March 7, 2008

Good morning:

This year's choice for Commencement speaker should please and displease everyone at the same time. However, in the midst of a historic presidential race I can think of no more timely, engaging speaker (or in this case speakers) than the couple who has graciously accepted our invitation: James Carville and Mary Matalin.

Often referred to as the country's political odd couple, Carville is the Louisiana-born CNN commentator who served as manager for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. Mary Matalin is the former host of CNN's Crossfire who held senior positions in George H. W. Bush's 1988 campaign and also served as assistant to President George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In addition to two young daughters, James Carville and Mary Matalin also share a great sense of humor, sharp wits, uncanny political insight and a love of country and each other. They are also wonderful, warm people who are great friends of this city and state. I am sure it will be one of our most memorable commencement addresses. It may also serve as a reminder to us that despite our differences in politics we can still respect one another and get along.

Not only is this year's Commencement the first to feature a husband and wife as speakers, it is also the 10th anniversary of our Unified Commencement, our first return to the Superdome post-Katrina and the first year we will host a diploma ceremony for all undergraduates in the Superdome following the Unified Commencement. You can learn more about this year's special Commencement, including how you can take part in it as a volunteer, by visiting

Three of the students graduating during this year's Commencement will be Tulane basketball players David Gomez, Matt Wheaton and Donnavan Stith. These three student-athletes, who rank among Tulane basketball's top 10 players of all time, will be honored before tip-off of the Tulane vs. East Carolina game at 6 p.m. March 8 in Fogelman Arena. Please come out and send these players off in style as the Green Wave battles to complete back-to-back winning seasons.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638