job is being on the water, especially when he can take other people with him so they can “understand the resources that we’re trying to protect. “I love seeing people wake up [and say], ‘Oh, I get it!’ and getting them out on the water is important to doing that. In my community, I think it is easy for people to understand how important it is to have a healthy bay, a healthy coast.”—Faith Dawson
With more than 14,000 Tulanians spread across greater New York City, the Big Apple is home to an engaging Tulane Alumni Association club. Over the past year, the group hosted luncheons, football tailgates, community service opportunities, concerts and a Mardi Gras Party at d.b.a.’s East Village outpost. “Whether you grew up in New York or migrated here after college, the Tulane Club of New York is a great way to network with fellow alumni, meet new friends and stay connected to the New Orleans spirit,” says Edward Shapoff (TC ’02), president of the club. Shapoff got involved with the Tulane Club in the same way many alumni across the country discovered their local club: by attending their annual crawfish boil. Each year, more than a thousand Tulanians swarm the Boat Basin Cafe to enjoy boiled crawfish, live music and a little slice of Louisiana on the Hudson River. But the Tulane Club of New York offers more than a taste of New Orleans. Thanks to an active group of alumni leaders, the club helps its members with everything from joining a kickball team to offering financial advising sessions. Shapoff has seen firsthand how these interactions can benefit alumni. “I actually landed my last job as a direct result of reconnecting with a fellow alumnus at last year’s crawfish boil. He invited me to his office to catch up, and the next thing I knew, I had a new job.” The Tulane Club of New York is one of many TAA clubs across the globe. Visit alumni. tulane.edu/clubs to find a club in your area. —Bradley Charlesworth
Dispatch Lee P. Gary Jr. W H E R E
Y ’ A T !
1940s The Louisiana State Medical Society recognized GERALD BERENSON (A&S ’43, M ’45) with the LSMS Physician Award for Community Service on Jan. 23 at its annual House of Delegates meeting in Shreveport, Louisiana. The award recognizes a member who is actively involved in community and civic activities above and beyond responsibilities in the practice of medicine. Berenson is founder of the Bogalusa Heart Study, which has become known nationally and internationally for the study of early natural history of heart disease.
1960s ANN ARNOF FISHMAN (NC ’63) announces the publication of Marketing to the Millennial Woman. Fishman is the president of Generational Targeted Marketing, a firm that provides insights into the preferences, trends and buying habits of each of America’s six generations. She received four U.S. Senate fellowships to study generational trends and taught generational marketing at New York University. DONALD A. HARRIS (A&S ’63) published his novel, Knowing C, which draws on his time in Israel as an archaeologist. Chenier Plain, by RICHARD CROWELL (L ’65), was published by University Press of Mississippi/ Roseau in October 2015. The book chronicles the history and economic development of the southwest Louisiana region defined by unique geologic formations and distinguished by its position beneath the Mississippi flyway. After 45 years as a partner, Crowell has retired from the law firm of Crowell and Owens. He continues to serve on boards of corporations and nonprofit, humanitarian organizations. He and his wife, Beck, live in Alexandria, Louisiana. DIANE LAIZER CARNEY (G ’67, SW ’88) directed The Nutcracker for the Jefferson Parish Arts Society performance in Metairie, Louisiana, last December. Carney is artistic director of Ballet Hysell. She has been dancing, choreographing and teaching for 74 of her 77 years. In 2014, Carney received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Classic Arts from the Big Easy Foundation, as well as Outstanding Ballet Presentation.
Freelance photographer BARBARA PYLE (NC ’69) announces the publication of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 1975 by Reel Art Press. 1970s LEE H. LATIMER (A&S ’71), head of chemistry at NeurOp Inc., has been elected director-at-large
1950s IRA D. ROTHFELD (A&S ’53, M ’56) was honored as Person of the Year by the Shomrim Society of the New York City Police Department last October. Rothfeld, a practicing otolaryngologist in New York, has been an honorary police surgeon for 35 years and founded the Society of Honorary Police Surgeons of the NYPD. He completed his 50th year of practice.
COLONEL WASH When shipping containers filled with medical equipment intended to fight Ebola landed on a dock in Sierra Leone in late 2014, Colonel WASH was waiting for them. He followed them until they reached their destinations in villages far from urban centers. Today, even though Sierra Leone and other West African countries are gradually being declared Ebola-free, those containers—portable clinics called Clinics in a Can— are meant to be frontline defense against future outbreaks. In his everyday life, Colonel WASH is LEE P. GARY JR. (A&S ’63, PHTM ’10), an adjunct assistant professor with the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane. A project manager with years of international experience, “Colonel WASH” (“water,” “sanitation,” “hygiene”) oversaw installation of four clinics in Sierra Leone. Donated by General Electric, they contain testing, diagnostic and treatment equipment that helps detect Ebola or other infectious diseases among people who do not have much access to health care. “This has profound significance for national security in the health of this country [the United States], and that’s one of the big reasons why I’m happy to be part of it,” Gary says. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, West African countries reported more than 11,000 Ebola deaths. Gary wonders if the death tolls were actually much higher, considering so many cases go unreported. It was often a dangerous and depressing situation, Gary says. The aid workers were surrounded by death. The nature of the work was “punishing.” During his year in Sierra Leone, he broke a toe, cracked three teeth, suffered temporary hearing loss and may have been exposed to tuberculosis. But he adds the clinic staff and relief workers were extremely careful and dedicated. Was he ever afraid? “I never had time to think about it,” he says. But the emotional toll continues. “I pause at times and stare about it,” Gary adds. “But it’s the single greatest activity of my career. I would do it again, and I will.” —FAITH DAWSON
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FROM FLOWERS TO FORM Harriet Stone Evans (NC ’61) exhibited paintings and sculptures at ArtSpace in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the fall. Evans’ art draws on her desire to create order from the beauty and symmetry of mathematical shapes. Her work was featured in “Art Rocks!,” a Louisiana Public Broadcasting program, in February.
