Professor’s gift propels science career for women

August 1, 2012 5:45 AM

Kirby Messinger

“As a faculty member and an alum, I really wanted to find the right things to support,” said Barbara Beckman, professor of pharmacology. She decided to create a professorship in the Department of Pharmacology that would encourage diversity and propel the careers of women scientists.

Pharmacology professor Barbara Beckman

Pharmacology professor Barbara Beckman hopes the professorship she has created will encourage more women to take leadership roles within the basic sciences. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Beckman, who also is associate dean of admissions in the Tulane School of Medicine, is a 1968 graduate of Newcomb College who began her professional career at the university with a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology. That beginning evolved into her tenure-track position and significant work in cancer-related research.

In looking back on her career with Tulane and the evolution of the school and her department, Beckman considered how she wanted to give back.

“Over the years, I’ve been closely associated with many projects throughout the school but as an insider I’ve been able to study where I wanted to give,” she said.

She gifted $100,000 to create the Dr. Barbara S. Beckman Professorship in Pharmacology, a position that focuses on diversity and gives specific consideration to women scientists. Beckman hopes the professorship will encourage more women to take leadership roles within the basic sciences.

“Diversity among the faculty is critical in thinking about the problems that we have left to solve in medicine. A key to solving these incredibly complex problems is the diversity of different views and disciplines,” says Beckman.

Beckman says she feels that there is a renaissance within the medical school inspired by the post-Katrina disposition toward service and the influx of new talent among the faculty.

“I feel very blessed and want to pay it forward. I believe in this city and this university and want to be part of building the future,” says Beckman.


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