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Tulane Honors Program

Friday, March 17, 2006

Newcomb-Tulane Undergraduate College

Yesterday the Board approved a plan for preserving the name and legacies of Tulane and Newcomb Colleges.
As Tulane University implements its Renewal Plan in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Board of Tulane approved a sweeping set of recommendations on Thursday (March 16) 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.

Newcomb's role in women's education will continue as well:
The board also established The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute, which 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.

But before the Board's vote several Newcomb alumnae and students filed a lawsuit to stop the dissolution of Newcomb College as a degree granting institution. The Chronicle has the story here.


  • Pay attention to the lawsuit by Newcomb heirs against Tulane:
    New Evidence Offers Insight into Josephine Newcomb’s Dedication to Funding Newcomb College
    Letter Details the Circumstances Surrounding Creation of 1898 Will

    NEW ORLEANS—June 13, 2006—A letter submitted in the New Orleans Civil District Court case Howard v. Tulane offers a new glimpse into the circumstances surrounding the creation and maintenance of Newcomb College. The letter, from Josephine Newcomb’s lawyer James McConnell to the Tulane Educational Fund, describes McConnell’s efforts to ensure Mrs. Newcomb’s gifts went toward creating and maintaining Newcomb as a separate, all-women’s college.

    “The letter outlines Mrs. Newcomb’s explicit demand that her gifts be used to establish and maintain Newcomb College,” said attorney Shawn Holahan, who is representing the plaintiffs. “In abolishing Newcomb College, Tulane is deliberately ignoring that demand.”

    McConnell, a member of the Tulane Board of Administrators for more than 32 years, served as Mrs. Newcomb’s lawyer in New Orleans, helping her prepare her will and representing her estate after her death. He had also served as counsel to Paul Tulane, and was the father of a 1900 graduate of Newcomb College. His letter describes his attempts after Mrs. Newcomb’s death to ensure her gifts were used only for the funding of Newcomb College and provides insight into Mrs. Newcomb’s dedication to the college she founded.

    “…assuring her as I did, that the Board of Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund would devote the property bequeathed by her to them entirely to the benefit and development of the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College as a Department of Tulane University of Louisiana and that she could rely upon my assurance in that respect: and I now and here repeat to this Board this statement and emphasize the assurance so given by me to Mrs. Newcomb, in order that hereafter it may not be forgotten,” McConnell said in his letter.

    The letter is part of evidence presented in the lawsuit Howard v. Tulane, filed by the heirs of Josephine Louise Newcomb in Louisiana state court against Tulane University to retain H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College as a separate degree-granting college for women. The petition was filed in response to Tulane University’s Renewal Plan that outlined the Tulane Education Fund Board of Administrators’ intention to eliminate Newcomb College as a separate undergraduate college and create a co-educational undergraduate college. The elimination of Newcomb College is not financially necessary for the survival of Tulane University, as Newcomb is financially strong.

    This lawsuit needs your support. Go to www.newcomblives.com to donate.

    By Anonymous R.Peter, at 6:30 AM  

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