March 30, 2001

Good Morning:

I started this week off in Dallas and Houston meeting with alumni. I also had an opportunity to speak at an Admissions event in Houston. Next year's undergraduate class is stacking up to be a great one for us. We have quite a few Texas Tulanians and look for more in the future with a large number of our incoming students hailing from the Lone Star State.

Yesterday we got word of U.S. News and World Report's 2002 graduate school rankings. Our law school and school of business continue to rate among the best in the nation according to the survey. Tulane's Law School was ranked 40th, up from the 43rd spot it held last year and Tulane's Environmental Law program was ranked 6th in the nation, down from the 5th position it held last year. Tulane's business school also remained among the top tier schools even though it dropped some slots. Other Tulane programs and schools may be ranked but these are all the rankings that were made available to us as of yesterday.

Like most college presidents, I have very mixed feelings regarding this popular survey. I think the rankings can serve a useful purpose in helping parents and students begin to focus their search for the right school. However, I think far too much emphasis is placed by parents and students (and administrators) on the numerical standing of various schools. The ranking criteria is often unrelated to what students learn while in school or how they do in their professional careers.

Moreover, wild fluctuations in rankings from year to year cast a shadow on the "science" of the survey. At any rate, I'm glad that in this and other surveys we continue to be counted among the best universities in the country. I believe if we continue to follow the course we have charted, through implementation of our strategic plan, the rankings will take care of themselves.

Today, I plan to say a few words at the memorial service for Cherice Cochrane, who passed away last week. Cherice's level of community and campus service was truly phenomenal. She will be sadly missed. I hope my words can be of some comfort to her family and many friends.


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