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Two prominent alumnae join Board of Tulane

November 08, 2022 9:00 AM
Roger Dunaway roger@tulane.edu
Alumnae Trivia Frazier (left) and Katy Williamson have each been named to the Board of Tulane.


Trivia Frazier, PhD, a pioneer in the life sciences, and Katy Williamson, a foundation director, have joined the Board of Tulane, the university’s main governing body.

“We are thrilled to welcome these two remarkable alumnae to the Board of Tulane,” President Michael A. Fitts said. “Their achievements and leadership in their respective fields are matched only by their commitment to Tulane, its students and its mission to do good in the world through interdisciplinary research, scholarship and service.”

Frazier is co-founder, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Obatala Sciences, a New Orleans-based biotech company developing a range of laboratory research-enabling solutions to speed up therapies for obesity, diabetes and cancer across diverse populations.

“Their achievements and leadership in their respective fields are matched only by their commitment to Tulane, its students and its mission to do good in the world through interdisciplinary research, scholarship and service.”

- President Michael Fitts

Frazier is among the first African American CEOs of a major biosciences company and the only African American woman leading such a firm in New Orleans. Obatala is the first minority female-owned biotechnology firm to raise over $1 million in institutional funds in Louisiana.

Frazier earned her bachelor’s degree in physics (2007) from Dillard University, her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering (2008), her PhD in biomedical sciences (2012) and her Master of Business Administration in business and global strategy (2018) from Tulane. She was the first African American woman to complete the joint degree program in physics and biomedical engineering at Tulane and Dillard universities.

“When I committed to starting and growing my company, Obatala Sciences, in the city of New Orleans, I vowed to support activities that help to uplift the members of my community and the next generation of researchers, engineers, and innovators who will lead us into a brighter future. As a New Orleans native and a three-time graduate of Tulane University, I am honored to actively work toward this goal while serving alongside such incredible individuals who have selflessly dedicated their energy to a similar cause. I am looking forward to witnessing the fruit of our collective actions and the resulting positive impact on New Orleans and the world,” Frazier said.

Williamson currently serves as a director of the RJKB Family Charitable Foundation. She is a co-chair of Tulane’s Tri-State National Campaign Council and a former member of Tulane’s President Council. She previously served on the Newcomb-Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council (2015-2019) and the Tulane Hillel Board of Directors (2014-2019). Williamson chaired both her 10th and 15th reunions.

Previously, Williamson was employed by the clothing brand, Theory, in Women’s International Sales and was a development officer in Tulane’s New York Regional Office, engaging Tulane constituents in the Tri-State region through fundraising and educational events. She was part of the team that produced Beads on Broadway, Tulane’s New York City marquee event.

Williamson received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tulane in 2005, a few months before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and closed the university for an entire semester. In the aftermath of the storm, she volunteered with university administrators to help stage Tulane’s recovery from its temporary headquarters in Houston.

Williamson is a member of the Board of Directors of the non-sectarian, God’s Love We Deliver, a not-for-profit that cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves. She also co-chairs the Development Committee and serves on both the Capital Campaign Committee and the Young Hearts Committee.

Additionally, Williamson is a member of the Love Rocks NYC Advisory Board, an annual New York City benefit concert that has raised $25 million to benefit God’s Love. She is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Stephen Gaynor School and on The Town School’s Capital Campaign Committee. 

“My experience as a Tulane student greatly shaped who I am, and for it to come full circle as a board member is one of the greatest honors of my life. This is an exciting time for Tulane, thanks to the university’s outstanding leadership team. I am the proudest alumna and so eager to see where we’re headed,” Williamson said.