March 16, 2012


Good Morning:

Last week I had the great pleasure of announcing this year's graduation speaker - New Orleanian, Tulane alumnus and EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson. This week I am proud to announce the names of those who will receive honorary doctorate degrees and the President's Medal at Commencement 2012. This year's honorary doctorate degree recipients are Ruby Bridges, Lisa Jackson and Peter Lax, whose personal stories and historic contributions are truly remarkable. I will also present the President's Medal to musician Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews for his work on behalf of the children of New Orleans.

Ruby Bridges' name is synonymous with the civil rights movement. In 1960 when she was 6 years old, Ruby became the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. When Ruby, accompanied by four federal marshals, arrived at William Frantz School in New Orleans on Nov. 14, 1960, and saw the barricades, the crowds and the police cars, she thought there was going to be a Mardi Gras parade. What she didn't realize is that once she walked through the school's front doors, she had changed our nation forever. Ruby's brave act helped pave the way for women like Lisa Jackson.

Peter Lax is one of the greatest mathematicians of our time and one of the founders of modern computational mathematics. His theories laid the groundwork for many important developments from weather prediction to airplane design. A longtime professor in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU, Peter has mentored, taught and influenced numerous students, including members of our Math Department faculty. Other faculty throughout our School of Science and Engineering, especially those who work in computational science, have also been influenced by Lax's pioneering work.

Since entertaining crowds as a 4-year-old in Tremé, Trombone Shorty has taken his music and his message that New Orleans' glory days are far from over to the world. He has performed with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Lenny Kravitz and appeared on The Late Show, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the HBO series Tremé. He also donates instruments to local schoolchildren through his Troy "Trombone Shorty" Horns For Schools Project and speaks to kids about the importance of education. He is a longtime supporter of the city's Roots of Music program and, at 26, will be the youngest recipient of the President's Medal.

I hope all of you can attend this year's commencement and witness our tribute to these wonderful honorees. I am fairly certain I can convince one of them to play a song or two.

Have a great weekend,


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