September 06, 2016
Brothers Jimmy (L ’68) and Peter Coleman (L ’70) (above, top) hosted Tulane Law School’s LLMs and international students to celebrate a new donation to their family’s fund supporting the James J. Coleman Sr. Visiting Professorship in Law. During the evening, Jimmy Coleman visited with Dean David Meyer and Professor Amy Gajda (above, bottom) and sang to a jazz trio with Tulane University President Michael Fitts (left).
Photos by Sabree Hill
The eclectic décor at James Coleman Jr.’s home on Audubon Place near the Tulane University campus reflects a broad appreciation of the world, from the photos of British royalty who’ve visited to the peonies painting by French artist Edouard Manet to the risqué Medusa sculpture from Venice.
“We get it all from my dad,” explained Coleman (L ’68), who’s known as Jimmy.
James Coleman Sr. (A&S ’35, L ’37), a lawyer-turned-businessman, celebrated successes by taking his four children “somewhere special in the world,” his son said. As a result, they came to share “his enthusiasm for being abroad and understanding people with other ways of life.”
Tulane students also benefitted: for years, James Coleman Sr. hosted international students at his home. After he died in 2007, his family established the James J. Coleman Sr. Visiting Professorship in Law, which enables Tulane Law School to invite distinguished international legal scholars to teach advanced short courses in their field. Coleman Professors have come from Australia, China, Argentina, Brazil and Spain.
Brothers Jimmy, Peter (A&S ’66, L ’70) and Thomas Coleman recently doubled their gift for the Coleman Visiting Professorship to $1 million. And to renew the tradition of student visits, Jimmy Coleman opened his home to the 2016 class of LLM and international students in August.
View a photo album from the event.
Tulane President Michael Fitts, who attended the event, called the university “unbelievably indebted” to the Coleman family.
Jimmy Coleman credited his family’s prominence in international business to a Tulane education.
“Without it, we wouldn’t be in this house,” he said.
And Peter Coleman said he and his siblings “were raised to be Tulane fans from the beginning. My dad was probably the truest of all Tulane fans.”
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 New Orleans Hilton. And he 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 Connecticut. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1986.
Tulane Law Dean David Meyer praised the Colemans’ vision in strengthening the law school’s international community of students, faculty and alumni. The law school’s premier programs in maritime and comparative and international law attract students worldwide and have made Tulane Law a hub for study and collaboration by scholars, government officials and leading lawyers from every part of the globe. Students and visiting professors from around the world “enrich our community,” Meyer said, adding that the Colemans’ “commitment and continuing support of that effort goes to the core of who we are.”
The following visiting faculty have taught as Coleman Professors:
— Qingjiang Kong, Dean at China University of Political Science and Law: Foreign Investment Law in China, spring 2015.
— Linda Yun Gao, Fudan University School of Law, China: Chinese Business Law, fall 2014.
— Diego Bunge, partner in Bunge, Smith & Luchia Puig, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Comparative Perspectives on Reform in Contract & Tort Regimes, spring 2014.
— Teresa Rodriguez de las Heras Ballell, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: Second Generation of Electronic Commerce Law, fall 2013.
— Marcia Bernardes, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Law, Human Rights and Social Change in the Americas, spring 2013.
— Hilary Charlesworth, Australian National University: Democracy and Human Rights, fall 2012.