A Special View from Gibson - Welcoming Two Trailblazers Back to Tulane

Dear Tulane Community:


This Saturday, Nov. 16, is an important day in the history – and future – of Tulane University. It is a day in which we will welcome two distinguished graduates back to campus: Dr. Deidre Dumas Labat (NC '66, G '69) and Reynold T. Décou, Sr., (A&S '67, A&S '79), the first African-American undergraduates to earn degrees from Newcomb and Tulane Colleges, respectively. Dr. Labat and Mr. Décou are returning to campus as honorees of the Tulane Trailblazers initiative, which recognizes the lasting impact that individuals from diverse backgrounds have made at our university.


After graduating from Tulane, Dr. Labat went on to have a distinguished career in academia at Xavier University of Louisiana and Mr. Décou had an illustrious career as a petroleum geologist at a number of leading energy companies. These pioneers' names will be enshrined on campus as we officially designate the former Willow Residences "The Décou-Labat Residences." In addition, we have commissioned portraits of Dr. Labat and Mr. Décou that will be installed in the Newcomb Institute and the School of Science and Engineering.


There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Décou-Labat Residences from 12:45 to 1 p.m. in front of the residences at 120 Janet Yulman Way. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by A Discussion with Dr. Labat and Mr. Décou – a special edition of the Amistad Research Center's Conversations in Color Speaker Series. The discussion will take place at 2 p.m. in the Kendall Cram Room on the second floor of the Lavin Bernick Center. It will be moderated by Kim Boyle, a member of the Board of Tulane, as well as the Board President and Chair of the Amistad Research Center. All are invited and encouraged to attend.


The honor, courage and sacrifices of Trailblazers such as Dr. Labat and Mr. Décou unite and energize us as a vibrant Tulane community – one that recognizes the diverse individuals who have shaped us and continue to inspire our pursuit of excellence and justice.