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From California to Washington, D.C.

Friday, October 17, 2014

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Dear Tulane Community:

I've been everywhere. Houston, Baton Rouge, New Brunswick, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto. And I plan to visit at least another 16 cities and Panama by the end of next semester.

Those presidential frequent flyer miles are really starting to add up as I crisscross the country to meet Tulane parents and our incredibly diverse and successful network of alumni. The Tulane community extends across the country and the globe—and you and I are part of this worldwide family.

My next stop is Washington, D.C., where I will meet hundreds of D.C. Tulanians and attend the fall meeting of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 62 leading U.S. and Canadian research universities. Like the bond between members of the Tulane community, there is a similar connection among university presidents, who are united in our commitment to the importance and necessity of higher education to our society and world. Nowhere is this more evident than at AAU meetings, which provide a kind of classroom setting for university leaders to teach and learn from one another. Luckily, there are no grades or pop quizzes!

Its longtime AAU membership (since 1958) was among the many distinctions that attracted me to Tulane. Besides rendering vast benefits for our society, Tulane's research mission also provides great advantage to Tulane students by offering research opportunities to undergraduates at levels unheard of among our peers. AAU membership also gives Tulane the opportunity to further the goals of interdisciplinary collaboration I mentioned in last week's message. AAU member universities are potential partners for numerous Tulane research efforts.

Exploring these partnerships, as well as important discussions on federal investment in research, cybersecurity risks and other issues vital to AAU member schools will keep me busy Sunday through Tuesday. Then I'm heading home. Of travel, I've had my share. (At least until the next week!)

 

Signature of Mike Fitts