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Jazz, Gumbo and Tulane

Friday, October 10, 2014

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Dear Tulane Community:

Jazz, perhaps New Orleans' greatest gift to the world, combines elements of many disparate musical styles. Gumbo, one of our city's signature dishes, includes many different ingredients and contributions from a host of distinct and separate cultures. Tulane University, a New Orleans tradition since 1834, contains a rich array of distinguished schools with leading experts working in numerous interconnected fields.

Each of these New Orleans institutions became world-famous by crossing boundaries and breaking down barriers—whether musical, culinary or intellectual. Furthering Tulane's leading role in bringing the best minds from all disciplines together to solve academic and real-world problems in health care, the environment, education and more will be at the heart of my presidency. Maybe I need to get a chef's hat—or a trumpet.

But whatever it takes, breaking down the walls that have traditionally separated disciplines and fields of human knowledge is essential not only to the future of Tulane but to the future of our society. Tulane is already a leader in this approach. Just this week Yu-Ping Wang, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and biostatistics and bioinformatics, shared news that over the next five years he will receive $3.7 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to better understand the genetic risks for osteoporosis and the biomarkers for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Yu-Ping's efforts, which will lead to better diagnosis and treatment of these dreaded diseases, will include researchers from the School of Science and Engineering, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the School of Medicine. No other university in the country has this rich combination of leading schools.

I plan to share news of many more such collaborations among all Tulane schools in the future. This is the new path of American universities—and Tulane is at the forefront. Our history, our structure and our culture position us magnificently in this new and exciting world. Now, if I could just learn to make a roux.

 

Signature of Mike Fitts