Dear Tulane Community,
The only thing more impressive and exciting than our current students is the thought of what these students will become in the future. As a guide for them, and for all of us, I would point to two amazing Tulane alumni who have overcome tremendous tragedy to lead lives of extraordinary purpose and service to others.
Steve Gleason (MBA '11) is a former Saints player whose heroics on the field and in battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are legendary. By working with companies like Microsoft, Steve is helping develop technology that is redefining what it means for him and others to live with ALS. Under Steve's guidance, eye-tracking technology has been refined to the point that it has replicated much of what ALS robbed from him – the ability to communicate in his own voice, move his wheelchair independently and, best of all, play with his son. Anyone who has heard Steve speak or read his brilliant, insightful and often humorous words knows that his is a voice that needs to be heard. Steve is also working with Tulane biomedical engineering students to design aids that will give greater independence to residents of the Team Gleason House for Innovative Living at St. Margaret's at Mercy Skilled Nursing Residence in New Orleans.
Born a generation before Steve, but embodying the same spirit, Patrick Browne Jr. (L '56) served as captain of Tulane’s basketball team and lettered in golf, baseball and basketball before losing his sight in a car accident in 1966. Despite this tragedy, Patrick became one of the world's best golfers, winning 70 worldwide and 23 U.S. Blind Golf Association national championships. He even beat PGA champion Payne Stewart in a blindfolded match. Patrick also inspired golfers with challenges similar to his to pursue the game they loved. He was a dedicated supporter of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which provides service dogs to the visually impaired and of WRBH radio for the blind.
Patrick, a member of the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame, passed away last week at the age of 84, but his legacy remains as an example for us all. That legacy is being continued by Steve, who was recently honored as the Tulane Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year. In a video that played before he received this honor, a Team Gleason board member spoke of the many times he has seen parents, who are in perfect physical health, accompanied by their healthy children point to Steve and say, "I want you to be like him."
I join these parents in pointing out to everyone these two remarkable Tulanians.