Learning Firsthand from the Masters

Tulane parents Mark and Diane Wladis

Through the generous support of Tulane parents Diane and Mark Wladis, Tulane students hoping to pursue careers as art curators now have an exceptional opportunity. They can learn about the profession from leaders in the field who are experts at bringing art in public spaces to life.

In 2013, the Wladis family created The Wladis Seminar on Curatorial Careers, a School of Liberal Arts lecture and seminar series. Its goal was for students to be able to gain perspective on the day-to-day reality of careers in a museum or art gallery.

Their daughter Jackie, who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in art history, attended the first Wladis lecture, featuring Helen C. Evans—a 1965 Newcomb College graduate and the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For Mark and Diane, their daughter’s experience at Tulane, where she developed her passion for fine arts, inspired their generosity to the university.

“For Jackie, the opportunity to learn firsthand from a curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a particularly unique opportunity that she wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to,” says Mark Wladis. “We hope our gift will give other art history students the opportunity to learn from and meet leaders in their field.”

The Wladises have long been involved with Tulane. Both Diane and Mark served on the Parents Council while Jackie was a student, and Mark currently sits on the School of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council. “When your child leaves for college,” says Diane, “it is a time for independence for them. You hope you have given them the necessary tools and it’s now up to them to forge their way. By supporting the school, it is an ideal way to stay connected and continue to support their community without getting in their way. You have your finger on the pulse of their new world without interference. You are involved in a way that is separate and yet still elevates their experience.”

The gift made by the Wladis family also demonstrates their strong support for a liberal arts education. According to Mark, “The complex world that our children will be confronting requires critical thinking, cultural sensitivity, and the diverse perspectives that a grounded liberal arts education provides. The broad skill set that a liberal arts education cultivates makes for the most successful and adaptable professionals in any career.”

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