The 2013 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture


Paul Tough
education reform advocate and writer

“The Hidden Power of Character”

Monday, March 11, 2013

6:00 p.m.
Dixon Hall, Tulane University

Free and open to the public, with a book-signing and reception to follow.

Paul Tough Writer, broadcaster, and speaker Paul Tough is one of the country’s leading voices on the topics of education reform and social innovation, challenging our culture’s belief that intelligence, endlessly measured by test scores, is the sole indicator of value in our education system. A contributing writer to New York Times Magazine, Tough has written extensively about education, poverty and politics, including cover stories on New Orleans' post-Katrina school system, the Harlem Children's Zone, the No Child Left Behind program, and charter schools. He is also the bestselling author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character (2012), which argues that non-cognitive skills – or, character – are better indicators of success; and Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America (2008), which focuses on the steps necessary to improve the lives and education of underserved children. Tough has also contributed to This American Life, The New Yorker, Slate, GQ, and Esquire.

In his lecture, “The Hidden Power of Character,” Tough will show how “nature” and “nurture” are intertwined, exploring how childhood stresses modify life success and the surprising ways that parents do – and do not – prepare their children for adulthood. Helping to understand how early adversity affects childhood emotional, social, and cognitive development in ways that will carry on throughout a person’s entire life, Tough will demonstrate why determining one’s success may come more from “personality traits” than scoring highest on tests, from pre-school to SATs. Tough’s message carries special resonance in New Orleans, which has taken center stage in the education reform movement since Katrina.

Learn more at

Sponsored by Newcomb-Tulane College Office of Cocurricular Programs, the NewDay Speaker Series, and the Office of Academic Affairs.

For more information, email, or call 504-865-5728.


The 2012 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture


Neri Oxman
architect, designer, and assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab

Finding Form at the Crossroads of Art, Science, Technology, and Environmentalism

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Woldenberg Art Center, Freeman Auditorium, Tulane University

Free and open to the public, with a reception to Follow

Neri-LavinThe guest speaker for the 2012 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture will be architect, designer, and researcher Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab. Dr. Oxman’s work integrates art, science, design, and ecology, drawing on nature to create sustainable concepts for businesses, infrastructures, and daily life.

Oxman was named to Icon's list of the "top 20 most influential architects to shape our future" (2009), and was selected as one of the "100 most creative people" by Fast Company (2009). In 2008, she was named "Revolutionary Mind" by Seed magazine. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA (NYC) and is part of the museum's permanent collection; other exhibitions include the Museum of Science (Boston, MA), FRAC Collection (Orleans, France), and the 2010 Beijing Biennale. She has received numerous awards including a Graham Foundation Carter Manny Award, the International Earth Award for Future-Crucial Design, and a Metropolis Next Generation Award.

Visit her website at and read her profiles in Interview magazine and Esquire magazine.


The 2011 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture


Douglas Rushkoff
“Program or Be Programmed: Higher Education in the Digital Age”
media theorist, columnist, graphic novelist, documentarian and author of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

Dixon Hall, Tulane University

Free and open to the public
Book Signing to Follow

RushkoffWorld-renowned media theorist and counterculture figure Douglas Rushkoff is the originator of ideas such as “viral media,” “social currency,” “digital native” and “screenagers.” He has been at the forefront of digital society from its beginning, correctly predicting the rise of the net, the dotcom boom and bust, as well as the current financial crisis.

Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career  Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is also a writer, graphic novelist and documentarian who is best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture, and his advocacy of open source solutions to social problems.  He has served as an Advisor to the United Nations Commission on World Culture and lectures around the world about media, art, society and change, focusing on the ways people, cultures, and  institutions create, share, and influence each other’s values.  Rushkoff also wrote the first syndicated column on cyberculture for The New York Times and Guardian of London, and he developed the Electronic Oracle software series for HarperCollins Interactive.

  Rushkoff’s commentaries have appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered, NBC Nightly News, Larry King Live on CNN, Real Time with Bill Maher and in Time and Arthur magazines, to name a few. 

