Dear Tulane Community:
It has been a week of excitement and heartbreak, as we embarked on a new academic year while witnessing the horror of Hurricane Harvey upending the lives of our neighbors, colleagues, alumni and loved ones in Texas. Residents in Lake Charles and other areas in the southwestern part of our state have also experienced flooding and other damage from this historic storm.
We have reached out to our students from the hurricane-affected areas to assist them in any way we can. The Tulane community is also mobilizing a number of efforts to aid our sisters and brothers here and in Texas as we all keep them near in our hearts and prayers. You will be seeing more of these efforts and the ways you can help in the coming weeks.
On Monday we will observe a national holiday honoring those whose labor strengthens and prospers our society while advancing the well-being of all. In other words, we will honor you.
So, while remembering the plight of our neighbors in Texas, I wanted to remind you of the incredible achievements your labor has made possible and the heights to which you have brought our beloved university.
This is vital because too often we focus on the accomplishments of an institution without remembering the individuals who make it possible. For instance, do those of you who cut, water and care for our grounds and who maintain our facilities know that you have assured Tulane’s ranking among the most beautiful campuses in the country? Do those of you who work in our accounting offices, keeping track of revenue and expenses know that you have helped balance our budget for the first time in many years?
Does our admission staff know that they have brought us one of the largest, most diverse and academically qualified classes ever? Does the staff that manages our endowment know that their hard work has positioned us among the top 5 percent in investment returns among our peer institutions?
Do those of you who solicit alumni, friends, corporations and granting agencies for support, know that you raised more funds in 2016-17 than ever in Tulane’s 183-year history? And that this increased support means we can offer more scholarships, provide more support for the success of students at Tulane and beyond, embark on new construction such as the expansion of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, the Tulane Bywater Institute and the future construction of the Tulane Brain Institute?
It also means we can recruit and retain the best faculty anywhere. And speaking of faculty, do our faculty know that their dedication and innovation means we are offering a more expansive and multi-disciplined curriculum than ever before and are thus becoming the first choice school of more and more of the world’s top students?
Do our researchers and physicians remember that their work continues to save and improve lives in our community and around the world? And do our writers, artists and actors know how much joy, insight and inspiration they bring to our lives? Do those sworn to protect us know how grateful we are for that?
Do all of you know how you are changing and growing Tulane in so many wonderful ways?
I do and I hope you do, too – and that all of you enjoy a well–deserved Labor Day weekend.