From the president: On the road

October 27, 2000

Scott Cowen

If things seemed kind of quiet around campus the last week of October, it might have been because quite a few Tulane people were traveling the highways of Louisiana that week on the university's first Louisiana Hometown Tour.

I joined representatives of alumni relations, government affairs, admission and others in visiting Lake Charles, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Shreveport and Baton Rouge between Oct. 23 and 26. We met alumni, politicians, educators, high school students, and members of the business communities in these areas. It was an important trip for us to take.

First, we wanted to renew ties in a personal way with our alumni and friends in those areas. Second, we wanted to encourage local high school students to continue their education here in Louisiana. As many of you know, a new admission initiative called Focus Louisiana has led to a 16 percent increase in the number of Louisiana freshmen attending Tulane this year.

This is an important program for us. A third, vital reason for this Louisiana Hometown Tour was to strengthen existing partnerships and identify opportunities to form new ones. Over the last two years, as we have gone through our strategic planning process, we have identified as one of our strategic goals the need to move out of our Ivory Tower and forge partnerships with other educational institutions, with government and with industry.

We particularly want to strengthen our relationships and partnerships within Louisiana. Tulane has been a part of this state for the past 166 years. During this time, we have made many contributions to the growth of the state both through our academic and outreach programs, our presence as an employer and our health-care system.

Louisiana has also provided a good home for Tulane. Our states cultural environment has helped us attract thousands of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from around the nation and the world. Our collaborations with our Louisiana neighbors have helped us become one of the nation's top 25 research universities.

The Louisiana Hometown Tour helped us make a step toward what we have established as three priorities: Partnering with other institutions in Louisiana to promote research and educational competitiveness in the state; Partnering with state and local government to address the societal challenges our communities continue to face; and Partnering with business and industry to promote economic development in our state.

Looking over that list of three partnership goals, it is easy to see numerous areas in which Tulane has already made significant strides. We are teaming with other Louisiana institutions of higher education to make our state a major player in such fields as gene therapy, cancer treatment and environmental research. One of our strongest partnerships in the area of higher education has been with a state agency, the Louisiana Board of Regents.

We also have been working with both corporate partners and government to enhance Louisiana's business climate, to expand the technical workforce and to increase revenue to the state. And, of course, we have a number of partnerships with government and local communities to improve elementary and secondary education, improve our environment and reduce crime. We must continue and expand on partnerships such as these.

Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the nation when it comes to finances, but it is one of the richest states when it comes to our natural resources, the diversity of our population, our unique cultural environment and the desire of our citizens to create a better life for future generations. Together, we must build on our strengths and focus on those goals that will lead to an enriched community.

A strong Tulane University can only thrive with a strong Louisiana. This is not the time for heroic, isolated efforts, nor is it the time to compete with other institutions. We need to work together, create dynamic new partnerships and direct our energies to building a better future.

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