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Interim Dean J. Celeste Lay

Here at Newcomb-Tulane College, we have the best jobs at Tulane. We also have the most important task: we guarantee the quality and integrity of the diploma we award in the name of the university and the college. We hold our students to the highest standard of achievement and inspire them to meet, or better still, surpass our expectations for them.

We push our students to their intellectual limits, with the expectation that they will rise to meet those limits. We cultivate their appetite for risk in all areas, from experimenting with an idea on a paper or in classroom discussion to trying a new job that challenges their skill set.

We provide a diversity of innovative, flexible educational experiences to develop the same habits of innovative thought and creative flexibility in our students. We graduate them to be life-long learners who not only can but want to adapt rapidly to the changing workplace and world around them.  We instill values of civic engagement, public service and commitment to their local, national and global communities, and prepare our students with the skills and mindset they need to thrive at graduation and beyond.



About Me

J. Celeste Lay has been with Tulane since 2004 and joined NTC in 2019. As the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Celeste oversees several units that introduce students to academic opportunities and support historically marginalized and minority communities on Tulane’s campus. Academic Affairs strives to help all Tulane undergraduate students on their academic journeys by creating and guiding students on multiple pathways that allow them to discover and deepen their academic and co-curricular interests, strengths and passions.

As a first-generation student, Celeste cares deeply about issues of educational equity. She published a book in 2022 on the democratic effects of the radical transformation of the New Orleans school system. She is a Professor of Political Science, researching and teaching classes on elections, public policy, and the politics of education. When she’s not at work, she’s bringing her kids to dance practice or playing with her dog.


Dean's Office Hours

To schedule an appointment with me, please email the Dean's Office at ntcdean@tulane.edu.