A passion for public service

April 9, 2012 5:45 AM

Fran Simon

In recognition of his leadership and dedication to Tulane University, Vincent Ilustre, executive director of the Tulane Center for Public Service, received the highest honor the university gives to a staff member.


Vincent Ilustre, center, executive director of the Tulane Center for Public Service, leads students in a TIDES business course he teaches, as they sort Mardi Gras beads to benefit ARC of New Orleans, one of more than 400 community partner organizations. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

On April 4, Ilustre received the Yvette Milner Jones Award, which goes to an outstanding Tulane staff member. Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development in whose honor the award is named, presented a $5,000 check to him at the university’s Administrative Council meeting.

“Even as a Tulane student, I remember Vincent carrying the torch of public service in a way that made everyone stand up a little straighter, dig in a little harder, and take pride in the various service projects we were doing,” wrote Ben Brubaker in one of several nomination letters the selection committee received. Brubaker is a VISTA leader.

Ilustre virtually carved out his niche in public service positions on campus. As a Tulane undergraduate, Ilustre volunteered for an ACT preparation program and encouraged the university to expand the after-school program, which grew from serving 20 high school students to 125. Ilustre was hired on for a summer job, then became a program coordinator in the Office of Service Learning, the first staff position in public service at the university.

After Hurricane Katrina, when the university implemented service learning as a new graduation requirement, Ilustre and his staff created a vast array of service-learning opportunities and worked with faculty members to develop courses.

Ilustre, who also holds a Tulane M.B.A., has held public-service positions on campus for 14 years, and now travels to meet with potential donors who will help the university carry out its mission for public good.

“I’m passionate about service,” says Ilustre. “My grandparents instilled in me the importance of service while I was growing up in the Philippines.”

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000