March 19, 2001

Good Morning:

I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Lester A. Lefton, currently Dean of the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology at The George Washington University, will be joining us as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, effective July 1.

As the news release indicates Lester brings a wealth of senior academic experience and a proven track record of accomplishments to his new position.

Prior to his appointment as a Dean at The George Washington University in 1997, Lester was a faculty member and senior academic administrator at the University of South Carolina (USC) for 25 years. While at USC he served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and prior to that as Chair of the College's Department of Psychology. In all of his administrative positions he has amassed an impressive record of accomplishments in the high priority academic areas specified in Tulane's strategic plan. He brings to Tulane the values, quality of thinking and doing, and human touch needed in the Provost's role.

In our discussions during the interview process, Lester and I agreed that there were a number of key priorities requiring his immediate attention in the next few years. These included :

  • a continuation of efforts to enhance the quality and rigor of the undergraduate experience,
  • a renewal of energy and resources to reinvigorate and significantly strengthen the Graduate School and its programs, as well as the university's research infrastructure and programs, in close partnership with all segments of the university community,
  • a commitment to continue our strong focus on implementing the compensation, diversity and development parts of the "People" section of the strategic plan
  • a focus on strengthening the university's financial base

In addition to the items above, Lester, in partnership with the university's other senior officers, will participate in the implementation of all aspects of our plan, as appropriate.

I am very pleased that this search has come to a successful completion. I want to thank all of you who participated in the process. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Graeme Forbes, Chair of the Provost Search Committee, and all those who served on the Committee for a job well done.

I hope you will all join me in welcoming Lester and his wife, Linda, when they join us this July.


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