NEW ORLEANS — Longtime Tulane supporters Libby and Robert Alexander are donating $2.75 million to Tulane Athletics to help Community Sailing New Orleans build a new multipurpose headquarters on Lake Pontchartrain that will expand the organization’s lakefront operations while continuing to serve as the home for Tulane’s varsity sailing program. The Alexanders also recently made a gift to create the Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science.
CSNO has hosted Tulane’s sailing program since it was first established as a varsity sport five years ago thanks to a crucial $4.32 million gift from the Alexanders that made CSNO the homeport of the Green Wave. The support of the Alexanders and other donors helped construct CSNO’s bulkhead, slips and temporary facility as well as buy boats, a hoist and other equipment for the site, which is named the Libby and Robert Alexander Community Sailing Center.
“The Alexander family is pleased to assist in the growth of Tulane varsity sailing and CSNO, which welcomes aspiring sailors of every demographic,” Board of Tulane member and Tulane graduate Libby Alexander said in a joint statement with Robert Alexander. “The new building will upgrade the facilities that Tulane Sailing calls home while ensuring that even more residents from across the New Orleans area can experience the educational and recreational value of sailing on Lake Pontchartrain. We’re delighted to help Tulane and the city continue to find joy in this beautiful sport.”
The new two-story, 4,500-square-foot Alexander Community Sailing Center will overlook the Municipal Yacht Harbor at West End Park in New Orleans’ marina district. It will replace the temporary office and storage space that CSNO now uses for its educational and outreach programs.
“Thanks to Libby and Robert Alexander, Tulane’s varsity sailing program launched in the 2018-19 academic year, and it wasn’t long before the Green Wave captured the 2022 ICSA Open Dinghy National Championship,” Tulane President Michael A. Fitts said. “The Alexander Community Sailing Center holds the promise for future Green Wave success while providing opportunity and access to the local community. We owe Libby and Robert a huge debt of gratitude for continuing to share their love of sailing with our university and city.”
“Lake Pontchartrain has been the proving grounds for numerous champions during Tulane’s storied history of varsity sailing,” said Troy Dannen, the Ben Weiner Director of Athletics at Tulane. “The Alexanders helped lead the charge to elevate sailing at Tulane and connect the Green Wave to Community Sailing New Orleans. This new gift is the next step forward for our sailing program and CSNO.”
CSNO is a nonprofit organization that positively impacts lives by providing accessible educational and recreational opportunities on Lake Pontchartrain for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
CSNO aims to eliminate economic and physical obstacles to sailing through scholarships, grants and community partnerships. Its programs — which include summer camps, STEM education and maritime career development offerings — are specially designed to serve young people; people with disabilities; women and girls; military veterans; and anyone facing economic barriers to sailing.
“The one really big missing piece was getting support for the permanent building,” CSNO Executive Director Jacob Raymond said. “So the Alexander family gift is an amazing opportunity for us to expand capacity and make an even greater impact here in our community. Their generosity means everything to CSNO’s progress and to enriching the lives of locals who will experience the excitement and pleasure of sailing. We’re incredibly grateful to Libby and Robert.”
Libby Alexander, a member of the club sailing team at Tulane, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the university in 1984. As CEO of Connolly Healthcare, she helped build the company from the ground up into an industry leader in payment integrity solutions, ultimately serving as CEO of the parent company Connolly, Inc., where Robert served as chief information officer. The success of Connolly, Inc. under Libby’s leadership led to its rebranding as Cotiviti, where Libby served as vice chair of the board until 2018. She joined the Board of Tulane in 2017 and also serves on the Executive Campaign Council and the Tri-State National Campaign Council as part of Tulane’s Only the Audacious campaign.