August 28, 2009

Good Morning:

As we mark the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina tomorrow with remembrances both public and private and events such as Outreach Tulane, which continue to heal our city, I think it is fitting to take stock of the progress we have made in the past four years as a university community.

That progress has been nothing short of miraculous. Besides repairing the campus physically from more than $600 million in damages, we have also made good on our promise to renew our beloved university, raise its academic stature, ensure its financial stability and increase its role in the community.

Undergraduate applications have soared from around 18,000 the year before Katrina to 40,000 this year. Since Katrina, our first-year undergraduate classes are among the most selective and academically qualified in Tulane's 175-year history. And our retention rate, a critical number for universities that reflects the percentage of first-year students who return to a university to complete their degree, has risen substantially since Katrina and should top 90 percent this academic year.

We are also seeing significant increases in enrollment and academic quality in virtually all of our graduate and professional programs since Katrina. This year brought 177 new medical students to Tulane from an applicant pool of approximately 9,500, which is a 50 percent increase from pre-Katrina. Our School of Law welcomed 282 first-year students, a nearly 16 percent increase from last year.

These post-Katrina classes are also, arguably, the most civically engaged college students in the world with an unparalleled opportunity to rebuild one of our country's most treasured and historic cities. Their efforts continue to be recognized nationally with numerous awards and honors.

While we can look with pride and gratitude to the accomplishments of the past four years, we can never relax our efforts or lose our focus to achieve ever greater distinction, achievement and purpose as a university community. With that in mind, I present this year's institutional goals.

Great progress was made on one of these institutional goals yesterday as the Board of Tulane approved a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the governance of the proposed University Medical Center (this is the official new name). This hospital complex will provide the people of New Orleans state-of-the-art health care and high-paying jobs while laying the foundation for the establishment of a world-class medical research district.

I will discuss this and other institutional goals in various forums this year, including in subsequent Tulane Talks.

Have a great weekend,


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