Welcome Back Students!

September 24, 2021

Dear Students:

“The ache for home lives in all of us.”

I was reminded of these words from Maya Angelou when I visited your classmates as they boarded buses for Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. It was clear that day that none of them wanted to leave their campus homes. So many told me, often with tears in their eyes, that they could not wait to return to campus, begin their classes again and join in helping New Orleans and the surrounding region recover.

Today the return to campus begins, and there is unmistakable energy and a pervading sense of renewal as our campus and city are, once again, filled with Tulane students. I hope to personally greet as many of you as possible today and throughout the weekend. I will also meet with students from Décou-Labat residence hall, who are staying at the Hyatt downtown while their campus homes are being repaired. In addition, we will continue to help off-campus students locate alternative housing if their homes are still being remediated.

It has been said that success is sometimes measured in obstacles overcome rather than heights attained. Despite the twin obstacles of Hurricane Ida and the ongoing global pandemic, I know that this will be an amazing semester. The poise, equanimity and character with which you have met these two historic challenges will help ensure that we have the most fulfilling and memorable return to in-person learning, living, research and service possible.

As you will see, our campuses are filled with construction vehicles and contractors busily making repairs from Ida. But many of them are also on campus to continue building the residential village along McAlister Way, working on Paul Hall, the new home for the School of Science and Engineering, or renovating Richardson Memorial Hall, home of our School of Architecture. There’s plenty of construction activity underway or planned on our downtown campus, as well. In the coming months, I will keep you apprised of all of this progress and the exciting programming and events we have planned for this year and the difference we will make in the city. Amid all this activity, we will continue following COVID-19 safety protocols and implementing our rigorous, nation-leading COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and isolation program, which has kept our positivity rate far lower than the city or state throughout the pandemic.

Once again, welcome home. Your return has been highly anticipated and eagerly awaited not only on campus, but throughout our city. As a sure sign that we are back, the Green Wave will host UAB for our long-delayed home opener at Yulman Stadium tomorrow, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. Join me as we cheer on our team. It will be another welcome reminder that we are back to the place where we have all been aching to return. Roll Wave!

Mike Fitts