Welcome Back 2015

Dear Tulane Community:

Welcome back! Spring semester has finally arrived, and I am eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work on all the great projects that await us.

My first semester as president of Tulane was exceptional. I had the opportunity to meet literally thousands of members of the Tulane family on our campuses and beyond. To a person they welcomed me warmly and enthusiastically. My conversations with faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni underscored again and again Tulane's storied history and our impressive academic and professional achievements.

One of the highlights of my first semester was learning more about Tulane's enormous academic strengths. The breadth of, and connection between, our wonderful undergraduate and graduate schools offers unique opportunities to integrate education and research across academic and professional fields. We have also been a leader, through our public service program, in connecting theory and practice. And our exquisite campus, situated in the vibrant city of New Orleans, has the capacity to bring together students from around the world to engage in a more substantive way than any other school in the country. In short, Tulane is positioned to excel in a rapidly changing educational landscape.

This integrative philosophy is the future of education. Building on it offers amazing opportunities for Tulane, as a small elite AAU university, to be a national educational model in the coming years. To focus the academic and extracurricular elements of this effort, as Provost Michael Bernstein wrote you yesterday, we have formed two separate university-wide task forces on the Undergraduate Experience and Academic Collaborations, with faculty, staff and student members. They will explore, with your input, how we can best grow and excel at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the coming weeks I will be writing more about these task forces and how you can contribute to their efforts.

In addition to strengthening the academic experience, we are continuing to work with our faculty and staff and with the student body to make sure Tulane's campuses are as welcoming and supportive as possible. The sadness associated with the loss of several of our students last semester remains with us, but makes us even more determined to provide the best possible care and counseling to those who need those services. We have scheduled a roundtable discussion with students on Jan. 20 to discuss our ongoing efforts, and I hope such fruitful discourse will aid efforts to provide care for members of the Tulane community.

Each day I spend on the Tulane campuses increases my love and admiration for this university. Our place in higher education will only be stronger in the years ahead thanks to your dedication to, and support for, this very special place.

Let the semester begin!