Student Photo Challenge and My Unofficial Portrait

Dear Tulane Community:

One thing I stressed to our first-year class when they arrived on campus this fall was that going to Tulane University would be the adventure of a lifetime. I said that this was true whether they grew up in a small town in Iowa, a big city in the northeast, a country halfway around the globe or a neighborhood in Metairie.

Then I challenged them to prove me right by seeking their own Tulane adventure, such as engaging in a new academic or social activity, making friends outside their normal circle or simply contemplating the many moments of beauty and wonderment their new campus and city offers.

Finally, I asked them to capture one of their first adventures in a photo and tag me on Instagram. (I think some of them were impressed that I knew what that meant.) I then promised to repost their photos and treat the creators of the top five best shots to dinner at one of New Orleans’ best restaurants – Commander’s Palace.

The top photos turned out to be a breathtaking sunset, some budding friendships, a concert, a museum visit and an alligator! I was delighted, but not surprised, by both the variety and spirit of the submitted photos.

I was, however, completely surprised earlier this week when students August Janow and Rohan Goswami brought the tapestry pictured below to my office. Their fellow student Yara Hantash created this work, which is based on the photo that accompanied my weekly View from Gibson for many years.

Based on what she was able to create with the model she had to work with, I predict Yara will one day be a world-famous artist. Perhaps this piece will become representative of her Green and Blue phase. Anyway, many thanks to her for creating this and to August and Rohan for purchasing it and bringing it to my attention.

This, and the results of the Photo Challenge, remind me what I like most about Tulane – our talented, creative, innovative and good-humored students.

Fitts and students