Alumnus Alan Lawrence has contributed $75,000 in total to underwrite the two-year international colloquium examining Senegal and Louisiana's shared past.
Musicians from Louisiana and Senegal were invited to contribute to the first conference in Saint-Louis last month. (Photo by Emily Clark)
July 9, 2012
As a member of the dean’s advisory board for the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University, alumnus Alan Lawrence takes his duties to his alma mater seriously. Last year, the New York attorney was searching for a special project to support and learned of an upcoming conference exploring the linked histories of two port cities, 5,000 miles apart: Saint-Louis, Senegal and New Orleans.
“It just captured my interest because it seemed like exactly the kind of thing Tulane should be doing from an academic perspective,” says Lawrence (A&S ’87).
Working with development officer Daniel Bozard and dean Carole Haber, Lawrence contributed $25,000 in May 2011 to underwrite the first part of the two-year international colloquium, held in Saint-Louis from June 4-7.
His gift was in memory of James E. “Jamie” Hailer (A&S ’89), a fraternity brother who died of cancer in February last year, around the same time details of the conference were coming together.
“This conference would have been something of interest to him, and it was an opportunity to do something in memory of him, to help his wife and children remember who Jamie was,” says Lawrence.
Emily Clark, a Tulane historian and conference co-organizer, says Lawrence’s gift made it possible for Tulane to play a major role in the three-day gathering of Atlantic World scholars.
His support enabled Tulane to send six delegates to Saint-Louis, including Clark; geographer Richard Campanella; Sylvia Frey, professor emerita of history; Rosalind Hinton, senior program manager of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South; Vera Gutman, doctoral candidate in history; and Bruce Raeburn, Hogan Jazz Archive director.
“It’s because of Alan that Tulane is able to participate,” says Clark.
Delighted with the success of the Senegal conference, Lawrence recently made a second $50,000 gift to help Tulane host next year’s event during Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Additional support for the 2013 conference has already been pledged by the French Embassy in Senegal, the Historic New Orleans Collection and Radio France International, the exclusive media partner for the event.
Lawrence is already making plans to attend.
“The first half of the conference was so impressive, it was hard to say no,” Lawrence says. “It was the least I could do to agree to a sponsorship of the second half.”
Kimberly Krupa is director of writing in the Office of Development.
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