President's Letter - Feburary 1, 2005

undefinedDear alumni, friends and colleagues:

Usually at this time of year, you receive my annual “Report of the President,” a letter outlining highlights of the previous year with a link to an online report. This year, however, I am asking you not to look back but to look forward—to mid-March, when Tulane University will be publicly launching the largest and most comprehensive fundraising effort in its history, the $700 million “Promise and Distinction” campaign.

You might ask why this campaign is so special in a world where fundraising campaigns are widespread and in an economic climate where such a venture could be seen as risky. But, quite simply, now is the right time for Tulane, and Tulane is worth the best efforts we have to give. The university stands at a critical point in its history—enjoying the amazing growth in prestige, quality and distinction it has gained over the past two decades but also cognizant of the promise it holds for taking that next step into the country’s top echelon
of universities.

undefinedI sincerely hope you will choose to be a part of the campaign that will enable us to take that step. We have identified a number of key focus areas for the campaign that are in sync with our university-wide goals. Of the $700 million goal, for example, we want to devote $325 million toward the endowment, which will allow us to attract and retain the best faculty, students, and staff, ensure diversity and enhance academic and extracurricular programs across all schools and colleges. A goal of $200 million has been set for capital growth, which would include not only projects already begun, such as the expansion and renovation of the University Center and the revitalization and expansion of our student residences, but also “wish list” projects such as the renovation and expansion of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and upgraded technology infrastructure. A goal of $125 million has been set for strategic program support, which will help provide operating support for programs in which Tulane has current and emerging strengths—areas such as gene therapy, infectious diseases, Mississippi River research through the exciting new RiverSphere Project, and the cultural outreach programs of the Deep South Regional Humanities Center. Finally, we have set a goal of $50 million for the Tulane University Annual Fund. Unrestricted gifts from alumni to the Annual Fund give us the flexibility to meet unanticipated needs and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. They are the lifeblood of any institution, and Tulane is no exception.

You will be hearing and seeing a lot about the campaign in the coming month as we head toward the big kickoff celebrations on March 16-18. First, take a look at the website that has been set up for the campaign, and enjoy some of the special features it offers, such as a series of short films highlighting different aspects of the life of campus and a list of public events that will be taking place for the campaign launch.

undefined Check the website throughout the next four years as the campaign progresses to see our status as we strive to reach our $700 million goal, to see updated video and photos, to read news about recent gifts and programs, to hear the special campaign song that will be unveiled in March—and, of course, to make a contribution that will serve as an investment in the future of our university and all it has to offer. In addition to being able to examine the overall university campaign goals, you can click on any of the 11 schools and colleges, as well as athletics, to see the specific goals for areas in which you’re particularly interested.

Around the first week of March, watch your mailboxes for a special issue of Tulanian magazine. For the first time in almost 15 years, the magazine will be unveiling an all new redesign of both content and graphics to help showcase a special issue about the campaign. New departments, features and art will reflect the distinction of today’s university and its promises for tomorrow.

The events of March 16–18 will truly allow Tulane to shine. I hope you will be able to attend special activities in New Orleans, but if you cannot come here we will be bringing Tulane to a city near you. The “Promise and Distinction” celebration will begin the evening of Wednesday, March 16, with a Presidential Concert at Dixon Hall on the uptown campus at 8 p.m. The program will be an eclectic blend of classical music and popular fare featuring Tulane musicians from the symphony orchestra, concert band, choir and jazz combo.

 On campus from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, will be a number of presentations highlighting the achievements of Tulane including:

  • A glass blowing and casting demonstration led by noted glass artist and faculty member Gene Koss and featuring a number of demonstrations by Tulane students;
  • A lecture by noted author Ellen Gilchrist, the Zale Writer-in-Residence for the spring semester;
  • A discussion of gene therapy research led by Tulane’s renowned geneticist Darwin Prockop; and
  • A presentation on Louisiana business and investment opportunities by professor Peter Ricchiuti. Peter’s presentation will take place in the ultra high-tech trading room in the new Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II.

undefined One of the most exciting events of the campaign launch is a national alumni event that will take place at 7 p.m. CST on March 17. Called “An Evening of Distinction,” the special hourlong program will feature music, video and some of Tulane’s most interesting people live from New Orleans and broadcast live by satellite to 15 cities across the United States, plus DVD viewing parties at an additional 17 cities. Wherever you are, I hope you’ll join your fellow Tulanians and be a part of this special evening. Check the campaign events website for places and times of viewing parties near you.

undefined Among the highlights of the program will be a campus tour with distinguished actor, director and screenwriter Harold Sylvester (A&S ’72); interviews with technology gurus Yahoo! co-founder David Filo (E ’88) and Netscape founder Jim Clark; a musical reunion of the popular Tulanians singing group, introduced by Evan Farmer (TC ’95), host of TLC’s hit show “While You Were Out”; reflections on Tulane by former NBC newsman Bill Monroe (A&S ’42) and Bobby Brown (M ’50), the only cardiologist to play in four World Series while a third baseman for the Yankees, and much, much more. I hope you’ll find the viewing party nearest you and be a part of this special evening.

The celebration will continue on campus on Friday, March 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with “The Big Splash.” Those of you who have attended the great “Wave Goodbye” parties on the Gibson Quad the night before commencement know that we understand how to have a good time, New Orleans-style. Food, including New Orleans favorites such as Lucky Dogs and Roman Candy, and live music from Marcia Ball will help our faculty, staff, students and friends join in the “Promise and Distinction” celebration.

Why all the celebrating? Quite simply, because we are excited about Tulane, its distinction and its promise, and we want to tell our story and share our excitement with everyone. I sincerely hope you will be a part of both the special events in March and the campaign as it progresses in the coming four years.

Until next time,


Scott S. Cowen

Office of the President
6823 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118-5698
Tel 504.865.5201
Fax 865.5202

Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638