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of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, for a threeyear term. Latimer is an emeritus member of the Tulane School of Science and Engineering board of advisers. He lives with his wife, Bonnie Charpentier, in Oakland, California. DORINDA NOBLE (SW ’71) is president of the Association of Social Work Boards. JOHN HEYMAN (A&S ’74, B ’76) retired last year after a 38-year career in public accounting. He served as a professional accounting fellow at the Securities and Exchange Commission and as national SEC practice director of BDO. Heyman also ran his own boutique accounting firm. Heyman volunteers for the Florida State Golf Association as a tournament rules official. He and his wife, Kathy, live in West Palm Beach, Florida. PATRICIA A. KREBS (G ’76, ’80, L ’83) was honored three times in the 2016 edition of Louisiana Super Lawyers magazine. Since 2012, she has been among the “Top 25 Women” on the list. Krebs is an attorney with King Krebs & Jurgens, where, among others, she practices in the fields of maritime personal injury and casualty defense, cargo claims and toxic torts. She is past president of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and the New Orleans Bar Association. Krebs has two children and four grandchildren. PAUL VITENAS (A&S ’77, M ’82) was recognized in 2015 by Aesthetic Everything, a social network for aesthetic industry professionals, as one of the “Top 10 Plastic Surgeons, Middle America Region.” The website features a video of him explaining the best ways for patients to choose their breast implant size. He founded Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery in Houston. GLYNN F. VOISIN (L ’77) is an administrative law judge (ALJ) in the New Orleans Hearing Office of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration. Voisin has been an ALJ since 2004. He has rendered dispositions in more than 5,000 Social Security disability cases. Among other volunteer roles, Voisin has been an instructor and mentor for new federal ALJs and interns. Under his leadership, the New Orleans Hearing Office has been frequently recognized for outstanding performance. ERIC A. GORDON (G ’78) produced a CD called City of the Future: Yiddish Songs From the Former Soviet Union, featuring rare songs by composer Samuel Polonksi, with texts by a number of stellar Soviet Yiddish poets of the 1930s. Featured performers are Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi. Gordon studied Soviet and Eastern European history at Tulane.
1980s W. ANDERSON BAKER III (B ’81), president of Gillis, Ellis & Baker, was named to Assurex Global’s multinational board of directors. Assurex Global is the world’s largest privately
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held commercial insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokerage group. Baker developed many innovative insurance and risk management solutions offered by GEB, and is known for creating the first Louisianadomiciled captive insurance company in 2010. He joined GEB in 1982.
1990s In July, ALLISON D. WEBSTER (L ’90) will assume the position of head of school for the Dedham Country Day School in Dedham, Massachusetts. She currently serves as assistant head at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart, by JAMES R. DOTY (M ’81), was published by Penguin in February. Part memoir, part science, part inspiration and part practical instruction, the book shows us how we can fundamentally change our lives by first changing our brains and our hearts. Doty is a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Doty serves on the board of several nonprofits, including the Charter for Compassion International and the Dalai Lama Foundation.
LEE D. HOFFMAN (A&S ’91), an attorney with Pullman & Comley, received the 2015 Attorney of the Year award at the Connecticut Law Tribune’s annual Professional Excellence Awards celebration. Hoffman, chair of the firm’s environmental, energy and telecommunications department, has been at the forefront of renewable energy projects in Connecticut; he was involved in the state’s first commercial wind project that included an important Connecticut Supreme Court ruling.
GEOFFREY SQUITIERO (B ’82), a partner with Halloran & Sage, was selected for inclusion in the 2015 Super Lawyers list. Squitiero has been a civil litigator for his entire career. Halloran & Sage is a full-service law firm that has offices throughout Connecticut and one in Washington, D.C. SCOTT M. RATCHICK (B ’83), a litigation attorney in the Atlanta office of Chamberlain Hrdlicka, was recognized in the 2015 Super Lawyers Business Edition. CYNTHIA A. BERMAN (L ’84), a principal at the law firm Kramon & Graham, was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America 2016 for her work in real estate law. Berman, a corporate real estate attorney, was appointed to the Kalamazoo College Alumni Association Executive Board, and elected to Business Volunteers Maryland’s board of directors. BVM is a nonprofit that connects business professionals and nonprofit organizations. EDOUARD FONTENOT (A&S ’87) was elected chair of the board of governors of the Albert and Jesse Danielsen Institute at Boston University. The institute is a multidisciplinary nonprofit that provides mental health and clinical training and supports research and teaching. Fontenot is the managing director for clinical services and operations for Commonwealth Psychology Associates in Boston and Newton, Massachusetts. He lives with his spouse, Christopher Bellonci, associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Tufts Medical School, in Boston; Truro, Massachusetts; and New Orleans. DONNA PHILLIPS CURRAULT (L ’89) made the “Top 25 Women Super Lawyers” list of Super Lawyers. She practices in the field of energy and natural resources in the New Orleans office of Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan.
RAFAEL ANCHIA (L ’93) received the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association’s highest honor, the “La Luz” Award, at its 10th annual Noche de Luz celebration. La Luz, which means “the light,” is presented to an individual who demonstrates inspirational leadership, courage, integrity and a commitment to the Hispanic and legal communities. Anchia is counsel at Haynes and Boone and maintains an active public finance practice. He also is involved in community affairs and public service. TRACY L. GERBER (L ’94), co-managing shareholder of the West Palm Beach, Florida, office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, was appointed to the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ (FAWL) statewide standing committee on member advancement and placement. Gerber was also named chair of the subcommittee on law firm advancement. In June 2015, Gerber spoke at a panel entitled “Creating Your Blueprint for Leadership,” a continuing legal education event presented by FAWL. DAVID HERRON (B ’98) joined DZH Phillips, one of the largest regionally based accounting and advisory firms in the Bay Area, as a senior tax manager in the firm’s San Francisco office. During his 20-year career, Herron has developed a complex practice in tax consulting and compliance for small- to medium-sized businesses and their owners. Herron is on the board of directors of GirlVentures, a San Franciscobased nonprofit dedicated to empowering adolescent girls through outdoor adventure. TIMOTHY J. SMITH (A&S ’98), associate professor of anthropology, was inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Teachers for Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University, a University of North Carolina campus. RAQUEL SAMSON (PHTM ’99) is executive director of TriState Health Partners, the clinical integration organization for Meritus Health. She has an extensive background in population health, most recently in positions at the Amerigroup Managed Care Organization and the
Dispatch Diana M. Howie Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Samson was in the U.S. Peace Corps for two years. 2000s KEITH DURKIN (TC ’00) was named a partner of Broad and Cassel in the firm’s Orlando, Florida, office. Durkin, who has been with the firm since 2008, is a member of estate planning and trusts practice group. He is a project leader for the Volunteers in Tax Assistance program with HOPE and is a member of the Downtown Orlando Partnership and the America Bar Association’s Tax, Young Lawyers, Real Property, Probate and Trust sections.
