Photo of Helene Dickson Sheena, MD

Photo of Helene Dickson Sheena

My dear fellow Newcomb Alumnae,

In a year full of challenges, it has been truly my honor to serve each and every one of you.

With the knowledge that Newcomb Institute Executive Director Sally J. Kenney would be stepping down in June, plans were made to honor the legacy that she left behind in the post-Katrina era of Newcomb. As the mother of two daughters educated at Tulane, both extensively involved with the Newcomb Institute, I saw firsthand all that Newcomb offers today to help prepare young leaders facing the challenges of tomorrow. Newcomb Scholars, reproductive rights internships, experiential learning opportunities, Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), and SPARK residential learning community are just a few of the significant programs Newcomb offers the next generation of feminist leaders.

To recognize this ongoing commitment, we created the Sally J. Kenney Student Leadership Fund as a partnership between the Newcomb Alumnae Association (NAA) and the Director’s Advisory Council. The fund will be dedicated to programs and activities focusing on leadership skill development to prepare undergraduate students to advocate for gender equity and lead in a gendered world.

Our transition to virtual events over the last two years allowed Newcomb to extend well beyond the boundaries of New Orleans to reach our alumnae globally. The 2022 Zale-Kimmerling Writer-In-Residence and spring Book Club author, Brit Bennett, delighted Zoom participants with a reading from The Vanishing Half. In May, Houstonian Andrea Lapsley (NC ’72) also led a lively virtual book club discussion on the same book enjoyed by NAA members throughout the country.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resuming traditional graduation activities such as Under the Oaks, NAA Alumnae Awards, and Daisy Chain was a privilege. It was an honor to recognize the Classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972, which include past NAA Presidents Carter Flemming and Catherine Edwards, as they received their 50th-anniversary diploma. We then turned to this year’s extraordinary graduates to honor the Newcomb Scholars, grant recipients and Newcomb student award winners, including the NAA Endowed Newcomb Scholar, Carly Shaffer.

As I end my presidency, I urge you to get involved. Join a Newcomb book club. Come back for reunions. Nominate a classmate, or yourself, to serve on a committee or the NAA Board. Please send us your news so we can share it with others.

A special thank you to the NAA Board of Directors, who have committed their time and energy during a time of flux. And, as always, stay safe, stay healthy and stay connected.

Helene Dickson Sheena, MD

President, Newcomb Alumnae Association