November 13, 2009

Good Morning:

Our students never cease to amaze me. Recently, the New York Stock Exchange and mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, sponsored a nationwide contest to find the country's most promising young social entrepreneurs, those whose business ideas could both benefit society and make money.

The hundreds of entrants were narrowed to just three team finalists. These will be featured in the new mtvU series "Movers and Changers" that premieres on Nov. 16. They will also present their business ideas before a panel of top socially conscious entrepreneurs in New York during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 16-22. The winning team will receive $25,000 in start-up money and the opportunity to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

If any school managed to have one team among the finalists, it would be considered a great accomplishment. However, Tulane is honored to have TWO teams among the three finalists. The business plans of these two teams address major problems in new and unique ways.

The team of Tulane medical student William Kethman and law student Stephanie Roberts will present SafeSnip, a small, disposable plastic clamp that cuts, seals and disinfects an umbilical cord in one step. The device, which William and Stephanie invented, along with Tulane science and engineering graduates Byran Molter, Mark Young and Professor David Rice, is designed for developing countries where home births are common and infants are susceptible to bacterial infections and neonatal tetanus.

The team of public health major Shea Kathryne Shelton and business majors Jay Zhao and Nic LaGatta addresses unfair trade practices and our endangered wetlands. Their business plan envisions buying tea grown in China at fair trade prices. The tea will be prepared in a traditional, organic and environmentally friendly way and then sold here on campus and throughout the city. The team will use part of its profits to plant cypress trees in the wetlands and raise awareness of our diminishing coast.

Both of these teams are already winners in the truest sense of the word and represent the best of Tulane. Please join me in wishing them success in this competition and in all of their future endeavors.

Have a great weekend,


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