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Three Thousand, One-in-a-Millions at Commencement 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

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Dear Tulane Community:

In any other setting, they would be one-in-a-million. Tomorrow, at Commencement 2018, they will be three-in-three-thousand – and surrounded by graduates just as amazing, unique and as ready as they are to lead.

I am talking about Virginia Adolph, who will receive her doctorate in social work 40 years after earning her undergraduate degree from Tulane; Danny Sullivan, who will receive his fourth Tulane degree (an MD) while he works towards a fifth one; and father and daughter Jordan and Lauren Jones, who will earn Master's degrees from the School of Professional Advancement after studying side by side through every class. OK, that actually makes four-in-three thousand, but my point is that the Class of 2018 is no ordinary class and this will be no ordinary commencement.

In fact, when it comes to graduation, Tulane sets the standard. This is due to our extraordinary graduates, of course. But it doesn't hurt to have two-time National Book Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward as keynote speaker and Grammy-winning singer Irma Thomas, Netscape co-founder Jim Clark, Saints hero/ALS activist Steve Gleason and global healthcare advocate for the poor Dr. Paul Farmer as honorary degree recipients.

Commencement 2018 will also feature music by Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band, second-lining, Mardi Gras beads and more including…identical twin brothers and student leaders Blane and Tyler Margaretten, who will earn business degrees; Ben Alexander, a student with non-verbal autism, who will graduate cum laude with a bachelor's in English and a minor in Jewish Studies; Tulane swimmer and Special Olympics volunteer Kaitlin Simpson, who will earn her Master's degree in health systems management; Kirby Kenny, who donated an incredible 744 hours of free legal work, and will earn her law degree and many, many more awesome graduates. I couldn't be prouder.

Signature of Mike Fitts