DEREK D. BARDELL (G ’01, ’02), a professor at Delgado Community College, was unanimously elected chair of the board of French and Montessori Education Inc., which governs the A-rated Audubon Charter School in New Orleans and its $7.5 million budget. PATRICK EPPLING (B ’01) was hired as a commercial insurance producer at J. Everett Eaves, an AssuredPartners Gulf Coast Co. EDWARD “NED” J. SACKMAN (TC ’01), a shareholder in Bernstein Shur, one of northern New England’s largest law firms, was appointed to the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners. Sackman joined the firm in 2009 and focuses largely on non-competition agreements and related litigation. He was named a New England Super Lawyers “Rising Star” between 2013 and 2015. Sackman is also committed to providing pro bono services to the community. He resides in Concord, New Hampshire, with his family. TRAN CASSANDRA HUYNH (NC ’02) completed requirements to receive certification and distinction as a certified medical director from the Association Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine in 2015. CLARA PERRY (NC ’02) and MICHAEL SCHWARTZ (TC ’02) announce the birth of Ingrid Louisa on Dec. 2, 2015. Perry is director of supply chain planning and performance at Emerson, and Schwartz is an attorney at Bryan Cave in St. Louis. GHISLAINE CAMEY (NC ’03, G ’06) and WALLACE MATEEN (UC ’05) were married on March 1, 2014, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, surrounded by many Tulane alumni. Camey received a teaching award through the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2012 at Amherst College. She is the principal of the International School of Louisiana. Mateen is an academic readiness specialist, teaching reading interventions for children in second through fifth grade. He competed in his first USPA powerlifting meet in January 2016. The couple resides in New Orleans.
ALEXIS GRACE KROT (B ’00) was appointed magistrate of the 31st Judicial District Court serving the city of Hamtramck, Michigan, in July 2014.
PLAYWRIGHT DIANA M. HOWIE (NC ’67) hopes to see her 12th full-length play go into production soon. The play, Come Hell or High Water: Susanna at the Alamo, celebrates Texas women who long ago learned to live by their wits. That she, herself, is such a Texas woman came as somewhat of a surprise to her. While an English major at Tulane, she met her husband, JEFF HOWIE (A&S ’65, L ’68) in the Hullabaloo offices. After their time at Tulane, both pursued graduate degrees in New York—Jeff Howie, a master’s in tax law and Diana Howie, a master’s of library science at Columbia University. While in the New York area, Diana Howie began writing for New Jersey Monthly magazine, where she became a contributing editor. “An article I wanted to write, about why Alexander Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr in Weehawken, New Jersey, became impossible for me to write in that format and it ultimately became a play,” she says. With Jeff Howie’s specialty in international mining taxation, Shell Oil beckoned, and the couple moved to Houston in 1985. Diana Howie took the opportunity to study with playwright Edward Albee and director José Quintero at the University of Houston Theatre School. From Albee, she learned to develop an ear for dialogue. From Quintero, she received “specific guide points” from the perspective of an actor and director as she developed her plays. “When you write a play, you have an idea in your head,” she says. “But when you see it on the stage, it is better than any vision in your head: You learn that the actor becomes the best advocate for your character.” Now, she has a catalog of the 12 full-length plays, four short plays and a book of monologues for teens, Tight Spots. Come Hell or High Water, commissioned by the Houston Masonic Library and Museum Foundation, tells the story of Susanna Dickinson, a real-life heroine who survives the Alamo massacre. Howie’s library background came in handy as she conducted research for the play. Susanna, who was illiterate, did not write her own story. But Howie gleaned intriguing plot points from historical records. A spirited woman, Susanna elopes at the age of 15 with her good friend’s husband-to-be. “This is a bold country,” Susanna says, at the pen of Howie. Howie’s first play, The Brightest Light, staged in 1998, contains the story leading up to the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Now that Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a hit on Broadway, Howie finds herself interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for a historian’s perspective. Howie currently is working on a musical of her own (with a lyricist and a composer) based on a hung jury for a murder trial on which she sat. The working title, Of Me I Sing, refers to the members of the jury being concerned only for themselves.—FRAN SIMON
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The annual Tulane Alumni Association Awards on March 18, 2016, at The National World War II Museum U.S. Freedom Pavilion in New Orleans recognized alumni for their hard work and dedication to Tulane University and their communities. Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award WALTER S. ISAACSON Walter Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C. He has been chairman and CEO of CNN, and editor of TIME magazine. A New Orleans native, Isaacson has served as a member of the Board of Tulane for 12 years. Distinguished Alumni Award LAWRENCE A. GORDON (B ’58) Lawrence Gordon is an Oscar-nominated producer and motion picture executive who has enjoyed four decades of prolific success in the entertainment industry. He has been behind such memorable films as Field of Dreams, Die Hard, Boogie Nights and Watchmen.
