One of the questions I am asked most often is what is the most fun part of being president of Tulane University. I always answer: the people – getting to know all the people who make up this diverse and richly textured community. And this week I have the joy of spending time with two groups that epitomize what we are all about as an institution – as well as where we are going.
On Thursday, I was honored to host a dinner for our Posse Scholars. The Posse program identifies, recruits and trains students from urban high schools, providing them scholarships to attend top universities in teams, or posses. Without the Posse program, many of these students might have been overlooked by the traditional college selection process. What a loss that would have been for us! It might have meant that Charlie Draughter Jr. would not have come to Tulane, where he has maintained a 3.0 grade point average, worked as a resident advisor, served as president of his fraternity, volunteered as a mentor and traveled to Costa Rica to help teach high school students about the application, testing and interview process necessary to attend universities in the United States. Those Costa Rican students, no doubt, know the value of a Tulane education not only because of Charlie's efforts but because Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera is also a Tulane graduate. Which brings me to this week's second special gathering – a brunch I will attend tomorrow morning with 40 Tulane alumni from Latin America. Throughout Latin America, Asia, Europe, Africa – everywhere – Tulane's alumni, programs, research and presence is impacting the world. We have 40 major academic programs in 20 countries and more than 7,400 Tulane graduates living in 177 countries. So next time someone asks you which campus you work, teach or study on be sure to specify the country. The Green Wave Nation is getting more diverse and global every day. And more fun.