May 1, 2009

Good Morning:

I am writing this on my way to Harvard University to speak at "Poverty, Justice and Jobs," a three-day conference in which elected officials, entrepreneurs, experts, activists, academicians and advocates will promote solutions to economic injustice and inequality.

I will speak at two forums during the conference, "Transforming Communities: Smarter Solutions" and "From Disaster to Transformation: Hurricane Katrina and the Reinvention of Communities in Louisiana." As you know, both of these topics are close to the heart and mission of Tulane.

This conference comes on the heels of the American Association of Universities (AAU) biannual meeting I attended last week in Washington, D.C. The AAU is comprised of 62 leading private and public research universities in the United States and Canada. Tulane is the only university in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas or Mississippi that belongs to this prestigious organization.

The meeting's topic was the current economic downturn and its short and long-term impact on higher education and the country as a whole. Speakers included Larry Summers, director of the White House's National Economic Council, Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget and Secretary of Energy and Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu. I also spoke on the topic of how organizations should think about coping with economic challenges.

The experts agreed that we will begin to see a slow economic recovery in 2010. However, it remains to be seen how long it will take to fully reshape and recover from the systemic problems created in the last few decades. This reality raises many interesting questions for those of us in higher education - questions that I will continue to write and speak about on campus and in the wider community in the weeks and months ahead.

Fortunately, Tulane is well-positioned and nimble enough to respond to any challenge. As always, we will continue to focus on opportunities, be prudent in the management of our resources and stay focused on building a high-quality, competitive and truly distinguished university.

We are also well-positioned to respond to the international outbreak of H1N1 influenza. Please see the article in today's New Wave for more information on the steps we are taking to address this challenge.

Have a great weekend,


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