Professional Achievement Award TERRY A. O’NEILL (L ’80) Terry O’Neill is an attorney, former Tulane professor and crusader for social justice. She has been the president of the National Organization for Women since 2009. O’Neill got her start in political organizing as a volunteer with the Stop David Duke campaign and has worked with former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and President Barack Obama. Scott Cowen Service Award JOHANNA M. GILLIGAN (NC ’03) Johanna Gilligan is the founder and executive director of Grow Dat Youth Farm, an urban farm in New Orleans that nurtures diverse young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. Her work in food education has been celebrated throughout New Orleans and was profiled in the HBO documentary series “Weight of the Nation.” Medical Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award JAMES W. JONES (M ’66, G ’79) James Jones is a professor of medicine and medical ethics at the Baylor University Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy. Jones joined the Tulane University School of Medicine faculty for seven years, and has been chief of surgery at the Houston Veterans Affairs Hospital and the Hugh Stevenson Chair of Surgery at the University of Missouri. International Award for Exceptional Achievement JUAN DAVID MORGAN JR. (L ’90) Juan David Morgan Jr. is a partner at Morgan & Morgan in Panama. He oversees the firm’s maritime litigation practice, and has served as the director and financial secretary of the National Bar Association of Panama, director and president of the Maritime Law Association of Panama, and director of the Panama Chamber of Shipping. Robert V. Tessaro Young Alumni Volunteer Award MEREDITH A. BEERS (NC ’07, PHTM ’11, PHTM ’16) Meredith Beers is owner of Meredith Beers Consulting, a disaster management and work health and safety company. She is a PhD candidate in the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, president of the Newcomb Alumnae Association Board of Directors, and member of the TAA Board of Directors.
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MIKE MURIN (TC ’03) and JENNI STIVRINS (NC ’03) welcomed twins Poppy Jane and Kaz Gregory to their family on Oct. 8, 2015. The twins join big sister Olivia Lee, who was born in 2010. They report that the family is doing well and that they visited New Orleans in February for the “usual Mardi Gras trip.” BROOKE C. TIGCHELAAR (NC ’04) was elected as a member of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann. Her practice focuses on litigation involving high net worth individuals and closely held businesses. Tigchelaar was named a “Rising Star” by Louisiana Super Lawyers and a “Top Lawyer” by New Orleans Magazine. She is a fellow of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and co-chair for the membership and diversity subcommittee of the mass torts committee of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. ELISE SWITZER (E ’04) is a registered patent agent with interests in intellectual property strategies for widespread adoption of emerging clean energy technologies. Switzer works in Silicon Valley at SunPower, a global renewable energy company. JENNIFER WEBB (NC ’05) joined the Capitol Hill team of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) as federal government affairs counsel. Webb joins the association’s bipartisan lobbying team primarily as a liaison to Democratic congressional offices. Webb earned a law degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. She also studied politics and law at the London School of Economics.
Gordon Arata lawyer MEREDITH GRABILL (L ’06) received the Distinguished Service Award from The Pro Bono Project for her family law work. Over the last two years, she has taken on numerous cases in areas including interdiction, child custody, tutorship, consumer bankruptcy and commercial litigation and was the first volunteer to represent an orphaned child in an ex parte custody proceeding. MICHAEL W. KEARNEY (SCS ’07) reigned as 2016 Rex, King of Carnival. He is president and CEO of The Kearney Companies, which he established in 1996. He is vice chair of the board of governors of the Dock Board in New Orleans. ALEX REED (SLA ’08) made the 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” list of 600 of America’s most important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders and brightest stars. Reed, co-founder of Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies, was recognized for his leadership in the manufacturing and industry sector. BARRY STIEFEL (SLA ’08) presented his paper, “The Other House Museum, Places of Worship and the Case of Synagogues,” in October 2015 as part of Historic Augusta’s fall lecture series. Stiefel is with the College of Charleston and Clemson University’s Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program.
Dispatch Anthony Vanky JARED FINEGOLD (B ’09) made the 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” list for his leadership in marketing and advertising. He is a mobile app strategist for Royal Caribbean International. ERIC LAVIN (SLA ’09) made the 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” list for his leadership in education. He serves as the founding manager of Aspen Ventures, where he connects social entrepreneurs with resources at The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit dedicated to educational and policy studies. His clients include organizations like the Braddock Scholars Program and the DC Urban Innovation Lab.
2010s THOMAS McAFEE (SLA ’10) made the 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” list for his leadership in the consumer tech sector. McAfee is co-founder and president of Distinc.tt, one of the largest and most active networks of LGBT youth.
ALEX ROTHENBERG (L ’12) was named to “Louisiana Rising Stars” of Super Lawyers. Rothenberg practices in the field of energy and natural resources in the New Orleans office of Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan. ANOOP JAIN (PHTM ’13) announces that Sanitation and Health Rights in India, formerly Humanure Power, was one of four teams that won the top prize of $100,000 at MassChallenge in 2015. Jain also made the 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” list for his leadership in social entrepreneurism.
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 & Sciences, the men’s liberal arts and sciences college that existed until 1994) TC (The College of Arts & 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.)
ALEXIS PINSKY (SSE ’11) is assistant rabbi at Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie, Louisiana. Previously, she was a rabbinic intern at Temple Emanu-El in New York. She has held positions on the board of New Orleans Hillel and has led services with Hillels of Westchester, N.Y., New Orleans and her home congregation of Temple Sinai of Atlanta.
POINTS OF LIGHT While ANTHONY VANKY (A ’07) was studying Thailand as part of his thesis at the Tulane School of Architecture in 2006, the Thai military was engaged in a coup. Vanky was intrigued by the way that YouTube—then a fairly new website— provided information about the event as compared to other international coverage. “I became interested in the relationship between technology and the built environment,” he says. Vanky’s background in architecture and political science eventually led him to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is now a PhD candidate in urban studies and planning. Today he works as a researcher for MIT Senseable City Lab, which studies the interactions between technology, people and cities. When your work involves studying cities, large amounts of data can create a number of challenges, like how to synthesize that data and make it useful for the general public. For instance, how do you compile enough information to tell someone about the shareability of cabs in New York City? This is Vanky’s challenge: figuring out how to use data to improve urban design—a daunting task. “You might have one data set with 17.5 billion entries,” Vanky says. “How do you begin to process that?” Vanky says he works with all kinds of information, including financial statistics. In addition to his research at MIT, Vanky’s own design work has been featured across the globe, from the Venice Biennale to Dutch Design Week. At New Orleans’ DesCours architecture installation in 2011, Vanky created a field of plastic airplanes that swayed while a light display showed the past 24 hours of flight activities at Louis Armstrong International Airport, giving viewers a new perspective on air travel. New Orleans proved the perfect place to begin studying urban design, Vanky says. Having the opportunity to study across a number of disciplines while immersing himself in local culture—as well as studying the city’s architecture—allowed him to transition quite easily into his job at MIT. “I’ve been able to bring together different experiences and view things from a different perspective,” he says.—ANDREW CLARK
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ALUMNI WORLD TRAVEL LEADER Alison Stacy Walsh (NC ’55) died in New Orleans on Nov. 2, 2015. Walsh served as the director of alumni travel for 20 years. Notably, she was returning from a trip to Northern Italy with a group of Tulane alumni and friends when their plane was grounded in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, for six days after 9/11.
