An Intergenerational Conversation: Newcomb College and the Newcomb Scholars Program


  • Alexa Schwartz Tulane University


“I will not be donating to Tulane until they reinstate Newcomb College! What Scott Cowen did to destroy Josephine Louise Newcomb’s legacy was illegal and wrong. My diploma says Newcomb College and that no longer means anything!” Amelia Conrad, a Newcomb Scholar and a student worker at the Tulane University Calling Center, murmured a quick apology and hung up the phone. This was not the first time that someone had yelled at her for the closing of Newcomb College during her shifts at the Calling Center. Since the consolidation of Newcomb College after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the creation of the Newcomb College Institute in its place, many alumnae were frustrated and angry about the loss of their collegiate home. This anger had led to a lawsuit against the university by one particular alumnae group, which ended in Tulane’s favor in February 2011. Amelia told her fellow Newcomb Scholars about the confrontation during their seminar the next day. As a Newcomb Scholar myself, I felt very upset by the incident. But how could I and other members of the Newcomb Scholars Program communicate our Newcomb experience to these women, and how could we show that it is just as valid as theirs? In a public domain dominated by the lawsuit, how could we offer a different interpretation of the “Newcomb spirit” in 2011? This case explores these questions.


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