Tulane group launching music website, and other higher education news

Music Rising at Tulane, a program founded by U2’s The Edge, music producer Bob Ezrin and others to preserve the musical cultures of the Gulf South after Hurricane Katrina, will launch a new website Wednesday. The launch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Wilson Center Atrium on the Tulane University campus.

The site will feature original content, artists’ biographies and instructional programs to increase the study of Gulf South music cultures among schoolchildren and scholars.

The event will include laptop stations for guests to access the website’s music, which includes blues, rock, zydeco, jazz, the rhythms of Congo Square and the second-line tradition.

“This is a remarkable milestone for Music Rising,” said The Edge. “Out of this partnership, we were able to create a program which fosters national and international study through the work of K-12 educators and university scholars.”

Music Rising at Tulane is dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of musical cultures of the Gulf, the Caribbean, Latin America and the African diaspora.

Housed in the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane, it features an interdisciplinary major through Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts.

Loyola inducts alumni into Den of Distinction

Three Loyola University mass communication alumni will be inducted into the Mass Communication Den of Distinction on May 9.

They are Russell H. Myerson Class of ’76; Veronique Niles Spruill, Class of ’80; and Reid I. Steinberg, Class of ’94.

The Den of Distinction was founded in 2012 to honor outstanding Loyola communication alumni.

Myerson is executive vice president of affiliate relations and technology for the CW Television Network.

He spearheaded the 1997 launch of a 24/7 basic cable network for WB Television Network, a unit of Warner Bros., and helped launch the Game Show Network in 1994.

Spruill is president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, a national nonprofit association of philanthropic organizations and corporations.

She served as president and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy and founded SeaWeb, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing ocean issues. She also had a 15-year career in public relations.

Steinberg is senior vice president and media director at ICON International Inc., a company specializing in corporate barter that is part of the Omnicom Group. He is a member of the Association of National Advertisers. He studied marketing and advertising at Loyola.

The 2014 honorees join previous inductees Peter Finney Sr., Class of ’49; Maurice Guillerman, Class of ’58; Gary G. Hymel, Class of ’54; Bob Marshall, Class of ’71; Judith Reese Morse, Class of ’84; John Deveney, Class of ’88; Shawn M. Donnelley, Class of ’91; and Michael Smith, Class of ’01.

Loyola instructor wins fiction award

Loyola University English instructor Anya Groner has won the Meridian 2014 Editors’ Prize for Fiction. Groner won the award for her story “Buster,” a tale of fraying family ties and bird funerals.

The award is given each year by Meridian, a semiannual literary journal produced at the University of Virginia. Groner’s winning piece will appear in the May issue of Meridian.

“Buster” is about 8-year-old twin sisters who are angry because their neighbor’s cat keeps leaving dead birds in their front yard. The girls build a graveyard in a park and bury the birds there.

The deeper drama in the story involves the girls’ parents. Their mother has died, and their father has disappeared.

An identical twin herself, Groner often writes about the conspiratorial and competitive relationship twins share.

Emergency manager wins UNO award

Emergency management executive Alessandra Jerolleman has been awarded the 2014 University of New Orleans College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumna Award. The award was presented during the college’s Honors Convocation.

Each year, the College of Liberal Arts identifies a graduate who has had a distinguished career in his or her chosen profession.

Jerolleman is a senior emergency management and hazard mitigation planner for JEO Consulting Group Inc. in Lincoln, Neb. She also is the founder and executive director of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association.

Jerolleman earned a master’s degree in public administration at UNO in 2006 and a doctorate in urban studies with an emphasis in hazard mitigation in 2013.

“In less than a decade, Alessandra has become a national leader in the field of hazard mitigation,” said John Kiefer, director of the Master of Public Administration Program.

Jerolleman’s experience includes serving as a program specialist in the Gulf Coast with Save the Children USA, hazards mitigation planning at the local, state and campus level and communication education and outreach on the subjects of mitigation and preparedness.

In 2012, she co-authored the textbook “Natural Hazard Mitigation” with Kiefer. A second textbook, “The Private Sector’s Role in Disasters,” will be published in 2014.

Baptist Seminary offers free studies

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has finalized a partnership with an anonymous donor to provide free theological education for pastors and staff members of small Southern Baptist churches in Louisiana.

With an initial gift of $1.5 million from the donor, the seminary has established the Caskey Center for Church Excellence to facilitate the scholarship process.

“We want all Louisiana churches to have access to trained leadership and for all of those God calls to have an opportunity to get quality theological education,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “Launching the Caskey Center is a huge step in that direction.”

The initial gift will provide up to $6,000 per year — the equivalent of a full scholarship — for up to 100 Louisiana students. Recipients can apply the scholarship to certificate, associate, undergraduate or master’s degree study at NOBTS and can study at the seminary’s main campus, Louisiana extension centers, workshops, conference-based courses or online programs.

This new scholarship will almost double the amount of student scholarship dollars available from NOBTS each year.

To qualify for the program, students must be serving as a paid or bivocational pastor or staff member in a church with an average worship attendance of fewer than 250 people. More than 90 percent of Louisiana Southern Baptist churches fall into that category.

NOBTS expects to name a director of the Caskey Center by June 1. Until then, inquiries can be made to the NOBTS Office of Financial Aid.