April 29, 2011


Good Morning:

Thomas Friedman and Skip WilsonIt's hard to believe that Commencement is less than two weeks away. I am working on my opening remarks, but the Commencement addresses I am really looking forward to are Thomas Friedman's and student speaker Christopher "Skip" Wilson's.

Having covered the Middle East for more than 30 years, Tom will certainly be able to offer insight into the political turmoil sweeping that region. Our student speaker is also of special interest. Skip Wilson, an MBA candidate, recently won $10,000 by placing first in the graduate-level division of Tulane's NewDay Social Venture Challenge.

An accomplished clarinetist, Skip was supervisor of consumer marketing at MTV Networks before coming to Tulane. He has served as vice president of the Tulane Sports Business Association, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and played for the Tulane University Symphony Orchestra and the Tulane Chamber Winds ensemble.

Another highlight of Commencement will be the awarding of the Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellowships, which recognize sustained, effective, inspiring and distinguished teaching at the undergraduate level. This year's Weiss Fellows are Lev Kaplan, associate professor in physics and engineering physics, and Molly Rothenberg, professor and chair of English. President's Awards for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching will go to Richard H. Streiffer, professor of family and community medicine, and Stacy Overstreet, associate professor of psychology.

Those of you who have had the pleasure to work or study with these great teachers know how deserving they are of recognition. I encourage the rest of you to learn more about these honorees while saluting our graduates and enjoying performances by jazz greats Michael White and Wanda Rouzan, a second-line parade and other surprises that make our Commencement the country's most unique celebration of academic achievement.

Have a great weekend,


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