Remembering Eamon

Tulane Magazine, September 2017

In June, I wrote to you in a “View from Gibson” email with the news that former Tulane President Eamon Michael Kelly passed away. This summer, Tulane has remembered and mourned our energetic and inspiring leader.

I personally knew Eamon to be an excellent scholar with a facile and dynamic mind, with a brilliance that enabled him to advance this university by leaps and bounds during his 17-year tenure as president (1981–98). Eamon was also a wonderful person with a giant heart who inspired deep fondness and affection in everyone fortunate enough to meet him.

His importance to the continued success of Tulane cannot be over-stated. Eamon’s vision, and his deep abiding passion for education and research, helped transform Tulane. He believed, over anything else, that no one could impact and change the world like a university. Eamon turned Tulane from a regional university into a national powerhouse of research and scholarship. He put the university on a sound and secure financial path forward. And Eamon passionately pursued diversity in our faculty and student body, opening our ranks to all of the best and brightest.

I know that Eamon would be most proud of how Tulane continues to flourish, particularly the fact that our incoming first-year class is the most competitive, diverse and academically qualified we’ve ever admitted.

After “retiring” as president, Eamon went back to his work transforming the world. This issue of Tulane magazine focuses on the kind of profound research that follows in Eamon’s footsteps. From deciphering the origins of human culture to curing diseases that threaten us, our faculty and students prove every day why Tulane matters.

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