August 23, 2002

Good Morning!

Tulane Talk is back after its summer hiatus. I hope you all found some time over the past few months to get away and relax, even if it was only to your backyard. I was able to catch up on a lot of reading and writing, teach Gibson how to swim (no kidding) and spend some fun, but exhausting, time with our granddaughter. But that will all be a distant memory this weekend as we welcome the most academically qualified undergraduate class in the university's history. This is the third consecutive year our incoming class has set records in terms of academic quality.

While the administrative demands did slow a bit over the summer, there was plenty to keep us busy. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Don Gatzke, dean of the School of Architecture, and Teresa Soufas, dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences, each signed up for another five-year term in their respective positions. The provost and I look forward to working with them as they continue to lead their schools.

Despite the fallout of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and a weak market and economy, we had the second best fund raising year in Tulane's history, raising $66 million in FY '02, versus a record-breaking $70 million in FY '01. We also surpassed our goals and set a record for the number of donors (14,100) and amount given (more than $5.4 million) to our Annual Fund.

Data on funding for Research and Development in FY '02 is not yet complete but we are looking for another strong year on top of the record-breaking year we had in FY '01.

The President's Cabinet did a thorough review of accomplishments related to the university's strategic plan and established a number of key academic and administrative objectives for the upcoming year. I will share these with you later in the fall.

All in all, FY '02 turned out to be a strong year, especially when viewed in the context of world events and economic conditions. I thank you all for this. Still, the economy continues to be weak and is negatively impacting all organizations. For example, for the second straight year, the market value of our endowment decreased even though we out-performed the benchmark indices and most other universities. Donors continue to be reluctant to make large, multi-year gifts because of the market's uncertainty. Despite all of this uncertainty, we are determined to keep our momentum going. It will not be easy but together we will succeed.

Finally, there are a number of dates to keep in mind as the new semester approaches. But none is more important than the first anniversary of 9/11. We are planning a university-wide memorial service in remembrance of the tragic events and heroes of that day. I will tell you more about this as the date approaches.

It feels good to be back online with you. I missed the opportunity to communicate with you in this way over the summer.

Have a great weekend,


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