Tulane University announced Tuesday that Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson, a philanthropist and former interior designer, has joined the Board of Tulane.
"Gayle is one of New Orleans' most beloved figures. Her wisdom, devotion to the community and steady leadership will be indispensable as Tulane welcomes a new president and continues its journey of enhanced impact, quality and distinction," Tulane President Scott Cowen said in a news release issued by the university.
Benson began her career managing the New Orleans branch of a New York-based custom jeweler. She then became an interior designer, transforming historic homes and leading major redesigns and renovations of hotels, grocery stores and car dealerships throughout New Orleans, including suites and public spaces in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. An accomplished seamstress, she also created a successful line of women's clothing.
"As a New Orleans native, I have always been proud of Tulane's role as one of the country's leading universities. I now cherish the opportunity to help shape its future," Benson said. "I know it is a future of even greater achievement and renown as we educate and serve New Orleans."
Benson is currently working on a campaign to renovate the second floor of the historic Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and consulting on a book about her husband.
In addition to the millions of dollars they have given to religious, educational and medical institutions in New Orleans and San Antonio, the Bensons are major donors to Yulman Stadium, Tulane's new on-campus football stadium. The Green Wave will kick off its 2014 home season in the new facility, hosting Georgia Tech on Benson Field at Yulman Stadium