Honored donors pay it forward

March 26, 2013 11:00 AM

Michael Joe

As recipients of Tulane scholarships more than 30 years ago, alumni Rick and Debbie Rees said giving back to the university has special meaning for them.

Tulane Board Chair Jay Lapeyre with alumni Rick and Debbie Rees.

Paul Tulane Society inductees Rick Rees, left, and Debbie Rees, right, are joined by Jay Lapeyre, center, chair of the Board of Tulane.  The Reeses were among four individuals and couples honored for extraordinary philanthropy to the university. (Photo by Sabree Hill)

“It’s the least we could do because Tulane did so much for us,” said Rick Rees, a member of the Board of Tulane. The Reeses were among four individuals and couples inducted into the Paul Tulane Society on Wednesday (March 20) at the Audubon Tea Room for their extraordinary philanthropy to Tulane. Each honoree has supported a range of causes that has left no corner of the university untouched, said President Scott Cowen in his opening remarks.

“Members of the Paul Tulane Society are the pillars of Tulane University, and without each one of them our university would not be where it is,” said Cowen.

In addition to their support for Tulane Athletics, the university’s renewal after Hurricane Katrina and capital campaigns, the Reeses are major benefactors of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, where they have endowed professorships in their names.  

“I’ve lived in New Orleans all my life, and business was always something I knew I was going to make a career in,” said Rick Rees. “Building a first-class business school at Tulane was important.”

Also honored with membership in the society were Joseph Andrews Davenport III, Dr. Everett L. Drewes and Peggy and Aaron Selber.

“My father is thrilled with this honor,” said Penny Selber Autenreith, who accepted the Paul Tulane Society medallion on behalf of her parents.

Darla Martin Kemp said her great-uncle, Drewes, created a scholarship fund through his bequest because a scholarship allowed him to attend Tulane. “It created the life he was able to live, and he wanted to pay it forward,” Kemp said.

Michael Joe is a writer in the Office of Development.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu