January 20, 2006
What a glorious and historic week it has been! It began with an evening of music and inspiration by Wynton Marsalis followed by the first day of university-wide classes since Katrina. Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS Evening News, NPR, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press, USA Today, Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News are just some of the national media who covered our re-opening.
The week also offered the opportunity, through our Town Hall meetings, to discuss with you the changes to the university brought on by Katrina. I truly appreciated your patience and understanding as I explained what we have been through and the necessity of the changes made. I also welcomed your comments on various aspects of the Renewal Plan. These will be important as we move to the implementation stage.
It is so wonderful to have you and our students back where we belong. But as we move forward together we should take time to remember our own who were lost in the terrible tragedy of Katrina. A memorial service for Karlem “Ducky” Riess will be held today at 3 p.m. at the St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1545 State Street. Visitation begins at 1:30 p.m. in the chapel. Ducky, as he was affectionately known by all of us, was truly one of the most beloved figures in Tulane’s history. He passed away, September 4, 2005 at the age of 92, after being evacuated from his home in the aftermath of Katrina.
Ducky’s life was linked inextricably with Tulane. As a Tulane student, longtime professor of physics, faculty advisor to the Interfraternity Council, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, National President of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Sigma and a member of numerous other honorary fraternities, as well as Tulane University commencement marshal for 25 years, Ducky carried the spirit of Tulane wherever he went and to whomever he met. Though in frail health, Ducky still managed to attend commencement ceremonies at Tulane in 2005, just a few months before the storm.
Ducky will be sadly missed by all of his students, friends and colleagues who were the heart and soul of his long and happy life.
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