July 29, 2013
Early Saturday I received the sad news that Lindy Boggs had passed away. Since then much has been written about her long, remarkable life as the first woman from Louisiana elected to Congress, the first woman to preside over the Democratic National Convention and the first woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.
But before Lindy achieved all these firsts, she was a student at Tulane University, where she enrolled in Newcomb College at the age of 15 and served as an editor of the Hullabaloo. My favorite story about Lindy from this period concerns an anonymous "love letter" she and her friends wrote to a professor.
The students had tired of the professor's constant railing against the rococo style of architecture. So the letter, supposedly from one of his students who was in love with him, stated that the professor could convey his love for the student by saying the word "rococo" in class. As you can imagine, this stifled further expounding on that subject.
Lindy graduated from Tulane in 1935, but her ties to the university remained strong throughout her life. After she retired from Congress in 1991, Lindy returned to Tulane as a special counsel to Tulane's president. Things had come full circle, but Lindy was not finished with her career on the world stage yet. In 1997, she accepted an appointment as ambassador to the Vatican.
As a champion of civil rights and women's equality, Lindy was one of the leading political and moral forces of our time. Her legacy at Tulane lives on in numerous ways, ranging from the Boggs Center for Energy and Biotechnology building that bears her name to the lives of the countless young women she mentored and inspired to greatness.
On a personal level, Margie and I will always cherish our friendship with Lindy. Our time with her through the years will always be among our fondest memories and a reminder of what a difference one person can make in the world.
Role model, leader, benefactor and friend - there are so many words that could be said to express Tulane's feelings for Lindy. But one word in particular seems to best capture the thoughts of the entire Tulane community at this time: rococo.
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