August 29, 2006

Dear Tulane Community:

Exactly one year ago Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans, ravaging our beloved city and university and forever changing us all.

Due to this monumental disaster, Tulane University became the first major American university in the last century to close its doors for a whole semester. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane our university fought for its survival, and we did survive. It challenged every fiber of our being to recover, but we did recover. We were forced to reconfigure and renew ourselves for the future—academically, physically and financially—and we are in the process of that renewal. We have beaten the odds and look to the future with confidence, determination and a sense of realistic hope born from our strength under fire. Tulanians have been inextricably bound together by the singular desire to renew our university and to rebuild our city.

I hope you will join your fellow Tulanians for a Katrina Remembrance today at noon at McAlister Auditorium or in the first floor auditorium of the Tulane University School of Medicine. I hope to attend the McAlister gathering but may be late or miss it due to an earlier scheduled meeting I and a few others have with President George Bush during his visit to New Orleans on the Katrina anniversary. If I am not with you in person because of this commitment, I can assure you I will be with you in spirit.

My hope for the future rests in all of you—our Tulane family. You have overcome sometimes overwhelming personal adversity, demonstrated your commitment to Tulane and the city and have performed above and beyond the call of duty in the last year. This is why you are my heroes, and this is why we will succeed regardless of whatever challenges the future might hold.

As we pause to remember what happened last year, let us reaffirm our commitment to do whatever it takes in the months and years ahead to continue to renew Tulane and New Orleans. Out of this great tragedy we have an unprecedented opportunity to set an example of “civic engagement” both as an institution and as individuals. In doing so, we will be pursuing a noble endeavor befitting what society expects of us in the academy—to lead with our minds, our knowledge and our actions in order to make the community and world around us a better place.

There could be no better time or reason for us to shine!


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