July 13, 2001

Good Morning:

I thought it was time for a midsummer Tulane Talk. So far, the summer has been productive but also relaxing. Margie and Gibson are currently at our cottage in East Hampton, N.Y. Gibson is having the time of her life playing outdoors, frolicking in the ocean waves (she is really afraid of the water) and explaining to everyone in town that she is a New Orleanian. She has also developed a terrific golden tan. She now weighs 70 lbs. (Remember when it was 8 lbs?). I, of course, will join them off and on in the next few weeks.

I truly hope your summer is going well. I just wanted to drop you a line and update you on some of the exciting things that have happened since the end of the semester. Here are the highlights in no particular order:

Professor Chao-Jun Li Wins Presidential EPA Award: This is fantastic recognition for one of our outstanding faculty members. C.J.'s development of a process in which water, instead of dangerous toxins like benzene, is used to create pharmaceutical, petrochemical and other consumer and industrial products could have a profound and lasting impact on our environment.

Tulane Study Links Potassium to Lower Blood Pressure: Tulane epidemiologist Jiang He and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Paul Whelton recently published a major study suggesting that an increase in potassium intake may lower blood pressure and reduce the chances of stroke. Just another example of the vital research taking place at Tulane.

Tulane Library Receives $1.9 Million Bequest From Miceli Estate: We learned recently that Howard-Tilton Memorial Library will receive a bequest of approximately $1.9 million from the estate of Virginia Brown Miceli. Mrs. Miceli, who died last year at the age of 90, and her late husband, Augusto, were major donors to the library's collections. In 1987, the Augusto and Virginia B. Miceli Humanities Collection was established in their honor.

Speaking of Giving: For the third consecutive year we set a record in total private giving to the university. I'm not sure we can establish a new record every single year but we are definitely headed in the right direction. We also exceeded our annual fund goal of $4.8 million by $300,000 and for the second straight year saw double digit increases in the number of donors giving to the university. All and all, it was a very good year especially given the softening of the economy and the decline in the stock market.

Tulane Baseball Excels: By now you have all heard of the tremendous success of our baseball team. It was a magical season topped off by a dramatic win over LSU (the defending national champions), a trip to the World Series and the decision by Coach Rick Jones to stay at Tulane so he could build a national championship program at an academically elite, private university. Rick shares our high academic values and wants to have a program consistent with our mission and aspirations. I am pleased he will be with us for many more years.

Reading and Writing: The summer gives me some quiet time to catch up on my reading and writing, and I am really enjoying the opportunity. I am just about finished with David McCullough's biography of John Adams and will next delve into Louis Menard's new book "The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America." On the lighter side I read some Grisham and a novel, "The Best Golfer Who Never Lived," by a Tulane alum, Mike Veron. In my next life, I want to own and operate an independent book store with a great coffee bar! I am also beginning to draft versions of a number of talks and speeches I have to give this fall, starting with the Convocation, and I continue to add to my notes about what it is like to be a university president at the beginning of the 21st century. These notes will hopefully become the core of a book I plan to write. The working title is "Winnebagos on Wednesday." Some day I will share with you the story behind the title.

There's a lot more I could tell you but I'll save some for another Tulane Talk later in the summer. I hope you'll have a chance to relax and maybe get away sometime this summer. The coming academic year promises to be be another exciting one!


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