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"Dean Jean" Scholarship Inspires Alumni

February 03, 2011 2:45 AM
R. M. Morris

The late Jean Danielson inspired fierce loyalty among the countless Tulane students whose lives she changed over the course of 40 years as a professor, adviser and mentor. Now, those same students are responding in force to a call for scholarships in her honor.

Jean Danielson

A new scholarship commemorates what Jean Danielson valued most — independent thinking and keeping an open mind, says one alumnus. Danielson was an associate professor of political science and director of the honors program. She died on July 5, 2010.

The Jean Danielson Memorial Scholarship will reward outstanding honors students in financial need with grants for enrichment opportunities such as research projects, internships and travel abroad. Since learning of the scholarship fund in mid-November, alumni have given gifts ranging from $25 to $25,000, with total contributions topping $80,000 in just eight weeks.

Such an immediate and enthusiastic response illustrates Danielson's impact on generations of students, says Yvette Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development.

“She rolled her sleeves up and worked with students side-by-side,” Jones says. “They just learned about life from her.”

Right up until her death last year, Danielson helped students discover their place at Tulane and thrive later in life, says Adam Hawf, a 26-year-old alumnus who was among the first to respond to the scholarship campaign.

“You would talk to her for 20 minutes, and she would say, 'I see point A, point B, and point C. I'm going to schedule you a meeting with this person, I'm going to point you toward this other student, and I want you to read this book. Let's meet back afterward and talk, and I'll be smoking on the front porch,'” Hawf recalls.

Jason Young, a 1996 honors graduate, credits Danielson for guiding him through an uncertain first semester at Tulane to a successful application to Harvard Law School. The new scholarship, he says, commemorates what Danielson valued most — independent thinking and keeping an open mind.

“She embodied everything really great about my Tulane experience,” Young says.

For more information about the “Dean Jean scholarship fund” e-mail Anne Normann or call 504-314-7325.

R. M. Morris is a writer in the Office of Development.