From The President--Vital Traditions

April 27, 2002

Scott Cowen
Phone: 865-5714

We spend a lot of time looking at what's ahead, making plans, analyzing where we are and where we need to go. That's part of our mission as a university, and the fact that we've done that planning well is one of the reasons that Tulane continues to improve as one of the top universities in the country. But there are also times when it is important for us as a community to look back, to reflect, and to take part in activities that remind us of why we're here.

There are times--and commencement is certainly one of those times--when it is appropriate for the traditions of our institution to take center-stage. Traditions are important to a university. They give us our sense of place in the world, our bond of continuity between past and present. They remind us of the values and the culture that went into making our university the place where we love to work, to study, to learn and to grow.

The importance of traditions underscores my commitment to the importance of our unified commencement ceremony, which this year will be held on Saturday, May 18, at the Superdome. It is one of the few opportunities we have each year to come together as a university and celebrate the purpose of our being. I hope each of you will participate in this university commencement ceremony that has become such an important Tulane tradition.

Commencement is a reaffirmation of the university's history and mission. (The newest commencement weekend tradition, the Wave Goodbye party, will be held the previous night on campus for graduates and their families.) Each year, I have the opportunity to lead the grand and elegant ceremony at the Superdome filled with the emotion of the day.

To see these wonderful students who have been with us for several years and who are now on the brink of taking their place as our future leaders and educators and colleagues--it is gratifying and fulfilling. Hearing the music that reflects our city, seeing the processions of gonfalons and flags and looking out at the rows of scholars and graduates all adds up to a great feeling about the university, about our people, and about our mission.

Partaking in traditions such as a commencement ceremony helps us feel a vital part of the greater whole. It reminds us of who we are, and our purpose for being. In short, it makes us feel good. Try it, and I think you'll agree that it is worthwhile. I hope to see each of you there.

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