August 27, 2014 8:45 AM
“Tulane alumni are very excited. They talk about how wonderful it will be, what a great experience it will be for students.” — Yvette Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development
Tulane University alumni still can’t believe it’s happening, says Yvette Jones, executive vice president and fundraising leader. Alumni she has met on her travels are astounded and thrilled that a new stadium on the uptown campus is a reality.
Yulman Stadium sits between the Reily Student Recreation Center, the Wilson Athletics Center and the Hertz Center practice facility, fitting perfectly into the landscape like a long-missing puzzle piece.
“You can see how it just sort of fits in,” she says, pointing to a recent aerial photo. “The architects thought it was a great opportunity to enhance the campus with the perfectly sized stadium.”
Ten days of celebratory events culminate with the stadium dedication on Sept. 5, and 30,000 fans will stream in for the first football game the next afternoon.
“This question has continued to come up over the course of time, that we needed to have our own stadium,” says Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development, whose Tulane career has spanned more than three decades. Old Tulane Stadium was demolished in 1980, and she has heard the laments of alumni and fans ever since.
Her job was raising $75 million to make the dream come true. Three large gifts announced in late 2012 by Richard and Janet Yulman, Tom and Gayle Benson, and Jill and Avie Glazer made it possible. Jones’s team is close to the fundraising goal.
“People love this project and want to give to it,” she says. “It’s given people a real sense of pride.”
She sees Yulman Stadium as important to New Orleans, “a football town.” For students, it means “having the experience of coming together with 30,000 Tulane fans and having that joint sense of pride, community and camaraderie.” And for alumni, it means a stronger Tulane connection.
A die-hard football fan, Jones can’t wait for tailgating under the campus oaks. She will be bringing her 18-month-old grandson to the games so that “he’ll be like the others who grew up at Tulane Stadium.”
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org