Dear Tulane Community:
Last year’s President’s Excellence Awards recognized some of the most inspiring Tulanians in our community. Helping to depopulate a campus of more than 14,000 students and, at the height of a global pandemic, transitioning to online teaching and remote work, was among the many achievements of those honored with this award. Other recipients helped heal patients stricken with the novel coronavirus or counseled those who lost loved ones or were impacted in other ways. Some honorees worked tirelessly in labs seeking a cure or dedicated themselves to establishing one of the country’s leading testing, tracing and quarantine/isolation programs. The latter was the foundation for our return to in-person learning, living and working. Exceptional Tulanians did all this and so much more – while also facing multiple hurricane threats and one direct hit.
While, in a typical year, I present the President's Excellence Award to 10 individuals and two teams or departments, in 2020, I awarded it to more than 300 Tulanians for their roles in achieving what many said was impossible. The threat of COVID-19 has continued into 2021, and so have the extraordinary efforts of members of the Tulane family throughout all schools, campuses, departments, centers, offices and segments of our university. Supporting innovative teaching strategies, sustaining safety and testing protocols, coordinating vaccine distribution, finding creative and COVID-safe alternatives for students to engage with one another and much, much more are all part of the many ways Tulanians have gone above and beyond in 2021.
So, for the first time ever, I am launching a spring cycle of the President’s Excellence Award to recognize the work of our incredible colleagues after another unprecedented semester. You know best the individuals who are most deserving of this recognition. Their work is not always out front and obvious – and it is rarely glamorous. But you see, firsthand, the dedication, the tenacity, the care and the passion that these unsung heroes bring to their job every day (and often every night). Send me the names and tell me the stories of your most inspiring colleagues, so that we can sing their praises loudly. I want to let the entire university give them the honor they are due.
There are many things that make a university truly great – a world-class teaching and research enterprise; a transformative student experience; an equitable, diverse and inclusive community; a commitment to public service and more. But none of this can be achieved without the dedicated, forward-looking and unstinting efforts of a committed team of caring professionals. Help me recognize the well-deserving Tulanians who fulfill this role.