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Alumnae Awards

Newcomb Alumnae Association bestows three awards to Newcomb alumnae each year at Under the Oaks. Award winners have represented Newcomb with distinction since their graduation. 

Nominate an Alumna for a Newcomb Award

The Newcomb Alumnae Association is accepting nominations for three alumnae awards, presented annually at the Under the Oaks celebration in May:

  • Outstanding Alumna - The recipient of this award must reflect Newcomb’s tradition of excellence and should exhibit prominence in a business or professional field and in her contributions to the well being of national, state, or community life. The recipient’s accomplishments and contributions should have been sustained over a long period of time. Optimally, the recipient should have achieved some measure of recognition on the national or international level.
  • Young Alumna - This award is given to a Newcomb/Tulane alum who has exhibited ongoing contributions or achievements. Nominees who have not yet attained the age of 40 are eligible for fifteen years beyond graduation.
  • Community Service - The recipient of this award will be recognized for a significant, long-term commitment to community service.

Nominations are good for three years. Instructions and the nomination form can be found below. Nominations must be received by February 15, 2020. Please submit your nominations for a deserving Newcomb alumna here.

2019 Alumnae Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2019 Alumnae Award Winners!

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Newcomb Alumnae Association Awards. These awards are presented each year at the Under the Oaks ceremony, held prior to Commencement Day.  

This year’s recipients are:

  • Outstanding Alumna:

    Marcela Villareal de Panetta (NC ’67)
    Marcela Villareal de Panetta has served on the boards of several companies and cultural institutions in the United States and Mexico. Her family is one of the principle shareholders in a Mexican Company that is the second-largest Coca-Cola franchise; the company serves a population of more than 118 million in parts of Mexico, as well as Ecuador, Peru, northern Argentina, and Southwestern United States. Marcela assisted in building a high school at the Yermo y Parres Multi-Cultural Education Center located in one of the poorest and most dangerous parts of Juarez, Mexico. Marcela works at the Santo Niño Clinic, a Sisters of Charity Clinic in Juarez, which assists children with severe physical and mental disabilities. She established a fund for the Pastoral Center at Sacred Heart Church located in Segundo Barrio in El Paso, whose purpose is to assist with English as a Second Language education and Citizenship. Marcela is a current member of Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Dean’s Council where she helped create the Fondo Guadalupano, a scholarship fund designed to support Mexican Graduate students while studying at Tulane. Marcela also serves on the Board of Tulane.  

  • Community Service Award: 

    Lisa Helfman (NC ’96)
    Lisa Helfman has been on a path of health and community service for many years, much of which she attributes to Newcomb College’s influence. Lisa is the founder and board chair of Brighter Bites, a national nonprofit that creates communities of health through fresh food. The inspiration for Brighter Bites came from Lisa’s son, who after participating in a weekly fresh fruits and vegetable co-op, rejected cake at a birthday party and instead asked for less-sweet fruit. Inspired by this, Lisa created a program that delivers fresh produce directly into the hands and homes of families lacking this access. Because nutrition education is often equally lacking, she partnered with public health experts to bring an evidenced-based school nutrition curriculum to the program. Since its founding in 2011, Brighter Bites has delivered over 20 million pounds of fresh produce and hundreds of thousands of nutrition education materials to more than 265,000 individuals at 240 participating schools and camps in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Southwest Florida. Lisa currently works as the Director of Public Affairs Houston for H-E-B Grocery Company, the largest privately-owned company in Texas with over 100,000 employees and $26 billion in annual revenue. Prior to joining H-E-B, Lisa served as Director of Real Estate Services at Texas Children’s Hospital and an attorney for Vinson & Elkins law firm. Lisa graduated cum laude from Newcomb College where she studied political science and magna cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in 2002. The Houston-Galveston chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship named her the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year, and in 2018 Southern Living named Lisa one of 30 Women Moving Southern Food Forward.

  • Young Alumna Award: 
    ​​​​​​​Paula Eichenbrenner (NC ’04)
    Paula J. Eichenbrenner is Executive Director of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Foundation, where she guides a mission to advance medication-related research and education. As a joiner and a collector of people, nothing makes her happier than organizing a group (something that has remained true since her tenure as Vice President for Student Organizations at Tulane). Since her student days, Paula has created opportunities to improve communities where she lives, works, and travels. During her junior semester abroad, she organized a toy drive to benefit children who lived at an orphanage where she volunteered in St. Petersburg, Russia. Nearly 15 years later, Paula organizes sock drives (socks are among the most needed but least available items in shelters nationwide). In each city where AMCP hosts a national conference, AMCP Foundation selects a community partner and invites conference attendees to donate socks. Through Paula’s leadership and in partnership with local agencies, since 2016 more than 3,250 pairs of socks have been donated to homeless shelters, foster grandparents, families, first-time parents, and victims of domestic violence. Prior to joining AMCP Foundation, Paula held leadership roles at the American Society for Nutrition/ASN Foundation and the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing. Paula is an honors graduate of Newcomb College, where she studied Slavic languages and Spanish. In 2018, she completed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in global business at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia campus She is a member of the Newcomb College Institute Director’s Advisory Council and previously served on the Newcomb Alumnae Association Board of Directors. 

These alumnae have represented Newcomb with distinction since their graduation, and all alumnae are invited to celebrate their achievements at the Under the Oaks Ceremony. See the date, time, and location details located under the Events Tab.  

