On April 28, 2010, Ashton Phelps, Jr. presented Tulane University President Scott Cowen with The Times-Picayune Loving Cup. Awarded annually since 1901, the Loving Cup recognizes local residents who have worked unselfishly for the community without expectation of public acclaim or material reward.1
The 2010 award also symbolizes the close historical association of four generations of the Phelps Family with both the New Orleans newspaper and Tulane University. On October 23, 2015, The Tulane Law Class of 1970's 45th Reunion Party was held at the New Orleans home of Ashton Phelps, Jr.2
During the period of Bernofsky's lawsuits against Tulane University (1995-2001), Ashton Phelps, Jr., a 1970 graduate of Tulane Law School, was publisher of The Times-Picayune, a position he held from 1979 until his retirement in 2012. He had inherited this position from his father, Ashton Phelps, Sr. (1913-1983), who also received his law degree from Tulane Law School (1937), and had been director of the newspaper before becoming president and publisher from 1967 to 1979. Additionally, Ashton Phelps, Sr. was a member of Tulane's Board of Administrators (1955-1972) and served as its Vice Chairman and subsequently as a member of its Emeritus, or Advisory Board. He had earlier served on the university's Board of Visitors.
Ashton Phelps, Jr.'s grandfather, Esmond Phelps (1888-1950), had also been a Tulane Law School graduate (1909) who became a member of Tulane's Board of Administrators (1915-1950), serving as its president (1926-1950). He had been General Counsel for The Times-Picayune before becoming the newspaper's director and controlling party.
The patriarch of the Phelps family was Ashton Phelps (1853-1919). He became a member of the Tulane board of Administrators (1894-1909) shortly after Tulane University of Louisiana was established in 1884, and was publisher of The Times-Picayune newspaper (1914-1918).
Throughout the years, the Phelps family has supported Tulane University financially. The Phelps House dormitory (1954) is named in honor of Esmond Phelps, and the The Phelps Lecture Series, inaugurated in 1992, honors Ashton Phelps, Sr. The lecture series operates under the direction of the Ashton Phelps Chair of Constitutional Law, established in 1983, by the S.I. Newhouse Foundation and The Times-Picayune. The Phelps Lecture is "dedicated to the First Amendment Freedoms of Speech and Press".3