Tulane Alumni Association




Distinguished Alumnus/a Award 2003


Carol Lavin Bernick

There are many reasons Carol Bernick recalls her days at Tualne University so fondly. There are her dormmates who became lifelong friends, the teachers who became her mentors, and the classes that prepared her for a successful career as a corporate leader. But one exceptional experience stands out in her mind as something unique to Tulane. She had the opportunity to be active in a student-run program called Direction that invited prestigious leaders such as Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, former Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and correspondent Eric Sevareid.

"It was there that I learned that Eric Sevareid became tremendously uncomfortable just before he had to speak in a public forum," she recall. "This taught me that people are real, no matter how powerful. And that insight-that beneath the veneer, everyone is just a person- has, I believe, made me a more compassionate leader in the company and in a number of community groups."

Born in Chicago, Mrs. Bermick is a 1974 graduate (B.A., Sociology) of Newcomb College. Shortly after graduation, Mrs. Bernick began working for Alberto-Culver, the consumer packaged goods company founded in 1955 by her parents, Leonard and Bernice Lavin. Mrs. Bernick joined the company in an entry-level marketing position and had her first big break when she created Static Guard, the anti-cling spray that Alberto-Cluver marketed in 1976. She also developed and marketed the Mrs. Dash line of herb and spice salt alternatives and Molly McButter dairy sprinkles. Mrs. Bernick has served in many capacities at Alberto before being elected president of Alberto-Culver USA in 1994. Mrs. Bernick has been a director of the parent company since 1984 and was named vice chairman in 1998. Under Carol and Howard Bernick's leadership, the company has grown and prospered and is now a $2.6 billion global company.

Mrs. Bernick was involved in a wide variety of activities at Tulane and has stayed involved ever since. She was the first Associated Program Chairperson for the Chicago area (1983-84) and was an honorary member of the Newcomb Campaign Committee. She has also served with her husband as a member of the Tulane Parents Council. In 1993,  Mrs. Bernick  (and Alberto-Culver USA) established the Alberto Culver Lecture series, an annual lecture that allows Newcomb students to meet and learn from nationally recognized women in business.

Mrs. Bernick is also a director of Northwestern Memorial Corporation, the parent corporation of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its affiliates. She is a member of the World's Presidents' Organization and a former member of the Young President's organization, and is a member of the Committee of 200, the Woman's Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago. In 1985, she founded Friends of Prentice, which has raised millions of dollars to fight ovarian cancer and to improve neo-natal care for women at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In March 2003, she received the Harvard Club of Chicago's award to a business leader who philanthropic efforts had impacted the community in enlightened and creative ways. Carol and Howard's proudest accomplishment, however, is three great kids-Craig, a Tulane graduate, Peter who studies at Vanderbilt and Lizzie who graduates from high school this year.

Alumni Relations, Tulane University, 6319 Willow Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5901