Photo of light streaming through oak trees on the uptown campus
Survival to Renewal
Tulane University


As Tulane University implements its Renewal Plan in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Board of Tulane approved a sweeping set of recommendations today to preserve some of the university’s most time-honored traditions.  It renewed its historic ties to Paul Tulane and H. Sophie Newcomb by naming the university’s new undergraduate college the Newcomb-Tulane College.

It was the first of many recommendations by the Newcomb-Tulane Task Force, a group of alumni board members charged with identifying ways to preserve the rich histories of Newcomb and Tulane colleges. A brief description of the recommendations is available.

The Board also established The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute, an academic center that will draw women students and all faculties from across the university in a dynamic, interdisciplinary program designed to enhance women’s education and continue to enrich the women’s community at Tulane.  The Newcomb College Institute will be housed on the Newcomb campus and will be headed by an executive director who will also be the holder of a newly created Newcomb College Endowed Chair. 

“Newcomb and Tulane Colleges have had profound impacts on so many undergraduates and the Newcomb-Tulane Task Force presented the Board of Tulane with a solid foundation to enrich their legacies and tradition at Tulane University,” said Catherine D. Pierson, chair of the Board of Tulane. “From now on, every undergraduate diploma will bear the names of Newcomb and Tulane as a tribute to their contributions to higher education. For the first time, every woman undergraduate can now become involved in Newcomb activities, regardless of their field of academic interest, through the Newcomb College Institute.”

The Newcomb-Tulane Task Force gathered input from students and alumni for more than three months through face-to-face meetings, an open forum and its website to determine ways to preserve the traditions and endowments of Newcomb and Tulane colleges consistent with the Renewal Plan.

“The Task Force recommendations reflect many of the comments and suggestions we received,” said Linda Wilson, a 1957 graduate of Newcomb College and co-chair of the Newcomb-Tulane Task Force. “For example, it was clear from our fact finding that both students and alumni were very concerned about protecting the endowments of Newcomb and Tulane colleges. As a result, all endowments will continue to be used for the programs and purposes for which they were originally established.”

Representing additional emphasis on women’s programming and residential life at Tulane, the Board accepted the recommendation to create an all-female residential college for undergraduates at the Josephine Louise House residence hall. Special women’s programming for residents will be coordinated through the Newcomb College Institute and the Newcomb-Tulane College. 

The Renewal Plan, approved by the Board of Tulane last December, offers a strategy to rebuild and renew Tulane University academically, physically and financially in a post-Katrina environment. A critical aspect of the Renewal Plan is the creation of a single undergraduate college to substantially increase the visibility and importance of undergraduate education at Tulane, enhance the quality and impact of the undergraduate experience through co-curricular programming for all students and streamline the university’s organizational structure while reducing administrative costs. Prior to this reorganization, undergraduate students could enter the university in one of seven different schools/colleges, including Newcomb and Tulane Colleges, resulting in significantly different student experiences. 

Tulane Associate Provost James MacLaren has been named interim dean of the newly created Newcomb-Tulane College effective July 1. Tulane will conduct a national search for a permanent dean.