April 8, 2011
This was a "Washington Week" for me. It started Sunday at the Alumni Association Awards where we recognized several deserving individuals, including Phyllis Taylor, who received the Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award; Carol Squarcy Showley and James Ordeneaux, who were honored as top volunteers; and Newt Gingrich, who received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. The latter honor sparked a lot of conversation on our Facebook page and other forums.
But that's the great thing about Tulane. We can welcome Newt Gingrich and James Carville, Ann Coulter and Gloria Steinem, George Bush and Bill Clinton and countless other people with opposing views, all in keeping with the university's tradition of free and open dialogue. Each time we host or honor a politician or social commentator we're accused of having either a liberal or conservative bias. We agitate enough people with our diverse guests that I think we must be doing something right. Or, should I say, left? Or correct? But not politically correct.
I spent much of the rest of the week in our nation's capital, discussing Tulane's research, community engagement initiatives and educational mission with Rep. Steve Scalise, EPA Administrator (and Tulane graduate) Lisa P. Jackson, Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Rodney Alexander and Rep. Cedric Richmond.
Our congressional delegation, regardless of party affiliation, is focused on issues important to all of us, including coastal restoration, flood protection and the environment. They also appreciate and are willing to assist the higher education community. Of course, a primary topic of our discussions was the possible government shutdown.
I also discussed Tulane's community engagement agenda with Patrick Corvington and Sonal Shah. Patrick is the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that engages Americans in service through AmeriCorps and other initiatives. Sonal heads the White House Domestic Policy Council's Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Tulane's work in the community garners a lot of attention and respect and dovetails with ongoing efforts at the federal and state levels. We should all be proud.
Have a great weekend,
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