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This Month and Always

Friday, February 22, 2019

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Dear Tulane Community:

February is a special month on Tulane's calendar. It is when we join the rest of the country, and many other parts of the world, in celebrating Black History Month, an annual recognition of the countless contributions African-Americans have made in every dimension of human achievement – science, medicine, literature, the arts, entertainment and more. Tulane marked this year's Black History Month with campus appearances by many high-profile speakers, including CNN and NPR legal analyst Angela Rye; scholar, author and social justice advocate Dorothy Roberts; and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, whose "Eye on the Prize" lecture served as a bridge between our annual "MLK Week for Peace" celebration and the kickoff of Black History Month.

Black History Month underscores the importance of honoring the diverse Tulanians who have made our university what it is today. Many of their names are instantly recognizable, while others are known only by the changes they brought about or by the sacrifices they made in being pioneers on the frontier of social progress.

Suggestions have poured into the Committee on Campus Recognition since December when we sent out a university-wide request for the names of those from a wide and diverse array of backgrounds who have had a substantial and lasting impact on Tulane. The Committee on Campus Recognition, a sub-committee of the President's Commission on Race and Tulane Values, was tasked with identifying diverse Tulanians whose contributions are worthy of recognition through the naming of campus spaces or other significant honors. I want to thank all the members of this committee, especially co-chairs Laura Rosanne Adderley, associate professor of history, and Satyajit Dattagupta, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admission, for their hard work in identifying these individuals.

Honoring these unsung heroes of Tulane will remind us how far we have come from an inaugural class of only 11 students in 1834 to today – a university of thousands from every conceivable background and perspective united by the shared Tulane values of respect and scholarship. Our goal must be to ensure that we fully embrace, welcome and support a truly diverse community of students, faculty and staff. Much change has come to Tulane and more change is on the way.

Signature of Mike Fitts