January 16, 2006
Tulane President Scott Cowen entered McAlister Auditorium to a standing ovation from an overflow crowd of students and parents for the convocation program on Thursday (Jan. 12), then talked about his great expectations for the incoming class.
Every seat in McAlister Auditorium was filled as Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band second-lined to the stage, followed by students bearing brightly colored gonfalons representing the seven undergraduate colleges and the platform party wearing academic regalia.
When Cowen appeared in the auditorium, wearing the deep green presidential robe and the sterling silver presidential chain of office, the crowd spontaneously rose in a standing ovation.
Cynthia Cherrey, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, welcomed the students and their parents, saying, "We have the opportunity to shape history. This is a university with heart and soul. ... We have the opportunity to transform this university, to transform this city, and in the process to transform ourselves."
Lester Lefton, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, gave a profile of the incoming student body, which he said was selected from 18,600 applicants--the largest applicant pool in the history of Tulane University.
"You represent the top 4 percent of college freshmen nationwide, and 178 of you never experienced anything but an A in high school. Let's see if you can do it here."
Cowen echoed the theme of great expectations. "Tulane University is the best place in the country for you to be. Right here, right now, you're in a unique position to make a real difference in people's lives. ... No other student body in the country has this opportunity."
He said it was a glorious day for Tulane University and for the city of New Orleans.
"You can use your learning time outside the classroom to participate in the rebuilding of a major American city at the same time that, inside the classroom, you are receiving a superb education at one of the finest institutions in the country. What an unbeatable combination!"
Cowen closed the convocation by saying to the students, "Welcome back and welcome home."
To view a video of the convocation ceremony, go to: http://www.tulane.edu/newwave/dejavu/convocation.mov.
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