November 4, 2005

Good Morning:

Last Saturday in New York I addressed several hundred Tulanians about what the university has been through and will go through in the months ahead as a result of Hurricane Katrina. You can listen to this presentation and view accompanying video at

This story has three chapters: Survival, Recovery and Renewal.

The Survival chapter really started after the storm and lasted about three weeks. It involved rebuilding the university piece by piece from the immediate devastation of the hurricane. It was an arduous challenge but, as a result of a lot of hard work from many unsung heroes, we survived.

The Recovery chapter is under way as we restore Tulane and its campuses and provide the necessary assistance to help our displaced faculty, staff and students. As part of this recovery, we are partnering with our colleagues at Dillard and Xavier to assist them in their efforts to reopen in January. Our recovery culminates with our reopening on January 17 for the spring semester.

The final chapter in this journey is Renewal. Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster in U.S. history and its impact will be long-lasting, resulting in people and institutions changing in ways unimaginable and probably impossible before the hurricane.

Out of every disaster comes an unprecedented opportunity for institutions like Tulane to rethink the future. Retaining and even enhancing our status among the nation's most prestigious academic institutions and remaining financially stable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will require historic change and vision. I am extremely optimistic that the Tulane of the future, which will begin in January, will be positioned to be as academically strong as ever and even more distinctive.

The Renewal chapter started some time ago but has intensified since the hurricane because of the extraordinary impact it has had on the people and institutions of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. Tulane's Board of Administrators has been intimately involved in these discussions and it has been the major topic of conversation in its meetings for the last two months, including a two-day board meeting in New York last week. This meeting involved an extraordinarily thoughtful and expansive dialogue that will continue in the weeks ahead. It generated enthusiasm and great interest among board members.

As this discussion proceeds, I will share with you the broad framework of our Renewal strategy that will redefine Tulane University for the 21st century as a model institution of higher education.

Have a great weekend,


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