Tulane community pledges 750,000 hours of service for retiring leader 

September 3, 2013

Mike Strecker


Most people get a gold watch when they retire. Scott Cowen will get something far more valuable when he steps down after 16 years at the helm of Tulane University — 750,000 hours of community service donated by students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Tulane.
“Tulane students already log 430,000 hours of community service each year. With the help of faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Tulane we want to measurably increase that,” said Vincent Ilustre, executive director of the Tulane Center for Public Service. “This will be the ultimate parting gift to someone who has inspired so many to commit to public service.”
Tulane has been tracking its students’ community service hours since Katrina, when it became the first and only major research university in the country to make public service a curriculum requirement for all undergraduates.
This new initiative, the Cowen Service Challenge, will extend that effort by recording the number of service hours donated by faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Tulane as well. Cowen Service Challenge hours can include volunteering at any nonprofit, community, school, faith-based or civic organization — and can be done anywhere.
Service hours will be counted from August 2013 to April 2014. Faculty, staff, alumni and friends can register their service hours at While Ilustre’s office will keep track of student hours contributed through the public service curriculum, students can also use the website to register hours they volunteer on their own.

“We think our goal of 750,000 hours is very reachable,” Ilustre said. “In fact, we think we can make it to 1 million hours of service.”  
Tulane has received numerous honors for its public service including the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, 2012; Newsweek’s 25 Best Schools for Do-Gooders and the Washington Center’s 2012 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award. 

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