His ten best-selling books on new media and popular culture have been translated to over thirty languages. They include Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing the Future, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out and Life Inc., an analysis of the corporate spectacle, was also made into a short, award-winning film.  His book Coercion won the Media Ecology Association’s Marshall Mcluhan Award for best media book.  Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy and graphic novel, Club Zero-G.  He wrote a series of graphic novels for Vertigo called Testament, and is currently working on another book for Vertigo.

Rushkoff is on the board of several new media non-profits and companies, including and HyperWords, and regularly consults on new media arts and ethics to museums, governments, synagogues, churches, universities, and even Fortune 500 companies that “are willing to listen to reason.”

Rushkoff graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, received an MFA in Directing from California Institute of the Arts, a post-graduate fellowship (MFA) from The American Film Institute, and a Director’s Grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  He’s currently finishing his dissertation on media literacy and gaming for University Utrecht.  He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and Senior Fellowships by the Markle Foundation, the Center for Global Communications, and the International University of Japan.

The 2010 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture

ntclectureLogoThe 2010 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture

Brian Greene, physicist, string theorist and author of The Elegant Universe
“Why Science Matters”
Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 7:00 p.m., Dixon Hall
Free and open to the public


Greene photo color vertical cropBrian Greene is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and a brilliant, entertaining communicator of cutting-edge scientific concepts. The Washington Post described him as “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today.”

In The Elegant Universe Greene recounted how the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics transformed our understanding of the universe, and introduced us to string theory, a concept that might be the key to a unified theory of the universe. The book sold more than a million copies and became an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning NOVA special that Greene hosted.

His second book, The Fabric of the Cosmos, spent 6 months on The New York Times bestseller list and is currently being adapted into a 4-part NOVA miniseries airing in the fall of 2011 on PBS. Greene is currently at work on a new book that will be published in January 2011.

His latest book, Icarus at the Edge of Time (Sept. ’08), is a futuristic retelling of the Greek myth. The Wall Street Journal described it as “terrific” and Seed magazine called it “moving and successful" and "beautifully illustrated”. Greene and David Henry Hwang have adapted the story for a symphonic performance in collaboration with composer Philip Glass; the world debut will be in Spring 2010.

In 2008, Brian Greene co-founded The World Science Festival. An annual event, its mission is to take science out of the laboratory and into the public halls making the esoteric understandable and the familiar fascinating to the general population.

A graduate of Harvard and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Greene is a professor in both Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University. Greene has had many media appearances, from Nightline and Charlie Rose to The Late Show with David Letterman, and has made cameo appearances in the films Frequency, Maze, and The Last Mimzy. Greene has also written essays for NPR, Wired Magazine and The New York Times.

The 2009 Newcomb-Tulane College Lecture

ntclectureLogoJoe Klein, TIME political columnist and
author of Primary Colors
“The Obama Administration and the World”
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 7:00 p.m., McAlister Auditorium
Free and open to the public




Columnist for TIME and author Joe Klein is one of America’s best political journalists, known for his provocative and probing analysis of events in our nation’s capital and abroad.

kleinHis weekly column, “In the Arena,” which covers national and international affairs, from Washington to Europe and the Middle East, won the National Headliner Award for best magazine column. A veteran of nine presidential campaigns, he has been praised for his “dogged reporting, a thorough, subtle grasp of issues, and a clear-eyed, compelling style.”

As “Anonymous,” he wrote the #1 bestseller, Primary Colors, which The New York Times Book Review called “one of the best political novels to appear in the latter half of the 20th Century” becoming a major motion picture starring John Travolta and Emma Thompson.

His other books include The Running Mate, The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton (a New York Times bestseller) and his latest book, Politics Lost: How American Politics Was Trivialized By People Who Think You’re Stupid.

A self-described “political junkie,” he is a former Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; he appears frequently on Meet the Press and The Chris Matthews Show.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000