Isidore Newman School - New Orleans, LA

Newman Leads Independent Schools in EpiPen Program, Thanks to the Philipson Family



To a child suffering anaphylactic shock, an epinephrine autoinjector, or EpiPen, can be a life-saver. Newman now has a school-wide network of easy-to-access EpiPens – the first program of its kind at a Louisiana school – and we have Alan ’56 and Arlene Philipson to thank.

The Philipsons are establishing a tradition of support for Newman that has brought their total giving over $1 million. In 2001, they funded the renovation and expansion of Newman’s Health Center with a significant capital gift. The facility was renamed the Philipson Health Center in memory of their sons, Andy ’88 and Eric ’90. Since that gift, they’ve made several subsequent annual gifts to support health initiatives at the School, most recently to launch the EpiPen program. They also funded the placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the School, making Newman an official “Heart Safe Campus.”


“Any time there is a major expense related to the Health Center, I want to be in position to take care of it,” Philipson said.


Their dedication to the Health Center and health programs make the Philipsons among the most generous donors to Newman. To them, the gifts are a lasting legacy for their children and an appreciation for the rigorous education and life-long friendships the family experienced at Newman. Endowing a Health Center to safeguard the health and happiness of Newman students was a natural choice for the Philipsons.

“This was not for us, this was for the boys,” Philipson said. “They both loved this School. They went here for 13 years. It was an easy decision for us to do this.”


Located in easy-access boxes at key locations throughout the School – including the Dining Hall, the Lower School Office, and Jefferson Building – these EpiPens pens are “undesignated,” which means they are not prescribed to a specific student, but to the School for general use. With the Health Center’s proactive attention to the danger of severe allergies, these EpiPens thankfully have not been needed, but if they are, one will always be close by. Last fall Newman’s Nurse, Erin Lake Friend ’95, trained faculty and staff in each division to administer the potentially life-saving injections using these pens.


“Locating EpiPens throughout our campus just puts that extra layer of protection for our students, and, I hope, gives some peace of mind to parents of kids with allergies,” Nurse Friend said.


Newman is among a small but growing number of schools that have undesignated EpiPens strategically placed throughout their campuses. Brandon Wilson, the owner of EpiNow, which makes the dispensing stations, says that more and more schools are installing these boxes and training their faculty members on the lifesaving technology.


“This is a concept where the independent schools have taken a leadership position,” Wilson said. “Newman is one of the early adopters.”


Since selling his business, Superior Merchandise Company, Philipson and his family have supported several prominent institutions in the New Orleans area. He has given to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Children’s Hospital, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, WYES, and other organizations. But Philipson says Newman has always been – and will remain –at the top of the list.


“Newman was the first place that gave me a real opportunity to really get involved with philanthropy. I am grateful for that,” Philipson said. His close bond with Newman lets him see his philanthropy in action every time he visits the School – and he visits often. He says that dropping by the School is easy, and not only because he lives nearby, but also because “you make me want to come back.”


We are grateful for the Philipsons’ continued support of Newman, and proud that our alumni have such a strong bond with the School. Because of them, the Philipson Health Center can offer not only an excellent level of care for our students as an infirmary, but also as a sports medicine and training facility. The recent addition of the EpiPen program is yet another thoughtful and caring action that exemplifies the Philipson family’s legacy of compassion.