Festive Convocation Planned

September 1, 1998

Nick Marinello

In part a welcoming, in part a pep rally and in part a sock hop, the 1998 Tulane community convocation will ring in the new academic year (and Scott Cowen's presidency) with a touch of fun and flair.

On Sep. 24, students, faculty, staff and residential neighbors will gather inside McAlister Auditorium for a convocation ceremony that will include brief addresses from Cowen, Medical School Chancellor John LaRosa and other representatives from the Tulane community.

After the hour-long ceremony, which will be hosted by news commentator and columnist Cokie Roberts, guests will be escorted outside to the University Center quad to enjoy live music and refreshments. There will also be a pep rally in which Tulane's new athletics mascot will be introduced and named.

The presentations from inside McAlister Auditorium-- which will also include remarks by Martha Gilliland, provost; Patricia Harrison, chair of the Staff Advisory Council; and Ford Graham, president of the Associated Student Body--will be broadcast live to the medical center auditorium, where refreshments and food will be served.

According to Frank Currie, director of Tulane Medical Center human resources and staff development, busses will be continually running between the downtown and uptown campuses from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. to provide downtown employees transportation to the event. Busses will also be available to shuttle employees from the primate center.

"The convocation is an event that builds a sense of community and a feeling of pride in the institution," said Cowen. "It's a way of getting students, faculty and staff to come together." Beyond that, Cowen plans to use the event as a kind of launch pad for his administration. "It will be the first time for me to publicly address the big issues on my mind for this coming year," said Cowen. "It will be my opening message on Tulane's future."

Cowen's message will largely be one of change and development, as is signified by the theme of his inaugural year: "Tulane--A Renaissance of Thought and Action." "The convocation will set the tone for the culture of the institution," said Cowen. "It will let our various constituencies know that things will be different." Cowen admits to an ulterior motive for the convocation, however: "We're going to have a little fun, you know?"

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