As the Year Comes to a Close

Dear Tulane Community:

As we approach the end of another year, I have been reflecting on all the challenges we have faced including Hurricane Ida, as well as those that we are currently facing, and will likely continue to confront when the calendar turns to 2022. As is so often the case, my thoughts turn with gratitude to those who continue to make our journey through these times easier.

I recently had the honor of recognizing some of these individuals and teams through the President’s Staff Excellence Award program. Acknowledging our staff in this way has always been one of my greatest joys as president, but bestowing these awards has taken on even greater meaning over the past two years. There are countless others, in addition to these award recipients, who have been absolutely essential to our success throughout the pandemic, Hurricane Ida and other challenges. Next semester we will honor these unsung heroes during a special Essential Workers Day celebration. Look for more information on this in the coming months.

Our students have also been essential to our success, enduring disruptions, disappointments and hardships that few of us faced when we were their age. Their tenacity and commitment to their studies, in spite of every obstacle thrown their way, is a testament to how highly they value knowledge and discovery and how much they love Tulane. While they have not had the most traditional of college experiences over the last two years, the lessons of adaptation and resilience they are learning now will help them triumph over adversity in the future.

Tulane researchers, healthcare professionals, the Student Affairs department, contact tracers and members of the Campus Health, Housing and Residence Life, Case Management and Victim Support Services teams and many others also deserve our deepest gratitude and encouragement. They are working around-the-clock, seven days a week to address the recent and rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. Their efforts will continue throughout the holidays as many will forgo a much-needed break in order to continue to serve our students. The current surge in COVID-19 cases is one of the most sudden and rapid in this pandemic’s long history. It has taxed our systems and our personnel, as well as those at other institutions due to its onset and exponential increase over a matter of days.

Crises, emergencies and difficult times such as these are known revealers of the true character of individuals and institutions. What I have witnessed over the past two years from our faculty, students and staff has inspired me and filled me with much optimism for the future.

Despite all the challenges, we are still entering a season of joy and anticipating the arrival of a new year with hope for better days ahead. I wish all of you a happy and restful Winter Break and a special holiday season in the company of family and friends. Your family and friends here at Tulane look forward to rejoining you at the beginning of the new year.