F A R E W E L L Roland H. Ebel, professor emeritus of political science, of Christiansburg, Virginia, on May 8, 2015.
Pierre E. Holloway (E ’49) of Naples, Florida, on Oct. 28, 2015.
Dorothy Baskett Trone (NC ’56) of Herndon, Virginia, on July 21, 2015.
James J. Linn, associate professor of accounting, of Medford, Oregon, on June 21, 2015.
Raymond J. Pujol (B ’49) of Bunkie, Louisiana, on Oct. 12, 2015.
Richard P. Erichson Sr. (B ’57) of Georgetown, Texas, on Oct. 21, 2015.
Ruth Neves Vaudry (A&S ’34) of Cocoa Beach, Florida, on Nov. 2, 2015.
William D. Weidner Jr. (E ’49) of New Orleans on Dec. 2, 2015.
John G. King (A&S ’57) of Granby, Connecticut, on Oct. 1, 2015.
Alma Wirth (NC ’35) of Covington, Louisiana, on Dec. 4, 2015.
Harold C. Brumfield Sr. (A ’50) of Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 10, 2015.
Betty Blalock Leonard (NC ’57) of New Orleans on Nov. 5, 2015.
Bernice Dippacher Junge (NC ’38) of New Orleans on Dec. 6, 2015.
Homer K. Johnson Jr. (A&S ’50) of Lakeland, Florida, on Oct. 7, 2015.
Raymond Frischhertz Jr. (E ’58) of Mandeville, Louisiana, on Dec. 14, 2015.
Henry J. Bultman Jr. (E ’41) of Lakewood, New Jersey, on Dec. 14, 2015.
Stanley F. Jurkanis (A&S ’50) of Duluth, Minnesota, on Dec. 17, 2015.
Albert G. Kroeper (B ’58) of Lacombe, Louisiana, on Dec. 6, 2015.
Byron L. Levy (E ’41) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sept. 27, 2015.
Paul J. La Rocca (B ’50) of Covington, Louisiana, on Nov. 12, 2015.
Grace Jahncke Newburger (NC ’58) of Carriere, Mississippi, on Nov. 11, 2015.
Carolyn Albrecht (NC ’42) of Novato, California, on Oct. 26, 2015.
Joseph T. Laborde (A&S ’50) of Rolling Hills Estates, California, on Nov. 6, 2015.
John P. Puckett Jr. (A&S ’58, M ’61) of Winter Haven, Florida, on Oct. 8, 2015.
Catherine Clarke Leake (NC ’42) of New Orleans on Oct. 22, 2015.
Dora Martin Miller (NC ’50) of Clemson, South Carolina, on Nov. 2, 2015.
Janet Boisfontaine Wright (NC ’58) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Nov. 1, 2015.
Hyman C. Tolmas (A&S ’43, M ’45) of Dallas on Nov. 11, 2015.
A.C. Occhipinti (E ’50) of Kenner, Louisiana, on Dec. 8, 2015.
Katherine Gage (NC ’59) of New Orleans on Dec. 3, 2015.
Thomas J. Feehan (E ’44) of Houston on Nov. 22, 2015.
Sydney Hohenberg Rosenberg (NC ’50) of Dallas on Nov. 4, 2015.
Lloyd Glasson (G ’59) of New York on Sept. 4, 2014.
Philip C. Ciaccio (A&S ’46, L ’50) of New Orleans on Nov. 12, 2015.
Abraham P. Friedman (B ’51, L ’56) of Houston on Oct. 20, 2015.
Donald Kent (L ’59) of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Dec. 10, 2015.
Gerald E. Motal (E ’46) of Huffman, Texas, on May 27, 2014.
June Wells Green (NC ’51) of Memphis, Tennessee, on Oct. 7, 2015.
William R. Matthews (A&S ’59) of Duvall, Washington, on Sept. 3, 2015.
Henry H. St. Paul Jr. (E ’46, B ’08) of Pass Christian, Mississippi, on Nov. 1, 2015.
Henry B. Alsobrook Jr. (A&S ’52, L ’57) of New Orleans on Nov. 13, 2015.
Robert J. Queirolo (A&S ’59) of Tampa, Florida, on May 26, 2014.
William W. Goodell (B ’47) of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Oct. 29, 2015.
Emory M. Ornelles (UC ’52) of New Orleans on Nov. 22, 2015.
Walter C. Schumacher (PHTM ’59) of Yuma, Arizona, on Sept. 6, 2015.
H.W. Vandever (A&S ’47) of Santa Barbara, California, on Nov. 19, 2015.
Thomas M. Falkowski (A&S ’53, L ’56) of Keyport, New Jersey, on Oct. 22, 2015.
Frank J. Lasak Jr. (SW ’60) of Rancho Cordova, California, on April 4, 2015.
Robert M. Fleming (L ’48) of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Oct. 16, 2015.
Roland J. Guerin (A&S ’54) of New Orleans on July 20, 2015.
Alvin R. Timm (B ’60) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Dec. 11, 2015.
David B. Fried Jr. (E ’48) of New Orleans on Aug. 16, 2015.
Hans H. Kleinsteuber (A&S ’54) of Red Oak, Iowa, on Sept. 30, 2015.
