April 24, 2009

Good Morning:

As we approach the end of the semester, excitement is growing for Commencement. Those of you who follow Ellen DeGeneres on Twitter know that a representative from her show made a surprise appearance on campus this week and gave away some great prizes, including free tickets and airfare to her show in L.A. The winners also appeared on the show, via the Internet, as they claimed their prizes.

If you didn't get Ellen's "tweet" about the giveaway, you can still see her live when she delivers the keynote address at Commencement. Ellen has promoted Tulane's Commencement on numerous occasions on her show. This publicity, along with honorary degree recipients Harry Connick Jr., HIV co-discoverer and Nobel Prize recipient Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, health care advocate Jessie Gruman and architect William McDonough, plus some special surprises, will make this Commencement one of the most memorable ever.

But the real stars will be our graduates, represented this year by student speaker Helen Jaksch. A double major in theater and English, Helen is a recipient of merit scholarships and has worked as a performer, playwright, set painter and assistant in numerous campus productions and received the Cynthia B. Taffaro Memorial Award for contributions to the arts and community. She also worked as an RA and was active in various student organizations, including the Mortar Board Honor Society, Tulane Undergraduate Theatre Society and Residence Hall Government. It will not surprise you that volunteering in the community played a big role in her life at Tulane as it did for so many of her fellow graduates.

While I am talking about outstanding students I want to also recognize our triumphant Women's Golf Team. In their first season of play since Hurricane Katrina this young team has won the 2009 Conference USA Championship and swept the 2009 Conference USA Awards. All five Green Wave players were named to all-conference teams, while sophomore Linn Gustafsson won C-USA Player of the Year, Daniela Holmqvist was selected as the conference's Freshman of the Year and head coach John Thomas Horton was named the league's Coach of the Year.

I will end with a "tweet," of sorts, of my own. On April 28 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," will be the guest lecturer in James Carville's class "The 2008 Presidential Election." The class is full but you are invited to a simulcast across the hall in Norman Mayer Room 101. At the end of the class, both George Stephanopoulos and James Carville will visit the simulcast room.

Have a great weekend,


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