See You at Commencement!

Dear Tulane Community:

It's Commencement Eve and excitement is building throughout our campuses. Families are arriving from all over the country and world; last-minute preparations are being made for the recognition and awards ceremonies various schools are hosting today; and, right outside my office window, the Gibson Quad is being transformed for tonight's Wave Goodbye.

But we're not the only ones excited. USA Today and CNN have both listed our keynote speaker, Maya Rudolph, among the most prominent graduation speakers of 2015, while NBC Nightly News, ABC News, CBS This Morning, The New York Times, NPR, The Hullabaloo and our local media are all planning to cover Tulane's Commencement 2015.

We are thrilled to host Maya, as well as our honorary degree recipients: best-selling author Walter Mosley, philosopher and Parliament member Onora O'Neill and internationally renowned jurist Hein Kötz. But the real stars of Commencement 2015 are the 2,840 graduates, who made the effort, endured the sacrifices and provided the service necessary to become true Tulanians.

Like true Tulanians, they also had a lot of fun, ate a lot of food and made a lot of friends during their time here. Anyone who has walked in their shoes knows that they will often recall these years as some of the most rewarding, enriching, meaningful and memorable of their lives. In fact, many had such a good time and learned so much they are staying right here in NOLA after graduation to pursue careers or further studies – or both.

But wherever tomorrow takes our graduates, we are here today to salute them, share their joy, cherish their memories and watch them pursue the dreams for which they have so ardently prepared.

And, speaking of ardent preparation, I am putting the finishing touches on my speech. I'm feeling the nervous energy of show time approaching. It's my first Tulane commencement, and it's my first time opening for a world-class comic performer. As people tell graduates: You've got to stay ready for some surprising new challenges!