Fred E. Calcote Jr. (SW ’61) of Brookhaven, Mississippi, on June 8, 2015.
William A. Heine (B ’48) of Northport, Alabama, on Nov. 8, 2015.
Frank A. Aries (B ’55) of Tucson, Arizona, on Dec. 8, 2015.
John B. Wilkinson (L ’61) of New Orleans on Oct. 2, 2015.
S.H. McDonnieal Jr. (M ’48) of Jackson, Mississippi, on Dec. 10, 2015.
Frederick C. Hornberger Sr. (E ’55) of New Orleans on Dec. 16, 2015.
Marion E. Cockrell Jr. (M ’62) of Daphne, Alabama, on Dec. 1, 2015.
Guy B. Scoggin Sr. (A&S ’48, L ’51) of New Orleans on Oct. 5, 2015.
Maria Kolovos Kirkikis (NC ’55) of Shreveport, Louisiana, on Nov. 22, 2015.
Carl C. Henderson (UC ’62) of Metairie, Louisiana, on Nov. 30, 2015.
Donald R. Wellford (L ’48) of Germantown, Tennessee, on Oct. 14, 2015.
Robert B. Townes Jr. (M ’55) of Grenada, Mississippi, on Oct. 23, 2015.
Dennis F. Moore (M ’62) of Wichita, Kansas, on Nov. 6, 2015.
Robert L. Willard (A&S ’48, PHTM ’52) of Carriere, Mississippi, on Dec. 4, 2015.
Anne Goode (NC ’56) of Mobile, Alabama, on Nov. 18, 2015.
Richard W. Bussoff (A&S ’63, L ’67) of Biloxi, Mississippi, on May 13, 2015.
Carruther J. Davis Jr. (A&S ’49, L ’51) of Terry, Mississippi, on Oct. 17, 2015.
Warrington B. Speer (E ’56) of Asheville, North Carolina, on Dec. 9, 2015.
Harold J. Gorman Jr. (E ’63) of New Orleans on Nov. 5, 2015.
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Ethel B. Wade (G ’63) of Kenner, Louisiana, on Sept. 7, 2014. Jerry C. Ebersbaker (E ’64) of Kingwood, Texas, on Oct. 28, 2015. Sherry Brown Landry (NC ’64, SW ’95) of Dallas on Oct. 28, 2015. Alfred S. Wang (G ’64, G ’67) of Missouri City, Texas, on Sept. 20, 2015. Arnett D. Smith Jr. (M ’65) of Texarkana, Arkansas, on Dec. 21, 2014. Ennis I. Oney Jr. (A&S ’66) of Texas City, Texas, on Dec. 2, 2015. Willene Pulliam Taylor (G ’67) of Avon, Indiana, on Sept. 24, 2015. James R. Allen (M ’68) of Ariton, Alabama, on Nov. 20, 2015. Tomas Birriel-Carmona (PHTM ’68) of Morgan City, Louisiana, on Nov. 4, 2015. John H. Butler II (L ’68) of New Orleans on Nov. 3, 2015. John C. Suire (SW ’68) of Slidell, Louisiana, on Nov. 8, 2015. Stephen I. Lewis (A&S ’69) of East Hampton, New York, on Nov. 8, 2015. Sam T. Simpson (PHTM ’69) of Parrish, Florida, on Sept. 15, 2015. Beverly Bertucci (G ’70) of Picayune, Mississippi, on Dec. 14, 2015. Frank W. Crast Sr. (M ’70) of McKinney, Texas, on Nov. 21, 2015. Robert H. Cooper (SW ’71) of McLean, Virginia, on Nov. 23, 2015. Caroline Dotson (SW ’71) of Houston on March 1, 2014. James R. Sweeney (B ’71) of Carlsbad, California, on Oct. 15, 2015. Robert M. Powers (B ’72) of San Francisco on Oct. 14, 2015. William E. Wright (M ’72) of Glasgow, Montana, on Oct. 1, 2015. J.M. Barrett (G ’73) of Augusta, Georgia, on May 27, 2015. Michael P. Hantel (A&S ’73) of Houston on Dec. 17, 2015.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE REX ORGANIZATION
Tribute James M. Cain LEGACY TO BUSINESS James M. Cain (B ’55, ’59) died in New Orleans on Jan. 19, 2016. Soon after I accepted the job as dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business in 1988, I visited Jim, vice chairman of Entergy, in his downtown New Orleans office. Jim, clearly an enthusiastic and loyal Tulanian, wanted to talk about my vision and strategy for the Freeman School. He graciously offered his sage counsel and advice, all of which proved very beneficial. Throughout my tenure as dean, Jim had many significant civic and community leadership roles, and he encouraged me to involve the Freeman School in the greater New Orleans community. As a result, the school undertook several new initiatives in community service and entrepreneurship that are not only continuing today but have become the foundation for one of Tulane’s strategic priorities. In one of our meetings, probably in 1992, I asked Jim to assist with getting approval from Entergy to sponsor its executives to attend our Executive MBA program. Jim said he would, and he did. Today, with more than 50 EMBA alumni, including numerous senior executives, Entergy is the top corporate supporter of our EMBA program. Entergy has also been a major sponsor of our Professional MBA program. However, Jim’s first decision to assist with Entergy’s sponsorship of our EMBA has had a much broader impact and influence on the Freeman School. In 2000, Entergy agreed to collaborate with Tulane to establish the Tulane Energy Institute, which houses some of our most distinctive programs. Jim served as an active member of the Business School Council, and Barbara and Jim were frequent attendees at dinners and speakers series. We miss their wonderful dinner conversations and their friendship. Tulane University owes Jim Cain a special expression of gratitude and thanks. —JAMES McFARLAND McFarland served as dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane from 1988–2005. He currently holds the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Distinguished Chair in Finance and is a professor of finance and economics. He’s also executive director of the Entergy-Tulane Energy Institute.
Stephen N. Horwitz (M ’74) of Miami Beach, Florida, on Aug. 14, 2015.
