Continuing a decades-old Tulane Law tradition, alumnus James “Jimmy” Coleman (L’68) capped off a festive evening reception Wednesday welcoming several dozen newly arrived international students with a generous gift of $250,000 to support international education at Tulane Law School.
The gift adds to a significant endowment his family established nearly a decade ago through the James J. Coleman Sr. Visiting Professorship in Law, which each year brings distinguished legal scholars around the world to Tulane to teach and collaborate with faculty.
Students and faculty were treated to a warm, distinctively New Orleans welcome at the Colemans’ stately Audubon Place home, which has an eclectic mix of art and artifacts collected from around the world. The reception is a tradition started decades ago by Coleman’s father, James Coleman, Sr., who graduated from Tulane Law School in 1937 before going on to a distinguished career in law practice and international business. The welcome for international students was hosted by the elder Coleman for many years, and the tradition was renewed three years ago by Jimmy Coleman and his family.
The Visiting Professorship endowment is named for Jimmy’s father, who took his children on trips around the world and passed on to them his deep appreciation and enthusiasm for understanding people of other cultures. He also passed along a shared appreciation for the important value of Tulane’s uniquely international brand of legal education.
Established in 2009 after James Sr.’s passing by his widow, Dorothy Coleman and children, Jimmy, Peter (A&S ’66, L ’70), Thomas, and Dian, the Visiting Professorship brings distinguished international legal scholars to teach advanced short courses in their field and collaborate with Tulane faculty. Two such scholars arrive this fall, one from the University of Siena and another from Xiangtan University. Other Coleman Professors have come from Australia, China, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and France.
Tulane President Michael Fitts, who attended the event, said Tulane owes much to the Coleman family and their continued support of the university and the law school. He harked back to James Coleman Sr.’s appreciation and love for Tulane, and his desire to host the international law community decades ago. To that end, he presented Jimmy Coleman with an album of photos from previous receptions hosted by his father in the 1960s.
Dean David Meyer thanked Coleman for the family’s remarkable hospitality. “This special tradition showcases two of the defining strengths of Tulane Law School – its distinctively international approach of legal education and the remarkable sense of community that binds our students, faculty, and alumni.>
In the past, Jimmy Coleman has credited his family’s prominence in international business to a Tulane education. James Coleman Sr. founded International-Matex Tank Terminals, which grew into one of the world’s largest independent companies handling, storing and shipping bulk liquids such as petroleum, vegetable oils and chemicals. He also was involved in signature real estate developments, including the Windsor Court and the New Orleans Hilton.
Coleman Sr. started the Coleman, Johnson, Artigues & Jurisich law firm shortly after law school. At Tulane Law, he had helped found the People’s League along with classmates such as Marian Mayer Berkett, who became the first woman hired by a New Orleans law firm, and Hale Boggs, who rose to U.S. House majority leader.
Jimmy Coleman, who had a leadership role in the family businesses, also is a dedicated supporter of the U.S. Coast Guard and has been a driving force in establishing a Coast Guard museum in New London, Connecticut. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1986.