While we are gearing up to celebrate the class of 2012's achievements at next week's Commencement, we are also keeping an eye on the new undergraduate class that will arrive in August. So far, we like what we see. In fact, we are bowled over.

This year's incoming class will be one of the largest, most diverse and academically qualified in Tulane's history. Its test scores are the highest of any incoming class in Tulane's history and more than 16 percent of its 1,650 members come from underrepresented minority groups. In fact, 10 of the new students will come from the New Orleans Posse chapter Tulane recently helped establish. We have made sure that we will have ample on-campus housing, course sections and programming for these newest Tulanians.

After Katrina, many thought Tulane might be so desperate for students it would lower its admission standards. The exact opposite is happening. Since Katrina, we have accepted about 25 percent of the students who apply to Tulane. In 2003, two years before Katrina, our acceptance rate was 55 percent; in 2000, it was 73 percent. Our yield rate -- the percentage of accepted students who actually enroll at Tulane -- has also risen 10 points since 2006.

Students are willing to come a long way for a Tulane education. The typical member of the class of 2016 will travel an average of 890 miles to attend Tulane. A third of our first-year students come from the Northeast and another 13 percent hail from the Pacific West. Thirty percent of the incoming class is from New York, Illinois or California.

Many businesses timed their re-opening after Katrina to coincide with the return of Tulane students. Six years later, Tulane students are making an economic impact even before they officially join the Tulane community. Spending by prospective students and their parents who visit Tulane is the equivalent of a major convention returning every year to New Orleans.

So the class of 2016 is great news for Tulane and for the city in which these students will live, eat, study and volunteer for the next four years and beyond. I can't wait to meet them.

Have a good weekend,


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