Rebecca Hartwig (M ’94, PHTM ’94) of Bel Air, Maryland, on Nov. 21, 2015.
Frederick C. Westphal (A&S ’77, B ’82) of Willow Spring, North Carolina, on Oct. 11, 2015.
George R. Smith (B ’95) of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Sept. 30, 2015.
Marc A. Barinbaum (A&S ’78) of North Bethesda, Maryland, on Aug. 20, 2015.
William J. Wolff (PHTM ’97) of El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 5, 2015.
James D. Grady (A&S ’79) of Slidell, Louisiana, on Nov. 24, 2015.
Nicole Osborne (B ’00) of Leander, Texas, on Nov. 9, 2015.
Charles G. Burdick (L ’80) of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on Nov. 9, 2015. William T. Johnson (UC ’80) of Destrehan, Louisiana, on Nov. 14, 2015. Marian Presberg (NC ’82) of Larchmont, New York, on Nov. 10, 2015. Jody Fine (NC ’84) of Concord, New Hampshire, on Oct. 20, 2015. Henrietta Sanders Gardner (SW ’85) of Gretna, Louisiana, on Nov. 28, 2015. Stephanie Janies Adams (SW ’89) of Marrero, Louisiana, on Aug. 5, 2014. Phillip E. Bainbridge Jr. (A&S ’89) of Tampa, Florida, on Sept. 25, 2015.
Thomas J. Koontz (L ’01) of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Oct. 24, 2015. Robert T. Ayers (UC ’02) of Oklahoma City on Nov. 16, 2015. Kiersten Rickenbach Cerveny (M ’03) of Manhasset, New York, on Oct. 4, 2015. Cheryl Hogan (UC ’05, SCS ’08) of New Orleans on Sept. 26, 2015. Abbe Garfinkel (SW ’06, ’15) of Mandeville, Louisiana, on Dec. 8, 2015. Rachel Pearline (M ’10) of Chesterfield, Missouri, on Nov. 5, 2015.
John J. Mello (E ’73) of Kenner, Louisiana, on Oct. 22, 2015.
Emmanuel F. Spann Jr. (UC ’91) of New Orleans on Dec. 16, 2015.
Mathew I. Triscott (SSE ’13) of New Orleans on Dec. 6, 2015.
John A. Cvejanovich (A&S ’74) of Wilmington, North Carolina, on Oct. 21, 2015.
David B. Wilson (A&S ’92) of New Orleans on Sept. 27, 2015.
Benjamin D. Bradley (SCS ’14) of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 8, 2015.
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BRINTON FAMILY GENEROSITY The Brinton Family—Bill, Gerry, Katherine and Delia— continue Mary Jane Deere Wiman Brinton’s legacy of generosity through their recent support to the Brinton Family Health and Healing Center. Their latest gift will expand the center’s primary care services and bring additional services and resources to the still underserved community.
Peace Hero The compassion of Erna Deiglmayr (SW ’54) will live on through her legacy at the Tulane School of Social Work. When she passed away in 2014, Deiglmayr left a generous gift that is enabling the school to renovate the fifth floor of its home at 127 Elk Place. From 1940–1952, Deiglmayr risked her own life to save the most vulnerable victims of Nazi Germany. “I can’t say enough about her commitment to social justice, and that is evident in her work in Europe,” said Ron Marks, dean of the School of Social Work. “She was truly an extraordinary woman.” Deiglmayr used her skills as a social worker to aid the citizens of Belgium during World War II. She transported children across the border to safety, secured food for starving citizens, and hid Jews and Belgian Resistance members in her home. Following the war, as a child welfare officer with the International Refugee Organization, Deiglmayr focused her attention on displaced children. In 1952, Deiglmayr moved to New Orleans and continued her education in social work at Tulane. In 1954, she earned a second master’s degree in social work and also received a graduate certificate in political science. —Kirby Messinger
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Bernick Gift for Faculty The Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation, whose generous support of Tulane University built the iconic and award-winning LavinBernick Center for University Life, has pledged $5 million to support Tulane’s faculty. The gift will provide $1 million annually over the next five years for department and faculty needs in research, recruitment, development, continuing education and student engagement with grants to individual full-time faculty members up to $15,000. “The Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation showed its dedication to Tulane students by building the Lavin-Bernick Center. Now, through the Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty Investment Fund, it will support another treasured university asset—our world-class faculty,” Tulane President Mike Fitts said. “We are most grateful.” Grants from the fund will be applied to a variety of faculty initiatives. “Given President Fitts’ emphasis on academic collaboration across disciplines, I expect some of these funds will be used to create academic synergies between faculty from different fields,” said Carol Bernick, founder of the Carol Bernick Family Foundation and vice chair of the Board of Tulane. “This gift is designed not only to have a demonstrable effect on academic innovation at Tulane but to also encourage others to join me in this effort,” Bernick said. Bernick is the former executive chairman of Alberto-Culver, makers of Alberto VO5, TRESemme, Nexxus, Motions, St. Ives, Noxzema, Simple Skin Care, Mrs. Dash and Static Guard—the latter two of which were her creations. She currently serves as CEO of Polished Nickel Capital Management, a financial services firm.—Mike Strecker
W A V E M A K E R S
Synergy for Faculty Carol Lavin Bernick encourages others to join her in supporting faculty needs and academic collaborations.
GIFT TO SOCIAL WORK
Erna Deiglmayr, who courageously aided victims of Nazi Germany, leaves a generous gift to the Tulane School of Social Work.
REUNION OCT. 28–30, 2016 Reconnect with your classmates, Tulane and New Orleans at your reunion this fall. Book travel for your reunion on Tulane’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, and renew ties through social media today.
W A V E M A K E R S
Showcase An interactive exhibit at the Lavin-Bernick Center during Wavemaker Weekend in March highlights the extensive educational reach of Tulane.
