November 11, 2005

Good Morning:

In last week's Tulane Talk I mentioned that the Board of Administrators and the university's senior administrative leadership were having extensive conversations about the university's future in light of Hurricane Katrina. These conversations have either already included or will include a number of external advisors from such institutions as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan, Rice and Princeton. In addition, I have consulted on a regular basis with members of the President's Faculty Advisory Committee, an elected body of the University Senate.

All of these groups are providing wise counsel about how Tulane University should chart its future. In thinking about the future we are guided by the desire to maintain the university's exceptional academic quality and to continue as a major research and graduate-level university focused on areas where we have demonstrated or are on the cusp of demonstrating world-class excellence.

We will continue to be a university committed to academic excellence while also ensuring the university's long-term financial viability. These dual commitments will require us to make some difficult decisions in the months ahead, but the result will be a stronger, vibrant and more focused university prepared for the extraordinary challenges of the 21st century.

The discussions thus far give me confidence that Tulane University will increasingly be defined in the future by its:

  • World-class excellence in education and research
  • A distinct relationship with the culturally rich and diverse city of New Orleans, home to one of the world's great waterways and a gateway to the Americas
  • Historical strengths and the ability to learn and recover from the worst natural disaster in the history of the U.S. in ways that will ultimately benefit the Tulane community, the city of New Orleans and other communities in the U.S. and around the world

The center of the renewed Tulane should be an exceptional undergraduate program dedicated to the development of students both as scholars and socially responsible citizens. This center should be strengthened and surrounded by a limited number of graduate, professional and research programs, which demonstrate the defining characteristics mentioned above.

We also have an unusual opportunity to shape many of our programs by the university's direct experience with such a large-scale natural disaster.

This experience should provide faculty, staff and students with unique research, learning and community service opportunities that will have a lasting and profound impact on them, New Orleans, the region and communities around the world.

In the coming weeks the Board and I will continue to address our renewal strategy drawing on our external advisors and the President's Faculty Advisory Committee. I will keep you posted of our progress. In the meantime, please visit this link to read an article on Tulane's recovery that ran on the front page of Monday's Times-Picayune.

Have a great weekend,


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