September 21, 2007

Good Afternoon:

While it's beautiful outside today, we have been closely monitoring the tropical activity in the Gulf this week. This morning I met with the leaders of our emergency operations team. Although the impact from this weekend's storm is projected to be minimal, with the greatest risk being heavy rainfall tonight and Saturday, we have ensured that all our necessary university emergency plans and preparations are in place.

In addition we have successfully tested our new emergency notification system, which enables us to send simultaneous emergency voicemail, e-mail and text messages should any need arise. This system supplements information posted on our AlertLine (504-862-8080 or toll free 1-877-862-8080) and our emergency website Please monitor this site, the Alertline and local news and remain indoors during any inclement weather we encounter this weekend as a result of this storm.

In addition to the weather, this was a busy week, as I attended various Board of Tulane meetings to review our progress in fiscal year 2007 and discuss our priorities for this current year. I will continue to share this information with you throughout the year. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

By now I am sure you have all read or heard about the $11 million in funding the Carnegie Corporation of New York gave to Tulane, Dillard and Xavier this week. We plan to use our $5 million share to establish an endowment to recruit and retain top faculty and to support our public service efforts in New Orleans.

In addition to my gratitude for their generosity, I was also touched by the message delivered as the grants were announced by Vartan Gregorian, a man who rose from humble beginnings as an Armenian orphan to head, first, Brown University, and now the Carnegie Foundation. In addition, Vartan is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his heroic efforts in leading the New York Public Library and for his years of service as a professor and leader of six universities in the United States.

"New Orleans," he stated, "is a unique and irreplaceable part of the fabric of American culture. New Orleans colleges are at the forefront of this city's revitalization. And the new crop of freshmen who have arrived in New Orleans did not choose New Orleans because it would be easy or luxurious to live and learn here. They came because this city's colleges and universities will provide them with a world-class education that will equip them to succeed in today's knowledge-based economy. And they came to join their education with the act of witnessing for the rebirth, revival and tenacity of New Orleans."

It is nice to hear these words spoken by someone who does not live here but cares deeply about the special place we call home.

Have a great weekend,


P.S. Thanks to all of you who wrote to me regarding Alex the Parrot, the subject of last week's Tulane Talk. Among the many e-mails I received was a very touching note from Irene Pepperberg, the professor who studied and worked with Alex for so many years. It was very gratifying how she, and so many of you, responded to my message.

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