May 22, 2009

Good Morning:

In all the excitement and national coverage surrounding Commencement 2009, I wanted to make sure one particular group did not get overlooked. This is especially important to me because they are the ones who actually made Commencement possible.

I am talking about the nearly 200 dedicated staff, alumni and friends of Tulane University who volunteered their time and talent to the myriad tasks, large and small, necessary to carry out such a major event in such a flawless manner.

Our volunteers arrived at the Superdome in the early morning hours of Commencement day, long before many of us had awakened. You probably saw them in action when you arrived at the Dome. They might have assisted your elderly relative to her seat, handed you a program, enabled you to locate your graduate, whom they had lined up so efficiently, or pointed you to the nearest concession, restroom, exit or shuttle bus. Some toiled away, unseen, backstage, organizing the all-important distribution of diplomas. Most of them dressed in black or dark green, blending into the background in order to shine the light on others.

But on Wednesday night, the light shone on them as they received a well-deserved thank you party at the new Rock n' Bowl on Carrollton Avenue. Some of these folks have served as Commencement volunteers for more than a decade. They have acquired an unparalleled expertise, which showed on Commencement day and forged true friendships, which showed Wednesday night as they gathered together. I was honored to join them for some laughs and good food and even to bowl a few frames, something I have not done in years.

To these wonderful volunteers, led so ably by Aaron Martin, manager of web communications, I send my heartfelt thanks on behalf of the entire Tulane community.

Have a great weekend,


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