Past Newcomb Alumnae Winners

Outstanding Alumna
1974    Elizabeth Wisner    N'14    
1975    Bessie Margolin     N'29    
1976    Corinne Claiborne Boggs     N'35    
1977     E. Lucille Smith     N'35     
1978     Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer    N'33     
1979     Ruth Rogan Benerito     N'35     
1980     Betty Werlein Carter     N'31     
1981     Lanier Allingham Simmons     N'50     
1982     Mary Lou Mossy Christovich     N'49     
1983     Odaline de la Martinez     N'72     
1984     Evalyn Stolaroff Gendel     N'43     
1985     Betty Stevens Sherrill     N'44     
1986     Hilda Arndt     N'32     
1987     Lynda Benglis     N'64     
1988     Rosa Freeman Keller     N'32     
1989     Martha Crenshaw     N'67    
1990     Marion J. Siegman     N'54     
1991     Barbara Y. E. Pyle     N'69     
1992     Deirdre Melessa Phillips, M.D.     N'69     
1993     Vivian Gussin Paley     N'50     
1994     Lois E. DeBakey     N'40     
1995     Eugénie Ricau Rocherolle     N'58     
1997     Susan Gold Willard Schorin     N'67     
1998     May Hyman Lesser     N'47    
1999     Martha Walters Barnett     N'69    
2003    Marsha Sidel Firestone     N'65     
2004    Cheryl A. Nickerson     N'83      
2005    Elizabeth A. Weaver    N’62    
2007    Jane Davis Doggett     N'52    
2008    Carol Lavin Bernick    N'74    
2009    Florence Weiland Schornstein    N’56   
2010    Berthe Lathrop Marks Amoss    N’46   
2011    Dee Unglaub Silverthon   N '70 
2012    Marlene Esking Moses N '72 
2013    Margaret Burr Leonard N '63 
2014    Merri Steinberg Ex N '73
2015    Regina Rogers N '68
2016    Jennifer Brush N '78
2017    Sally Kittredge Reeves N'65
2018    Meria Carstarphen NC '92

Young Alumna
2005    Jennifer Grotz N’93 
2007    Melissa Ekin Kizildemir N’02 
2008    Erica Trani  N’06
2009    Rebekah Dobrasko N’01
2010    Theresa Schieber N’95
2011    Meaghan K. Callahan N'08
2012    Karoun Bagamain N'01
2013    Elizabeth Bellino N'98
2014    Johanna Gilligan N'03
2015    Jane Kellum N'01
2016    Dr. Mara E. Karlin N'01
2017    Demetria Christo N'06
2018    Lindsey Childs-Kean NC '04

Community Service  Award
1987    Sybil Muths Favrot N’56 
1988    Jane Kelleher Riess N’38
1989    Nellie Mae " Bartlett Kelleher N’30
1990    Carol Downes Cudd N’59
1992    Louise Hoehn Hogan  N’35 
1993    Winifred Delery Hills N’75
1994    Polly Phelps Durham N’52 
1995    Harriet Barry Schupp N’59 
1997    Regan Alford Forrester N'71
1999    Carolyn Robbert Davis N'42
2000    Andrée Keil Moss N'59
2001    Helen Schneidau N'67
2002    Patricia Greene N'67
2003    Karen Deener Depp N'66
2004    Virginia Niehaus Roddy N'60
2005    Barbara Bartlett Haddad N'53
2007    Cynthia Roosth Wolf N'68
2008    Eugenie Jones Huger N'53
2009    Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin N’54
2010    Adele Redditt Williamson N’45
2011    Sharon Kozlowski Bourgeois N'69
2012    Suzy Guichard McDaniel N'83
2013    Newcomb Sisters & Friends Build
2014    Sylvia Klumok Goodman N'62
2015    Julie Schwam Harris N'74
2016    Roberta Guillory N'59
2017    Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise N'92
2018    Millibeth Currie NC '89

Katrina/Rita Recognition Awards - October 27, 2006
Pamela Montgomery Bryan N'80             
Barbara Gott Bush  N'71    
Beverly Reese Church N'67    
Lea McIntosh Ellison N'69    
Mignon Faget N'55    
Virginia Saussy N'88    
Ruthie Jones Frierson N'62
Patricia Heatherly Gay N'65    
Barbara Barry Hammett N'64    
Leslie Brupbacher Kramer N'77    
Nancy Meyers Marsiglia N'75    
Anne McDonald Milling N'62    
Marcelle D'Aquin Saussy N'61    
Louise Fergusson Saenz N'94    
Cynthia Roosth Wolf N'68    

Newcomb Centennial Awards - Awarded October 11, 1986
Mildred D. Christian N'22, Education/ English
Lucile Jacoby Blum N'24, Music, Performing, & Visual Art
Perrine Dixon McCune N'24, Music
Angela Gregory N'25,  Sculpture
Rena Wilson N'29, Early Childhood Development
Mary Ethel Dichmann N'35, Education
Margaret Pace Willson N'43, Art/ Glass Blowing/ Business
Mary Hanemann Lystad N'49, Social Psychology
Shirley Ann Grau N'50, Author
Mignon Faget N'55, Art/ Jewelry Design
Linda Smith Wilson N'57, Chemistry/EducationalAdministration/Research
Frances F. Switt N'59, Foreign Service/ Cultural Exchange
Emily Watts Card N'63, Financial Management
Shelly Johnson Errington N’66, Anthropology 
Marilyn Thomas Bernard N'68, Music
Janina R. Gerth Galler N'69, Pediatric Mental Health

Alumna of the Year (discontinued)
2005     Helen Carney Evans N’65
2007     Ruthie Jones Frierson  N’62
2007    Anne McDonald Milling N’62