Weekend for Wavemakers Tulane University staged its first “Wavemaker Weekend” March 17–19, a fitting end to President Michael A. Fitts’ inauguration week. The weekend attracted more than 350 alumni, parents, board members and other friends of the university for board and council meetings, a university showcase, social events, meet-andgreets, campus tours and a speech by journalist and Tulane Board member Walter Isaacson. The Wavemaker Showcase was a highlight of the weekend. This interactive exhibit combined photography, video and text displays in the Lavin-Bernick Center on the uptown campus. It highlighted the extensive work that Tulane is doing to educate students, actively contribute to local and global communities, and use technology across a range of other disciplines. Showcase exhibits included Tulane’s global
presence, the Center for Public Service, medicine and global health, and an interactive, 3-D map showing planned or new renovation or building projects, among others. That showcase will be on display in other cities later this year. “Everybody knows parts and pieces of the (Tulane) story, but not everybody is able to see visually in the way that it’s being demonstrated here how broad Tulane’s reach really is,” said Albert Small Jr. (A&S ’79), who is on the Board of Tulane. “I think it’s an eye-opener for a lot of people who aren’t here every day.” Ozgur Karaosmanoglu (A&S ’84, B ’87), a member of the Parents Council and the Business School Council, agreed. “I keep in touch with what’s happening, but looking at everything is exciting, it’s very dynamic … Tulane is looking to the future to make sure we’re properly positioned for our students
and for the country as well,” he said. The showcase gave faculty and staff a chance to reconnect with alumni and talk on a personal level about the future of Tulane. Carole Haber, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, said Wavemaker attendees were interested in “the growth of things like the Gulf South Center, Music Rising project, our engagement in UNITY [a Greater New Orleans partnership of 60 organizations that helps homeless people] because liberal arts is the leading public service provider [at Tulane], and the connection between the school and place-based learning,” and many other topics. Haber added that she hoped attendees would be impressed by the “amazing amount of activity” that is taking place on campus. “We are doing things that no other school, no other university is doing,” she said.—Faith Dawson
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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.
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Musical Giants by Angus Lind
Imagine these three musical giants in your house giving a private concert for you and 30 to 50 of your friends: Clarinetist Tim Laughlin, the heir to Pete Fountain’s golden tones; jazz trumpeter and vocalist Wendell Brunious, who fronted the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for 23 years; and ragtime/jazz pianist Steve Pistorius, a Jelly Roll Morton disciple. Now imagine the three New Orleans natives all swapping stories, cracking jokes and talking about every song they played. Well, right before the holidays began, that trio brought the house down at a “salon concert”—also known as a “house concert”—for 50 guests in the lovely French Quarter home of Tim and Juliet Laughlin. As the show began the tone was quickly set by the musicians’ banter. Host Laughlin introduced Brunious, who has deep roots in the Seventh Ward’s tight Creole community, as “one of the finest trumpet players in this universe.” Pistorius quickly added that he was a pretty good singer also. “I’m the best singer since the sewing machine,” said Brunious. The first song he played and sang was “Some of These Days.” He explained that the song was recorded by the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” risqué entertainer Sophie Tucker. After the applause died down, Brunious looked over at the piano player and said, “It’s so easy to play when you know someone’s got your back.” He said he was blessed to have met some of the industry’s giants like Fountain, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Louis Armstrong. He then launched into what he said was Armstrong’s version of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose,” played with a muted trumpet. On a beautiful, cool, sunny day with the tall windows open at Laughlin’s house, you wondered what people down on the street thought as they heard world-class music wafting down from the second story. Brunious followed with Morton’s “Sweet Substitute,” which featured Pistorius. After Louis Prima’s “Jump Jive an’ Wail,” Pistorius said Brunious “knows the correct lyrics and chords to every song. He makes it look like we’ve been practicing for six months. He makes an ordinary thing an event.” Which is exactly what Laughlin, who would join them later, wants. New Orleans, unfortunately, mostly has used music as “wallpaper, not to be featured,” said Laughlin. “Sure, musicians were hired, but parties were still what musicians call ‘a hang.’” People talk and laugh during the music.
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DO TRY THIS AT HOME In a new New Orleans trend, musicians host concerts in their own homes.
Bars are not music venues either. But with house concerts, you are witness to a special event. The emphasis is on music. No doubt house concerts are catching on. Because as Laughlin says, “You are members of a select few, hearing world-class musicians you only used to glance at. It’s not something you can just pop in and out of.” So once that privilege is explained, people from New Orleans throw money at the idea of a private house concert. And the musicians enjoy an appreciative, attentive audience. Guests are encouraged to bring small plates, making it a potluck affair. It’s cozy, warm and fuzzy. “People like to show off their cooking,” Laughlin said. “New Orleans is all about fun, and it becomes a participatory, fun event.” “It’s an informal, intimate musical experience without the hassles of going to a nightclub,” said New Orleans Advocate music critic Keith Spera. “And if musicians are hosting themselves, it’s a way to potentially make decent money without leaving home.” But no doubt many in attendance were likely trying to figure out how they could host one. Laughlin dedicated this particular concert to the memory of Allen Toussaint, chef Paul Prudhomme and a very special friend and neighbor of his, Dr. Norman E. McSwain Jr., professor of surgery at Tulane University School of Medicine and trauma director of Charity Hospital of New Orleans, as well as surgeon for the New Orleans Police Department (see “Tribute” in the December 2015 issue of Tulane). “This was the only concert he hasn’t attended,” said Laughlin, who has now hosted four. When Brunious was a youngster and his dad, trumpeter John “Picket” Brunious Sr., was playing with Pete Fountain, Fountain called him onstage and surprised him with a brand new trumpet. “That changed my life,” said Brunious. And the stories kept coming. Before the trio played Pete Fountain’s song from his first gold record, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” Laughlin pointed out that the clarinet that he was playing—named “Ol’ Betsy”—also had been given to him by Fountain, who had used it to record that famous song. In the audience that Sunday was Benny Harrell, Fountain’s son-in-law and manager. As the last rousing notes of “When the Saints Go Marching In” ended, Harrell said, “It’s a magical New Orleans moment. These guys are in a league of their own.”
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Wish you were here. Academic procession at President Fittsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; inauguration, March 17, 2016.