Supporting students, honoring a mentor


Penny Jessop

When students reminisce about their time at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, they often think of a faculty or staff member who influenced their life. For many SPHTM alumni, the best way to honor a faculty member is through supporting current students.

Linda Usdin (IHD, DrPH ’93) chose to honor longtime staff and faculty member Penny Jessop (MPH ’78).

“Penny devoted herself to creating an environment that embraced students and shared New Orleans culture,” says Usdin. “She changed the way I saw the work and influenced everyone around her.”

When Penny retired in 2012, Usdin wanted to honor her legacy at SPHTM so she donated to the Penny Jessop Travel Fund. Penny’s travel fund assists graduate level students with travel expenses for practica, research, summer programs, projects, or conferences.
Funds like Jessop’s not only honor a faculty or staff member but they also provide important resources and support for students.

For alumnus Greg Buchert (HSMG MPH ’79), it is the faculty and staff at SPHTM, as well as his fellow students, that helped inspire a lifelong passion for public health. Buchert says that the work he does now, providing health plans to underinsured and uninsured individuals, is exactly what he hoped to do in his years at SPHTM.

“I am still doing what I set out to do,” says Buchert. “And that has a lot to do with the faculty and staff that I encountered as
a student.”

Buchert says faculty members like Penny are wonderful examples for students. They can inspire others to make a lifelong commitment to the principles of public health.

“I wanted to support a cause of someone who was important to me,” says Buchert, also a donor to the Penny Jessop Travel Fund. “Penny was a wonderful person and it is wonderful to see her become a role model for others.”

An anonymous donor recently offered a matching grant for the Penny Jessop Travel Fund. Anything you contribute to the fund will be matched 1:1 up to a total of $10,000, thereby doubling the impact of your gift.


To learn more about how you can honor a faculty or staff
member through a scholarship or fund, or to donate to the
Penny Jessop Travel Fund, contact Tatine Frater at
504-314-7331 or


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