A Special Day for an Unforgettable Class | Heroes & Helpers

Dear Tulane Community:
Tomorrow would have been Commencement Day 2020, when more than 3,500 graduates were scheduled to receive their degrees in a celebration of academic achievement at Yulman Stadium. Although COVID-19 has postponed our official commencement, it has not diminished the pride, joy and admiration we feel for the extraordinary Class of 2020 and all their many accomplishments. In fact, our respect for the courage, resilience and grit of this remarkable class has only deepened – as has our desire to honor them.
We still plan to have an on-ground commencement at some point in the future, with all the pomp, circumstance and second-lining Tulane graduates have come to expect. But we will also host a special recognition for the Class of 2020 tomorrow, as we confer their hard-earned degrees on what would have been their commencement day. Graduates, their families, friends, faculty and the entire Tulane community are invited to "TUgether – Connecting the Class of 2020,” an online, live stream celebration of scholastic success, as well as Tulane pride and unity. The event will take place at tulane.edu/TUgether2020, beginning at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 16.
In true Tulane style, we will salute our students with musical performances by New Orleans greats, Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band and Topsy Chapman. There will also be special appearances by top celebrity guests from the entertainment, athletic and business worlds. We have sent each graduate a “spirit box” containing Tulane Commencement staples and other memorabilia, including a second-line handkerchief, Commencement 2020 Mardi Gras beads, glitter, confetti stick, pennant, sticker sheet, sunglasses and more. You will see these put to good use as graduates film themselves celebrating with their families.
This will be a celebration like none other for a class and time like none other. While we will be physically separated, we will be united like never before in recognizing an amazing group of students who have completed their studies in the midst of a pandemic and worldwide disruption to every aspect of society. The Class of 2020’s perseverance, adaptability and courage is an example to all of us and will serve them, and the world, well in a future that will be brighter because of them.
P.S. Many in the Class of 2020 have made great efforts to assist others during the coronavirus pandemic, while also completing their studies. Graduating seniors, Ross Berlin, Matthew Wu and Max Steitz, are three such “Heroes and Helpers.” Read their stories below. 


Heroes & Helpers

"Heroes & Helpers" recognizes a person or team, among Tulane's students, faculty, staff and alumni, engaged in extraordinary efforts on behalf of others in the battle against the major health crisis of our time.

Ross Berlin, Matthew Wu and Max Steitz

Ross Berlin, Max Steitz and Matthew Wu

As graduating seniors, Ross Berlin, Matthew Wu and Max Steitz never imagined they would be spending the final months of their Tulane experience in isolation, completing  coursework away from the campus they have called home for the past four years.

But they weren’t about to let the COVID-19 crisis bring them down. Rather than feel sorry for themselves, they decided to use the extra time on their hands doing something positive for the city that has given so much to them. Read their story