Dear Tulane Community:
I believe that core values are the essence of any great university. They are the foundation on which goals are based, actions are taken and positive change is achieved. They form a university’s purpose and drive its decisions. They motivate us to dream bigger, reach higher and do better. By defining and putting such guiding principles into practice, we can live true to ourselves – individually and institutionally – and we can remake a world we’ll be proud to leave to those who come after us.
Values remind me of the magnificent trees of Tulane. They give us roots that empower us to branch out, reaching far beyond our borders to give back to the New Orleans community and the wider world, addressing the problems of today and providing comfort and shade for the centuries ahead. The Dalai Lama, a former Tulane Commencement speaker, referenced the dual quality of values to provide both rootedness and growth as he advised, “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.”
In January, we conducted a campus-wide survey to help develop a formal statement of our essential character. We asked you to tell us the principles, both current and aspirational, that you believe embody, or should embody, this 188-year-old institution as it embraces the future. Through survey results and focus groups across the university, a clear consensus emerged of who we are as a university, what we believe and what we aspire to achieve.
Naturally, terms and exact phrasing differed among individuals, but agreement was clear and passion was evident around these core values:
With confidence, courage and humility, Tulanians help lead the way to a better future. We aim to advance society by boldly confronting global challenges and unleashing the opportunities and promise of tomorrow. This is part of our collective DNA, as reflected in our mission statement: “to create, communicate, and conserve knowledge in order to enrich the capacity of individuals, organizations, and communities to think, to learn, and to act and lead with integrity and wisdom.”
In our pursuit of knowledge for the greater good, we prioritize scholarship and research, discovery and a commitment to creating a more sustainable future for all. From our founding purpose of confronting yellow fever and other 19th century infectious diseases to addressing modern-day health threats such as COVID-19, environmental challenges and other global problems, Tulane has long been a hub of meaningful exploration and discovery. We teach our students to love knowledge both for its own sake and for the sake of using that knowledge to tackle the most pressing issues of our time.
With ingenuity and a growth mindset, we bring together bold and creative scholars, scientists and students who are committed to crossing, combining and redefining the boundaries that have separated fields and thwarted true innovation. Through our unique educational and research vision, we employ unconventional innovation and outsized ambition to create uncommon results.
We strive to make Tulane a more supportive home through equity, diversity, compassion, respect and opportunity. We know we must be open-hearted and willing to learn from past mistakes as we build a better tomorrow. This will require taking active steps to reduce inequities experienced by members of our community who are underrepresented and underserved. We have a shared destiny, common humanity and a better future that we can only reach by working together.
Tulane is rooted in the idea that looking outward leads to impactful, real-world solutions that make a difference in the lives of others. Our contributions to society are evident in the lives we transform and the problems we solve. We are driven by knowing all the good we can accomplish with integrity, freedom of expression, partnership and engagement with our community, our region and our world.
We are purpose-driven and intentional in everything we do – from our groundbreaking research to teaching to public service. Our distinctive attitude, grit and passion inspire our commitment to excellence. As we continue to grow and prepare the next generation of leaders, we task ourselves to seek more, do more and be more.
Examine the values above, learn more about them here and see how they resonate in your studies, teaching, research, work and personal lives. The process of defining and articulating these principles has been an enriching experience. Our students, faculty and staff are truly remarkable in how they express these core values. Seeing how they put these words into practice on a daily basis inspires me, our university, our city and our world. These are the principles that unite us in a divided and challenging time. They give us stability and flexibility, common ground and a common purpose. They are our essence.