By Lisa D. T. Rice (NC ’83, Parent ‘15)

Photos of Lisa

My dearest fellow alumnae, 

It is amazing that my two years as President of the NAA is coming to an end. Serving you in this role during a once-in-one-hundred-year pandemic has been monumental. After a single meeting together in The Commons in January 2020, the NAA board pivoted to conduct business and program remotely for the next 22 months. 

COVID elasticity of time (that eerie sensation of week-long days morphing into months without end) often made us feel as if we were slogging through mud, especially during the early months when there was, literally, no end in sight. 

Take it from me, though, this is the exact type of scenario when Newcomb women thrive. 

The dedicated board of directors, twenty-five individuals who encountered identical pandemic-driven challenges as you, worked hard to keep you in focus as our North star. Though many student-facing programs were put on hold due to the pandemic and then, Hurricane Ida, we seized upon the opportunity to strengthen alumnae bonds by continuing and deepening other programs. 

NAA book clubs looked different, with meetings hosted via Zoom. We innovated and launched our inaugural “New Orleans and Beyond” club, in addition to city-based meetings. The NAA continued financial support of Newcomb Institute students engaged in experiential learning. Alumnae awards were presented during the fall after the cancellation of Under the Oaks two years in a row. Though the pandemic challenged our momentum, we kept moving. 

About a year ago, Tulane hired its first Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Anneliese Singh (NC 91). How proud we are of our fellow alumna! In 2021, the NAA board established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) committee with her support. Dr. Singh facilitated a racial healing workshop for us, a key part of our January 2021 meeting. I invited members of the Director’s Advisory Council (DAC) to join us for what evolved into an emotional bonding experience. 

With this work done, the ED&I committee was formally established. Over fifty alumnae expressed interest in three slots reserved for non-board alums. The committee soon presented a town hall with Dr. Singh, which complemented the challenge of building its mission statement. In the fall, the ED&I committee hosted a viewing of “The Veil,” a documentary by Raven Ancar (SLA ’21) about racism at Tulane. 2021 has been a busy year for the NAA. 

I am grateful to past NAA presidents, Carter Flemming, Catherine Hagaman Edwards, Meredith Beers, and Andrea Mahady Price, for their steadfast support. Each gracefully accepted my phone calls, responded to emails, and more, as we navigated an unprecedented journey to keep the NAA robust and significant. I appreciate each of you with all my heart. 

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me with your compliments and grievances. I am grateful for your friendship and support. I hope you feel I have served you well. 


Lisa D. T. Rice (NC ’83, Parent ‘15) 

P.S. Shoutout to all the alums, family, and friends who helped Newcomb Institute rank #1 in the University’s annual Give Green event for two years in a row!