September 1, 2002
In a competitive mayoral election that led to a runoff between former Chief of Police Richard Pennington and Cox Communications Vice President Ray Nagin, the businessman emerged victorious in his first attempt at public office by a 59 to 41 percent margin.
Nagin, a native New Orleanian, received his undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University and his Masters of Business Administration from the A.B. Freeman School of Business in 1994. With his graduation date so recent, Tulane memories remain fresh on the mayor's mind.
Nagin said, "What I remember about the business school] was that it was incredibly intense and incredibly stimulating because Tulane had some of the best professors in the world. Basically, we had professors that had been at Harvard and all the major universities that are out there. What I remember most was that the program was designed to create a team-based learning experience, so that as we learned we took advantage of each others' strengths and weaknesses. I can also remember not sleeping much, studying a lot, reading a lot and doing what it took to make sure that we learned as much as we could."
Though the mayor is from New Orleans, he has not shied away from studying elsewhere in the past and weighed his options before finally deciding that Tulane was the right place for him.
Nagin said, "Tulane has an excellent reputation around the country -- it's one of the top business schools in the country. I kind of looked around. I looked at Harvard; I looked at the University of Michigan. I looked at a lot of different schools. Finally, after weighing all alternatives, I selected Tulane, and I don't regret it at all."
As Vice President of Cox Communications, Nagin revitalized one of the largest media corporations in the United States. His business-like approach to city government appears to be taking a similar path.
Nagin said, "I see this whole city government experience as kind of a turn-around situation where I am going into a troubled company and putting in place things that are needed to make it run more efficiently. So all the things that I learned at Tulane are now coming into play and just helping me move forward."
As a former student and now the head of Tulane's city, the mayor recognizes the impact that the University makes.
Nagin said, "Tulane is one of the largest employers in the city and probably one of the largest employers in the state, so it is a significant economic engine for the city and for this region. We respect that, and I meet with President Cowen on a fairly regular basis to talk about how we can further support Tulane, and he is always offering resources and expertise on how to help the city. It a good partnership and I hope that it continues for many years to come."
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