Alumna’s Gift of $1 Million Will Expand Tulane Summer Success Program

Lisa Jackson, a Board of Tulane member and Apple’s vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives, and her husband, Kenneth, contribute to the Newcomb-Tulane College Summer Experience.

A $1 million gift from Board of Tulane member Lisa Jackson (E ’83), Apple Inc.’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, and her husband, Kenneth, will double participation in the Newcomb-Tulane College Summer Experience (NTCSE), which helps newly admitted students from underserved backgrounds get a head start on succeeding at Tulane before fall orientation.

Kenny and Lisa Jackson
Kenny and Lisa Jackson

Jackson credits a similar program at Tulane with sparking her passion for engineering as a teenager. She attended summer STEM classes at Tulane before earning her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from Tulane. She eventually made history by becoming the Environmental Protection Agency’s first African-American administrator, nominated by President Obama. She joined Apple in May 2013. 

“This gift is about building future leaders not only at Tulane but beyond,” Lisa Jackson said. “If I learned one thing from college, it’s that you can’t be an island by yourself. Success depends on positive relation- ships and mentorship.” 

“We want students to feel comfortable when they come to Tulane,” Kenneth Jackson added.“We want them to know what’s available to them before they need help. We want them to know their value to Tulane, not just Tulane’s value to them.” 

The Lisa and Kenny Jackson Summer Experience Endowed Fund will increase the number of NTCSE participants, including people of color, first-generation college students, LGBTQ+ students, and College Track scholarship recipients. 

“Thanks to the Jacksons, twice as many students will be able to benefit from the program,” said Lee Skinner, dean of Newcomb-Tulane College. “Students who participate in NTCSE earn academic credits, connect with campus resources, and receive mentoring from faculty, staff and students.” NTCSE participants on average achieve higher grade-point averages than students who don’t join the program. They report greater confidence, more resilience and success in rigorous introductory courses. 

Before retiring, Kenneth S. Jackson devoted his career to the tech sector within the finance and banking industry but is now active in the Bay Area social services community. The couple has two children.