May 18, 2001
This sure has been a busy week. We had a great four days in San Francisco meeting with alumni, friends, students and parents. By all accounts, the events were very well received by everyone. We even had John Madden, the famous, Emmy-winning sports announcer speak at one of our functions. One outcome of the trip is that we are now able to announce another new member of the Board of Administrators: Dr. Elias Hanna (Med '63). Dr. Hanna is founder and president of San Francisco Cardiovascular Surgeons Medical Group, Inc. and owner of the Hanna Winery in Santa Rosa. He is also president of the Hanna Cardiovascular Foundation, a charitable organization that assists countries that do not have the capability to perform open heart surgery.
Speaking of the Board, we had our quarterly meetings this week. The composition of the Board has changed significantly in recent years and I am very impressed with how hard they work on behalf of Tulane University. This is a very serious, dedicated group who care deeply about this university and is really making a positive difference. Their questions are thoughtful and their suggestions are always on the mark. They are functioning as a highly effective group.
Well, Commencement Weekend is finally upon us. As you know, here in New Orleans we do things a little differently than anywhere else and we have a real New Orleans send-off planned for our graduates. Last night we started things off with a crawfish boil for our 50-year graduates as well as recent ones. The party was truly a blast!
We'll continue our celebration this evening at 7 p.m. with the popular Wave Goodbye Celebration featuring some great New Orleans food along with music by The Radiators and The Funky Meters.
Saturday's 9:30 a.m. Commencement ceremony in the Superdome will include plenty of jazz music, confetti, balloons and a second-line around the Dome in addition to the traditional "pomp and circumstance," and a keynote speech by Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.
We are proud members of the New Orleans community and want to give our students' families, many of whom are not from here, a taste of our city's culture. Our many graduates who are from here can make sure I second-line correctly. It may not be "The Benson Boogie" but I'll do my best.
The student speaker for this year's Commencement will be D. Hamilton Simons-Jones, a classics and political science major whose years at Tulane were devoted to the service of others. Among the distinguished members of the Commencement Platform Party will be former Ambassador to the Vatican Lindy Boggs, a lifelong friend of Tulane.
It's been a productive year and it's going to be a great weekend. I hope to see you all there.
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