Letter from the President: Spring 2022

Dear Fellow Tulanians:

I am a huge baseball fan. It's not only my favorite game to watch - it also offers a great analogy to describe Tulane's current momentum.

This is a thrilling moment for Tulane University. The long-term strength, vitality and success we are experiencing is truly remarkable, especially considering the challenges we've faced over the past two years.

In many ways, this is Tulane's "Moneyball moment." I am referring to the bestselling book by author and former Tulane Commencement speaker Michael Lewis, which chronicled the rise of the Oakland As to the upper echelons of baseball in the early 2000s. This ascent happened despite the As having much less money than their elite competitors to attract top players.

How did the As do it? Innovation. Their General Manager, Billy Beane, went against conventional baseball wisdom to find players, who may not have been marquee names, but who had specific skill sets that could help his team win. The results speak for themselves - from 2000 to 2006, the As won four American League West Titles and made the playoffs five times.

Like the As of the early 2000s, we are competing against universities with endowments and resources larger than our own. But, thanks to our innovations and the support of so many of you, we're making the move to become a perennial powerhouse.
By restructuring our fiscal practices, investments and opportunities we are creating the greatest impact with limited resources and building a stronger financial foundation from which to launch our future plans.

Our mission of interdisciplinary education and research can, and has, brought about much positive change in the world. But we can do more - and we are an institution that has proven to be worthy of investment. Recently, the nation's foremost credit rating agencies upgraded our credit rating from A stable to A+ stable and from A2 to A2 positive. One credit review noted Tulane's "solid fundraising." I'd call it audacious. We not only surpassed our original $1.3 billion target but have set our sights on a new goal of $1.5 billion. Reaching this goal would mean more student scholarships, more world-class faculty and more transformative student experiences within a more diverse, equitable and inclusive university.

Research, another crucial pillar of our mission, has also experienced all-star seasons in recent years, including a 46 percent increase in sponsored research awards between 2015 and 2020 and a 51 percent increase so far in fiscal year 2022. Interest in Tulane among the nation's most accomplished students has also skyrocketed. As a result, our selectivity rate is at an Ivy League level. At the same time, we are also increasing the diversity of our students and enrolling more scholars from Louisiana.

But like any great baseball team, we have got to keep building, keep recruiting the best new talent and stay ahead of the competition. We must continue to make investments in research and innovation, in our physical spaces and our student experience, in our faculty and centers of excellence.

We have a unique location in the country's most fascinating city, a deep relational culture, a one-of-kind student experience and a research mission that is making a profound difference in our city and world. Our Moneyball moment has arrived - and, with your help, we can knock it out of the park.

Mike Fitts signature



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