Dear Tulane Community:

The start of spring classes always arrives in close company with the national and university holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each year I find inspiration for the semester ahead as I reflect on Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Dr. King once remarked that “life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘what are you doing for others?’” In a million different ways, Tulanians are providing their own unique answers and making a positive impact on the world. After all, this question is embedded in our motto of not for one’s self, but for one’s own.

Newcomb-Tulane College junior Isabel Arrarás López has found her answer in public service projects at Tulane, promoting health equity and serving as volunteer coordinator for Tulane’s Food Recovery Network, which packages unused food from campus for distribution in the local community. Her passion for service — which she says was inspired by Dr. King, as well as her own mother — recently earned her the Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service.

Throughout the year, the Tulane community works selflessly for others, bringing Dr. King’s dream of freedom and equality for all closer to reality. We may not always agree about how best to achieve this shared dream. But by respecting different perspectives and encouraging open debate, we create a path toward understanding, and progress toward this common goal. Universities are designed to encourage this commonality of purpose – and Tulane’s relational culture is uniquely suited to foster constructive dialogue that addresses the critical issues of our time.

Our educational and research enterprise is dedicated to serving others by building a world where each individual can access the knowledge and resources they need to thrive. Our impact extends globally, but our focus begins here at home. For example, our newly announced nursing program will train more than 200 students each year, expanding pathways to healthcare careers and helping to fill a critical need for nurses in the state and the nation. This program is part of the historic transformation of our downtown campus into a destination academic medical center and hub for bioinnovation research.

The Tulane MLK Planning Committee has planned a series of “Spring is King” events designed to uplift Dr. King’s legacy and teachings over the course of the spring semester; be on the lookout for additional details from the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and the Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life. In the meantime, I hope you will take time over the long weekend to draw inspiration from the wise words of Dr. King.

I hope you will also draw inspiration from the remarkable progress we are making every day toward building a more diverse and inclusive Tulane. I know I do.